Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
Thanksgiving is clearly the greatest holiday ever created in America—and not just because of the great food and football games.
A few years ago I had a new revelation while writing Thanksgiving notes to some friends. In past years, I would say something like, “I’m thankful for YOU this Thanksgiving.” That certainly was true enough, but it missed an important point: I wasn’t only thankful for these friends on one day of the year, but rather was grateful for them all year…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on November 24, 2016 at 6:00pm — No Comments
I’ve never really liked the phrase “giving back.” Maybe it’s because we’re often called to show kindness to complete strangers and people who aren’t in a position to give us anything in return. Although we’re possibly “giving back” to God in some way, we’re usually not reimbursing people for anything they’ve first given us.
Yet this Thanksgiving I find myself reflecting on the responsibilities we all have when we realize how blessed we are. On this day when we recount…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on November 22, 2016 at 6:23am — No Comments
Have you ever had a time when you realized your perspective was totally misguided? Perhaps you saw a relationship incorrectly, or you misjudged the leadership of your church. Or maybe you sunk into despair as you read news headlines about your nation or the world.
I recently was challenged when I read the life-changing vision Isaiah had after King Uzziah died:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on November 17, 2016 at 12:16pm — No Comments
One of the fascinating aspects of each election cycle is to watch both Democrats and Republicans imply that God is certainly on their side of the issues. Meanwhile, theologians debate whether God is a Calvinist or Arminian. And sometimes entire nations—especially the United States—portray themselves as being on the side of God and righteousness.
So how can we tell whose side is God really on?
There’s a great story in Joshua 5:13-15 that should give us cause for concern…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on November 14, 2016 at 1:54pm — No Comments
I recently studied the life of the Old Testament prophet Daniel and discovered that he had lived under the reign of 10 different kings. That got me thinking about my own life…
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’m so old that I was born during the final years of Harry Truman’s administration! Wow. That seems like ancient history.
Donald Trump will be the thirteenth American president in my lifetime. Some of our presidents have been good, some have been bad, but none have…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on November 10, 2016 at 8:44am — No Comments
Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or simply a member of the Apathetic Party, I feel an urgency to bring something to your attention. In the fog of the election season and all its political ads and pundits, it’s easy to overlook root issues that must be addressed before Election Day.
Although I don’t usually write much about the devil and demons, the current situation demands an exception. Whether you are for Hillary, Trump, or someone else, there’s an important…Continue
On January 25, 1969, I experienced the miracle of the new birth when I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life.
If you’ve never been born again, the experience Jesus described to the religious leader Nicodemus in John 3:1-8, you’re really missing out—not just in this life, but in eternity as well. There’s no other way to become a “new creation,” where “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
However, lately I’ve been…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 24, 2016 at 5:58pm — No Comments
Although the prophet Elijah is famous for his mighty prayers, I’ve always been more intrigued by the prayer God ignored.
James 5:17-18 recounts Elijah’s amazing feat in praying for Israel’s rain to stop for three and a half years, then praying for the rain to suddenly be restored. In-between those two monumental events, Elijah found time to supernaturally multiply a widow’s food, raise her son from the dead, and call down fire from the sky on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 17 &…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 22, 2016 at 10:12am — No Comments
I wasn’t prepared for what God spoke to me as I prayed with a friend recently. It was just a single word, with no explanation given or needed.
I wish I could tell you that this word from God was meant for my friend. But I knew it was an arrow pointed directly at me.
Everyone knows what staleness is like. The cracker or potato chip that once was crisp and tasty is now bland and tasteless, somewhat like eating cardboard.
Added by Jim Buchan on October 17, 2016 at 10:19pm — No Comments
A friend was surprised by my reply when he said that he and his wife were incompatible.
“Of course you are!” I said. “Apart from a miracle by God, men and women are inherently incompatible.”
“Hmmm… a miracle from God?” he wondered aloud.
Then I told this friend the result of my informal study on the subject. “Based on personal observations and lots of statistics, there aren’t nearly enough couples who ever receive that miracle from God,” I opined.
Added by Jim Buchan on September 17, 2016 at 8:20pm — No Comments
Once upon a time, two men were stuck. The men were brothers—sons of the same Father. Yet they were as different as day and night.
Although both were stuck, the men were stuck in very different ways. And one of the brothers never did seem to realize how stuck he had become.
If we pick up the story in the middle, we find one of these men stuck in a pigpen. A dirty, filthy, stinky, slippery pigpen. After growing up in a privileged home, he had so squandered his opportunities that…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on September 9, 2016 at 2:31am — No Comments
Recently I attended a new church plant and was horrified by the young pastor’s message. His premise was that all Americans are rich in comparison to the rest of the world, and we should feel guilty about that. According to his perspective, our materialism was the biggest hindrance to living the normal Christian life.
Why was I so troubled by this pastor’s earnest sermon? He quoted lots of Bible passages along the way, including the story of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22) and the…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on August 29, 2016 at 9:30am — No Comments
When a friend recently asked me how I was doing, my response was troubling.
“My body and mind seem to be slowing down,” I said, “but my responsibilities seem to be speeding up. That’s a bad combination!”
As I later reflected on that conversation, the Whac-a-Mole arcade game came to mind. As the game begins, the moles pop up fairly slowly, but their speed continually increases until the game finally ends.
This prompted me to think of a story about three young boys who…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on August 25, 2016 at 9:08am — No Comments
For the past few years, I’ve used a “clicker” to control the PowerPoint slides when I preach. In the old days I had to wait for the guy in the sound booth to advance my slides, but no more!
Being in control is exhilarating, so it’s no wonder I love the PowerPoint clickers. Best of all, they eliminate the need to rely on anyone else to help me while I preach. I…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on August 19, 2016 at 10:25am — No Comments
Have you ever reached the breaking point? Sometimes you can see it coming, but often it sneaks up and catches you unaware.
Running late to the office on a recent Friday morning, I was carrying my laptop computer case, a huge glass of iced tea, and an apple as I left my kitchen. At the last moment, my computer case slipped, causing me to spill a large portion of the iced tea.
Although this was an incredibly minor event, I reacted as if it was the end of the world. I was irate at…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on August 18, 2016 at 9:06am — No Comments