Elijah, Melancholy, and Me: Part 1

Way back in the 1980’s, while preaching a series of sermons from the incredible story of the prophet Elijah, as found in 1 Kings 16:29 through 2 Kings 2:25, I stumbled upon my own story and battle with that ancient enemy melancholy. Briefly, here is the backstory. I was twenty-nine years old, still in the process of building my own theological and biblical foundation...

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Melancholy and My Kryptonite

I have been a fan of Superman since I was a grade-school boy. The routine introduction to the weekly TV show still lingers in my memory. “Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman!” Anyone who reads DC Comics or knows about Superman is aware of the fictional substance called Kryptonite. The make-believe material weakens my hero. Certain types of Kryptonite can even cause the superhero to forget who he is. Long-term exposure can kill the mighty man. In some strange and quirky way, Superman is on my mind today. Let me try and explain.

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Formation, Melancholy, and Thirst

Last Monday, I woke up thirsty. My need got me pondering formation, melancholy, and thirst.
My thirst that morning may have something to do with eating popcorn with Sue for dinner the
night before. We had driven four hours back home from Southern Indiana, after spending two
days with our kids and grandkids. We had arrived home to a couple inches of snow and a layer of
ice, so I went to work carrying in our luggage and then proceeded to pound away at the cement-
like ice-covered snow. Fortunately for me, my good neighbor, Nick Karsh, came over and
offered a helping hand.

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Spiritual Formation and Three Grand Motives for Service

“It is on my mind.” Usually that is my response when someone asks me why I am writing a particular paper, working on a specific teaching, or shaping the latest blog post. Serving in the Name of Jesus is on my mind today. Years ago, Chuck Swindoll wrote a book entitled Improving Your Serve.

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Spiritual Formation and Bed Making

I blame this reflection on Tish Harrison Warren. I have never met her. I only know her through her splendid and gifted writing. Strange how I can blame someone I do not know. She lives in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and I live in Bloomington, Illinois. She is a woman and I am not. She is Anglican and I am not. She is a priest in the Anglican Church and I am not. She is a highly praised writer and I am not. I could get lost in the contrasts, but for now, to the point, I blame her for compelling me to ponder the intimate relationship between spiritual formation and bed making. 

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God is Content

My sabbatical gift has concluded. I am back in the office and eternally grateful. It has been a marvelous ten weeks. Ten words have been on my heart and this posting brings me to the tenth.

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God is Truthful

My wife and I are only a handful of hours back home from Rome. Jet lag is real, but we are up and going. It is week nine of my sabbatical and today I am chewing on Exodus 20:16. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

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God is Giving

Whenever I think of the old prayer-praise, “God is good. God is great,” I am particularly drawn to a magnificent attribute of God. This specific divine characteristic is the eighth word of my sabbatical

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God is Pure

Pure. I carried that word to Kickapoo Creek today. It has become a significant place of refuge during this sabbatical gift. I will circle back to the creek shortly. “Pure” is the seventh word of the seventh week of my sabbatical and it is squarely on my heart. Images of someone or something free of impurities, without dust, dirt, pollutants, contaminates, or sin enter my thoughts. 

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God is Creator

My sabbatical marches on. It is the sixth week and this week ushers in the sixth word from the Ten Commandments. On my heart is this line, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). I more than realize that most of us do not give this imperative much thought. In full confession, I tend not to give this command much thought in my life either.

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God is Eternal

God knew exactly what He was doing when He ordained and carried out His plan with regard to my family. Though I struggle, even today, with understanding the why, God perfectly placed me in the family that ultimately made it possible for me to seek God, discover His gift in Christ, love God, worship God, witness to God and want to serve Him forever.

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God is Holy

It is week 4 of my sabbatical and I am spending the day at Starved Rock State Park. It is a bit windy and chilly, but it is a good day for retreating. I bundle up, make my way north on I-39, and arrive for breakfast at the Lodge.

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God is Impeccable

Tragedy again. This time the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas was the target of a mad man. A small town church, just like the one I served as a young pastor, became a war zone.

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