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Stories by Michael Bannon

Stories by Michael Bannon

June 20, 2024
Technology is great…when it works! The church I serve as pastor livestreams its worship services and occasionally there is a glitch in the technology and our livestream is, well, a dead-stream. That happened this past Lord’s Day and was only discovered at the end of the worship service. My immediate thought? “Okay, nobody leaves! We’re going to do this worship service again!” Of course, that was my frustration talking and the thought was never vocalized. Instead, I perused the coming week in my mind to determine when I could at least record the sermon and make it available.
June 13, 2024
My wife has a gift for making up rhymes. She will observe something interesting or unusual and a moment later some clever verse will spill from her lips, usually to an improvised tune. I think to myself, we should be writing these down, but the moment passes, and her verse is lost.
June 6, 2024
In our weekly COMPASS leadership prayer meeting, one brother prayed for a growing sense of community in our congregation. A strong sense of community is what characterized that first congregation described in Acts 2, a sense of community so strong that it was attractive to those outside the church. Their sense of community was not self-motivated but the evidence of their unity in the Spirit together with Christ through faith in His gospel. Because that same Spirit unites believers together in Christ today, that strong sense of community is possible in any gospel-believing congregation. A recent article in The Atlantic offers a less hopeful message.
May 30, 2024
Recently, our skies were the canvas for some spectacular natural phenomena – a solar eclipse and the northern lights. Despite having been born and raised in Canada, I cannot recall ever having seen the Northern Lights, yet people here in north Florida were posting stunning photos of them. My wife and I even doused the porchlight and stood in the driveway gazing into the northern night sky but saw not a glimmer. I woke up very early the next morning and decided to try again. It was raining. I still have not seen the Northern Lights.
May 23, 2024
I have a vivid imagination and have had it all my life. It is so vivid that I imagine myself to be six feet tall with brown wavy hair and sporting washboard abs. Others see a man whose hair has turned white, some of it turned loose, and who is sporting washtub abs. They just lack imagination!
May 16, 2024
I came to faith in Christ 40 years ago in a church in southeast Florida. The members of that small congregation embraced me as family, inviting me to their homes for dinners and cookouts. I marveled that such a loving group of people existed and even came to perceive them as being without fault. It wasn’t long before I realized that they, like me, though redeemed in Christ, were real human beings who had to deal with a sin nature.
May 7, 2024
After I finish one of my weekly columns, I have two women read it for comprehension, spelling and grammar. The first woman is my wife. The second “woman” is the voice in my software’s review function. My wife works during the day, this other “woman” is available to read whenever I call.
May 2, 2024
I did the “seminary thing” backward, serving in full time ministry at one church for 12 years – 8 as an ordained pastor – with no formal Bible education; then I went to seminary. Colleagues insisted that I would have an advantage over my classmates who would have just graduated from Bible college. After a few classes, I understood. What the fresh Bible college grads knew was yet untested theory. What I knew came from personal study, from experience, and from making a lot of mistakes.
April 25, 2024
“The times, they are a changin,’” Bob Dylan warned sixty years ago. Newsflash, Bob, they change every year, twice a year in fact. Last month, we honored the mnemonic “spring forward,” and will do the opposite come November when we “fall back.” It’s even more complicated for Floridians because we are one of the 13 states that sit in two time zones.
April 18, 2024
Like many, if not most churches today, COMPASS Church uses presentation software to display the songs and Scripture texts on a flat screen TV for worship services. That software is linked to several databases so that all we need to do is type in a song title or Scripture reference, and instantly we are provided with the words fully formatted for display. Those who use it know what a time-saver such software can be. I appreciate the available technology, but I also have a complaint – the song lyrics have no punctuation.
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