Imbedded Thorns (and thanks to Mick)

Thanks to God’s grace I was able to preach complete sermons in both first and second services at Highland this past Sunday morning (July 23). I really didn’t know if I would be able to make it. In fact, our technology friends made a double recording of the first sermon (thanks Gus!) so that if I fell out during the second service they could fill in with the prior recording. I appreciated the invitation from Jonathan Storment (and the couch in his office on which I fell dead asleep between services), all the ways in which Jeff Nelson worked with me in the weeks and days leading up to Sunday, Dickie Porche taking care of me Sunday morning, the gracious reception given to me by God’s assembled people, and David Wray who met me with open arms at the bottom of the ramp after first service. Ten years ago preaching twice on Sunday morning was “no big deal” – today everything is different.

If you are interested in listening to the sermon (I don’t think video is available–and why would you want to look at me anyway?), you may access a link by clicking on Highland’s Website here. I suggest you read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 before you listen (Mindi Thompson read this text superbly on Sunday).

Many Blessings,


PS – I’m still looking for new subscriptions to receive email alerts when I release a new post. Hint, hint. 🙂

Glenn Pemberton is a minister turned professor turned writer. After serving churches in Texas and Colorado, Glenn completed a Ph.D. (Old Testament). He then taught at Oklahoma Christian University before coming to Abilene Christian University in 2005, retiring as professor emeritus in 2017 due to a severe chronic pain. Glenn now spends his time writing for the church. Along with short essays he has published four books, including The God who Saves: An Introduction to the Message of the Old Testament (2015), and Hurting with God: Learning to Lament with the Psalms (2012). Glenn and his wife Dana continue to live in Abilene, Texas.

Post Info:
Author:  Publish Date: July 25, 2017


  • Karen Hendrick says:

    Glen, I heard your sermons for both services. Your sermon made many people search and think. You were very honest and the prayer time touched many. Karen Hendrick

    • Glenn Pemberton says:

      Thank you Karen for your words and your friendship. I have been overwhelmed by stories that break one’s heart (especially today – on the Sunday after I spoke). So many, too many, that we would never imagine are fighting difficult battles that they are not necessarily winning. I just hope we do receive the grace we need for the day.

  • Joyce Uhlich says:

    Hi Glen,
    Thank you so much for these messages. I feel like I could have preached. I started this pain filled life as a child with my first steroids at age 10.
    I had different symptoms and different drs until at age 19, I had my first joint surgery. I am 74 now and I do not remember at all what it is like to not hurt. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, Systemic Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and about every other autoimmune disease you can name. I have had heart surgery, spine surgery and last summer I had 5 kidney surgeries in a couple of month s finally doing a complete reconstruction to keep what function I have because of the Lupus. I cry at night because I hurt so bad I cannot sleep. I can’t shop. I miss much more church than I get to attend. I cry over church because we moved here to Edmond 13 years ago from Ponca City. There is absolutely one woman who thinks of me. She calls every week, sends a card occasionally and drops by occasionally. I do not understand how a person can just be forgotten when it is the time you need encouragement so much. I have learned how to encourage others but as I age with chronic illness and unrelenting pain, it is harder for me to do. I still occasionally ask God to stop the pain but I figured out many years ao that His grace is sufficient for me. I don’t hold on to this earth any more. It is a blessing to not cling to the things of the world and be so ready to go be with the Lord where there will be no more pain and suffering.
    I think of you often. I pray your pain will stop.
    Thank you for blessing me with your writing and your speaking.

    • Glenn Pemberton says:

      It’s taken me sometime to think of something to say in reply – and still, I have no words. Thanks for your post, taking the time, and the pain involved in writing about what lies so near our hearts. May you find peace for the day.

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The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @

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