A prayer of hope for those who feel forgotten

I have been reading in Scripture about the remarkable life of Joseph. In my study Bible, Dr. George Guthrie wrote this inspiring prayer that is giving me hope today:

“Yet you had a plan. You moved a youth from prisoner to prime minister. Let me see your providential hand in the affairs of my life, even as Joseph confessed that though his brothers had planned evil against him, ‘God planned it for good’ (Gn 50:20). Amen.”

Compassion, Mercy, and Favor

“… the Lord is compassionate and merciful (James 5:11).”

Jesus’ brother James wrote these words over two thousand years ago.. There is no doubt that he knew the ancient song that rejoiced in these lyrics:

“For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor, a lifetime.” – Psalm 30:5

So revel in these words that are true for you in 2021. Through Christ, you are a recipient of the compassion, mercy, and favor of God.

During Turbulent Times, this is Still My Father’s World

Holding my breath thinking of soldiers, Americans, and innocent people in Afghanistan. Praying for a resolution to this catastrophe.

Watching the hurricane develop in the Gulf and thinking of homes, dreams, and lives in its path.

“This is my Father’s world
let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.”
– Maltbie Davenport Babcock

Keep smiling in difficult times

Even though it is a difficult season with so many hurting, I still smile and laugh. There are nuggets of joy because life is good, and life is eternal. Thanks be to God.

Even some we have served in their suffering have demonstrated moments of humor, which is part of our humanity. Grief takes away our shallowness. Humor affirms our humanity.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12

Avoid being one of the crazies

We are living during a time when seemingly ordinary people are acting crazy. The pressure of the lingering pandemic makes us feel out of control, so we find simplistic issues and attribute extreme significance to their outcome. This phenomenon happened to me at least once in 2020. I overreacted to a situation, so a friend talked me off the emotional ledge before I went too far.

So let’s all move slow, do not panic, and give grace to each other if we crack.

Reflections on the Afghanistan War

Four years ago, I wrote about the need to end the war in Afghanistan. I highly respect the men and women who have served there. Too many have died there; Still, there had to be a time for an end, and 2021 is that time. It is a painful but necessary withdrawal.

Aaron's Angle


I still remember the vivid emotions I felt leaving a church service in 2001, when I heard the United States invaded Afghanistan.  An alarmed friend asked out loud, “What does this mean?”  Her husband soberly responded, “We are at war, honey.”   In that moment, I felt like life as I knew it would permanently change.  But, it did not.

For the last 16 years our soldiers have died in Afghanistan (and Iraq), and my life has proceeded in comfort.  During the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, I do not remember meaningful public discussion on the validity of fighting a two-front war overseas while so many were hurting domestically.

Barak Obama campaigned on the position of pulling out of Afghanistan. Donald Trump was more ambiguous on his plans, but there was hope that he would end our longest war (and he may still). I believe both wanted to end the…

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Sunday Summary – August 8, 2021

I loved our 242 Connect on Sunday. Jacob Bell – or Community Life Pastor, did a fantastic job creating this event. 242 Connect was a chance for CIL people to meet the leaders of 242 Small Groups in the lobby between services. Coffee, donuts, and laughter were big parts of this focus. We’ll have 242 Connect again this Sunday (August 15).

It was great to have Josh Johnson back from his missions training and leading worship. What a voice! I preached a message titled Imitators of God. This teaching seemed to prick a lot of hearts, so thanks be to God for his Word!

If you missed the service, may God minister to you through this video:

Have a great week in Jesus!

Give the book of Romans a read

Recently I read the book of Romans and was reminded that this Scripture’s impact on the Christian faith is paramount. In 2007 I attempted verse-by-verse teaching through Romans but realized a few chapters in that its depth would take more time than a Sunday series could provide. I called that series “God Did It!” – and I still think that is a great title to summarize Romans.

While I typically preach from the CSB version of Scripture and use the NRSV version for personal devotions, I love reading Romans in the NLT. The NLT makes Romans flow smoothly, and when the NLT launched in the late 1990s, I thought then that the work on Romans was beautiful and helpful. The NLT doesn’t use some important theological words in its translation, but the fluidity of the writing makes the overall theme come alive.

Give Romans a read sometime. You’ll discover what the apostle Paul so persuasively explained about salvation – God did it!

New season with no shame

In new seasons we can be plagued by old insecurities.

It is easy to shrink back from our true selves due to intimidation and feelings of inferiority. Our lack of confidence can be a form of self-imposed shame. I am inspired by how this verse speaks to a better way:

In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.In your righteousness, deliver me and rescue me ... Psalm 71:1-2 (NRSV)

Encouragement for a new season

With teachers and students returning to class soon, I feel us turning a corner into a new season of activity and more established schedules. Do not feel overwhelmed because God will strengthen you for every task He’s called you to do.

When He stretches us, it can feel painful, but His plan for us is assuredly good. Good days are ahead!