You know the scene. It is the end of the date. Boy and girl, face to face, nervously rocking back and forth, inching closer, fumbling about, both wanting to, but neither one quite bold enough to make the final move for the first kiss. Someone needs to be courageous and pucker up or it is not gonna’ happen. And if they both start inching backwards, playing coy, expecting the other person to make the move, the likelihood of a first kiss, shrinks away even faster.

By Ross Engel

I always wanted to be an astronaut. My childhood bedroom was decorated with space memorabilia. As a teenager, I had a full size wall mural in my bedroom of the Space Shuttle Columbia orbiting the earth. I collected shuttle mission patches, built model rockets, and stared at the stars. I watched “The Right Stuff,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “Space Camp” every chance I got, and spent many a night dreaming about one day journeying into the great unknown. There was a reason why my Dad called me his little “space cadet.”

By Ross Engel

A wise and experienced pastor once told me, “Preaching the Law of God to a Congregation is like throwing a brick into a pack of dogs. The dog that yelps is the one that got hit with the brick.” Now, before I go any further, I want to make a few things perfectly clear. I am not advocating that anyone tests this theory by throwing bricks into packs of dogs, for that would be inhumane and cruel, nor am I advocating that pastors view their congregations like a pack of wild dogs, for that would be degrading and would not profit anyone. Scripture speaks of the people of God as beloved sheep, cared for by the Good Shepherd and served by under-shepherds. Personally, I have always appreciated the imagery of the congregation as a flock of sheep who are cared for by a sheepdog, for both sheep and sheepdog find their rest under the Good Shepherd.