Breezes--Pastor Brian Martin's Blog

"The wind blows where it wishes, you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8

My “Nothing Box” and Mowing Grass

Sometimes I find it necessary to go to my “nothing box.” This is a place where I simply step out of being actively present with others. I find place and space to withdrawal and reflect in silence. Mowing the lawn, walking, or driving often provides for me a treasured “nothing box.” Last week, while mowing yard, I was deep in thought about the significance of the day. Just hours before, I participated in our annual community Good Friday worship service. A gripping drama which powerfully depicted the final hours of Christ was, yet, boldly riveted in my mind. As the Read More »

Empty

The idea suggesting fullness requires one must first become empty—is a profound paradox. However, this unique concept aligns well with other upside-down quotes of Christ, such as, “the last shall be first last”— “love your enemies”— “the greatest among you will be your servant.” These few quotes among many are not to be mere decorative wall-hangings to look at from afar. No! These words capture the very heart of God fulfilled in the Person of Christ. Jesus exhorted his followers to do as he does, thus these upside-down self-emptying words must also define the followers of Jesus. The Gospels reveal Read More »

Wooden People

We live in very interesting times—globally nationally, and politically—perhaps, “interesting” is an understatement. Sometimes we forget…or perhaps we choose to ignore the fact…that Jesus lived in an incredibly political world. Christ’s life, from his birth in Bethlehem to his crucifixion outside of Jerusalem, is bookended by politics and political personalities. Even while living among the political realities which surrounded and confronted him every day, Jesus never confused or compromised the Kingdom of God with the kingdoms of the world. Jesus knew the mission because he knew the Father. Jesus kept appealing and calling his disciples to the same: Know my Read More »

Turn the Page

As a child, I recall siting on my bedroom floor for hours on cold winter evenings listening to a collection of children’s story books. Each book contained a single 78 RPM vinyl record inside its cover. As the record was played, the story, complete with captivating sound effects, would come to life. As the narrator would begin reading, I became fully absorbed and entered the story. After each page of the printed text was read, a little bell would sound and the narrator would announce, “Turn the page.” If I became absorbed in a story picture or failed to turn Read More »

An Authentic Christmas Card

As we live into this Advent season, I confess my weariness of the culture determining what the “perfect” Christmas looks like. Christmas cards and commercials love to write our script-snow is gently falling…the perfect gift awaits under the perfect tree…a stunning table is set to absolute perfection as family circles gather…each seat around the table is filled…each person presents a flawless image for a perfect photo. Absolute perfection abounds. What if Christmas looks a bit more real than this?  What if it’s balmy and raining? What if a seat at the table remains empty? What if my sin nature is Read More »

Beyond the Rhetoric

Our nation is fully immersed in a political season. Many voices and sound bites beg for the attention of anyone willing to give ear. Frankly, I find myself quite weary and saddened by the rhetoric and drama surrounding this season. Equally saddening is observing Christian witness adding to the cultural rhetoric by placing faith in political personalities and parties over godly principles, thus compromising the church’s witness and silencing its prophetic voice. Might the followers of Jesus have faith and courage to look beyond the political rhetoric of the day? One easily forgets how “political” the world was in the Read More »

Fifteen Years Later

It’s hard to believe, fifteen years have passed since the beautiful and cloudless morning of September 11, 2001. The events of that day have since largely reshaped our world as we knew it. My nephew’s wife, Meghan Sensenig, was fourteen-years old when her father, a FDNY firefighter, entered the Manhattan towers on September 11, 2001. Recently, Meghan shared reflections of God’s faithfulness which carried her though this difficult time. Her faith, unimaginably tested as a young girl, still carries her today as a wife and mother. Her story was printed in Clubhouse, a children’s magazine published by Focus on the Read More »

The Schoolhouse

The one-room schoolhouse was a buzz of activity as I approached the white fence surrounding the schoolyard while on a summer evening walk. Several horses, hitched to spring-wagons and loaded with ladders and tools, were tied to the horse rail. I quickly noticed that the three young heifers which typically greeted me on my walk and also served as the schoolyard lawn mowers during the summer months, were relocated and rejoined with their peers at the neighboring dairy farm. This evening the school yard was freshly mowed and trimmed. The cow pies, which dotted the schoolyard throughout the summer, were Read More »