White Castle Wedding

A special wedding is exactly what Jamie West had planned when she elected to have her wedding at White Castle.  You read that correctly… She married Drew Schmitt in a fast-food restaurant, and they were excited to do so. White Castle is a hamburger chain, known for its small square hamburgers. White Castle holds a special place in Jamie’s heart.

Jamie West had a difficult childhood. By the time she was 4 years old, she was living in a foster home.  She would live in and out of foster homes and shelters until she eventually would become homeless, living on the streets of Arizona and California.  Jamie was 15, homeless, and hungry.  She had not had food in almost a week when she walked into a White Castle late one night.  She didn’t know what to expect.  Jamie was not expecting a warm welcome, but that is exactly what she received.  The manager saw her come in the store and told her to go wash up in the bathroom.   While Jamie was in the restroom…


Who Am I?

This past Sunday, Dr. Long started a new sermon series, “3 Questions.” These are questions that we should wrestle with. They get to the core of who we are and our purpose in this world. The first of these questions is, “Who am I?”

I enjoyed thinking about this challenging question. I believe the answer to this question is found in the creation story. The book of Genesis tells us clearly that we are all made in the “image” and “likeness” of God. Although our culture often highlights our differences, the Bible opens with a celebratory statement that we have a common origin. We are God’s creation. We are all God’s children.

Being made in the image of God, we have the capacity to know love, to embrace kindness, and to do good…


We Can Go To God

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” – Psalm 94:18-19

It was 22 years ago today that our world changed. Early in the morning, on September 11, 2001, the United States experienced the worst terrorist attacks in our history. These terrible attacks killed 2,977 people and 19 terrorists. We were gripped by fear as we watched buildings fall in New York City, and planes crash at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I remember gathering around the TV that day.  I was on staff at First Methodist in Altus, OK.  We only had one TV in the building and it was in our Youth Room. We gathered around and watched as the events of that day unfolded. We were in shock as more and more images emerged. We were in disbelief that something like this could happen in the United States…


Ephesians 5:1-2

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”


1 John 3:1-3

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.


Our focus determines our journey

“But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus” – Matthew 14:26-29

There are moments in life when an opportunity presents itself and that opportunity seems impossible. Fear clouds our judgement and often holds us back from seizing the possibilities right in front of us.

I can only begin to imagine the fear that gripped the disciples when they saw Jesus walking on the water. Surely, as they looked out across the sea, they must have thought their eyes were playing tricks on them…


Move Past Our Fears

This last summer, my family spent some vacation time on the road. Along the way we had some great pizza at one of our favorite locations, The Mellow Mushroom. It is a great pizza chain and this one was in a great location, right by the ocean.

This first time we had pizza at a Mellow Mushroom I was not excited! It is important for you to know that I do not like mushrooms.  I don’t order them on my pizza. I don’t like them in my spaghetti sauce. I don’t even like them fried and dipped in ranch.  I know it sounds like I am a little kid refusing to eat his vegetables, but I just don’t like them. Yuck!

I don’t try to keep my feelings about mushrooms a secret and that is why I was surprised when my wife made an off-the-wall dinner suggestion…


Surprise Generosity

Few people have made an impact on the basketball court like Shaquille O’Neal. In 1992, Shaquille was drafted number one in the NBA draft. He first played for the Orlando Magic before moving to the Los Angeles Lakers. It was in Los Angeles that he won three consecutive World Championships. Standing 7’1” and weighing in at 325 lbs. Shaquille was one of the most imposing figures on the court. His list of basketball accomplishments is significant. The four-time NBA champion is one of only three players to win the NBA MVP, All-Star Game MVP, and the Finals MVP.

Shaq retired from playing basketball in 2011. He is now an active media personality, helping to anchor NBA basketball on TNT. There is no doubt that Shaq is one of the best to ever play the game. However, Shaq makes an even bigger impact off the court. He is widely known for his surprise generosity.

Recently, Shaquille stopped into a Best Buy to purchase a new phone for himself…


Lean On God

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” -Hebrews 10:24-25

Elisha Hoffman served as a Union Solider during the American Civil War. There has never been a more divided time in our country’s history than the time around the Civil War. During that terrible war, more than 2.75 million Americans took up arms to fight. They fought over slavery, state’s rights, the hope of a unified country, and whether or not our country could live up to ideals, “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The war was so brutal that over 620,000 soldiers were killed, many dying of complication from their wounds or disease. It remains one of the most brutal, and most costly wars in American history.

Seeing the death, disease, and destruction of the war took a significant toll on the country…


We Find Rest In Christ

Labor Day is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September.  It is often celebrated as the “unofficial end of summer.” Today, people all over the United States will spend time at the lake, grilling their favorite foods, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and simply relaxing and enjoying an extended weekend.  Labor Day first became a holiday in 1894. During a time of tremendous unrest in the United States, industrial workers began to organize and fight for better working conditions. There were multiple strikes across the country, many of which turned violent. The first Monday of September slowly became known as the, “Working man’s holiday.”