Lent, Temptation, and Fruity Pebbles

February 24th, 2021 by Christopher Caudle

A Bowl of Fruity Pebbles.

Saturday Morning cartoons sometimes had accessorizing cereals, and one of the most deliciously disgusting is Fruity Pebbles. These colorful rice smushings have been sugared and marketed with great success for over a generation.

You can read more about them here, watch how they are made here, and find out where to buy them here (as if you don't know). 

I thought about Fruity Pebbles yesterday after Mark’s gospel account of Jesus’ temptation. Temptation is by definition tempting, and it presents itself to us in a variety of colorful, sweet, immediate ways. 

And, unlike Jesus’ successful refusal to turn stones into bread, temptation’s victory over us can leave us feeling as though we’ve just eaten a bowl full of rocks.

Come In...You Belong Here

February 23rd, 2021 by Barb Buffington

When you think about hospitality, what comes to mind?  Perhaps a fine hotel, or going to see a wonderful friend, or perhaps family, or maybe going to a friend’s house for dinner…

What Is Hospitality?

When I think about it, a word that comes to mind is belonging, and I want to share how I see these as intertwined, share a few stories, and hopefully spark something in you as we move forward from this COVID season.

This past year we have all experienced the loss of community, and we have realized the importance of connection and relationships. Where does this leave us as we move through 2021?

An Ashes Perspective

February 17th, 2021 by Carl Buffington

Mammon thinks it rules. 

Money and the lust for it, and the power of it, sure seems to be king in our world.  Listen to what is important news:

“Elon Musk passed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as richest man in the world last week.  Musk’s net worth this week stood at $183.8 billion, $1.4 billion ahead of Bezos.” 

Makes you want to say “Alleluia” doesn’t it?  Except in Lent, of course.

How to Stop Worrying

February 15th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

A life free from worry.  To some of us, it sounds like Shangri-La: wonderful and impossible to find.  But we aren’t doomed to be worry's prisoner.  Read on if you would like to know “How do I stop worrying?”

I am no stranger to this topic.  Over the course of my life I have chewed my nails to stubs, bitten the skin around my nails, pulled out my eyelashes, and stress-eaten cheese, chocolate, and jellybeans.  

I have stayed awake countless nights, playing out different horrible scenarios.  I have had panic attacks and crying jags.  It’s not pretty to admit, but I have let worry take over my life.

If someone had said to me in a time of intense worry, “I know the secret of how to stop worrying,” I would have laughed (bitterly) in his face.  

How to Embrace Every Moment

February 9th, 2021 by Carl Buffington

"The way we live our lives is the way we live our days."

I believe I heard that from author Annie Dillard.  She won the Pulitzer Prize for her work, Pilgrim at Tinkers Creek and taught English at Wesleyan University in CT for 21 years.

As I have pondered that line over the years, I like to add, “And the way we live our days is the way we live our moments.”

Super Bowl Commercials, Darts, and World Changers

February 9th, 2021 by Erica Stephenson

To the naked eye last night may have appeared to be teenagers using the Super Bowl as an excuse to hang out together – most prioritizing the commercials over the game itself.

As one high school student put it, “It’s just looks like a middle school fight out there…”. Let me share with you what I saw instead last night… 

Adopted Hometown: Jesus in Capernaum

February 3rd, 2021 by Dr. Larry Selig

Israel is a unique country in many ways, not the least of which is its small but varied geography, a veritable land bridge between Asia, Africa and Europe.

If placed on a map of Florida, it would only stretch from Jacksonville in the north to below Melbourne in the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the St. John’s River on the west. It is only 150 miles north to south, and 50 miles wide near Jerusalem.

But while this part of Florida is mainly flat and sandy, Israel has all of the variety of California: snow covered mountains, desert regions below sea level, ocean beaches, fertile valleys, and wilderness areas. In fact, the geography of Israel is sometimes called the “fifth Gospel”.

Why the Scars? Part 2

February 2nd, 2021 by Carl Buffington

“Unless I see the SCARS?”

Over the years I have wondered about Jesus’ scars.  It is one way he is known, isn’t it?

It’s not the only way. 

The Opposite of Fear

February 1st, 2021 by Ruan Humphrey

“Who said it?” I asked.

My cousin and friend Claire responded to my text:

I have no idea who said it. I saw it somewhere and thought, ‘I don’t know about this, let me think.'

The opposite of fear isn't hope.

Both fear and hope are stories we tell ourselves about the future.

The opposite of fear is staying in the now.

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