November 18th, 2021 by Carl Buffington
Advent draws us closer and closer into the greatest story ever. It’s a story told and retold in thousands of ways, for literally thousands of years. And with all the ways of telling the tale, it’s critical we get it right.
Bishop Ivan Sikha has built a large ministry in India, and elsewhere, using storytelling. He uses 20 plus stories from the Bible. When he trains his storytellers in telling the stories, he shares them orally and then asks the listeners to repeat them. When they add or delete part of the story, Ivan has them do it again, and again, until it is correct. Thousands have come to know Jesus Christ through these stories. And his ministry in India continues to flourish.
August 4th, 2021 by Carl Buffington
A couple of times in his sermon from August 1, 2021, Canon Christopher, reflecting on the Mary and Martha passage from Luke, said we needed to come close enough to hear Jesus.
That begs the question, how do we come close enough to hear Him?
How close is close enough?
July 6th, 2021 by Carl Buffington
I thought I was having a rough day until I read my emails.
My day began with a simple bike ride with Barbara. Up ahead I saw a squirrel debating to dart in front of me. He faked this way and then that way, and then came my way. Thank goodness my front tire was a bit low, I thought, as I caught him mid-belly - “Ka-thump.” Barb assured me he ran off without so much as a limp. I still worry about internal injuries.
May 18th, 2021 by Carl Buffington
Barb and I were packing for a few days at a beach. So when we reached the end of the road or destination, we figured a T-shirt, bathing suit, and flip flops was about all we needed. Our dog, Sammy, even less, a water bowl and food bowl. And I packed my newly purchased book, Chess For Dummies.
We, along with several others at New Covenant Church, have been mentoring at Orange County Academy in Bithlo on Thursday mornings. Erik, my 11-year-old mentee, clobbered me in a game of chess this past week. Hence, the beach reading material. (Barb’s brother, Walter, was an honest to goodness for real chess master, and made a living playing Backgammon. I would love to have him as a coach but he’s now with the Lord).
“The odyssey was a turning point in the arctic exploration because of its well-publicized failure. The preparations were more suitable for the Royal Navy officer’s club in England than for the frigid Arctic. The explorers made room on their ships for a large library, a hand-organ, china place settings, cut glass wine goblets, and sterling silver flatware instead of additional coal for their steam engines.
April 5th, 2021 by Carl Buffington
Resurrection reactions move from fright to frivolity, or we might say from fear to freedom, for the disciples. The death of Jesus shattered the community of followers. They were fearful.
‘Strike the shepherd and the sheep scatter,’ as the prophet says.
Hiding, gathering in secret places...in the minds of the disciples the death of Jesus not only ended his physical life but murdered the truth he believed in.
In one final stroke the cross poses the ultimate religious question, which throughout his life Jesus had witnessed to!
“Can the last power of life be gracious if this man is crucified?”
Was the joyous confidence which characterized Jesus merely whistling in the dark?
Was he wrong? Does the sparrow fall and no one cares? Are the hairs of our heads left uncounted? What manner of love allows this? Pilate dies in his bed and Jesus is nailed to the wood?
“If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” is not only the taunt of the high priest but the deepest question of the disciples.
March 17th, 2021 by Carl Buffington
Our small group has been zooming together for sometime now. We recently read Dr. Larry Selig’s book together, Five Prayers God Loves to Answer, and we were blessed out of our socks. We’ll not hear or read The Lord’s Prayer the same again!
For Lent we decided to take on the topic of “Healing” as some dear friends, Don & Anne Bloch, agreed to join our small group.
Don & Anne began their healing ministry when I was rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Madison, IN during the late 70s to the mid 80’s. From there they went to work for Christian Healing Ministries with Francis and Judith MacNutt, and then on to be on the staff of a church in Jacksonville for 18 years.
Anyway, our small group now reaches into Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Don & Anne invited a good friend of theirs to join us, Greg Toole. Greg is a prayer minister with Christian Healing Ministries and has shared with us the last couple weeks about Inner Healing.
What I have outlined below is a very simple and yet powerful way to pray for someone.
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.
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.”