So today is the last in my short series of blogs saying goodbye to the wonderful church that is Highland. It’s also the last post I’ll write for this particular blog. For future posts, I’ll be returning to blogging weekly with my friend Scot McKnight over on Jesus Creed. This particular blog was written to the city of Abilene, and so after I wrote it I realized it should be sent to them first. So this first ran Sunday in… Read more

Has anyone else been obsessed with the story of Ben Lecomte in the news recently, or is it just me? I came across a blurb about him a couple weeks back and was so mesmerized by what I read that I have been following him ever since. I literally sent him a good luck email when he first started out – “There’s a mom and three girls praying for you from Africa! Be safe!” (He didn’t write back.) I check… Read more

I wrote most of this blog with tears in my eyes. See, just yesterday Mrs. Billie Smith died, and she was one of the senior saints I’d come to love at Highland. After I heard the news I started reading through some of the funerals of the people I’ve buried at Highland, including her husband, Bro. Larry. That may sound creepy but, for me, one of my favorite parts of being the preacher at Highland for the past 8 years… Read more

On the day I announced that I was leaving Highland, that was by far not the most dramatic thing that happened at Highland. It was at best a very distant second. Let me set this up this story. So I’m walking into the church auditorium. I’ve got a lot on my mind, and a real sense of dread in telling a room full of people I’ve grown to love over the past 8 years that I’m going to no longer… Read more

A few days ago, Leslie I announced the very bittersweet news that we were going to be ending our season of ministry at Highland, and I was going to go back to my hometown to serve as the Preaching minister at the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ in Little Rock, Arkansas. Over the next few weeks I’m going to write a kind of open letter to Highland on here, talking about the great joys that we’ve had at serving the… Read more

We had only been in North Africa a matter of weeks when I brought home my first animal. The boy holding it spotted me shopping in the market – a wide-eyed, clueless, childless foreigner, and he must have laughed out loud and thanked God for his ridiculous good fortune. Because, sure enough, I took one look at that tiny dikdik folded and trembling in his outstretched arms and it never even occurred to me to keep my melty feelings to… Read more

A few years ago we had a karama, a blessing ceremony for our newly built home. It is a time when you invite friends and neighbors over to share a meal and join with you in celebrating God’s generosity. I remember stepping outside early that morning to call the girls to breakfast and noticing them squatting on the far side of the compound. As I walked closer I saw that they were with two men – friends of ours –… Read more

On our first home assignment I was bound and determined to slip right back into American culture. I wasn’t going to be one of those weird missionaries that comes home jaded and critical of their own society after a short season away. As much as I could help it, I was going to remain current and relatable despite my very un-mainstream life. Within our first couple weeks back I hung out with a friend in her very nice home in… Read more

On Thursday of last week I plopped down in a white plastic chair to listen to a young North African man get up and teach his first literacy lesson in his language. He did it rather badly, though considering he had only learned to read and write his mother tongue a few days ago it was pretty impressive. But we had been going hard all week at this literacy training and my brain-fatigue was beginning to border on apathy. I… Read more

  By Jovan Barrington Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a bit about taking his family to Disney World in his special Mr. Universe. He compares Disney World in July to standing in line on the surface of the sun. “Remember when you were a kid and you would go on vacation and go, ‘why is dad always in a bad mood? Now I understand.’” It’s funny because it’s true. Vacation isn’t always what it appears to be. Later he jokes, “There’s… Read more

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