Israel Trip – Day 1

I am not sure exactly where we are as I write this. My Google Map app is telling me that my location cannot be determined. I know we have 40 minutes left in the flight. Continue reading Israel Trip – Day 1


Preached at Fountain UMC December 2015. Continue reading Prepare!


We live amongst some of the most beautiful valleys in the world!
I grew up a couple of hours west of here, in Buena Vista, in the Upper Arkansas Valley. I still travel that way on occasion. There is a moment at the very end of the journey…after a few mountain passes, some long flat valley’s, a handful (or two) of tiny towns…almost at the end of the trip, you turn this corner and there it is…God’s creation…all the valley’s beauty lying before the majestic mountains. God’s artwork in full view. I feel God’s presence so clearly; it’s like I can touch the sacredness of the moment. Continue reading Rise!


One of the things we do when we gather in the community of faith every Sunday is to confess our sins. Every week we confess that we are broken and fall short: Continue reading We

You are Blessed

Years ago as I started taking those first few baby steps into Christianity, I felt myself drawn to Judaism, to this deep, deep history. To the people that were Jesus’ people, to the rituals that shaped and formed him, to the stories that formed the culture in which he lived.

My family was friends with a Jewish family. S Continue reading You are Blessed

Favored – Luke 2:1-20

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Thirty-four years ago Prince Charles gave Princess Diana a beautiful engagement ring. A 12-karat sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds. Continue reading Favored – Luke 2:1-20

Sympathy Preaching

“When people look for sympathy, it feels like a no-win situation. On the one hand they are telling us that they have it worse than anyone and no one can understand, but on the other hand they are looking for our validation” (Brene’ Brown, I Thought it was Just Me (But it isn’t), Page 52).

I listened to a sermon recently. The preacher began with the Crucifixion of Christ. She pointed out how “bloody, grotesque, brutal…beyond our imaginations” that scene was. She wanted us to understand the brutality of Good Friday by telling us there was no way we could ever imagine it. Sympathy…”Your telling us that no one can understand, yet you’re asking us to understand” (page 54).

Preacher…what do you want from us? Do you want us to get it? Or is that day, as you say, beyond our imagination?

For the rest of the sermon, that is where I stayed….

On the outside…

Unable to imagine….


I define empathy as the skill or ability to tap into our own experiences in order to connect with an experience someone is relating to us (page 33).

What if she set the scene at a place we could imagine? The bloody violence we see on the news every night. The fear that haunts us as we drop our kids off at school during those days and weeks after a school shootings… What if she reminded us of the tears that flow and the anger that burns for the nine people gunned down during a church bible study. Brutal. Bloody. Terrifying. A fear, a tragedy, a hopelessness we do understand.

Because we can tap into our experiences and imagine a day like Good Friday. We just need to turn on the T.V., watch the news, look back though our lives at the horror we have experienced…maybe its not exactly the same…but it is closer than “beyond my imagination.”

What if, as preachers, we invite people into empathy in our preaching. Come, see with me. Experience with me. Be uncomfortable with me. Feel fear with me. When we are together, then we can redirect our gaze towards the Love and Grace that God pours into the moment.