Between a Rock and a Pile of Sand

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A few years ago we decided to renovate our kitchen and family room.  As the work began we noticed a slight warping in the kitchen floor.  We went under the house to see if we could diagnose the problem. Sure enough, we found a large support beam with a crack …

Holy Rest

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The Ten Commandments seem to pop up in the culture every now and then. There have been legal and religious fights over putting them on display in a courthouse or on the lawn in front of the court or in schools or, well, whatever.  It all gets rather boring. I’ve  …

Practicing Faith

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I practice prayer.  At times I find it dull and boring. Sometimes it feels like a terrible waste of time. After all, there are emails to answer and phone calls to make and meetings to attend and memos to write.  But I do it anyway because I have found that …

When Life Is Difficult

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Peter wrote to the early church, “rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.” I do not normally put rejoice and suffering in the same sentence.  But there is a serious lesson …

Embodied Forgiveness

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Theologian Stanley Hauerwas writes, “The work of Jesus was not a new set of ideals or principles for reforming or even revolutionizing society, but the establishment of a new community, a people that embodied forgiveness, sharing and self sacrificing love in its rituals and discipline.  In that sense the visible …

Summer Doubts

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I love the summer.  When I was a kid summer was for playing baseball with my buddies, hanging out at the beach or just sitting around in the evening watching the Giants beat the Dodgers (that didn’t really happen very often back then). Save The long days of summer also …

Summer Reading

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Summer means vacations, lots of ice tea, time at the neighborhood pool and the chance to read more than usual. Here are a few of the books on my reading list for the next three months. Disciples and the Bible, M Eugene Boring. This will be a great way to …

Sin Boldly!

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A young man visited the great theologian, Martin Luther.  This man was worried that he may be committing a sin without knowing it.  He was concerned that he may be sent to eternal fire for something he didn’t even realize he was doing wrong. This poor guy had almost no …

You’ll Love What You Hear

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While on retreat a few weeks ago with a group known as The Desert Brothers one of the guys showed the rest of us an ad from a magazine.  It was a promo piece for Bose earphones.  The ad said: you’ll love what you hearand what you don’t. Excitedly he …

When God Moves In

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Elizabeth Weil observes what is happening in the world of young people.  In order to get ready for these new days she writes, “Prepare to feel obsolete. It’s the first step to moving ahead.” The first time I read that I put a question mark in the margin.  The next …

I'm Making 3 Stewardship Pledges

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A friend of mine in ministry was leading a stewardship campaign. He told his congregation about the studies of Elizabeth Kubler Ross. She was a trailblazer in the study of how people die. Some of her work seems simple now but she was a pioneer. When she reviewed the thousands …

After Easter

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Easter asks us to name what we worry about and bring it to God. Easter asks us to face the things that we are afraid of the most (like death and taxes!) and place them on a cross shaped altar.  Easter says “forget about being in control and give yourself …

We Take the Bible Seriously, Not Literally

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The Bible is an amazing collection of writings.  They were collected over hundreds of years.  Reading the Bible thoughtfully reveals that there is a wide variety of styles and forms within this sacred treasury.  One can find history, poetry, hymns, letters, sermons, legal documents, and more.  Within the books themselves …

Rich Toward God

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Have you heard the story of a man who is dying at home in bed? He could smell the aroma of chocolate chip cookies – his favorite – baking in the kitchen. He was on his death bed but he wanted just one more cookie before he died. He crawled …

Temptation, Sin and Holy Laughter

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My friend Russell, a preacher, says that every one of us deals, every moment of every day, with great temptation. That temptation is hurting us; that temptation is killing the church. The temptation he is talking about is probably not what you might think. The temptation he has in mind …