It’s beginning to look a lot like . . .

I’m publishing this blog on September 25, which means Christmas is only three months away! Hobby Lobby decorated it’s aisles in July, and most retail stores are not far behind. Deck the halls, make a list, and check it twice, December 25th is on its way.

Christmas countdownPerhaps you’ve somehow avoided the Christmas Spirit to date. September weather and fall leaves hardly evoke images of a wintry wonderland with sleigh rides, jingle bells, and roasting chestnuts.

However, Christmas is not a day, season, or feeling. Instead, it’s the celebration of divine grace in our human lives. God so loved the world that the divine became incarnate, the Word became flesh.

The bookends of Jesus life at the manger and the cross reveal the height, width, and depth of God’s love for each of us. God so loved the world—so loved each of us—that God GAVE. The empty tomb declares that our Lord is with us both now and forever more.

Christmas is only three months away.

Christmas was almost 2,000 years ago.

Christmas is when we know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Rehab Hurts

In July, an orthopedic surgeon performed arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in my knee. The doctor determined the cartridge tear reflected cumulative damage for someone in my “age range.”

I’ve never been someone in my “age range” before.

After the procedure, the surgeon told me to peddle a stationary bike the next day. So my wife drove me to the Carl Sanders YMCA where I slowly limped to the back of the gym. I carefully crawled on the bike and rode for 15 minutes in the lowest gear.

BikeRehab hurts.

After the agonizing workout, I eased off the bike and slowly straightened my leg. I may have whimpered quietly but in a manly sort of way. Meanwhile, a man who had spent an hour riding an adjacent bike also completed his workout.

I self-consciously gestured to my bandaged leg and said, “I’m just starting rehab after surgery.”

He responded, “But you’re HERE and that’s something.”


Rehab hurts.

But I’m HERE and that’s something.

Holy Land Pilgrimage 2020

I invite you to join me on a trip-of-a-lifetime to the Holy Land. Our church family along with other guests will visit Israel from October 13-23, 2020.

Holy Land 2019Biblical scholars call Israel The Fifth Gospel because geography so shapes the story of Scripture. Travel brings the Bible to life as pilgrims literally walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

I have traveled to Israel several times in the past, and each journey has transformed my understanding of the Christian faith. Indelible memories continue to mold my life and ministry. I look forward to the next trip with members from my Northside Church family.

The eleven-day trip will visit  many Old and New Testament sites , including destinations not typically covered in a standard tour. The inclusive pricing includes first class hotels, deluxe motor coaches, guided tours, airfare, and much more.

For additional information, visit this link to see the full brochure that contains all of the details: You can also contact Maggie Bridges at

We will have two, no-obligation interest meetings this week on Wednesday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 15 at 12:15 p.m. Both will occur in the Board Room of Northside United Methodist Church. General information and brochures will be available along with a time of questions and answers.

A traditional Passover toast during the Seder meal is, “Next year in Jerusalem!” In 2020, we have the opportunity to make this prayer a reality.

Wednesday Night Suppers

Wednesday night suppers have been a church staple for decades in the American church. They provide a weekly opportunity for food, fellowship, music, and discipleship.


Modern culture challenges the time-honored institution, however. Midweek services compete with busy schedules, sports’ schedules, school activities, class homework, and gridlocked traffic. In the face of societal pressures, many churches have cancelled Wednesday night suppers.

However, two years ago Northside Church made a renewed commitment to our midweek activities. In addition to a delicious meal, the church provides rich opportunities for children, youth, and adults. We have celebrated growth in both numbers and Spirit.

In the Gospels, Jesus did some of his best work around the dinner table with friends and followers. Some of Christ’s most memorable words and deeds occurred with food and drink.

I invite you to join the counter-cultural revolution at Northside Church. Join us for Wednesday night supper and enjoy food not only for the body but also for the soul.

It’s a good thing.