Monday, March 19, 2018


Courtesy Clergy Coaching Network


I have been a Christian for 60 years.  I am one of those who was carried into the church as a baby, and when I was eight years old, at the invitation of my Sunday School teacher, Marcile Krick, I made the choice to become a follower of Jesus.

One of the most difficult things for me to grasp is the reality that many fellow Christ-followers rationalize away the need to engage in concrete action with the expression "you are in my thoughts and prayers."

I am not belittling prayer or its power.

What I am troubled by is Christians who have time to go to worship, attend Sunday School, participate in a bake sale, and linger a long time in the coffee hour but are reluctant or even negligent in giving time and attention to a neighbor in need.

Maybe it's because our schedules are too crowded and lives filled with too many things that we embrace only that which is easy, commit only to that which is convenient.  Maybe it is because we are so fearful of others or desire to have so much control that we do not want to get too close or too involved with people in the messy times in their lives.

Maybe it's because we think church activities are equal in value to Jesus' command to love our neighbors and to serve one another in love.

Maybe it's because our Bibles seem to have deleted Matthew 25 which ends with the words, "when you have done it unto the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto me (Jesus)."

Maybe it's time to stop "passing by on the other side."

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Sorry, but I can't stop sharing these-Steve

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Here is a collection of some of the funniest I have seen lately on-line.  Enjoy! - Steve

Tuesday, March 13, 2018



I am nearing my 67th  birthday. God has given me an abundance of varied experiences, experiences that have blessed me with a wealth of knowledge. In a number of areas I am considered an expert. Most of my adult life has been spent in leadership roles and people look to me for both discerning judgment and visionary insight. As a pastor I am often entrusted with the most delicate of matters and depended upon to be an anchor in troubled times.

There are times, however, when I am simply out of my league.

Why drivers insist in driving in the "passing" lane when they are not passing, and especially when many vehicles are continuously passing them on the right.

Mechanical Anything Even though I can grasp the intricacies of theological arguments and can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of church systems, simple mechanical systems tend to confound me.  Even with a diagram in front me and tools in hand, I can grow intimidated by the first thing that doesn't "fix."  When our children were young, my wife assembled the swing sets.

Discussions with people of hard core political beliefs.  Maybe it's because they are rarely interested in discussion, just affirmation that they are right.  It's probably because I know I myself am not always right and my purpose of discussion is to at least get them to open their minds.  I guess it's better to say I am out of my league with people of totally closed minds.

Negative people.  Although I know that we are imperfect people prone to sin, I believe that without hope human existence is without purpose.  As a Christian I believe in the potential of redemption in all human beings and the life-altering potential of God's love.  Actually, I believe a negative spirit is a sin of particular toxicity  in human community.

But one things rescues me from these inadequacies. "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  

Any true hope of righteousness is beyond me by my own human efforts, but the promise of Christ balances that out.  I just need to let him live in and through me.

Monday, February 26, 2018



Almost eight years ago I published a story on one of my other blogs about a lady who I was privileged to be her pastor for 14 years.  As I have been reflecting on the state of our nation lately and what ordinary people can do to return reason and grace to the discussion, my mind went back to this lady and I am reposting to share her story with you. - Steve

Emma Kreger was a school teacher.  Emma taught school in the days of one-room schoolhouses, a phenomenon in Indiana where we lived that survived well into the 20th century.  Her classroom was young people from first through eighth grade.  Emma was so dedicated to her profession that she did not marry until well into her fifties, inheriting a family of adult children who absolutely adored her.

When I met Emma she was a widow, well into her 90s. She was the oldest member of the church that I was serving.  A gentle, unassuming, sincere and slightly ornery little gal.  Still dressed with the dignity and the audacity of a life-long teacher.

One Christmas I was visiting her in her little two room apartment at St. Anne’s Home.  By that time she had been a resident for several years, not really venturing into the outside world-but riding her little motorized scooter to meals and bingo. As I attempted to make conversation, I commented on her collection of Christmas cards, noting a particularly colorful one.

“Oh, that’s from Lyle.  He’s an inmate at Pendleton,” was her response.

I was completely taken aback. Pendleton was one of the maximum state prisons in Indiana at the time, a lot of hard core criminals residing within its walls. The look of shock on my face must of been obvious.  “Emma, how do you know someone in Pendleton.”

“Oh,” she answered matter-of-factly, “he killed a friend of mine.”

Emma proceeded to tell me about Tammy, a troubled young lady who had rented the upstairs apartment in Emma’s home  many years ago.  “I learned quickly that Tammy had a drug problem.  Instead of throwing her out, I tried to help her.”

As I caught my breath in awe, she continued. “Tammy finally gave her heart to Jesus Christ and gave up her drugs.  The first thing she did was to go and turn in her pusher. His name was Lyle.”
“But you know how it goes.  He got out on bail right away. He was furious. He came right over to the apartment and shot Tammy dead right there. The police arrived quickly and arrested him and soon he was sentenced to life in prison in Pendleton.”

It was an incredible story, but then Emma said something amazingly grace-filled.  “Pastor, that man was crazy ! He had to be crazy to come so boldly and kill her, knowing he would be caught and convicted.”
I nodded my head in agreement and she concluded, “I decided a crazy man needed Jesus.“  Emma proceeded to tell me how she had been writing to Lyle for several years and praying for him. And then one day, through the work of Prison Fellowship, Lyle became a Christian.  Now he was being allowed to go to high schools to tell kids what would happen to them when they got caught in drugs.

What a life change. All because of a grace-filled, insistent little school teacher, who decided that craziness should not separate someone from the love of God.