In last week's column, I mentioned a question my daughter asked before her great-grandmother's funeral.
Several weeks ago I had the honor of officiating a memorial service for a dearly beloved friend and churchgoer.
If you were to ask me what religious denomination is growing in the United States, I would have guessed the Pentecostals.
There once was a guy named Jairus. He was a real faithful churchgoer and leader in his community.
When was the last time you hosted a tea party and invited a bunny, a doll, a witch, stuffed bears, and your younger brother?
Every now and then I find myself in the office listening to a person who has just passed through a crisis of faith.
Trying to find a new church can be a daunting, overwhelming, and exhausting task. Whether a person is new to the area or simply searching for a new place to worship, finding that "perfect" community takes time and prayer.
Rockdale readers: My guess is that not many young people from the middle and high school crowd read the newspaper, so I need to ask you a favor -- please pass this along to a young person nearest you.
Last week, many communities in the South saw droves of people turn out for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
Throughout the school year, I order my life around the Christian calender. That calendar begins with Advent and ends with Holy Trinity Sunday.
Although parents get tired of hearing it, a child's cry is a miraculous way God helps us figure out what he or she wants.
When I was trying to think of something patriotic to write about for the Fourth of July week, I couldn't think of anything specific.
In the shadow of some recent deaths of important figures in Christendom, such as theologian John Hick and prisoner-turned-prison reformer Chuck Colson, some seasoned saints have been writing about what God has in store for those who are facing the second half of their life's ministries.
For those who follow the Christian calendar, this day stands between Ascension Sunday (Acts 1:1-11) and Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21). It is a time of anticipation and change, a moment between the old life in Jerusalem and the new Commission to go to the ends of the earth.
"Graveyard Shift: A Devotional in Three Acts"
The Christian journey has its ups and downs, peaks and valleys.
This year marks the bicentennial anniversary of the commissioning of North America's first missionary, Adoniram Judson, and his wife, Abigail.
JOE LAGUARDIA: Time-tested tradition of Ash Wednesday reminds us we are human in need of God's grace
The other day I went into a local Christian bookstore and asked if they carried any children's trinkets for Ash Wednesday -- things like stickers and pencils and stuff.
A wise pastor once told me to always have someone to blame. He told me that when I become pastor, always have a secretary to blame. Little did I know he told our secretary to always have a pastor to blame.. He was joking, of course. At least I think
Some preachers put the "bully" in bully pulpit. All of us can tell at least one story of a preacher who said something that went over the line simply because he thought he could say almost anything from the pulpit.. In fact, the pulpit plays such a central role in
My name is Jonah, but some people call me Jonah the Cranky. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I tell people that if they don't get right with God, I'll zap them with His wrath.Did I mention I'm a prophet? Been one my whole life. Once, in third grade
I'm still confused as to why "flip-flopping," or the act of changing one's mind, is such a big deal in American politics. First it was John Kerry in 2004 who was accused of changing his mind (you remember, "I was for the war before I was against it," and so on); now it's GOP front-runner Mitt Romney who's getting all of the accusations.
At worship on Sunday, during communion, I had a chance to reflect on the Great Recession and recent hardships facing Christ's Church in North America. The lousy economy, a growing atheist movement unashamedly spreading the non-gospel of unbelief, waning baptism and attendance records in churches, and weakening denominations confront Christians with various challenges.
One would think that by now the whole "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" movie hype would have died down. After all, the movie -- about vampires and werewolves and centering on a love story involving a girl named Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) -- was released nearly two months ago.
I remember the first time I got a taste of the charismatic movement inspired by the Brownsville and Toronto revivals of the mid-1990s. I was walking into a family friend's healthfood store and interrupted the friend and another person in prayer. She looked up at me and said, "Hi, Joe, we're glad you're here. Come and catch my friend as I pray for her."
I like easy Christmases. You know, a Christmas with little or no fanfare -- simple Christmases with few bumps and issues.I knew trouble was on its way when I found out on Christmas Eve that a lasagna I was baking was the main entree for that evening's supper. To have it as the main course put undo pressure on my Italian cooking skills. It became inconvenient and a burden.
Embedded deep in the book of Revelation -- chapter 12 to be precise -- there is a scene that paints a very different picture of Christmas morning and the birth of Christ. John, the recipient of Jesus' revelation, records a vision in which he sees what appears to be a woman clothed with the sun. She is pregnant and about to give birth.
"And they shall name him Emmanuel" (Matt. 1:23).
There is something in a name. We at Trinity Baptist know a thing or two about the importance of names. Recently, we heard a rumor that Trinity was changing its name to Grace Christian Church. Although the rumor is not true, there is a church by that same name meeting in our building on Sundays after we meet for worship. Their sign on our front lawn is pretty effective, to say the least.
In the Nov. 29 issue of The Christian Century, the Reverend Bill Goetler writes about a homeless man, Danny, whom he befriended one winter season. Bill writes about Danny's comings and goings and their random meetings in the neighborhood.. In their happenstance meetings in the neighborhood, Danny asks for things
Every Christmas season many parishioners go to the their local retail or book stores and wrestle with that all-important question: "What do I get my pastor?" Well, I'm glad you asked.. I can hopefully help you, dear reader, narrow down some great gift ideas for your beloved clergy
I'm sure most of my readers know by now that I am a movie nut. My daughter takes after me, so, now that she is almost 8 years old, I thought it appropriate that we watch one of my favorite childhood movies together, "The Neverending Story.". "The Neverending Story"
I'm sure most of my readers know by now that I am a movie nut. My daughter takes after me, so, now that she is almost 8 years old, I thought it appropriate that we watch one of my favorite childhood movies together, "The Neverending Story."
The new Bible translation, the Common English Bible, published by a variety of mainline Protestant denominations, is said to rival the New Revised Standard Version in accuracy and usage. As readers get deeper into the translation, however, some find a few nuances puzzling or regrettable.
The new Bible translation, the Common English Bible, published by a variety of mainline Protestant denominations, is said to rival the New Revised Standard Version in accuracy and usage. As readers get deeper into the translation, however, some find a few nuances puzzling or regrettable.. One such nuance is the
A recent Christian Century article asks the question as to whether someone can be saved without having to go to church. Although the answer to this seems obvious -- a person can be saved anywhere, lest the Gideons be out of business -- this question is actually more compelling than it might seem at first.Christians talk about the "unchurched," but what do we do about "unchurched" Christians?
The second verse of the enduring hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness," states, "Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth." There is something to be said about peace, especially in a society in which peace is difficult to find.
The second verse of the enduring hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness," states, "Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth." There is something to be said about peace, especially in a society in which peace is difficult to find.. Peace can mean many different things. It could point
In early October, I had the privilege of worshiping in the sixth oldest church in Georgia -- Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church. It is home to some good friends of ours whom we visit several times a year. This was my family's annual October trip, a time to enjoy changing leaves
A short story by John Connolly is about a recently widowed gentleman who visits a hotel room that he and his wife of 46 years frequented every year.. As the story goes, he falls asleep on the easy chair and wakes up to find a red suitcase that belonged to
Tucked in the middle of the book of Acts, somewhere around the 14th chapter, is a story about Paul's mission trip to Lystra. There, he miraculously heals a man who couldn't walk from birth. The locals claimed that Paul was a god, and they worshiped him against his will.. That
Jesus once told his disciples, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs" (Mt. 19:14 NRSV). Although we know that Jesus has a special place in his heart for children, it is rather difficult for us to include children in a life of faith in creative and positive ways.
In his bestselling book "Radical," David Platt encourages readers to engage in radical missions by downsizing, traveling to underdeveloped countries, and risking economic stability for the sake of the Gospel.. He argues that one's search for the American Dream can hinder the "downward mobility" Jesus advocates when he tells
Although I was a young boy at the time, I remember all the excitement when Robert Ballard discovered the underwater remains of the HMS Titanic in 1985. Ballard invested everything he had for seven long years before he found it.. Have you ever longed for something so much that you
Now that we are well under way in the 2012 election, we will experience a barrage of political rancor that has become all too ubiquitous in our civil discourse. In an election, as in any political process, words matter.. Where would we be without the power of words? Ours is
"He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples." (Matthew 14:19-20a).
It's official: Cursive is no longer required in Georgia schools. You may already know that, but I only found out last week. No cursive, no penmanship? Really?
As the 400th birthday of the King James Version of the Bible comes and goes this year, several new Bibles are hitting stores to offer "fresh" translations to a timeless word. Whether these newbies will find a captive audience and dominate the Bible market as did the KJV is yet to be determined.
I told my wife that we were finally going to cultivate a beautiful garden this year.
I can't pinpoint any one embarrassing moment in my life, but I can say with all confidence that attending the movies with my parents was a comprehensive experiment in the art of embarrassment.