PJ’s Sunday Blessing

PJ’s Sunday Blessing

It is a beautiful morning in Fishers, Indiana today. It is a day full of hopes and possibilities; a day just made to worship and praise our loving, forgiving God. It is a busy day in our world with the Winter Olympics, golf, NBA All-Star Game, Purdue basketball, and the Daytona 500 among others. It is a busy day in the news world with tweets and news-show appearances and divisive comments and commentators on all sides . Yet, in the midst of all this busyness, we can (and should) take time to reflect on God’s love and grace and to pray for others. The horrible tragedy in Parkland, Florida last week reminds us all how life can change in an instant. We need to keep God in the forefront of our thinking, and do whatever we can to share God’s love and grace with all God’s children (and, remember, we are all God’s Children!) See you in church,...
Thirsting for a New Way

Thirsting for a New Way

During my sabbatical, my daughters and I got to visit Greece for six amazing weeks. I wouldn’t have traded spending a lot of time in one country for spending a little time in a lot of countries. However, one member of the traveling trio was intent on getting into as many countries as possible.  I think that was to collect the passport stamps that can come with that. So, when we had four days when it was just too hot to see anything else in Athens, we went up into the mountains of Greek Macedonia, parked our rental car, and walked up to the border crossing of Macedonia, whose official name is – awkwardly – the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This wasn’t like going through security at the airport. We were crossing a definite border. For one thing, there is a great deal of animosity between Greece and Macedonia – over refugee entrances and crossings and – more hotly – over who should get to use the name Macedonia. And, crossing into Macedonia felt like leaving Western Europe – where they are prepared for tourists and non-native speakers – and entering an Eastern European country. We couldn’t speak a word of Macedonian, English was a struggle, and the locals seem baffled, if not annoyed, that we would visit. At the border crossing, the Macedonian officer looked at our passports and then at us. He was having trouble figuring out why we were there and how we were related to one another. I’ll spare you my atrocious Macedonian accent, but when he finally decided to make a connection he...

There is a sign that is held up at almost every football game. John 3:16. It just may be the most well- known Bible verse. Martin Luther called John 3:16 “the gospel in a nutshell” because it tells us of God’s profound love for us. It tells us of the depths to which God would go to convey that love for us. The verse leaped into popular sports culture when born-again Christians started holding “John 3:16” signs as a way to spread the gospel. The most famous 3:16 holder was Rollen Stewart. In the 70’s and 80’s, he wore a rainbow-colored wig and danced behind the goal posts at football games, home plate at baseball games and the backboard at basketball games, even the finish line of the Indy 500. Stewart said he wanted John 3:16, on as many tv screens as possible, so people would repent and believe. Right now, Stewart should be repenting. He is serving three consecutive life sentences after a bizarre incident in which he locked himself in a hotel room, held a maid hostage and threatened to shoot down airplanes. Despite that fall from respectability, John 3:16 has remained popular as a witnessing device among evangelical Christians. Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor, says that’s “because it’s short and information-packed: God loves humankind, man has sinned and is destined for eternal punishment, but eternal life awaits all who believe in God’s son, Jesus.” And faster than the Patriots can turn around a game in the fourth quarter, a verse about the love of God has changed into a verse that is telling people they...