Table Power


Sunday at church we had a pot luck lunch. Logistics forced us to set up tables of 8 chairs each. The congregation sat at the tables during the service and afterward for the meal. In the above picture, many were still getting their food. Just about each table was filled.  This accomplished something I have been advocating for many years. I wished we always sat at tables.There are many reasons. Sunday I was in position to look over the entire congregation and how they reacted to the tables. What I saw strengthened my argument that we should do this more often. I am not the only one to think this way:

Made the meal possible. First off, it made having the pot luck possible. The early church ate together. It’s a church thing.

Facilitates conversation. A circular table naturally facilitates conversation. I saw lots of it on Sunday. It’s so much more natural to talk to each other when we are face-to-face than when we sit in rows.

Enhances community.  Although, as my grandson pointed out, many people sat at tables with friends and family, there were many who were sitting with people they didn’t know. I bet there are some good stories out there about how we learned a bit about each other Sunday.

Makes note taking easy. It’s great to have a flat surface to work on an a place to spread out your bible and notebook.

There are others things which would be possible at the tables which is not in the normal configuration.

Exchange of ideas.  Why not have a discussion period in which the sermon is discussed at each table? It may be the only forum in which question asking would be facilitated.

Group prayer.  Why not have a period where we pray at the tables? This might be a bit intimidating to some, but it’s a lot less intimidating to pray in a group of eight than in an auditorium of hundreds.

Isn’t it sad that most Sundays we don’t do what the early church did? We don’t eat together. We don’t encourage each other. We don’t pray together. We don’t respond to the gospel. We don’t really learn how each other is doing. Tables are a powerful tool in changing all that. I’m not the pastor but if I were, we would see a lot more tables in church.



NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.


45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out,50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed,52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. Mark 8

We are in the middle of what is forecast to be a week of stormy weather. It’s important that we know about storms, the dangers, the effects and  the opportunities. How we understand and handle storms is critical.

Seek Shelter.  It’s elementary that during a storm we should seek shelter. What we often miss is that God sends storms into our lives so that we will seek shelter.  We often fail to understand that we are sent into storms for a purpose. He leaves us in them for a purpose as well. Jesus put His disciples into the board knowing about the pending storm. He saw them struggling yet waited until dawn to go to them. When life is stormy seek shelter, the sheltering arms of God. It may be the principal reason for the storm. Don’t miss out. Storms teach us where our real strength and help comes from.

Anticipate change. After a really big storm, it’s often unsettling to go outside. Things will have changed. Our house has dozens of trees. Storms cause a mess. The landscape has changed. Katrina changed New Orleans forever. In our lives, God sends storms to change our course. We may know for months or years that a change is necessary, but we fear change and sometimes only the storm will force us into accepting it and moving on.

Prepare for storms.  Storms come when they are least expected. They break us out of our comfort zones. They change our schedules and priorities. I kind of like the hours before a hurricane hits. Plans are changed. Meetings are cancelled. School is closed. Lowes and Home Depot, Albertsons and Rouses become the busiest places in town. It’s far better to be prepared. We become too comfortable with life as we know it. It can change overnight. We should make sure that our foundations and life lines are secure. Our relationships with God and our brothers and sisters become crucial when the winds start to blow and the rain starts to fall.

Pass the test.  Heroes emerge from storms. There are always some who put others first and act courageously for the well-being of others. If there is a storm in your life, you are likely not the only affected. Storms secure relationships, horizontally and vertically. It’s an opportunity to make things better with those that really matter.

Storms pass. Sometimes it seems a storm will never abate. It will. After Jesus met his disciples on the lake. They returned to shore and the ministry flourished.

53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed. Mark 6

The purpose of the storm is not to get you wet and windblown. It’s to prepare you for the days afterwards by increasing your faith, strengthening your relationships, clarifying your perspective and renewing your purpose. Storms are a good thing.



NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.


19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

At various times yesterday I spent time with my wife, my daughter, my grandson and my great grand-daughter. They are treasures. They put faces on the “heavenly treasure” Jesus spoke of. I think we err when we consider “heavenly treasure” to be solely good works that we store in heaven instead of money we store here. It’s obviously foolish to invest in things that we can’t take with us and that “moths and vermin” can destroy.

However, it’s a better motivation to put a face on the treasures we are storing up. It inspires us not only to treasure these people, but to do all that we can to ensure they are with us in heaven.

I have known and know many who are busy storing up treasures here. They fear the destruction of their treasure. As the end draws near they begin to understand that they have made a bad investment. On their deathbeds they look up at faces, ready for them to pass so they can get hold of the soon-to-be-departed’s  earthly treasure.

I would rather pass looking at faces who will miss me, who will treasure my life, and who I will see again in Paradise. I would rather pass into the arms of my Savior who has been guarding my treasure and preparing a place for me. Now that’s treasure I can live for.


NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Make Up Your Mind Monday

We have just finished celebrating the most significant day in history, Resurrection Sunday. The church going, family gathering, dressing up and egg hunting is over. Today I call your attention to what is a more personally significant day. I call it Make Up Your Mind Monday. It might not be literally Monday. It begins, actually, the day after you come to the realization that Jesus came, died, rose and will return one day. That realization prompts a decision, a response, so what?

All that Jesus did makes no difference unless we incorporate it. I saw a lot of joyful responses to what Jesus did yesterday. It’s great to be appreciative and thankful. It’s not, however, what Jesus asks. His requested response is at once simple and comprehensive: Follow me. It’s not just to “accept him” or call ourselves “a Christian.” It’s not being just being baptized or joining a church or going “up front” at a church service.

It’s following. Following isn’t a one time thing. It’s not something we can check off a list and be done with. It’s a continuing process. It’s not something that can be compartmentalized to one day a week or prioritized anything other than first. It’s trusting Him to take us where we need to go and to do with us as He wills. Frankly, I don’t see a lot of following going on. I have looked around a lot, including in the mirror. I just don’t see it.

Following Jesus is something that should be easy to spot. Face it we are a world of followers. Most of us dress like, think like, act like and try to look like the folks on television. Following Jesus means having the mind of Christ and acting on it. Luckily we don’t have to dress like Him or look like Him. We do have to think like Him and act like Him.

How did He think and act? Single mindedly. He was focused on what the Father asked Him to do. He stayed focused by spending time with His Father in prayer. Every step was in the direction the Father pointed.

Following Him is simple. It’s just not easy. We better stop putting it off and make up our minds.


NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Power Sunday

It’s Sunday that makes all the difference. Friday provided the once for all sacrifice that gives us the blood that brings forgiveness. Sunday gives us the power to live. We can be Followers because of Sunday. We partake of the divine and become Sons of God because of Sunday, Glorious Sunday.

We don’t do a good job of teaching or living the Sunday life. We are used to calling on the blood for forgiveness when we fail. We don’t do as good a job calling on the power to resist sin and follow Him.

It’s Sunday. The tomb is empty. Death is conquered. Fear is banished. Life is possible.  Alleluia.


NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Silent Saturday

Friday was a noisy and frantic day, crowds screaming for blood, the cold sound of nails into flesh and wood. It was a visual day with darkness in the middle of the day and the renting of the temple curtain. Saturday was different but no less frightening. The silence was chilling. The disciples had to wonder if the Jews and the Romans would be making sweeps to clean up the “cult” of Jesus followers. They had to spend frightening time in silent thought wondering if they had erred in following, if they had misunderstood Him and His purpose.

Silence is like that. We wonder what the devil is up to and where God is. We wonder how we got to where we are and if we will be left there to fend for ourselves. It may be scarier than the flashing and loud days when the spiritual battle is visible even in the natural world. Silence challenges our faith, our hope and our love. We are reluctant to break the silence, fearful that we will call attention to ourselves and be, like Peter, tempted to deny.  We consider that our faith may have been in vain. We see no reason to hope in a world quiet without hopeful sounds to pull us forward. Our love can grow as cold as the silence. Love needs warmth and sound and companionship to flourish.

Silent Saturday was awful. If they had only remembered and correctly interpreted His words about rebuilding in three days. Sunday was just hours away. The world was never going to be the same again.

Facing Friday

It’s time to square up to the cross of Christ, to all that happened on this Good Friday and take responsibility. It’s time to drop all the universalist language and stop saying “He died for the sins of the world.” Just admit it. He died for me. If I had been the only person in the world, not only would he have died, but His death would have been just as horrible, painful, humiliating, and gruesome.

It’s all about how bad sin is. I’m not talking sin in the generic. I’m talking about personal sin, mine and yours. When I first met my wonderful fundamentalist wife, she kept talking about a personal savior. It took me a long time to get it. It’s all about Jesus and me. It’s about me and Jesus. It’s about my sin, my salvation, my savior.

Failure to Face Friday is the reason for anemic churches and powerless Christians. We want to claim the blood without really looking at it. We want resurrection power, by skipping to Sunday. It won’t work we have to face Friday.

Today, enjoy your crawfish boils, and fish fries. Enjoy your time away from work. Enjoy the beautiful spring weather and shopping for something to wear on Sunday. Spend some time, however, with me, at the foot of the cross. Looking and accepting responsibility. It’s the only route to being a true Follower with all the mission and power and joy He promised. Sunday will come soon enough. Today, it’s Friday. Face it.

On Wednesday They Schemed in Secret

 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” Matthew 26

The chief priests and elders saw the people hail Jesus as Messiah and give Him a royal welcome into Jerusalem. They couldn’t have that. It threatened their place and power. They reacted like all cowardly leaders: they schemed in secret.

We need to be aware of how the world will react when followers begin to truly believe and faithfully follow. They will react like threatened animals. They will become dangerous.  While His enemies schemed, Jesus continued on His mission: He taught in the temple.

Believe Followers the scheming in secret is going on. Our natural tendency to try to smoke out the schemers needs to be resisted. They are a distraction. We need to act as Jesus did. We need to stay on mission. Increase in scheming and raging among the “heathen” are signs that the mission is on target and the return of Christ is near.

When persecution increases, when it becomes uncomfortable or even dangerous to identify as “Christian, when following gets tough, rejoice. When the way seems easy, that’s the time to worry. It means we are posing no threat to the enemy. We are nothing to worry about.

Work in the light to cause worry, and scheming by those in the dark. It’s a real measure of mission success.


NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.