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October 24th, 2016

It is God’s prerogative to put his servants in the hard place.

1 Kings 19:9b-18

A great question

If there were a reason I wanted to preach on the life of Elijah this fall, it’s probably this passage – one of my favorites in the Old Testament. One of the reasons is the great question God asks Elijah in verses 9 and 13:  “What are you doing here?”

As you may know, I just came back from Moldova Friday. There were several times at which I asked myself, “What are you doing here?” I gathered with the congregation in Nisporeni to whom you all gave $17,480 for their building fund. I said, “You’re probably asking, ‘What are you doing here just a couple of months after your last visit?” I wanted them to know that we want to continue the partnership.

I traveled on Ukraine International Airlines from JFK in New York through Kiev, Ukraine to Chisinau, Moldova. While I was at JFK, Linda told me she had looked up reviews on UIA, and they said the planes are usually older planes. When I heard the flight was delayed because of a couple of flat tires, I asked myself, “What am I doing here?” Read more »

October 22nd, 2016

It’s as much true of you and me as it is true of Webster Ammons Goss: if we make our stories about us, we diminish our significance, but when we make our stories about God we find our true meaning.  Webster’s story is ultimately a story about his Creator and Savior.  I’m going to tell his story the way Gary and Pat Goss have told it to me.  I should warn you that parts of this story are very ugly. Read more »

October 21st, 2016

(I really didn’t mean to write this much, but there was so much to share.  Separately I’ll upload some pictures on my Facebook page, but it might not be until Sunday or later.)

Return to Moldova – October 16-21, 2016

It’s a very different “mission trip” when you (a) go by yourself and (b) go mostly for the sake of follow up.  When Linda and I joined our team in June of this year, there was a sense of unfinished business.  It’s certainly not all finished now, but after a few days it feels more like closure. Read more »

October 16th, 2016

Rory and Jessica (Siciliano) Burkitt

The Cigar Factory, Charleston, SC – October 15, 2016

1 John 4:7-19

The theme of my meditation for your wedding today is “So thankful!”

We have so much to be thankful for today!   Let’s start with the fact that this weekend is not last weekend, when the hurricane made Charleston a ghost town.  Jessica’s Mom said she thinks your first baby should be named Matthew.  Let’s hope it’s a boy, then, because that would be an odd name for a girl.

But even if the storm had made its appearance this weekend, and you had to totally rearrange everything, we would have worked it out with God’s help and would still find many reasons to be “so thankful.”  Read more »

October 10th, 2016

What’s Next?

You can’t change what brought on the depression. You can choose what’s next.

1 Kings 19:1-9a


Marathoner to immobilized

I was not expecting this. This story shocks me every time. If you weren’t here last week and you’re not familiar with the story of Elijah, let’s start there. Elijah is involved in a generational struggle over whether Israel, now reduced to ten tribes after their ninth century B.C. version of Brexit from the kingdom of David. The kings of this northern kingdom increasingly led the people to turn away from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to follow false gods. Elijah had decreed a three-year drought to get their attention.

Last week we witnessed a showdown on the peak of a 30-mile mountain range in northern Israel near the Mediterranean Sea which offers a panoramic view of the land from north to south, from the Sea to the Jordan River. Elijah had invited King Ahab and the 450 prophets of Ba’al to meet him on Mount Carmel. Ahab’s wife Jezebel was a no-show, but throngs of starving and thirsty Israelites showed up, hoping for rain. Read more »