Our Safe Arrival

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 Jesus Wrong?

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.

The Final Week

March 31st, 2021 by Erica Stephenson

The final week. 

If you’re a follower of Jesus you know it as Holy Week. It was a petri dish of experiences that Jesus lived his final week here on earth. 

Lean Into Hardship

March 22nd, 2021 by Alexi Leimbach

My birthday is coming up this week. The big 31…not so big I know, but it’s got me thinking back. 

I think about my 20’s and man were they a doozy. I’m sure most people can say that about their 20’s. 

For me, I think about the amazing experiences…and the heart-breaking ones. 

I think about the five surgeries I had, including one that was one of the most traumatic experiences in my life. I think about my very public struggle with health, both physical and mental. 

I think about the wonderful, amazing friends I made and the ones I lost along the way. 

I think about falling in love and getting my heart broken. 

I think about the people who lifted me up and the people who tore me down. 

I think about losing my faith in God and everything I believed in; and then finding my way back to a relationship with God, stronger than I ever could have fathomed.

And so we keep going down the rabbit hole…

5 Steps for Healing Prayer

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.

Simple and Powerful

What I have outlined below is a very simple and yet powerful way to pray for someone. 

Should I Be Bold or Vulnerable?

March 15th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

Let me tell you a story I am embarrassed to admit.

When I first moved to Central Florida, I was amazed by all the radio stations.  Coming from rural Virginia where there were literally two stations (and even they went in and out), I was delighted to find so many options, including a Christian radio station.

One day soon after I moved here I was in line for the drive-up teller at the bank.  I was blaring some Christian music.  As I approached the teller, I turned the radio down.  Way down.

I can sit here and tell you it was because I anticipated needing to hear the teller clearly.

But that wasn’t it.

What Is Your Part to Play?

March 10th, 2021 by Nathan Bryant

In order to draw near to Jesus, one has to know Jesus. At the very least, one must know where to look. Sometimes, we just don’t know where to look unless someone tells us.

My belief is that what the world always needs most is a clear picture of Jesus, locked into our hearts and locked into our minds. This is the only way we, as redeemed people, can continue to live out our redemption into a broken and unredeemed world.

But how do we get this picture of Jesus? How do we, 2000 years removed from the actual historical events of the Gospels, catch a glimpse of Him that is so captivating we cannot let it escape?

Depression: Battling the Black Dog

March 8th, 2021 by Ruan Humphrey

I will never forget the morning I asked a friend, “How are you?’ and he answered, “Battling the black dog!”

I responded, “What does that mean – the black dog?”

“You’re not familiar with that term?” He asked.

“Not at all.”

“It’s depression. Winston Churchill called it ‘the black dog’.”

“I am very sorry.  How are you battling?”

Before he could answer, we heard the signal for our meeting to begin.

My thoughts turned toward Depression.  It was only in retrospect that I surmised my friend used that term with me because of my work as a mental health counselor.

Mercy Is the Only Way

March 2nd, 2021 by Sheryl Shaw

A blog on mercy seemed such an easy task until today’s sermon.

It has been a hard week. Actually, ten days. That was when I received a message that a co-worker, a brother, a friend, had been picked up and taken in for questioning.

This injustice took place in a country where sharing about the hope of Jesus will get you arrested, and worse.

The means used for questioning are not things I want to write.

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?

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