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Once again taking up the mantle of St. Francis of Assissi, the congregation of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will welcome pets and their owners for a special blessing this weekend. The saint’s annual feast day falls on Oct. 4, and the members of the 314 N. Henderson Blvd. church honor the patron saint of animals and the environment with a Saturday morning outdoor service for their furred and feathered companions.

We all want success. We all want to be successful students, employees, parents, grandparents, and the list goes on. Those of you who own your small business, you want it to flourish and thrive. In our world, success is usually indicated by measurable outcomes such as good grades, job promotions and raises, and children who go to college to make a nice family. We preacher types are not immune to this world’s way of quantifying success.

God made clear, already in the Old Testament, that the life of flesh was in the blood and that He gave it on the altar in order to make atonement for souls (Leviticus 17:11). So, there should be little surprise that, in the New Testament, Jesus’s blood sacrificed on the cross is said to reconcile us to God (Colossians 1:20). The many bloody sacrifices under the old covenant pointed forward to the single bloody sacrifice under the new covenant in Jesus’s blood (Hebrews 9:12-414; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

God’s written word never ceases to be relevant. I encountered this truth first-hand while preparing my sermon on Matthew 25:31-46. This passage depicts Christ as both judge and king who separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep are placed on the right, signifying their righteousness. The goats are moved to the left, signaling their condemnation.

Although Genesis 6:5 can rightly suggest that in some sense things could not get any worse, our society seems to be sliding more towards lawlessness. Consider first the standoff last month in Philadelphia where six officers were shot by a gunman while crowds of onlookers taunted, shoved, and threw things at the police. Consider second a school curriculum with anti-police rhetoric proposed last month by the California Department of Education (but eventually withdrawn). And, other examples abound.

Aside from whatever other heart trouble any one individual might have, the real heart problem from which we all suffer is a moral evil so great that we ourselves cannot understand but which ultimately only the Lord can diagnose, as expressed in His Word (Jeremiah 17:9-10; confer Luke 16:15; Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23).

God’s written word never ceases to be relevant. I encountered this truth first-hand while preparing my sermon on Matthew 25:31-46. This passage depicts Christ as both judge and king who separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep are placed on the right, signifying their righteousness. The goats are moved to the left, signaling their condemnation.

For more than a decade, East Texas residents have been a part of the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child, which helps millions of children in need through gift-filled shoeboxes. Alex Nsengimana, who received a shoebox gift as an orphan during the height of Rwanda’s genocide, is coming to Longview on Wednesday, Aug. 28, to share how this gift, just like those packed here locally, changed his life.

At the risk of this column’s being mistaken for one by my syndicated Kilgore News Herald colleague Dr. Roach, I encourage everyone to take care for themselves, their families, and their pets in our August East Texas heat! Especially those who work outside should drink extra water and, when they can, take breaks inside air-conditioned spaces. And, after several fatalities nationwide, apparently not to leave either family members or pets in turned-off cars does not go without saying.

As we discussed in a recent Midweek Bible Study, the passage almost sounds like it is meant to be funny. After Jesus heard Martha and Mary’s sending to Him that his friend Lazarus was ill, St. John’s Gospel account essentially tells us that, “since” Jesus loved them, He stayed two days longer where He was before going to Lazarus. We might ask, “Who does that?” In this case, apparently Jesus did!

The Kilgore Police Department has long recognized that clergy and their congregations are an abundant and dynamic community resource. In order to more fully engage the faith-based community in our combined Community Policing concept, a Clergy and Police Alliance (CAPA) program has been developed.

I recently heard my seminary president, Craig Barnes, preach a sermon on the phrase “if only.” Dr. Barnes said that when “if only” surfaces in a conversation it usually focuses either on the past or the future. “If only I had saved better for retirement.” “If only I had taken that other job …

There was a crowd of superheroes dancing to the beat of their own drum in First Christian Church’s gym this week. They came to join the ‘Jesus League,’ to become super-followers of Jesus in the sixth annual Special Needs Vacation Bible School hosted by the Main Street congregation, and they found many sidekicks waiting to celebrate alongside them

Once again taking up the mantle of St. Francis of Assissi, the congregation of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will welcome pets and their owners for a special blessing this weekend. The saint’s annual feast day falls on Oct. 4, and the members of the 314 N. Henderson Blvd. church honor the patron saint of animals and the environment with a Saturday morning outdoor service for their furred and feathered companions.

We all want success. We all want to be successful students, employees, parents, grandparents, and the list goes on. Those of you who own your small business, you want it to flourish and thrive. In our world, success is usually indicated by measurable outcomes such as good grades, job promotions and raises, and children who go to college to make a nice family. We preacher types are not immune to this world’s way of quantifying success.

God made clear, already in the Old Testament, that the life of flesh was in the blood and that He gave it on the altar in order to make atonement for souls (Leviticus 17:11). So, there should be little surprise that, in the New Testament, Jesus’s blood sacrificed on the cross is said to reconcile us to God (Colossians 1:20). The many bloody sacrifices under the old covenant pointed forward to the single bloody sacrifice under the new covenant in Jesus’s blood (Hebrews 9:12-414; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

God’s written word never ceases to be relevant. I encountered this truth first-hand while preparing my sermon on Matthew 25:31-46. This passage depicts Christ as both judge and king who separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep are placed on the right, signifying their righteousness. The goats are moved to the left, signaling their condemnation.

Although Genesis 6:5 can rightly suggest that in some sense things could not get any worse, our society seems to be sliding more towards lawlessness. Consider first the standoff last month in Philadelphia where six officers were shot by a gunman while crowds of onlookers taunted, shoved, and threw things at the police. Consider second a school curriculum with anti-police rhetoric proposed last month by the California Department of Education (but eventually withdrawn). And, other examples abound.

Aside from whatever other heart trouble any one individual might have, the real heart problem from which we all suffer is a moral evil so great that we ourselves cannot understand but which ultimately only the Lord can diagnose, as expressed in His Word (Jeremiah 17:9-10; confer Luke 16:15; Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23).

God’s written word never ceases to be relevant. I encountered this truth first-hand while preparing my sermon on Matthew 25:31-46. This passage depicts Christ as both judge and king who separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep are placed on the right, signifying their righteousness. The goats are moved to the left, signaling their condemnation.

For more than a decade, East Texas residents have been a part of the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child, which helps millions of children in need through gift-filled shoeboxes. Alex Nsengimana, who received a shoebox gift as an orphan during the height of Rwanda’s genocide, is coming to Longview on Wednesday, Aug. 28, to share how this gift, just like those packed here locally, changed his life.

At the risk of this column’s being mistaken for one by my syndicated Kilgore News Herald colleague Dr. Roach, I encourage everyone to take care for themselves, their families, and their pets in our August East Texas heat! Especially those who work outside should drink extra water and, when they can, take breaks inside air-conditioned spaces. And, after several fatalities nationwide, apparently not to leave either family members or pets in turned-off cars does not go without saying.

As we discussed in a recent Midweek Bible Study, the passage almost sounds like it is meant to be funny. After Jesus heard Martha and Mary’s sending to Him that his friend Lazarus was ill, St. John’s Gospel account essentially tells us that, “since” Jesus loved them, He stayed two days longer where He was before going to Lazarus. We might ask, “Who does that?” In this case, apparently Jesus did!

The Kilgore Police Department has long recognized that clergy and their congregations are an abundant and dynamic community resource. In order to more fully engage the faith-based community in our combined Community Policing concept, a Clergy and Police Alliance (CAPA) program has been developed.

I recently heard my seminary president, Craig Barnes, preach a sermon on the phrase “if only.” Dr. Barnes said that when “if only” surfaces in a conversation it usually focuses either on the past or the future. “If only I had saved better for retirement.” “If only I had taken that other job …

There was a crowd of superheroes dancing to the beat of their own drum in First Christian Church’s gym this week. They came to join the ‘Jesus League,’ to become super-followers of Jesus in the sixth annual Special Needs Vacation Bible School hosted by the Main Street congregation, and they found many sidekicks waiting to celebrate alongside them

“How much poison does it take to kill you?” That was what the title of my presentation at a national youth conference this past week asked attendees. Of course, I was not trying to encourage them to take their own or anyone else’s physical life but to get them to think about how much false teaching it might take to end their spiritual life.

When something that we consider bad happens to us or others, we may focus on the problem’s cause, not only in order to try to change the situation but maybe also to assign blame, perhaps even to God. In at least one case, however, God challenges us to focus less on the past cause and more on the future purpose for which He can use the particular suffering or affliction.

The 86th Texas legislative session ended this past Monday with the House’s passing but the Senate’s not voting on a bill related to decriminalizing some possession of marijuana. My News Herald colleague Rev. Will Wilson argued for the bill in his May 12th column, which teased my different perspective that now follows.

The headline on a Barna Group report out this past April (based on interviews conducted between April and August of 2018) was “1 in 4 Practicing Christians Struggles to Forgive Someone”. The details of that report indicated that 23% of practicing Christians (defined as those Christians who said that their faith is very important in their lives and who had attended a worship service in the preceding month) reported that they could identify someone whom they could not forgive, and of those only 28% said that they wished they could forgive that person.

God spoke the following promise through Isaiah: “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24 ESV). That promised behavior of God contrasts sharply to the prior behavior of the Israelites that a few verses earlier God judged for the following reasons: “because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not listen” (Isaiah 65:12 ESV).

At time of writing, the Texas legislature is considering a bill that would take steps toward decriminalizing possession of marijuana. If the bill passes, those caught with less than an ounce would have to pay a $500 fine instead of being arrested and incarcerated. I want to express my support for this bill from a theological perspective. In fact, I believe that no one should be criminalized at all for mere possession.

Aside from its being the Third Sunday of Easter and other things, tomorrow also is Cinco de Mayo: not Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain, as that is September 16 (1810), but the 1862 date of the outnumbered Mexican army’s victory over French forces, a victory that arguably affected not onl…

The Easter lilies and chocolate eggs at the grocery store have now gone back to the discount rack. The Easter egg hunt and egg roll will not happen again until next year. Your families have now gone back home. There will be plenty of parking spaces left when you show up to Church tomorrow morning, and the same pews that are usually sparse or empty will be so again, just like most other Sundays. The Sunday after Easter is often called “low” Sunday, the other being the Sunday after Christmas. It’s called “low” because the attendance on this day is usually a fraction of what it was the week before.

”We teach people to be solemn and quiet in church. You also gotta get out and celebrate – it’s a great victory.” Minister of First Baptist Church of Kilgore, the Rev. Glenn Young was happy to look out over the controlled chaos in Driller Park Saturday morning.

First Presbyterian Church’s Rev. Will Wilson and Elder Mike Sechrist drape a black cloth across the cross following the traditional Stripping of the Chancel during Maundy Thursday services. The black draping of the cross ahead of Good Friday represents Jesus Christ’s death for the sins of Hi…

“A blood donor saved my life; you can save lives, too,” that is what is on the front of the T-shirt that the Blood Center of East Texas will be giving away on Saturday, April 27, at the 23rd Quarterly Kilgore Community Blooddrive cosponsored by the Kilgore Rotary Club and our congregation.

While in seminary, I took a class on a theologian by the name of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. More than a theologian, Bonhoeffer was a pastor, teacher of pastors, a prophet, and finally, a martyr.  Having grown up in Germany, Bonhoeffer played an active role in the resistance movement against Hitler…

The season of Lent is quickly coming to an end, and the Easter Season will soon begin. Amid all the special services connected with the historical events of Jesus's death and resurrection, we might easily lose sight of why they occurred, namely, that Jesus's death and resurrection were for you!

The headline read “Church as we know it is over. Article author Dave Adamson, a “social media pastor, claimed the “location-centric “physical attendance model is “dead and recommended an “audience-centric model, both physical and “omni-channel digital, likened to a lane-less swimming pool.

I've had my share of doctor's office visits. Back in 2005, I had an over-night heart procedure at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC. My heart has been ticking just fine ever since, and I continue to maintain an active cardio work-out routine. Now, fourteen years later, I am able to live…

As a Presbyterian, I adhere to certain doctrinal confessions and creeds, just as the Southern Baptists might affirm the Baptist Faith and Message. One of the documents to which I am confessionaly bound is called the Scots Confession. This Confession claims that the true Church is known by th…

Listening to U2's 2009 song “Magnificent, I am repeatedly struck by the following lyric: “From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise. Although the authors apparently did not intend it, I think of God's creating each human life, ultimately for the purpose of making a joyful noise prais…

I recently heard a BBC broadcast in which the hosts were discussing the German word schadenfreude. Schadenfreude is the combination of two other German words: schaden (harm) and freude (joy). Put together, the word means to derive pleasure from someone else's pain. I am not aware of any equi…

When leaving my mom's home recently, I drove by a church in her community whose sign listed both “traditional and “casual worship services. Struck by what I thought an unusual contrast (“casual instead of “contemporary, for example), as I drove home I reflected on the words' etymologies.

Ralph Northam is in the eye of a political and media hurricane because he allegedly appears in his medical school year-book in blackface. Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, Nancy Pelosi and many other names in the democratic party, and a few republicans, are now calling for Northam's resignation. H…

One need not be a fan of the New Orleans Saints in particular, or the NFL in general, to have taken notice of the most-controversial “no call in the January 20 NFC Championship Game between the Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. As the replay showed, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman not o…

A lot of things in life have to be achieved. We need to achieve good grades in order to win the favor of our parents, and later, an admissions committee. When we enter college, we have to achieve good enough grades to graduate so that we can get the job we've always wanted. When we get the j…

Recently I watched a YouTube video in which, among other things, Amazon's Alexa defined an abortion but then said she did not know the related answer of when a fetus could survive outside a uterus. The video perhaps was entertaining enough in its own right, even if one does not ultimately fi…

An article written by Kate Shellnutt in “Christianity Today claims that African Americans are the only racial group that see the Bible as more important for the moral fabric of the nation than the constitution.