Jesus once told a parable about folks who were confident that their good deeds impressed God; these people scorned everyone else. They viewed themselves as righteous and others as wicked. In this parable, which is a short story used to illustrate a truth, Jesus has two characters: a Pharisee…

I’ve been thinking about stewardship this month, which I often do at the end of the summer. After all, it’s harvest time following the hard work of summer, whether on the water, in the stores or on the streets. While not as busy as past Ketchikan summers, there were at least some tourists wh…

Growing in the Lord begins when we read, meditate and study God’s holy word, the Bible. All our knowledge of God and his plans for us is found in this wonderful book. It has all the directions for living a righteous life before the Lord.

Why does a Christian need theology? Have you ever heard someone say, “I am not a scholar. I don’t need theology. I just love Jesus?” I want to lay before you in this article that theology is not just for scholars and debaters but that theology is vital for the Christian life.

I was asked a difficult question this week by a man who was seeking understanding. He asked me, “What is the biggest problem the church has in communicating its message to our society?” I was stunned for a moment trying to think of my answer. I then remembered something I had read recently (…

The Rev. Fred Rogers, “Mr. Rogers,” was a man of understanding and compassion. He once wrote: “I believe that appreciation is a holy thing — that when we look for what's best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we're doing what God does all the time. So, in loving and appreciatin…

Now I’m no carpenter. Nor am I a builder of any stature. But I own a plumb line.

It is traditional for the citizens of the United States to celebrate July 4th as the day on which the final draft of our Declaration of Independence from Britain was ratified and signed by the 56 representatives of the 13 colonies. This became our independence day, a day of freedom, a day to…

We live in confusing times. The 20th century saw the modern worldview give way to the postmodern. A worldview in which all truth is relative. Sources often slant events to fit their agenda. One individual’s “truth” may not be the same as another’s. In fact, anyone who claims to know truth is…

This Sunday is Father’s Day here in the United States and in many countries around the world. Most countries have something like our Father’s Day — a day to celebrate our fathers.

 Jesus told many parables. A parable is “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson” (Oxford Dictionary). This is a lesson we need to apply to ourselves. “If the shoe fits, put it on.” One parable Jesus told has had a profound effect on me. It is the one called the parable…

Heaven’s joy is always available, especially during dark and confusing times. Don’t mistake any fleeting moments of happiness as anything equal to the joy that Jesus gives. Eternal joy is poured into the hearts of every believer when the spirit of God makes his home with us. “I experience ab…

There’s an interesting line from the Easter story that has always intrigued me. It comes from John’s Gospel, chapter 20, when Mary is at the empty tomb. She no doubt is confused, frightened, but also hopeful that Jesus did what he said he would do, that is, come back to life. So picture the …

The website of the National Day of Prayer states: “This year (2021) marks 70 years since Reverend Billy Graham stood on the capitol steps in February 1952 and called for congress and the president to establish a day of prayer. By April of that year, President Truman signed the legislation in…

Life can be hard. And COVID has made our lives even harder. We’ve been required to isolate so much that I think even introverts could say they are tired of being alone. We weren’t created to exist alone and to work alone. And we can’t do everything on our own. God made us to need each other …

Recently, I have been hearing the phrase “common humanity.” It seems a simple concept but looking closer it has a distinctive aspect. Common humanity is not just people helping people; it is the understanding that “unpleasant feelings are part of the human experience — that suffering is universal.”

Have you ever noticed in the 16th chapter of the Gospel of Mark, verse 8 has a little (*) asterisk. The accompanying note goes something like this: “At this point, some of the most ancient witnesses bring the book to a close.” The shortest of the four gospels, most scholars agree that Mark i…

We weren’t there, but the one event that completely changed the world happened in Jerusalem about 1,985 years ago. Now, of course, it hasn’t yet changed the world we were born into. It is like when a dandelion seed gets blown into your yard: the change has come. Or like when light begins to …

Patience is a virtue, so they say. Not the easiest thing in the world for me, but as I have gotten older I find that being patient isn’t quite as hard as it used to be.

The word anatolay is used in scripture to describe Jesus as the daystar rising. Two thousand years ago he ushered in a new day, rising in brilliant light, as the rising of the sun pushes back the deep darkness of night. His light overcame the darkness of cruelty and oppression; his truth set…

When my wife and I began to have children, my wife was always looking at our kids and trying to determine who in our families they looked like. This child had my forehead, and that child had her mother’s lips. I couldn’t see it at first like my wife could, but as the children grew older, I b…

In this month of February, we are typically encouraged on or around the 14th to exert a little more effort in our expressions of love for others. With each effort that is made, the giver hopes that the message is received. It is helpful to know that people perceive love in different ways. So…

My dad used to say something was a blessing in disguise. Over the years, I’ve used the phrase and heard other people, whom I respect, use it also.

First of all, what is meant by treasure? What is it that you value above everything else? In Jesus’ famous sermon on the mount, found in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But…

In a world of constant change, we crave solid ground and an anchor as our point of reference for life. Seasons change, and all things age while our planet plunges into another trip around the sun. Our lives are rapidly accelerating from “day one” to wherever they will meet their end.

I love the mystery and wonder of Christmas. The night when Jesus was born may not have been as silent as the song suggests, but nevertheless, it was a night of wonder. And the immediate details of messiah’s birth were not made known to many, but to only a few.  But those few who witnessed th…

In John 3:16 God provides us with the greatest gift of all. His son Jesus’s life for our eternal salvation. A gift that gives us a new relationship with a most holy and righteous God.

So many of us are praying for our neighbors and our community. This has been Ketchikan’s most difficult time so far with the virus. The year 2020 has been about loss — individual and collective loss.

If I had to summarize the sum total of all the theology I’ve lived and learned over the course of 60+ years, I would use two simple words: Right Living. That’s it, short, sweet and simple. Easy to understand for every age.

Romans 12:8 “if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

There are a lot of angry voices in the world. In the news, in politics, social media - you hear them everywhere. Many of these voices claim to be followers of Jesus. It can be so confusing.

Much is being said this month about voting and the importance of making our voices heard. As a youngster, I was taught that it was our civic duty to elect people to represent us.

No doubt you’ve read several such lists on the internet where authors highlight key reflections they’ve discovered as a result of the interruptions from the COVID-19. “What the pandemic has taught me about life, society, business and so forth...”

Restrictions on traveling can wear a person out. I just returned from a weeklong journey to New York City and back. Not many travelers on the plane, but lots at the airports. Seems like folks want or need to get moving again.

A story is told of a mother who brought her son into church one Sunday. The boy stood on the pew and the mother asked the little boy to sit down.

One of my most vivid memories of my undergraduate experience at Georgetown University involves two events that took place during my freshman year, in 1969 and 1970. I was 17 or 18 years old, and each time I was walking near the campus in the course of my daily routine. From my appearance, on…

If you watch the news, listen to your friends (or former friends!), wander around Facebook, or any social media, something is bound to give you an opportunity to be angry. Seems as if our entire social environment is purposely feeding people’s anger, flaming it into a bonfire of rage. It doe…

As I listen to the news day after day, I find it easy to get discouraged as many of the current problems of our time seem too overwhelming. I won’t begin to make a list here because we all have our own. Counter to this, I was surprisingly encouraged at a meeting this last week when the facil…