Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
As Hurricane Irma prepares to bash the United States, here in Charlotte we’re wondering if it will be coming our way. As we wait for the answer, I’ve been intrigued by weather reports saying our region lies in the “Cone of Uncertainty.”
While modern meteorologists probably feel clever in using this term, it’s really no different than King Solomon wrote about over 2,000 years ago:
Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on September 8, 2017 at 3:44pm — No Comments
While studying the origins of the church at Philippi, I was startled to discover how the story contradicts many of our common misconceptions about the nature of the Christian life. The narrative in Acts 16 debunks at least 8 myths—and I bet you’ve believed some of these misconceptions yourself.
Myth #1: As long as you’re well-intentioned in pursuing spiritual activities, any direction is okay.
The apostle Paul never intended to plant a church…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on August 21, 2017 at 11:00am — No Comments
Have you ever been in a sailboat when it seemed there was absolutely no breeze? While experienced sailors somehow can catch the wind when there is no wind, amateurs like me often find ourselves dead in the water, going nowhere.
Sailing is such an apt metaphor for life. Winds come and go, blowing from one direction or another. But no matter what winds we encounter, we must resolutely set our sail and rudder toward our desired destination.
Yet this is a mystery in some…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on July 28, 2017 at 10:39am — No Comments
During my sabbatical in New Zealand and California a few months ago, I lived for seven full weeks with just the clothes in one fairly small suitcase. I had a few shirts, a few pants, some socks and underwear, and a toothbrush, razor, and stick of deodorant.
Yes, I did wash the clothes from time to time. But I traveled light and never lacked a thing.
Shortly after returning back to the Carolinas, I went through the arduous process of moving into a new residence. I couldn’t help…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on July 27, 2017 at 9:48am — No Comments
Two months ago, I enthusiastically ventured into the world of organic gardening. It was a very modest beginning, planting a small tomato seedling some friends had given me.
I was scheduled to be out of town for a week, but I fully expected to see some tomatoes when I returned. However, no such luck. The seedling had grown, but no tomatoes could be found.
My friends assured me this was normal. “Tomatoes don’t grow overnight!” they explained with a grin.
Added by Jim Buchan on July 27, 2016 at 4:13pm — No Comments
I never thought it would happen to me. I can’t remember ever envying someone who had a bigger house…a faster car…a higher salary…or a corner office. Nor did it bother me that I wasn’t part of the enviable “1%.”
So it shocked me recently when I found myself in the clutches of the Green-Eyed Monster—a term originating in Shakespeare’s play, Othello: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”
A number of events the…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on July 26, 2016 at 2:10pm — No Comments
I’ve been a goal-setter for as long as I can remember. Whenever I got a “B” on my report card, my dad and I would sit down and come up with a plan for getting an “A” the next time. And when my batting average fell below 300 on my middle school baseball team, we would spend extra time hitting balls in the batting cage.
After I gave my life to Christ at age 18, I found Bible passages that seemed to endorse my enthusiastic approach to goal-setting. I quickly embraced Paul’s statement…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on July 16, 2016 at 3:18pm — No Comments
One of the most baffling experiences in life is when you’ve sincerely endeavored to follow God’s will, only to find that His provision seems to be drying up. Yet this is something experienced by just about everyone at one point or another.
Even the prophet Elijah faced this. The Lord had given him explicit instructions to go to the Brook Cherith, “And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there” (1 Kings…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on July 13, 2016 at 5:52am — No Comments
I’ve never met anyone who isn’t a people-pleaser on some level. Even my boldest, brashest, “tell it like it is” friends are secretly hoping to find some supportive audience for their message.
Although it’s a fact difficult for me to face, I’m clearly a people-pleaser too. I want people to like my sermons, my blogs, and even my wardrobe and my car. And I still want my kids, my friends, and my boss to admire me and think I’m doing a good job.
This realization hasn’t been easy. It…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on July 12, 2016 at 4:21am — No Comments
My 2011 Hyundai Sonata looks exactly the same as it did a month ago. On the surface it’s the same 100,000-mile car as it was then.
Yet here’s the strange story of why my car is worth more now than it was several weeks ago…
I got a big surprise when I took my Sonata to the dealer for some routine recalls. “You need a new engine!” the service rep told me, to my shock.
In the seconds that followed, I groaned at the thought of having to pay around $7,000 for a new…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on June 26, 2016 at 10:29pm — No Comments
Recently a friend texted me and asked how my week was going.
“Uneventful!” was my reply.
My friend texted back and said that sometimes “uneventful” isn’t such a bad thing. I guess he had a point, but in my case “uneventful” was pretty much equivalent to boring.
This got me thinking about one of my favorite stories in the Bible, the lame man who was healed in Acts 3:1-9. The chapter begins at three o’clock in the afternoon, as Peter and John are on their way…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on June 23, 2016 at 3:46pm — No Comments
Congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers, winners of the NBA championship this week. It was quite a success story, especially since the team was down 3-1 before winning three straight games from the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors had been the winningest team in NBA history in the regular season, winning an incredible 73 games and losing only 9.
But victory, in sports or in life, is seldom a matter of getting off to a good start. Rather, it comes to those who finish…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on June 20, 2016 at 6:07pm — No Comments
I’m convinced that very few people know the present-tense God. Instead, we worship the God of Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Azusa Street, or some other movement. Or perhaps we worship the God of Moses or the God of Peter and the original apostles.
It’s not all bad to worship these versions of God, because He wants us to appreciate our spiritual heritage and the amazing work He has done in people’s lives throughout the centuries.
For example, when God appeared…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on June 14, 2016 at 4:27pm — No Comments
Perhaps you’ve heard the story of a pony named Pearl who worked with the carnival. Shackled to a pole from a young age, she gave rides to children along a small, circular path.
Every day was the same. Pearl lived in sheer drudgery, going around and around in endless circles, without even the slightest taste of freedom.
Far in the distance, Pearl sometimes saw other horses frolicking joyfully in the meadow. What a great life that must be! she moaned, feeling sorry for…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on June 13, 2016 at 7:22pm — No Comments
Not long ago, my computer froze up. As I always do in such cases, I called the IT Department in desperation.
“Have you tried rebooting?” they immediately asked.
Doesn’t it seem like that’s always the first solution when your computer—or your life—gets stuck? You have to reboot in order to function properly again.
That got me thinking about my life these days. While many things are going great, in other ways I’m sure I could use a reboot.
But I couldn’t help…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on June 3, 2016 at 5:56pm — No Comments
Many people think of Christianity as just another religion—a set rules and regulations, basically telling people just to “try harder.” But those who pursue a relationship with God on that basis will inevitably end up even more burdened and bound up than when they started.
In stark contrast, a true relationship with Christ will increasingly remove our burdens and set us free from our hang-ups. That’s why we’re told, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on May 24, 2016 at 12:38am — No Comments
Lately I’ve met lots of people who seem to be perpetually stuck in Groundhog Day. You’ve probably seen the classic 1993 movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Murray plays a weatherman named Phil who’s assigned to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He finds himself stuck in a time loop, forcing him to reexamine his life and priorities.
Day after day, Phil wakes up to the same Groundhog Day reality, with a chance to make better choices this…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on May 21, 2016 at 9:31pm — No Comments
I once read a book by a psychologist who said we all need to get in touch with our “inner child.” I never really understood what he meant by that. But I thought it might help to hang this picture of me on my office wall.
Although that solution hasn’t helped me much yet, I haven’t given up the search for my inner child…
As you can see by this picture, I was…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on May 12, 2016 at 1:42pm — No Comments
For those of you who feel like you’ve tried everything to lose weight, I have a solution I bet you’ve never considered: Move to the moon!
I’ll admit, it’s not a great environment there. Restaurants and other amenities are sorely lacking at this point.
However, because the gravity on the moon is only 16% of the earth’s gravity, you would immediately experience an amazing drop in your weight. No crash diet necessary. No personal trainer required. While maintaining the same…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on May 7, 2016 at 3:43pm — No Comments
As every student of history knows, America was in crisis in 1863. Despite Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves in January of that year, the Civil War raged on, with no end in sight.
Today America is in crisis again, even though the symptoms aren’t yet as obvious. And while presidential candidates promise to “make America great again,” they offer solutions that fail to recognize what made America great in the first place. Their faulty premise is that greatness…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on May 4, 2016 at 8:08am — No Comments