“The Unexpected”

“The Unexpected” Introduction I was standing on the Queen Street bridge watching the flood waters of the Neuse rise around Mills International when I received a phone call.  “Dr. Neely, I got your name and number from our presbytery executive.  She told me to see if you would talk with us about being our interim pastor.” I do not remember … Read More

“The Servant Song”

On November 20, I shared with the church Session and then with the congregation by email and church Facebook a letter announcing that I would be leaving at the end of 2016 to take a call as transitional pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Morganton, NC. The opportunity and the change has surprised me as much as anyone.  It has come … Read More

“Now Thank We All Our God”

I Thessalonians 5:16-24 “Now Thank We All Our God” Introduction The elderly couple slowly, gingerly made their way from the parking lot to the sanctuary of the church.  He with an oxygen tank; she with a walker.  It had been a rough year for them. He was diagnosed with a lung condition.  She was recovering from cancer surgery.  Their daughter … Read More

“Do Not Grow Weary”

II Thessalonians 3:6-13 “Do Not Grow Weary” The believers at Thessalonica were struggling.  They had thought that the return of Christ was imminent, that the end of the world as they knew it would come. But that did not happen, and now they were living in uncertain days, not knowing what to expect; they were discouraged, disillusioned, and doubting.  So … Read More

“A High Summons”

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12 “A High Summons” Introduction When I was a campus minister at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, I watched a special kinship and bonding that developed among the members of a class of cadets because of the challenges and hardships they went through together. The cadets found that they could not make it solely … Read More

“A Prayer for the Presidential Election”

A Prayer for the Presidential Election Back in 2008, when Barak Obama and John McCain were the major party candidates for president, there was a great deal of anxiety around the election.  Most of us had come to realize just how severe the economic crisis was both in our nation and the world, and we were concerned about leadership.  Therefore … Read More