Monthly Archives: January 2020

January 31 – Viagem Missionária Guatemala

Our Guatemala Mission Away Team leaves for leaves for the “land of eternal spring” tomorrow afternoon.  It will be my twelfth and certainly my last trip to Guatemala with good friends from LPC.  That’s another story for another time.

As with last year, our North American team members will join a contingent of South American team members as we respond to God’s call to serve in Central America.  That’s a story for now.

Ademar, Michael, Raissa, and Juninho form the Brazilian contingent of our team.  Each of them is a returning veteran of Guatemala mission.  I have known Ademar for nearly twenty years – he was a young university student when we met.  Raissa was one of the kids in a VBS program our church in Western PA helped run when I first met her over 15 years ago, and I’ve known Juninho about as long.  Pastor Michael has been at IPJA for seven years and I liked him the minute we met.

All friendships are a gift from God, but these four seem especially so. Continue reading

January 24 – My Pain in the Neck

I have a pain in my neck.  And thanks for your advice on what ails me, but it’s being taken care of.  The practitioner who’s helping the pain go away thinks it is stress-induced.  He barely knows me.  Unfortunately, I know me, and I think he may be right.  And, again, thanks for your advice on what ails me, I’ve already received the best advice available. Continue reading

January 17 – Megxit: O Canada

How can we worry about impeachment when the Megxit story continues to unfold?

In case you have been off-planet for the past few weeks, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have decided to call it quits on cutting ribbons and waving to crowds.  The press has dubbed it Megxit. Oh, the pay is good and the hours aren’t bad, but it’s a younger brother job and there’s not much future in it. Harry and Meghan want out.

Apparently, the prodigal prince plans on gathering his young family and the bit of the inheritance he calls his own and taking a journey into a far country.  It turns out that Canada is the far country of choice. But not all Canadians are sure they should welcome Harry, Meghan, and the no longer senior royalty entourage. Maybe Canadians just don’t like the prospect of reckless living. Continue reading

January 10 – When Grace Abounds

It’s like one of those stories of the unexpected check arriving in the mail and it’s exactly the amount you need to pay the bill of the unexpected expense. I would dismiss such stories as just too cheesy except for Becky and I having experienced just such grace many years ago in our tight budget years.

This is a story with less of the unexpected, but more of seeing grace and its amazing work.

Chapter one begins nearly a decade ago and mostly is not my story to tell, but for the fact that at the very end I have a small role to play.  One of our LPC physicians had walked with a patient on a long journey through what would be a terminal illness.  The care given was the best medicine could provide, but, more, it was personal and caring and filled with faith.  In time our doctor would share his Christian faith with a faithful patient and her family and friends.  The patient would speak of God’s presence in her life even through the darkest times. Our doctor prayed with her and sometimes when appointments and procedures were scheduled around the doctor’s mission trips to Guatemala, he spoke of his sense of calling and the joy he found in following Christ to that faraway place.

When death’s dark shadow finally fell, family and friends – and the physician – grieved deeply, but not as those without hope. Continue reading

January 3 – The Rise of a None

“The rise of the nones” is the attention-grabbing phrase used to describe the well-documented increase in the percentage of Americans who, when queried by survey researchers about their religious identification, say “none.” 

So begins a recent report from Gallup.  As is frequently noted, the “rise of the nones” is not necessarily the “rise of the atheists.”  In fact, for all the noise made by the celebrity atheists, atheism is not doing much better than organized religion in capturing the affection and loyalty of modern Americans.  Simply put, when the pollster asks one of us to check a box to describe our religious identity fewer of us are checking Catholic or Protestant (mainline or evangelical), Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu.  More and more of us are choosing “none of the above.”  Hence, the “rise of the nones.” Continue reading