Communication Is a Two-Way Street

At some point in your life, you have probably heard someone say, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Whether you know this phrase from the classic film Cool Hand Luke, or have simply heard one of countless people spoof it, most people in our culture have heard it in some form. The truth is it’s a memorable phrase: it is simple, short…

Do Something Anyway

We live in a world of brokenness. All across the country, and right here in our own community, families struggle with starvation and malnutrition; single parents struggle to afford clothes for their kids; the elderly struggle to keep up their houses; and good-hearted people struggle with what to do about it. The brokenness of this world can seem overwhelming if it feels like there’s…

The Best Action Heroes of All Time

I love to watch movies. At the end of each Spring, as commercials start to come out for upcoming summer blockbusters, I can’t help but get excited. At least half the movies don’t turn out to be any good; but each year I get excited, anyway! There’s nothing wrong with going to the movies and enjoying a good hero story. In fact, often the…

It’s About Time

It has been said that children spell the word love “T-I-M-E.” I think there’s a lot of truth to the idea that time and love are connected. Love is not about empty words or temporary emotions. It’s about time. Since there is only so much time in a day, this means we should pay attention to how we use it. Time can be spent…

Happy Face

My cell phone has a variety of happy faces. Some smile. Some wink. Some appear to be laughing uncontrollably. Through the years, the people I’ve met have had a number of smiling faces, too. Many of their smiles have expressed real feelings of happiness. But a smile can also be a mask, covering deep feelings of sadness and pain. In our culture, people often…

The Crux Is Simple

Church can be complicated. Counting Maize Manor, I have been the pastor of five churches, and each one has been filled with complications. Churches have disagreements about the Bible; churches argue about long-held traditions; churches have bitter feuds about carpet colors; and most churches do at least some things that just make no sense at all. Somehow churches have become very good at making…

The American Spirit: Reservations

Two years ago, my wife and I began making a series of documentary films on the American Spirit.   The concept behind the films is to visit various groups of people within the U.S., so we can learn about their history, their cultures and how they help shape the spirit of our nation.   In February 2017, we completed the first film in the…

Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted

A church can feel a lot like a family. You have people you have known your entire life, people you like, and even people you don’t always get along with. 😉 There is something very powerful in the family relationships people have in churches, and we really are all family in the sense of being sisters and brothers in Christ. But there is one…

A Farewell to 2017

2017 is coming to an end. Like most years, it has been a time of ups and downs, highs and lows, good news and bad news. For much of the year, national politics have dominated the news cycles; but it has also been a year of global events and personal experiences. While we get ready to end the current calendar year, the church year…

American Idols

This November will be Mission Month for Maize Manor UMC! The United Methodist Church’s mission is “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” I like to shorten that to say our mission is to “Live Like Jesus,” which includes both making disciples and changing the world…but it’s a lot easier to say! In this day and age, there are a…