When Floodwaters Rise (again)…

ec floodLast Sunday night, the sky opened like a faucet over my neighborhood, and my first thought was, “Oh no, Old Ellicott City (OEC).” That morning, I preached a message from James 4:13f. on the uncertainty of our lives and the caution of presuming on our plans. Watching the footage of the flooding, I felt the weightiness of God’s Word in a new light.

While certainly not claiming any sort of “prophetic” voice, the sheer power of nature and the unpredictability of life should make us consider how fragile our lives actually are. There are always things beyond our control no matter how much technology, how many policies and regulations, or how much money we put into something.

OEC’s second flooding in three years reminds me to submit my plans to the Lord and to remember that ultimately He orders my steps. With that short sermon reminder, let me also offer a few pastoral thoughts on how we can respond to the needs yet again.  Continue reading

Owning your part in a conflict

Speck-IllustrationLast weekend, we continued our series through James by considering the root causes of conflict. I don’t know anyone who is immune from relational conflict. Broken relationships affect all of us.

James gives us the anatomy of quarrels and fights – our passions that are at war within us. These are selfish pleasures, desires that we seek to fulfill in any given relationship. Desires turn into expectations, and when those expectations are inevitable unfulfilled, we experience disappointment expressed through some form of punishment (withdrawal, irritability, anger, the silent treatment, the list goes on…) Continue reading