open_signThere’s a little ice cream shop in the small town where we live. There are two, actually. One, a soft-serve place that’s been around for decades by the look of it. The other, which opened up last year, offers hard ice cream — or, as some of the folks call it around here, hand-dipped. The later is our favorite, certainly because of the ice cream but also because we like the proprietors. Like most ice cream shops in Ohio, they closed sometime in late autumn. We’ve been waiting for them to open back up for the season, but they have yet to. If we get desperate, we may have to patronize the other store.

It’s been over two months since I posted here. Now, I doubt you’ve been awaiting my next post as my family has anticipated hand-dipped ice cream this spring. But I suppose I should have explained the lay-off.

Our preaching team had planned to meet sometime last fall to discuss Lent, but we had to keep postponing the meeting until January. In the course of our meeting, I came up with the bright idea to offer a Lent devotional to accompany weekly prayer and worship gatherings, as well as a slew of worship opportunities during Passion Week. I volunteered to write the entire devotional — some 45 days worth of research and writing. It took seven to ten hours a week of my time, but it also tapped my creative writing well.

In addition to the devotional, I had a sermon to prepare and a class to teach, a survey of the Old Testament for high school students. The sermon was the final installment of a preaching series we called “Less Like Scars” (from the Sara Groves’ song). About discovering redemption in our suffering, the sermon was right up my alley since the book I’ve been working on for over a year involves suffering. By the way, I finished a re-write of the first six chapters of my book before starting the devotional, so I put the book on hold. I’m just now picking it up again.

So, I’m getting back to writing here once a week. I’ll be posting some reviews of the books I selected to read in preparation for that sermon — books that also helped me as I re-thought the purpose and direction of my book. My next sermon will be Father’s Day, and I plan to share here a lot of what I’ll be sharing with our congregation, especially as it concerns a trip our family took during spring break.

In the next couple weeks, look for the book reviews, as well as an invitation for you to partner with me (and hundreds, if not thousands, of others) in helping to get drinkable water into a school in Africa.