Monthly Archives: April 2023

Shelter in Place


He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

When a severe weather warning was issued recently here in St. Louis, messages on our phones told us to shelter in place. I went to the basement and waited while I heard wind whipping, trees swaying and rain pelting the windows. Soon the storm was over, and I emerged from the basement to find that everything was still intact without any damage to my house or yard. Thanks be to God!

What is the purpose of sheltering in place? It is to keep us safe and protected in the midst of dangerous situations. It happens not only in bad weather, but in war, in mass shootings and in pandemics, as we have seen more recently, unfortunately. Closing ourselves off from the world in such situations does not always keep us away from harm completely, but it does give us hope.

In the Bible, we read that the disciples, out of fear, sheltered in place in the days after Christ’s resurrection in a locked upper room. There was a storm of sorts raging outside those walls, and all those who followed Christ who had died were now in danger of dying themselves at the hands of the same people. Sheltering in place kept that threat at bay, at least in the minds of the fearful disciples. They had a chance for survival in this place, they felt.

But eventually the disciples had to leave that shelter, and emerge into a world that seemed much more threatening. How did they do that? By listening to Jesus, who appeared before them in their sheltered place and said, “Peace be with you!” and he breathed on them the Holy Spirit (John 20:19, 22). With the strength of the Holy Spirit and the power of the peace of Christ, the disciples were able to go outside fear-free and at ease to spread the Gospel, knowing they would be sheltered by their Savior wherever they would go. We are sheltered in every place we go, too, because of Christ. Live in that peace and strength.



During this Easter season, we focus on the resurrected Christ as he appeared to people during his forty days on earth between his resurrection and ascension. What a time that must have been for the believers of Jesus and for Jesus himself!

The news must have spread fast and the proliferation of fake news must also have been on overdrive. The chief priests orchestrated the false narrative through the guards that the disciples stole Jesus’ dead body (Matthew 28:12-13). Others thought what they saw was a ghost when Jesus appeared arisen (Luke 24:37). Still others claimed that the people who said they witnessed Jesus alive were making it all up (Luke 24:11).

Into the morass of misinformation, enter the risen Jesus into the Upper Room where the disciples were huddled away in fear. What did Jesus do first? He showed them the wounds in his hands and feet, and said, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself” (Luke 24:39). He said,  “Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:40). Then he said, “Have you anything here to eat?” (Luke 24:41). His disciples gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

In a matter of moments, Jesus dispelled all the falsehoods and rumors and made it clear who he was: the risen Christ. His wounds proved it was him. His flesh-and-bone body showed he was not a ghost. His eating of food revealed that he was real. His identity was now certain.

Today we stand confident is Christ’s identity as our risen Lord and Savior and we identify ourselves with him as his followers. No other message can ever change that.

Cell Phone Stand

cell phone stand

At a recent conference, I received a little stand for my cell phone to lean up against. That specially designed piece of plastic has changed for the better the way I have used by cell phone every day. I set my phone in it every morning when I come to work so I can clearly see and hear when a text, email or phone call comes in. And when I am home, I place my cell phone in the stand to more easily watch youtube videos and movies while sitting at a table. No more holding my phone in my hand until my fingers cramp up!

Sometimes it is the smallest things that can change a life completely. Think of the tiny pacemaker that keeps a heart beating to sustain life. Consider the little hearing aid hidden behind the ear that makes a world of difference to one who once could not make out what people were saying. Ponder the miniscule pill that is taken each night by many to reduce cholesterol, preventing blocked arteries.

Our lives are benefitted (and even improved) every day by the introduction of medical, technological and engineering elements that fit in the palm of a hand. The risen Jesus revealed something in the palm of his hands that changed the lives of the disciples forever and changes our lives eternally, too. He showed them the nail wounds in his hands. They were things so small physically speaking, yet so big for us spiritually because they mean salvation for us all. By his wounds we are healed, and life is changed for the better ever after. Alleluia! Amen.

Delivery Living


One of the results of the COVID lockdown was the rise in delivery services. Groceries, fast-food, clothing, shoes, electronics and just about anything you want or need can still be delivered to your doorstep with the click of a few buttons on your phone or computer. No need to go out and travel to the grocery store, restaurant or shopping center to get what need. It can all be brought to you. I have noticed a lot more delivery trucks on the roads these days as a consequence.

What causes this desire for delivery living? My first thought is that it is driven by our quest for convenience. Another reason might be a want to keep away from people. I know I sort of enjoyed getting a “touchless delivery” of a pizza a few times so I did not have to interact with anyone, but just grabbed the pizza off my porch. Or it all might be an excuse to stay inside our homes and “cocoon” or “hibernate” in a safe space.

The idea of this makes me think of Elijah and a time when he was just done with people and his work and going out into the world anymore:

But [Elijah] himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. (1 Kings 19:4-5)

But guess what? God brought him delivery—food and drink to sustain him:

[Elijah] looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. (1 Kings 19:6)

But God did not want Elijah to stay in delivery living mode. God sent an angel who said to Elijah, “Arise!” So that is what Elijah did:

And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. (1 Kings 19:8)

Elijah got back out there and did the work of the prophet. Which is what God calls us to do as his messengers. There might be a time when it is good to have things delivered to us, but there comes a time when we must get back out there and deliver the Good News to others. It might not always be easy or convenient or safe, but be God’s delivery service today. And watch for other members of God’s Good News delivery service out on the roads as well.

Easter Morning

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. —John 20:1

Happy Easter to you all! Whether or not you attend an Easter sunrise service at your church today, remember. that Easter is all about the early morning. The Bible even says that Mary Magdalene came to Jesus’ tomb “while it was still dark.” Why is that? There is great symbolism here. Darkness equals death and light equals life. At first light on Easter, a new day has dawned. Jesus is risen and life will never be the same again.

In this twentieth chapter of John, we are reminded of the first chapter, verses 4 and 5, when John declared about Jesus:

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

God could not wait to raise his Son on the third day, as he promised. So it took place right away on Easter Day. There should be no waiting around for us today, either. We should get out and fully enjoy this day of days that the Lord has made for Jesus’ victory over sin, death and the devil forever. Don’t let the day go by without a shout, a song, an alleluia to the Lord for the light of life everlasting.


prison cell

 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

I heard a sermon on Paul and Silas in prison which focused on their singing hymns and saying prayers to God from the surely loathsome inner chambers where they were shackled. While I have often thought about this scene, I did not think as much about the sounds of those prayers and songs echoing through the chambers of the prisons, sounds bouncing off the walls and radiating out from the most interior space where Paul and Silas were. The prisoners could hear the echoes of the disciples’ voices through the chambers in a way that they may not have otherwise heard if Paul and Silas had been placed somewhere else in the prison.

Each of us may be imprisoned by something—an addiction, a depression, a bad relationship, a disability or illness—yet we may be uniquely stationed to still sing, to still pray to God in a loud voice that will echo through the chambers of prisons where others are languishing. Just as God’s word does not return to him empty, but accomplishes that for which he purposes it (Isaiah 55:11), so our prayers and songs do not go out into nothingness but echo into the ears of others who are suffering similar trials.

God released Paul and Silas and all the prisoners from all their chains shortly after the prayers and songs echoed through. And God can release our many prison chains too, and lead us to pray and sing God’s praises for many more to hear throughout the world.