Advent 2022: Waiting For God and Godot

Posted November 28, 2022 by Jonah Dove in Advent

In 1953, Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot premiered in Paris. Stay with me, this is going somewhere. The play centers on two men named Vladimir and Estragon who wait under a tree for a man named Godot who never arrives. Waiting for Godot is the most famous play in the Theatre of the Absurd—the Absurd being the philosophical idea that humans perpetually search for universal meaning when there…

Monday over Coffee: "Unreservedly"

Posted November 28, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

After finishing law school and coming home to Houston in my mid-twenties, I started attending church, but did so in a very tentative, reserved, and on-my-own-terms kind of way. About once, maybe twice a month, I'd arrive, and just as worship started, I'd find an empty pew near the back of the Sanctuary. I'd follow along in the hymnal as everyone sang, maybe humming a bit during the refrains,…

Advent 2022: First Sunday of Advent, Peace

Posted November 27, 2022 by J Hill in Advent

If you have gotten an email from me it's likely that I ended by saying Peace. For me it's a pause, a deep breath, a rest note. Peace. Sit by me during worship and you'll know about three minutes into the service that I'm not a singer. In fact, I'm not a musician in any sense of the word. That said, I do think about music—in fact I think about it a lot. I enjoy music but enjoying music doesn't…

Advent 2022: Fulfilled

Posted November 26, 2022 by Steve Wells in Worship, Pastor, Advent

Advent is an opportunity to renew our deep sense of wonder in the world. You may know Advent means "coming." We await the coming of the baby Jesus on Christmas Day. But since the first Christmas Day came more than 2000 years ago, in one sense, we are waiting for something that has already happened. That seems odd. Why would we do that? Why are we waiting on the past? It is a good question. The…

Monday Over Coffee: "Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?"

Posted November 21, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, and my all-time favorite, Roberto Clemente—I got to see all of them at the Astrodome growing up. Looking back on it, I have to hand it to my dad for taking us—my brother David, a teenager in the Big Brother program named John, and me—to so many Astro games. Dad had a taxing job, and while I know he liked going, enjoyed being with…

Monday Over Coffee: "Looking for the Scintilla"

Posted November 14, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Scintilla. Simply the way the word sounds conveys a measure of its meaning. It's wispy, ephemeral, glancing. A scintilla of evidence. A scintilla of doubt. Perhaps it's not even present. You have to look very closely. Maybe even squint a little. You have to attend to the circumstances very closely intently to detect that tiny trace, that spark. Even then it might not be there. Look again.…

Monday over Coffee: "Banking on Hope"

Posted November 7, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

I saw Walt Disney's Mary Poppins as a little kid in an enormous movie house—the Windsor Theatre in Houston's Galleria area—before the Galleria was even a thing. I recall Dick Van Dyke dancing with animated penguins and the happy ending with the kites in the sky before Mary floats away with her umbrella. I also remember a few years later, not too far from the old Windsor after they'd built the…

Monday over Coffee: "Saints & Poets"

Posted October 31, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

What if you had died yesterday, but today somehow were granted life again? Think about it. What if you had passed away last night, but this morning were restored to the very circumstances you find yourself in right this minute? With the family you have. With the friends you have. In the community you live. With your health even such as it may be. Restored to the present in all things.…

Monday Over Coffee: "School"

Posted October 24, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

I was thirteen years old, attending middle school at Spring Branch Junior High, and had just gone to see the doctor for a check up. The appointment had gone fine, but when my mother dropped me off at the front of the school, instead of going back in, I waved as she drove away, and I then wandered off, playing hooky for the rest of the day. I don't recall exactly what I did. I wasn't busted,…

Monday Over Coffee: "The Fog"

Posted October 17, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Not too long ago, my wife Kelly and I were in New York and caught a show on Broadway, an impressive staging of Shakespeare's MacBeth. While there are a number of striking lines in the play, one particular passage really resonated with me. Early in the first act, after a victory in battle, the heroic MacBeth and his friend, Banquo, encounter three mysterious witches who foretell that MacBeth…

Monday Over Coffee: "The Line"

Posted October 10, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

My son Charlie was an undersized offensive lineman in high school, but he used a good understanding of leverage and a high football IQ to contribute whenever he got into the game. On a basic running play, the general assignment of any offensive lineman is to push the defense back so his own team might advance the ball beyond the line of scrimmage. However, if the linemen don't do their jobs,…

Monday Over Coffee: "Mercy"

Posted October 3, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

One of my lasting memories of my grandmother, Gertie Warren Funderburk, was how she'd respond when I had done something original—like sink a fish hook in my finger, or carry a bushel of pecans from the yard into her house in my stretched out t-shirt. She'd trill out a deep breath in a weary whistle, and say, "Mercy!" Back then, the only time I reached for the word myself was when gamely…

Monday Over Coffee: "I Wonder..."

Posted September 26, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Growing up, I had a boxful of sleek Hot Wheels and yards and yards of the bright orange tracks along which the little cars zoomed. The loop-the-loop add-on never worked that well, but it did enhance the drama of the crashes. As marshal-general of multiple units of little green plastic soldiers, I strategized over many a pitched battle on the floor of our living room. And I loved my G.I. Joes—…

Monday Over Coffee: "The Dishes"

Posted September 19, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Every so often, while preparing for what I hope will be a well-received lesson at church—perhaps a lesson about humility, patience, presence, or grace—something happens. In deep concentration, I'm briefly diverted by a call from someone with a minor need. Perhaps while I'm writing something arises in the office, and I'm asked to lend some help for just a moment. Or this: I'm at home, making…

Monday over Coffee: "Renegade Goodwill"

Posted September 12, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

I had a couple of friends back in college who got a kick out of telling semi-credible tall tales about each other to unsuspecting acquaintances at parties. For instance, in conversation, one might point across the room to the other and suggest his friend's lifelong dream was to become a professional bowler. At the same time, the other guy might be in deep dialogue with someone else, noting…

Monday over Coffee: "Two Lenses"

Posted August 29, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Recently I listened to a dialogue between two formidably intelligent atheists—one a neuroscientist, author, and podcaster, the other a New Testament scholar and university professor who somewhere in his twenties had lost his faith. They conversed in a generally respectful way about Christianity, but occasionally the guest couldn't help but to chuckle about what he saw as the naivete of his…

Monday Over Coffee: "A Widening Grace"

Posted August 22, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

When I was in elementary school I had to take Speech. Not the class in which you're instructed on how to give a public talk, but the one in which you're taught how to pronounce your letters properly. You see, I had a stormy relationship with the letter R. I was solid when it came to important playground phrases like, "Red Rover, Red Rover" or with the lyrics to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." I was…

Monday over Coffee: "However Healed"

Posted August 15, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

I was having breakfast with a couple of old friends last week. While I wouldn't go so far as to say our conversation was dominated by detailed discussions about our respective medical conditions, let's just say the topic arose more than once. It started to remind me of those commercials warning us about turning into our parents. It's inevitable I guess.

Monday over Coffee: "I Wish I'd Known That About Him"

Posted August 8, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

After memorial services, it's not uncommon to hear someone say, "I wish I'd known that about him" or "I can't believe I never heard that about her." In those moments, it strikes me as most regrettable that we don't have at hand a practical way to more effectively broadcast the unique stories of our lives to a wider audience—while we're still living.

Monday over Coffee: "Observe"

Posted August 1, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

The season I enjoyed coaching little league the most was when my son, Charlie, was ten. I call it the year of the Iron Pigs. I'd drafted a terrific team of kids, and we had really cool navy blue caps emblazoned with a fierce pig, silver rivets bolted formidably to its neck. I'd also assembled a great coaching staff to help me—dads as ridiculously serious about the endeavor as I was, all of…