May 2021

A Person of Influence

Are you a person of influence? I understand hesitation here. You may not want to say “yes” or believe that you, an ordinary person, might be influential. All too easily, we think of influence as something that pertains only to the super-elite—the gifted communicators, the dynamic leaders, the wealthy, athletes, musicians, actors, etc. When we buy into this lie, though, we quietly disqualify ourselves from a role (and a blessing) Christ has for us. In Luke 5:1-11, we see that the boat itself was ordinary, but the presence of Jesus made it a vessel for something extraordinary. “‘Master, we’ve

Jehovah Jireh in Lockdown

Rosa and Peter, of Peruvian heritage, live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with their young sons. In March of 2020, Peter travelled to Peru for a family wedding. His flight was scheduled to return three days later. When Argentina shut its borders due to COVID-19, the government promised that flights would resume in 15 days.

Rosa and Peter spoke on the phone and calculated that she had two months-worth of savings to use until Peter could return. His workplace understood the circumstances and gave him two weeks of vacation. Everything would be fine.

Sharing Your Story

When was the last time you told someone your story? When was the last time you prayed about sharing your story? When was the last time you practiced the delivery of your story? Do those closest to you (friends, family, neighbors, co-workers) know what Christ has done for you personally? 

New Hope

“How would you feel about the merger of First Church and Trinity?” One rarely knows what to expect when meeting a new district superintendent (DS). I certainly did not expect to hear that question during the very first meeting and meal with our newly arrived DS in the fall of 2012. While the question caught me off guard, my answer was almost immediate: “I think that should have happened about 10 years ago . . .

A Genuine and Lasting Faith

“I don’t smoke; I don’t chew; don’t hang out with folks who do.” This was a common saying while growing up—it describes my life before I was a Christian. I was raised in a Christian family, attended a conservative church, had friends who stayed out of trouble, and was known as a “goody-two-shoes” around school. You have likely heard testimonies from people about their past and the terrible sins they had committed before they became Christians.

Becoming Somebody

In a church building in the heart of Monrovia, Liberia, a small group of women gathered over the course of a few days to talk about their hopes and those of the other women in their neighborhoods.

My Journey to Freedom

On September 12, 2012, I made the longest walk of an addict’s life—the walk from the parking lot into my first 12-step recovery meeting. I was 44, and I had a golden calf residing in my heart—alcohol. I was an ordained pastor who knew that God had placed a special calling upon my life but never fully realized it until I put to death an addiction that controlled my life.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

In 1985, when Shepherd Community Center first began to offer hope and support for people trapped in the cycle of poverty, Google didn’t exist—neither did Amazon nor Facebook. Much has changed in the past 35 years as Shepherd Community has learned, adapted, and grown in serving its neighbors on the east side of Indianapolis. Yet much remains the same.

God is on the Move

“God is on the Move” is the name of a song, yes, but for my wife, Terri, and me, it became an anthem. As the lead pastor at Connect Church in a small community of Northern Oklahoma, I’m glad I can tell this story.

Creating a Home

Beyond a sliding metal gate is a basketball court, converted from its former life as a driveway. Past the basketball hoops is a new play structure, and to the right of both is a two-story brick house surrounded by brightly painted walls. Joshua,* 18, helped paint a horse on one of the walls, and Daniel, 14, painted a school of orange fish.