“Power Point”

I am excited to give my first guest lecture tomorrow at Lamar State Collage in Port Arthur, Texas tomorrow.  I will be speaking on the role and function of the chaplain in health care settings to nursing students.

I have been going over my notes and tweaking my PowerPoint presentation and I remembered this gem from The Office.

May it brighten your day as you strive toward the prize that is the weekend.

Happy Thursday!

In Christ,
Rev. Evan

Morning Prayer

Thank you God


Photo Credit: Fig Tree Christian

Lent 2015 Reading

This Lent I decided on top of my Lenten Devotional I would take time to a read a book.  The book had to have a practical application to my ministry and life.

After searching the internet I settled on Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now by Walter Brueggemann.  I look forward to reading it and will post a review when I am finished.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Ash Wednesday 2015 Sermon: The Journey Awaits Us All

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Ash Wednesday Devotional (Fig Tree 2015)

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My Ash Wednesday devotion for the Scandal at the Cross Lenten Series by Fig Tree Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Download the devotional now!
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Read Psalm 51:1-17

“Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion!” Psalm 51:1 CEB

Repent.

Mourn.

Reflect.

Pray.

Ashes.

Lent.

Why does the Church take time out of its busy schedule to stop, slow down, pray and reflect?  What is it about the human condition that we have to make sure we are constantly happy?  The slightest amount of sadness, mourning, remorse in our day to day lives are generally not “accepted.”  This however is a lie that our society and possibly the church has been propagating.

I’ll admit that Lent is not the most anticipated times of the Christian calendar but it is one where we have the opportunity to hear the story of Christ’s journey toward the cross once again.  We join him on the road, we struggle when he struggles, we find ourselves almost as outsiders looking in to a movie that we cannot stop watching.

But today our journey begins with a reminder that humanity even the best of us are still fallible, sinful creatures.

I love the Psalms for the way that almost every human emotion is found within their sacred words.  Love, joy, anger, repentance, forgiveness, acceptance and grief.  All are the culmination of the human experience.  Why are we conditioned to limit ourselves to just one?

As we read the 51st Psalm, we are compelled to hear the struggle and strain in the voice of the author.  There is an sense of urgency, a pleading taking place; we can hear the quiver of the Psalmist’s voice, visualize him/her holding back tears; this is no ordinary prayer, no ordinary call to God.

There is something more that is plaguing the soul, the spirit, the mind of the author.  God is seen as a God of justice and mercy, but only to those who follow in the ways of the Lord and keep the commandments…. right?

Could the God of all Creation care about little ol’ me?  We are about to find out.

As followers of Christ we have chosen this day to begin a journey that begins in sorrow, a journey that will test our faith, a journey that will remind us of our unworthiness of God’s grace, mercy and reconciliation and ultimately a journey that will end with the overwhelming grace that is afforded to everyone.

So come along we have a journey to take.

PRAYER:  God of Lent and of the journey, make your presence know to us this Lenten season that we are renewed by your Spirit as we travel a long and dusty road.  May your abiding presence compel us to stay the course and focus our eyes on the scandalous cross in Jerusalem.  In Christ’s Holy and Loving name, Amen.

Tweet of the Week: Wait… What?

I know that a lot of people do not like the President’s policies or whatever, but this type of criticism is a new one for me.  I have heard people in passing joke about the fact that they think the President is the “Anti-Christ” (a word not even used in the book of Revelation but that is topic for another day) but never anything like this.

Happy Friday and happy tweeting!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

It Was Like This When I Got Here

This piece was picked up by Sojourners Magazine.


A lot has been written about the decline of the mainline church over the years. There are numerous theories have been passed around. Nearly every pew-sitting faithful Christian in America has her or his own opinion. As a minister I have heard a lot of these complaints from the masses; the request is simple. They want the church to be the center of social and political life as it seemed to be in the 1950s and 1960s. They want the pews packed with people, the nursery overflowing with babies, and the church to have the same level of particularity that it did years ago. The church today finds itself having to share time and attention with the rest of the world. Because of this (and numerous other factors), the church for the most part has seen the number of people attending the hallowed halls of a church house begin to decrease.

In an effort to find a culprit for the shrinking size and popularity of church, a scapegoat has been named and they are “young people today” — a catchall term for people under the age of 35 (or thereabouts) who have seemingly left the church en masse.

They are vilified as the sole reason and cause for the church to not be busting at the seams with people. If only those “young people” could just stop being so selfish on Sunday mornings and just come to worship God at 11 a.m. like people have been doing for years, the world might be a better place.

Maybe you have heard some of these gems before:

  • “Young people today don’t care about religion … unless they can find it on an iPhone.”
  • “Yong people today weren’t made to come to church and that’s why they aren’t here.”
  • “I know young people today like contemporary music but I don’t care for it.”
  • “Young people today would rather sleep than come worship the Lord.”
  • “Young people today are too busy with sports and extra activities. They are too overextended. If they can put effort into sports, they can put effort into God.”
  • “Young people will spend all day getting ready for a prom or a dance but show up to church in jeans and t-shirt.”

The list goes on.

How does a “young person” effectively convey the notion that “the church was like this when I got here?”

I have met some people who are deeply spiritual, caring, compassionate, loving people, but they don’t attend church. But young people for the most part do not have a problem with the church or with Jesus or even with teachings of church. So why the absence on Sunday morning?

For many people, the problem is the people who call themselves Christians but don’t live up to Christian ideals. They say the church focuses on the wrong things; why are some people so acutely aware of the “sins” of others but cannot see the hungry child in their own backyard.

If you want young people in your church, give them something to do. Young people are ready to go, do, serve, be, and extend the ministry of Christ to all people — but they have to a place through which they are able to do so.

There is a drive in young people who want to do something greater than themselves and to give and love, but when it’s met with pledge cards, committee meetings, condescending looks for wearing jeans and t-shirts, or saying they have to wait until they are 45 and have three kids to make a difference, then what’s the point?  I can worship God in my house or in nature just as easily as I can in a building with stained-glass windows.

Give “young people” the chance to and they will knock your socks off … I promise. You will see movements of God that you would have missed if you had “stayed the course.”

The decline of the church is not my generation’s fault. It was in decline long before I was born; it was like this when I got here. But that doesn’t mean it is too far gone. The church does a lot of things right and can still do more.

Let the “young people” lead; let them be the hands and feet of Christ in the world and watch what happens. Listen to their passions, listen to their concerns, and listen to where they feel God is leading them.

It’s not “young people’s” fault for the decline of the church, but they can surely be a part of the answer.

Keep the faith … all is not lost. ​

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Finding Religion In A Fortune Cookie?

Fortune Cookie Deep Faith

Can you find religion in the American made tradition of a fortune cookie?  After church we went out for Chinese by request from my now 5-year-old; I opened my fortune cookie and found this message.

Generally these fortunes aren’t really fortunes at all but often cliché sayings that are supposed to make you feel better for eating too many egg rolls.  They have become so silly that people have even started making games out of these feeble sayings.

This one, however, was different; maybe it was different because I needed to hear it.  We all need a reminder from time to time that our faith is something that is not static but ever-changing and growing.

We turn to it in our times of need and in our times of sorrow.

Can faith really drive out fear?  I think so if we remember that it is there to begin with.

This little piece of paper reminded me that while the future is always uncertain, my reaction to it is not.

My faith might be shaken or even shrink to the point of non-existence but there is something that will always call me back, something that will point to something greater than myself.  In a world of 10,000 emails, productivity software apps, deadlines and commitments, we can forget that the simplest thing is to have faith like a child.  We don’t have to have all the answers, run around with an “I love Jesus” t-shirt on or even attend a local congregation.  The faith that we have can be simple or it can be great; all that matters that we have that faith.

Every person as a part of their faith journey has some reason why they keep coming back to God even when facing adversity or doubt. There is something that calls us back into communion or relation with God that undeniable. There is a moment in every person’s life when the Divine was so real, so tangible, you felt as if you could almost reach out and touch God. Our hearts our filled, they are overwhelmed with God and God’s grace or mercy or love or forgiveness. That is that calls us back… that is where we find our wholeness and completeness. This faith drives out our doubt and fear; this faith is undeniable and the bed rock of our understanding of God.

Over time we can lost sight of it or think that we should be doing more, but more times than not we will return this place to recharge and reconnect.

So yes maybe you can find religion in a fortune cookie. The next time you stuff your face with Lo Mein and spring rolls and before you learn your lucky numbers and how to say “sugar” in Chinese, be sure to look for the message that awaits you, you never know what you might find.

Keep the faith.

 

In Christ,

 

Rev. Evan


“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”– Saint Augustine, taken from The Confessions

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 Common English Bible

Stole Camp 2015

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This past Saturday I was privileged to speak at the Coastal Plains Area “Stole Camp” for their commissioned minsters.  I was asked to speak about the importance of hospital ministry and how ministers can help in the care process for the patient and their family.

Thanks to First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Houston for their hospitality.  Thanks also to the CPA for their asking me to be a part of this great educational event.

I would love to speak to you and your group/congregation, so check out the “Speaking” tab.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Lenten Devotional

In the Disciples of Christ we have a unique congregation that many people do not know about.  Fig Tree Christian Church (DOC) is an entirely online church… that’s right, online church. It’s a really interesting concept one that seems to be catching on; recently Fig Tree announced that they were accepting memberships.

From their website:

Fig Tree Christian is a place where we can talk openly about Christianity. It is a place where we can learn together. It is a new adventure in being a community of God. Spring is here and a new summer is on the way. We are Fig Tree Christian because it is such a time as this when we need to be the example to invite in a new summer.

I have been asked to contribute to Fig Tree Christian Church’s 2015 Lenten Devotional entitled “Scandal at the Cross.”   You can download the study now in PDF form (link) or if you are an Android user you can download the Devotional App via the Google Play store in the coming weeks.  Sorry iOS users the cost to get into the Apple App store is about $100 and Fig Tree couldn’t afford it this time, maybe next year.

During Lent I will post my two submissions on February 18 (Ash Wednesday) and March 18.

I am grateful to Fig Tree for allowing me to be apart of their devotional series and I hope that you are enriched by it this Lenten Season.

To learn more about the Lenten Series and the authors that contributed click here.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan