When You Are Alarmed

Mar 25, 2020

When I’m reading scripture, I keep my eyes open and my ears attentive to lines that stir me, provoke me or arrest me. When this happens, I take time to reflect further on these words. A while back, while reading the book of 2 Chronicles, a short passage caught my attention like this: 

Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah...

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If It's Human...It's Mentionable

Mar 18, 2020

Wow. We have been through it this week, right? The escalating news on COVID-19 has many people running to the store and stock piling supplies. From movie stars to sports figures, more and more people are being diagnosed. 

This is a great time to talk about fear and our response to it. It is good for all of us to stay responsibly informed and healthy, helping to keep others healthy as well. 

It’s also ok to feel fear (or anger or frustration or confusion). And it’s good...

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The Grace to Abide

Mar 11, 2020

In our work, we interact with a lot of weary leaders. They began in the work of God with great passion and enthusiasm, but sometimes the work has begun to feel burdensome and even overwhelming. How does this happen? 

There are a few classic authors I return to often. One is Andrew Murray, who was a late 19th and early 20th century South African pastor and author. This passage from Abide in Christ speaks powerfully to my tired friends: 

“The idea they have of grace is...

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Just a Pile of Rocks

Mar 04, 2020

The image below may look like just a pile of rocks to you. But, to me, it represents a bowlful of treasured memories created with my dad.

Hiking in the woods, fishing in the river, a vacation spot…these were all places where we would pick up a rock or two and add it to our collection. We’d then make a plan, purchase the materials and load up our rock polisher to turn these stones into shiny jewels.

So special was this pile of rocks to me that I would invite visitors to our home...

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Do It Again!

Feb 19, 2020

In my childhood, during the summertime, friends and family members would spend their vacations with us at our country home in rural Washington. In addition to some great catching-up time, we would include visits to a standard set of local sites: Multnomah Falls, Beacon Rock, the fish hatchery, The Bridge of the Gods, and Dugan Falls.

 

As we made our way along, we would always take our friends to eat at a restaurant called “The Char Burger.” At the time, I thought it was...

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Rejoicing About or Rejoicing In?

Feb 05, 2020

When I was a young Christian attending a Baptist church that was about 20 minutes away from the home I grew up in, I decided I wanted to make good use of that regular drive. (I was on youth staff, so I ended up at the church multiple times a week). 

I decided to memorize the book of Philippians. This was the early 1980s, so I wrote out the whole book onto a series of 3x5 cards. I would rehearse those lines card by card until they became familiar and repeatable. Once I’d got to the...

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Meeting God in the Morning

Jan 29, 2020

In my early years as a new Christian, the virtues of a morning quiet time were often emphasized by my pastors and spiritual leaders. It became a very meaningful practice for me. Recently, I’ve often heard people reacting to this practice, feeling that it’s a rote activity without much depth.

As I sat to write this week’s post, I had a few ideas about what has been meaningful for me in my morning meeting with God these days. (And meeting with God midday, evening or midnight...

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Love People

Jan 22, 2020

As I’ve been leaning into the new year, one of the themes that has emerged for me is love. Specifically, love people

For insight and wisdom into love, what better passage to turn to than 1 Corinthians 13? Last week, I took some time in my journal to type up the simple phrases from verses 4-7. We’ll get to that in a minute. But first…

In Peterson’s Message version of verses 1-3, it says that without love we are:

  • The creaking of a rusty gate.
  • Nothing.
  • Bankrupt.
  • ...
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Love Displaces Fear

Jan 15, 2020

A new year has begun. A new decade is here. I’ll turn 59 this year. Part of me still feels thirty-something inside, but my body reminds me more and more often that I really am in my late fifties. 

Aging sometimes makes me nervous, even fearful. There’s a far better chance that I’m in two-thirds life rather than midlife at this point. (There’s always the thin chance that I’ll end up breaking the world record for longevity!).

But you know what the good news is...

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Book Review: The Soul of Wine

Jan 10, 2020

Forty years ago, in my early years as a new Christian, I found myself in a Christian tradition that preached the virtues of avoiding drinking alcohol in any form—wine, beer and certainly strong spirits. The usual reasons were given: the dangers of addiction, the desire to avoid tempting those among us who may have had a leaning towards addiction, and such.

Today, I find myself an Anglican priest who is honored to occasionally preside over the Lord’s Table in which we use real wine...

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