Everyone has been affected in some way, whether by social inconvenience, emotional fear, or financial anxiety. No one is immune. But what if the coronavirus takes my life? It was a strange and unexpected thought for such a sunny day. On my daily afternoon walk, the sky was blue and the birds were singing. It […]Read More What If I Become a Covid-19 Statistic?
On October 23, 2015, with sustained winds of 215 miles per hour, Hurricane Patricia became the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded, making landfall the following day on the western coast of northern, Mexico. Patricia was a “Category 5” on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which measures a storm’s sustained winds. If the index had envisioned a Patricia, […]Read More Into the Unknown, Pt. 2: Unrelenting Love
JRR Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1937. Even if you haven’t read the book, you probably have seen the movies, which tell a story of the unexpected journey taken by a reluctant Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, who is recruited by the wizard Gandalf to assist a group of Dwarves in reclaiming their ancestral mountain home […]Read More Into the Unknown, Pt. 1: Hope on the Horizon
One of the most memorable events in my childhood was living through the New Madrid Earthquake of March 1976 in Memphis, Tennessee. While not as well-known as the San Andreas Fault, the New Madrid seismic zone extends 150 miles south from Cairo, Illinois, through New Madrid, Missouri, to Marked Tree, Arkansas. It reaches into Kentucky […]Read More The Grace of Surrender
In the early 2000s, Judge Michael Eakin became famous for delivering his verdicts with poetic justice. Literally poetic. For example, in a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case involving a woman who claimed a lie about an engagement ring should void her prenuptial agreement, Eakin ruled, “A groom must expect matrimonial pandemonium / when his spouse finds he’s given her […]Read More The Sanctifying Spirit
It has been over twenty years since I read the article in Tabletalk Magazine. I don’t remember the author’s name or what the piece was about, but I do remember at least part of the author’s bio. He was the father of seven children, in his words, “three home-grown and four hand-picked.” By hand-picked he was […]Read More Hand-Picked: the Spirit of Adoption
Two weeks after I turned fifteen, my grandmother died of stomach cancer and was buried within the wall of a beautiful stone mausoleum in Memphis, TN. Losing her was emotionally devastating, as I practically grew up at her house, spending as many nights at her house as I had at my own – nights filled […]Read More Does God Still Perform Miracles?
Gulliver’s Travels is Jonathan Swift’s satirical story about a shipwrecked man who encounters all kinds of previously unknown and bizarre cultures. In the film adaptation, Gulliver has been placed in a mental hospital, undergoing evaluation to consider whether he is of sound mind and ready to be released. One of the hospital administrators asks whether he […]Read More Subjective Feelings, Objective Truth, and the Importance of a Reliable Compass
Just like overused tires may get worn and lose their gripping power, words may become so overused that they no longer retain the tread with which they were originally created. Consider, for example, the word awesome. In view of the truly awesome (awe-inducing and worthy of reverent wonder unto potential terror), the way I tend […]Read More What is a Distinctively Gospel-Centered Sermon?
Of course, there are more than three, but tethered to the cross, emphasizing the doctrines below will serve you and your congregation well. The story of redemption is the story of the Bible and of all history. The epicenter of that story is the cross of Jesus, where he becomes a substitute for sinners, taking […]Read More Focus on These Three Doctrines for Faithful Pastoral Ministry
In church planting circles, it is popular to identify leaders as prophets, priests, or kings. The prophet is someone whose primary gifting is preaching and teaching. The priest is the true pastor type who naturally expresses empathy and care, listens well, and finds it life-giving to help people work through problematic personal issues. The king […]Read More What is Your PPK Profile?
Last week, just after our family finished supper and was transitioning from the dining room into the den to play a board game, without warning the power went out. There was no wind. No severe weather. So, we took it in stride, lit some candles, and started the game. Several hours later, again without warning, […]Read More The Power We Need
Today, my youngest turns sixteen. It is a tradition in the Caston home to take the birthday guy or girl out for a special family dinner. Although two days early, Sarah Wynn’s celebratory meal was on Friday night at the place of her choosing, Tam’s Tupelo, a semi-local restaurant in Cumming, GA, which features cuisine […]Read More A Tribute to My Youngest at Sixteen
Jacob’s Story: the Ascent of a Leader Jacob, the Old Testament patriarch of Israel, became a leader in Genesis 32. He didn’t attend a seminar. Years of mentoring didn’t prepare him for his ascent. In fact, what shaped Jacob as a model of biblical leadership wasn’t his ability, knowledge, skill, or competency. He began to […]Read More If You Don’t Limp, You Shouldn’t Lead
Read Below or Listen Here In 1908, a team of Scottish and Irish Presbyterian missionaries to Manchuria wrote a letter home describing an unexpected but undeniable manifestation of God. You may need to know that northern European Christians are not known for their spiritual exuberance. The same thing was true during the early to mid […]Read More Hand-in-Hand
Norman Rockwell was an illustrator in the previous century who created covers for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for over fifty years. While he also painted Presidential portraits and engaged with hot-topic social and cultural issues such as the Second World War and the civil rights movement in the 60s, he is best known for capturing what […]Read More The Angels’ Song: A Christmas Meditation
What Constitutes an Act of Worship? If I were to give you a quiz on what qualifies as an act or expression of worship in a gathered service of believers on a Sunday morning, what would you include in your list? Singing probably would be at the top as an obvious choice. Then, perhaps you […]Read More What If Giving Were an Act of Worship?
Years ago, while walking into a dry cleaner during early December, I noticed a colorful poster in the window that read, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” While I understand the motive behind such a statement and commend the shop owner’s desire to challenge the commercialization of the season, if we apply a bit […]Read More What if Jesus Isn’t the Reason for the Season?
The Generosity of a Shoe-Shine Man For over 30 years, Albert Lexie has set up shop in Pittsburgh’s Children Hospital where he buffs and polishes footwear for doctors, administrators, and whomever else is willing to pay $5 for a new shine. Now and then, a satisfied customer will leave a tip. Most give an extra […]Read More Maybe It’s Time to Be Irresponsibly Generous
The Treasure Principle Until his death in 1976, Maxey Jarman was the longtime president of the Genesco Shoe Company in Nashville. Over his lifetime, he gave away millions. Near the end of his life, our country experienced political upheaval and a financial crisis which led to a drastic reduction in his net worth. In an interview, […]Read More The Rewards of Generosity