April 30, 2020 · 8:37 am
We are now 45 days into the government shut down due to COVID-19. Although some states are gradually opening up, it will admittedly be some time before we’re back to some sense of normalcy, which some are calling a “new normal.”
It may be another month before some states will allow churches to resume public assemblies. When will sports venues open? Or theme parks? Or concert halls? How long will people be wearing masks? Social distancing? Or working from home? When will we be able to cross the Canadian border? Travel to Europe? To take an Alaskan cruise? Who knows? Continue reading →
April 28, 2020 · 6:46 am
“No one could have seen this coming,” is an often repeated phrase used by President Trump in his press conferences referring to the current crisis caused by COVID-19.
Critics, of course, are quick to point out there are certain signs our leaders should have seen that were red flags. There have even been predictions of a global pandemic for years by some health officials. Continue reading →
April 27, 2020 · 9:06 am
Last week Tennessee Governor, Bill Lee, announced the gradual process of reopening the state.
Today, restaurants will open with some restrictions. That means we can go eat breakfast at Crockett’s or lunch at Applewood Farms.
The Canadian Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced that he will be revealing plans to reopen Ontario’s economy “early next week.” He said the plan will be “a gradual and measured approach.” But, I’m hopeful that means the U.S.-Canadian border will open soon. Continue reading →
April 26, 2020 · 4:26 am
Good Lord’s Day morning!
Today is our fourth Sunday of worship by ourselves from our Smoky Mountain retreat. The local church where we normally worship in Cosby and where I preach when we visit, is not meeting during this current crisis.
Like many of you, we’re participating in a virtual worship service. We’ve visited Temple Terrace and Henderson Boulevard in Tampa as well as the Kettering church in Ohio. Virtually speaking Continue reading →
April 20, 2020 · 8:14 am
“Good judgment comes from experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgment,” once quipped the American humorist Will Rogers.
In the midst of this current crisis, our President’s judgment is being questioned for opening up the country too quickly. Ironically, he was criticized, after the fact, for being too slow to shut it down. State Governors and local elected officials are charged with the task of implementing guidelines for their states and counties. Many are protesting their judgments. Continue reading →
April 19, 2020 · 7:25 am
Today Norma Jean and I will be worshiping alone for the third consecutive Sunday. It seems strange. But it’s our new reality. At least temporarily.
With the COVID-19 “sheltering in place” guidelines probably your congregation has also been forced to suspend public gatherings. Many of you, therefore, will be watching online, either live streaming or a video. Some congregations may only have an audio transmission.
So, here are ten tips to help you worship today. Continue reading →
April 16, 2020 · 8:25 am
Numerous news outlets, as well as the President’s own Coronavirus Task Force, report that the American people are becoming increasingly frustrated and impatient with the social distancing guidelines. Protests have even erupted in Michigan in defiance of the Governor’s guidelines.
The President has often said that people are “chompin’ at the bit to get back to work.” To attend ball games. Eat out at restaurants. And get this country open again.
I’m reminded of a story about the 19th century New England Preacher Phillips Brooks. He was known for his poise. Patience. And quiet manner. However, like all of us, the pressure of his work caused him to suffer from periods of frustration. Continue reading →
April 14, 2020 · 8:10 am
As we continue living through this new normal, which is so abnormal, our hearts are touched by the amount of sickness and death we are seeing and hearing reported by the media.
In fact, by now you may know someone who’s contracted COVID-19. We know a few folks personally who are suffering from it. And so far, thankfully winning the battle.
Yet, in the midst of this current crisis we continue to hear uplifting stories. Stories of heroism. Courage. And self-sacrifice. People helping people. Neighbors looking after one another. Shepherds employing innovative ways to watch for souls. Preachers learning and using new techniques to teach and preach the gospel. Continue reading →
April 13, 2020 · 8:17 am
The other day Norma Jean and I were discussing our travel plans for May and the rest of the summer.
“Do you think “sheltering in place” restrictions will be lifted by May 1st?” she wondered.
“I don’t know.”
“When you do think the Canadian border will open?”
“I don’t know.”
“Where are we going if the border doesn’t open in May?” Continue reading →
April 10, 2020 · 7:32 am
S. M. Lockridge (1913-2000) was a prominent African-American preacher known for his dynamic, passionate, and fervent sermons. One of his fiery lessons was “It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming!”
In the early days of our blogging we wrote a column with that title. For two years we looked at the narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion to see the drastic change in people’s lives and the world’s history from six hours that Friday to very early Sunday morning.
Friday was a metaphor for betrayal. Denial. Cowardice. Hate. Suffering. Despair. Defeat. And death. But Sunday symbolized victory. Help. Hope. Healing. Love. Joy. And eternal life. Continue reading →