Archive for the 'Ideas to think about' Category

(Posts Archive)

What is the Calendar Telling Us?

If you want to spend your time with a complicated study try doing some research on calendars and dating systems. The details of how various cultures have tried to keep a record of time while making adjustments for lunar or solar cycles is mind bending. Natural new beginnings— One thing that seems clear is that […]

Mysterious Prophecies and Fulfillments

In the eighth century before the birth of Jesus, the Jewish prophet Micah predicted, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). Then there are […]

Slipping and Sliding Toward a White Christmas

With the weather forecast calling for more snow and near blizzard conditions for later in the day, a local weather forecaster says that only a collision with the sun will keep it from being a white Christmas in West Michigan this year. So far, December has seemed more like January or early February around here. […]

A Christmas Story (5 of 5)

Who hasn’t been frustrated trying to find the perfect Christmas gift? So why bother? Probably for any number of reasons… none of which is more important than giving out of a heart that is once again being warmed by the true meaning of the Christmas story. The Gifts of the King Continued from Christmas Morning […]

A Christmas Story (4 of 5)

Sometimes the best thing about Christmas is the anticipation. When the day actually comes, it passes all too quickly … often leaving warm memories mingled with unrealized hopes and let down. The real Christmas story follows a similar pattern… Continued from Children Waiting Finally Here! After 400 long years, the silence was broken by unkind […]

And on Earth Peace, Goodwill…

Over the years, the ethnic relatives of Jesus have not been the only ones to ask, “If Yeshua was the Messiah, where is the peace he was supposed to bring? The prophet Isaiah clearly predicted that in the days of the promised King, ‘They will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning […]

A Christmas Story (3 of 5)

Do you remember how hard it was, as a child, to wait for Christmas? Our parents told us to be good, as if being good as children was possible. Hopes and fears raced through our minds as time slowed to a crawl. Continued from, Freedom to Choose… Children Waiting When the king came looking for […]

A Christmas Story (2 of 5)

One of the ironies of a modern Christmas is that gifts around a tree are at the center of our celebration of an ancient story… a story that begins and ends with a tree-centered gift of immortality (Genesis 1-3; Revelation 22:1-3) Continued from,  In the Beginning… Freedom to Choose Hiding in the shadows, a rebel […]

A Christmas Story (1 of 5)

All over the world the story is being told. Around a campfire on the African Savannah, under the star filled skies of the Australian Outback, in the storefronts and meeting halls of Asian and American cities, gravely voices rise and fall with emotion, telling the oldest of stories, phrase by phrase, once again… as if […]

The Missing Script of Application

In a provocative article called “How Can the Bible be Authoritative?,” New Testament Scholar and Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright, discusses a problem that many of us have wondered about. In short, the question he raises sounds like this: If the Bible is a God-breathed story written to people living in another time and culture, […]

What About Women Elders?

Seems to me that if appointing anyone to the church office of elder or deacon– man or woman– would significantly divide the church over whether such an appointment was forbidden by the Bible, the better part of wisdom is to avoid such action until the church can act with unity. The New Testament is clear […]

Men, Women and the Bible

The conversation we began yesterday about women and the Bible shows how many of us are trying to understand the intent of God for gender-based roles in the home and church. Together we have seen how followers of Christ divide over the interpretation and application of statements made by the Apostles Paul and Peter in […]

Entitlement and the Holiday

Started thinking that entitlement and thanksgiving are mutually exclusive, and that what’s at risk, if I don’t see the difference, is not only a heartless holiday, but also a shrinking spirituality. Then the most basic Google search gives me definitions that complicate my thoughts. For openers, I find, “The state of meeting the applicable requirements […]

Auto CEOs and Labor

As CEOs from Detroit’s Big Three appealed to Congress for government relief, a friend sent me a link to a short 3 and 1/2 minute piece of video journalism by the Detroit News. What I found was a compelling story about one of the most sophisticated and efficiently run car manufacturing plants in the world. […]

Yogurt, Yeast, and the Bible

Made a batch of yogurt this morning. At least I think I did. Packed away a gallon of brew in a couple of thermal containers and will wait now for about 30 hours to find out if the little animals multiplied. The long wait is because I like yogurt extra sour. I’ve had it that […]

A Team of Rivals

By showing their regard for Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, President-elect Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton have reminded us that, in the face of shared need, former enemies can come together around a cause far greater than themselves. Nowhere, however, do I find a nobler expression of […]

What Does it Mean to Live by Faith?

Everyone has faith in something. But the author of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews has a specific kind of faith in view when he writes, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of those who […]

Doing Ministry in a Business-like Way?

Well, after having second thoughts about this post early this morning, I’ve tried to take another approach to it. I doubt that I’ve got it right yet, but would be interested to hear some discussion. Some of us believe ministry and business are mutually exclusive. I’ve seen the sincerity in the eyes of those who […]

What Matters Now

Am beginning the day with this thought: Those of us who have found life in Christ, and who can speak and write gratefully about our BC/AD story have a big challenge today. On one hand we have discovered that– by nothing more than entrusting ourselves to what Jesus did for us– he has settled forever […]

BC and AD

The man from Gadara was in bad shape. Naked, out of his mind, and living in a graveyard, he was so out of control that he broke the chains of those who tried to restrain him. Yet, what really tormented him was the thought of being approached by Jesus (Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28). In Gadara […]

Sodom and the Rest of the Story

There is more to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah than is commonly known. The prophet Ezekiel and Jesus combine to add some important details to our understanding of these ancient Dead Sea communities. The Rest of the Story–In the 16th chapter of Ezekiel, the prophet doesn’t emphasize the violence and sexual behaviors for which […]

What Do Evangelicals Really Want?

What if followers of Jesus won every election for leadership and public policy? What if, in the process, we collectively earned a reputation for being a decent and honest people? What if we were universally regarded, not as self-righteous, money-loving, hypocrites, but as faithful, sincere advocates of personal and social morality? What if all of […]

Jesus but not Paul?

I had a discussion with a friend over lunch the other day that got pretty intense. We’ve had these kinds of conversations before and have always ended up parting with a smile and looking forward to the next time. This day was no different, except that, looking back, we came closer to being farther away […]

Vote today for. . .

A friend sent me a note reminding me to “Vote for… [name omitted].” The truth is that my friend and I are voting for different candidates in this election. So was he pulling my chain in telling me who to vote for? Yes. But, actually he didn’t name a candidate. He said, “Vote for [someone […]

This Election and Emerging Churches

Seems to me that this season of cutthroat politics gives us a way of looking at how some of us are handling our opinions about “the emerging church” issue. All too often we have seen opposing parties put the worst possible face on the other side. Over and over we have seen both sides look […]

A Conversation About Faith and Economic Uncertainty continued…

I’ve been deeply moved, as have many others, by reading your personal responses to the post on “Personal Economics and Uncertainties,” Here’s one I thought I’d bring forward, as a post. innkeeper says: With the colorful foliage falling down in rural Maine, the deepset poverty and desperation is visible just driving down most roads. Mile […]

Emerging Problems

In my last post I listed a number of ways that some followers of Christ are trying to do church differently than their parents’ generation. But the pendulum of change often swings from one extreme to another and reactions can  result in over-correction. For that reason, and because we’ve already acknowledged some of the problems that […]

An Emerging Church

Over the past decade there has been growing controversy about “a new way of doing church.” The debate has been generational in nature. Many of our sons and daughters are forming or joining congregations that don’t look or sound like our kind of church.  Yet, they are likely to tell us that they are just […]

Where are we Going and Who Can we Trust?

It’s Saturday and a cool rain is falling in West Michigan. Not supposed to get over 50 degrees F. Leaves are turning and dropping. Sort of happy they are too wet and heavy to rake today. Big 10 football game this afternoon. This year’s underdog University of Michigan plays rival Michigan State. But for the […]

This is a Football

According to an often repeated story, legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, once expressed his frustration by stopping practice and saying to his Green Bay Packer professionals something like, “Let’s start at the beginning. This is a football. These are the yard markers. I’m the coach. You are the players.” (Although I haven’t been able to […]

Bi-Partisan Citizenship and Communion

One of the most memorable church services I ever attended was a communion service preceded by a message on a controversial war. A young pastor began by honoring those members of the congregation who had family members or friends serving in our country’s military. Then he paid an equal tribute to those within the church […]

Coney Wise

The hyrax (also called a coney or rock badger) is a rodent-like creature mentioned at least four times in the Bible and still common in certain regions of Africa and the Middle East. I caught a picture of this one a few years ago while visiting En-Gedi on the western Shore of the Dead Sea. […]

A Political What-if?

What if everyone who confessed to being a follower of Christ would agree to, and then to comply with, the following terms of political engagement? To avoid denying our citizenship in the kingdom of God, and to reflect well on the real Leader of our lives, We will be so committed to truth telling that […]

Sukkot and the Holidays of God

Today, on the 15th of October, 2008, Jewish people around the world are celebrating Sukkot (the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles). Once again a nation is remembering how God provided for ancestors under the severe conditions of a barren wilderness. For the people of Israel, this seventh and last of an annual cycle of Jewish […]

Would 12 Apostles Take 12 Steps?

In my last post I referred to #4 of 12 Step Recovery that says, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Then I used Paul’s letter to the Romans as a basis for some soul searching. In the process of taking my own inventory, I sensed again why 12 Step Recovery has been […]

Taking Inventory

Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” And Step Four of 12 Step Recovery talks about making “a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Both resonate with the wisdom of Jesus. So, if we haven’t already been doing so, how different would our lives be if, once a week, we asked our […]

Inclusion and Exclusion

Years ago I saw a colorful poster that said: “Jesus of Nazareth requests the pleasure of your company at a dinner to be given in his honor.” The fact that the poster hung in a public place seemed so appropriate. The Jesus of the New Testament offered his friendship to everyone (John 3:16). But it’s […]


With global markets sliding, banks failing, and personal questions about employment, retirement accounts, and home mortgages multiplying, it’s not surprising that many of us have been worrying more than usual. Sometimes my thoughts echo the person who said, “If you’re not worried, you don’t know what’s happening.” On the other hand, we’ve all found that […]

Underdogs and Overcomers

Long before the “miracle on ice” in which the 1980 United States hockey team beat the powerful Soviet Olympic machine, there was David and Goliath. The Bible gets a lot of its reputation from the stories of little people who won against big odds. But what if we are one of the countless underdogs who […]


Long before Jesus entered our world in the body of a Jewish infant, he left his fingerprints and signature all over monarch butterflies, horses, oak trees and salamanders. Ages before Jesus turned water into wine and spoke peace to the churning waters of Galilee, he painted color, life, and ecological balance into a stunning interdependence […]

Are They Afraid of Us

While visiting some of our co-workers outside of the US, I had an experience this week that I assumed was similar to what I’ve had traveling in the States. Woke up in the middle of the night to hear pounding on hotel room doors. Heard voices moving quickly up and down the hall. But couldn’t […]

A Maze n Grace

Life can seem like a maze. Within its walls we have limited vision, and choices that sometimes seem to go nowhere. In narrow passages that make us long for wide open places, we often have more than we need and less than we desire. Sometimes our choices take us in a circle, or to one […]

Our Response to the Promise

Jesus used the promise of his return to comfort his friends and to warn his enemies. On that his followers agree. It is at this point, however, that the Body of Christ divides over several prophetic scenarios. While many of us disagree among ourselves about whether current events are setting the stage for what Jesus […]

What About The Promise?

Only hours before his death, Jesus told his followers that he was leaving them. Then he said, “Let not your heart be troubled . . . . I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). Years later, a follower of Christ by the […]

Roots and Wings

Someone has said that wise parents give their children two lasting things: (1) roots and (2) wings. I’ve noticed over the years that our Father in heaven seems to follow a similar pattern with us. As time goes on, he “carries” us differently in our spiritual adolescence and adulthood  than He did in our infancy. […]

Jesus and the Fed

Last Wednesday, the front page of our local newspaper declared, “In the Fed we Trust…bailout of insurance giant aims to stabilize quaking global economy.” Then came the bad news. Behind closed doors, Washington lawmakers got enough of a wake-up call to prompt a rare bi-partisan agreement. All said that without urgent Federal intervention, national and […]

Outside the Book Thinking

One of the best teachers I’ve ever had likes to say, “Something is not true because it’s in the Bible. It’s in the Bible because it’s true. My first impulse was to reject the idea. It seemed like a subtle insult to the best measure of truth we have. After all, I thought, in my […]

Why We Disagree About Forgiveness

For the last couple of days, we’ve had a healthy, though difficult, discussion about whether forgiveness is meant to be conditional or unconditional. Not surprisingly, along the way, we’ve agreed and disagreed. There are good reasons for the push and pull of our conversation. Sometimes the Bible, itself, calls for forgiveness based on a change […]

To Forgive or Not

Yesterday, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered recognized the 45th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It was on Sunday morning, September 15, 1963 that Christopher McNair and his wife Maxine lost their 11 year old daughter, Denise, in the blast that also took the lives of three […]

Envy and the Jealousy of God

Envy is not always bad. But it can be evil. In the best sense it’s a desire for  the good qualities we see in others. In the worst sense it’s a desire to see others deprived of their joy. says, “Aristotle in Rhetoric defined envy “as the pain caused by the good fortune of […]

Jesus and Tolerance

Someone has said, “Wise are those who look at others with the same generosity they offer themselves, and, at themselves, with the same critical eye they have for others.” Such advice is difficult to disagree with because it amounts to treating others the way we’d want to be treated. But just because the “golden rule” […]

On the Seventh Anniversary of 9/11/2001

Most of us remember where we were when we first heard that a commercial airliner had crashed into one of the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. Today we reflect, as best we can, on the immeasurable pain of those who lost one of the 2751 victims from 90 countries. We remember the […]

Countdown to the Experiment Looking for Big Bang Results

Today is the day that science news services have been anticipating. For months they’ve been describing the excitement and fear surrounding the firing up of the world’s largest atom smasher– in yet another effort to unlock the secrets of the universe. 10,000 scientists are involved in the 10 billion dollar, 17 mile underground particle generator […]

Dad's Favorite Poem

I remember hearing my dad read this poem. He thought enough of it to have it framed on his office wall. Over the years, I’ve realized that it’s part of a legacy for which I’m deeply grateful. It was written by a 19th century Scottish minister. Certainly not high brow stuff. But seems to me […]

Some What-ifs of Marriage

Over the years I’ve concluded that seeing “headship” in marriage as a basis for the authority of a husband to tell his wife what to do says more about the customs of fallen culture than it does about what the God of the Bible wants for us. My last post is an attempt to explain […]

Who’s in Charge? Or, Who Cares?

Seems to me that “headship in marriage” remains one of the most misunderstood principles of the Bible. On one hand, the Bible predicts that along with the curse of weeds, burdensome work, multiplied pain in childbirth, and death– husbands will dominate their wives (Gen 3:15). The same Bible acknowledges that under the fallen conditions of […]

Jesus on Peace and Conflict

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” (Matt 5:9). So why did the Teacher from Nazareth say on another occasion, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one […]

Labor Day and Gustav

On this long Labor Day weekend, many of us have mixed feelings not only because another summer vacation season is slipping away from us, and not only because it will now be back to school, and business as usual– but because of a churning monster named Gustav. Seems like cruel irony that while the rest […]

How to Find Unity in the Bible

A few months ago I did a couple of posts on whether the implications we see in the Bible are: (1) necessary, (2) probable, (3) possible, (4) improbable or, (5) impossible implications. I mentioned that I learned this from Haddon Robinson who, from his years of experience as a pastor, seminary professor, and mentor to […]

A Prayer for the End of the Day

“Our Father, At the end of another day, we come to you not just by ourselves– but together. Many of us will readily admit that you have given us again today far more than we deserve. But some of us find ourselves reeling with news that we have not yet been able to understand or […]

Waiting in Line

Few of us enjoy waiting in line. We probably like even less the pushing and shoving that happens when lines don’t form. So does that mean that when we are stuck in a line, we have no choice but to wait? In far more extreme conditions, Victor Frankl learned something about the options that are […]

Conversations in an Empty Warehouse

Yesterday I mentioned that we are working on some video and web-based programs that tell the stories of some courageous men who have been willing to talk about their escape from pornography. The men told their stories in an empty warehouse that provides a visual backdrop for the lonely, secret obsession that had been consuming […]

Doctors, Insurance, and Pornography

To move ahead– without forgetting what we were saying to one another in the discussion about what God uses to open our hearts— I’m going to pick up our conversation here… In response to an expressed concern that I’ve been putting to much value on sources outside of the Word of God (i.e books, doctors, […]

Subs are Subs Forever

My son and his wife asked us if we’d stop by their house and let out the dogs while they were out of town. We were happy to. Just one problem. They had recently gotten a new dog, a large bulldog that I had only met once. When I got to the house, he didn’t […]

The Shack

Because of the problem of pain and evil that raises disturbing questions about the God of the Bible, I thought it might be a good time to talk about “The Shack”. Finally read the 248 page paperback that so many are talking about. In the meantime I’ve been seeing reviews that go from likening it […]

What Michael Phelps Needed

Now we know. Michael Phelps has made believers out of us. His hope of breaking Mark Spitz’s 1972 Olympic record of seven gold medals was not just hype. But as impressed as I am by his dominance of Olympic waters, and his endurance of swimming 17 races in 9 days, what Michael repeatedly acknowledged in […]

Government and Kingdom Ministries

In many regions of the world “ministers” are public servants. Their civil “ministry” is to act in behalf of a government department that operates from a building that in turn is referred to as “the Ministry”. Kurdistan has a Ministry of Justice. India has a Ministry of Environment and Forests. Thailand has a Ministry of […]

The Importance of Your Work

An unknown person has quipped, “The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television.” Robert Frost said, “The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” Then there’s Robert Benchley who is remembered […]

Wounded Pride

Self-directed anger. Fear of failure, rejection and loss. Dissatisfaction. Envy. Like an orchestra of untuned instruments, the noisy emotions of wounded pride refuse to be comforted. In the dark halls and back rooms of our hearts, angry feelings slam doors, break windows, raise voices, and start arguments. Feelings of not being able to measure up […]

Judging the Truth, Ourselves and Others

Someone has said, “Wise are those who look at others with the same generosity they offer themselves, and who look at themselves with the same critical eye they have for others.” Yet as balanced and insightful as that quote is, it is not the whole story. Questions remain, especially for those of us who want […]

Black, White, and Grayscale

Some of us tend to think in terms of black-and-white, clear-cut categories. To us, a statement or a conclusion is either true or false. Others are more likely to see how the same statement might be either true or false depending on the circumstances. Some of us work from a truth model which might say, […]

Olympics, National Elections, and Heaven

In this Olympic and election year, I’ve been thinking again about the way competition surfaces in every area of our lives. It shows up not only in sports, but in education, business, and science. Media networks compete for ratings, religious groups for our minds and hearts, politicians for our votes, and companies for our money. […]

Galaxies, Atoms, and Hair Counts

Astronomers tell us that our galaxy is home not only to our own sun and its family of planets, but to billions of other stars. They further explain that our disk-shaped galaxy is about 100,000 light-years wide and about 2,000 light-years thick. Even more amazing is their claim that this “cosmic disk” (itself made up […]

Laughing til it Hurts

On a wall in our kitchen and dining room area hangs a painted board that says, “Live Simply, Laugh Often, Love Deeply.” Unfortunately, a sign on the wall doesn’t assure that those who live under it will follow it’s counsel. But this week, at least some of these words to live by seem especially appropriate […]

The Sufficiency Debate

I appreciate so much all who have weighed in on my “Pastors and Counselors” post. It’s apparent that this is an issue that touches deep nerves of emotional pain and spiritual conviction. Since my last comment, I’ve gone back and found something that I wrote ten years ago. If you are inclined, and have time […]


The spirit of the age is tolerance. Its counsel is predictable: Keep your options open. Don’t limit yourself. Play the field. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Keep an open mind. Never say never. Don’t lock yourself in. Hedge your bets. Be flexible. Don’t be rigid. Don’t be a fundamentalist.” Fundamentalism is regarded […]

Pastors and Counselors

A man, much my senior, and someone I consider especially wise, once reminded me that followers of Christ “are called to be “saints”, but not necessarily “sane”. Looking back, I believe his provocative comment reflects the complexity of life in this broken world. The few words that stuck in my mind seem to reflect the […]

That Question I Couldn't Answer

I mentioned in my last post that, according to an online encyclopedia, only 15 percent of the Singapore population is Christian. I’ve since learned that those numbers are based on a 2000 census that some here in Singapore believe underestimates the number of practicing Christians. The problem is that the census assumes that if a […]

A Declaration of Dependence

Manifestos declare revolutionary ideas. The Communist Manifesto of 1848 called for the redistribution of wealth. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517 affirmed salvation by faith alone, and the 13 colonies’ Declaration of Independence in 1776 made a case for citizens’ right of revolt. The most revolutionary declaration of all, however, was the first-century preamble to […]

Power Down

Was our turn to get hit with a strong line of thunderstorms moving across Lake Michigan. Power went down at the house yesterday afternoon about the time a bolt of lightning ripped the bark off of a neighbor’s tree. Got a generator running to keep the sump pump going in our downstairs. First time I’ve […]

Soft Answers, Volume, and Motive

Am guessing that a lot of us admire the person who can use humor, thoughtfulness, or a self-deprecating comment to defuse the tension of an angry moment. Maybe that’s why I’ve become so intrigued with the proverb that says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). I’m […]

Response to a Good Natured Challenge

Overnight we got a tongue-in-cheek comment/question from a friend in the UK.  It came in the form of a fairly long note, but raises an important question. So I’m going to copy the comment here, break it after a few lines, and then let you read and respond to the rest of the comment. The […]

Pendulum Riders

One of the characteristics of our human nature is that we spend a lot of time reacting to, and trying to distance ourselves from, the sins of our fathers. As we react, it is as though we were jumping up and grabbing a great pendulum as it swings away in the opposite direction. In the […]

People Watching

An article in the New York Times says that “People-watching is to New York City what vista-gazing is to the Grand Canyon.” It suggests riding a subway from one end to the other to… “Watch the ethnicities change, and the reading material – from Bibles to library studies textbooks to ethnic newspapers. Are the smilers […]

A Time to be Quiet

Was ready for the return flight from Tel Aviv to the US, even though any trip to the land of the Bible seems like an undeserved chance of a lifetime for me. Once home, was also more tired than usual. After a week of fighting a “travelers’ bug” and working under a hot, June, Israeli […]

The Holocaust

I’m traveling today to Jerusalem to work with our Day of Discovery team on a new series of “land of the Bible” programs. As I prepare to leave I’m reminded of some thoughts I had after returning from a similar assignment a couple of years ago. What I wrote is a bit long for a […]

Ramblings of a Recovering Idol Maker

What do I need to hear again today? My guess is that it’s something like– Get knowledge–but don’t depend on your knowledge. Seek to be wise-But don’t depend on wisdom. Work hard–but don’t depend on hard work. Work smart-But don’t ever depend on your own cleverness and efficiency. Make plans. But don’t depend on plans. […]

The Voting Booth

As the last two US Democratic primaries are held today in South Dakota and Montana, I’ve been thinking again about the different ways followers of Christ enter a voting booth. During the course of this lengthy election process, with far more to come, it’s been clear that some of us believe we have an obligation […]

Jerusalem Day 2008

Today (June 2, 2008) is Jerusalem Day in Israel. With parades in the streets and prayers in synagogues, Jewish citizens will celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967. Jerusalem remains, however, a contested city. Palestinians believe that East Jerusalem, including the holy site now occupied by the Al Aksa Mosque […]

Where Do We Find Ourselves?

A man flying in a hot air balloon realizes he is lost. He reduces his altitude and spots a man in a field down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?” The man below says, “Yes, you’re in a hot air balloon, about 30 feet […]

What About Praying to Pray?

No one said prayer would be easy. But had I missed the obvious? I didn’t want to repeat myself over and over like a child that won’t take “no” or “wait” for an answer. So how are we supposed to come before the Father in a meaningful way, when prayer is something we have done […]

The Value of a Person

Until I saw it, I didn’t realize that much of Israel’s Mount of Olives is a cemetery. Here, those who remember the dead place a stone of remembrance on top of their loved one’s grave. Today, in America, we use this Memorial Day to honor those who have lost their lives fighting for our country. […]

Already But Not Yet

The phrase sounds self-contradictory. But I think it helps to capture what the Bible tells us about the forgiving rescue and kingdom of God. Many of us would say that we already know Christ, but not yet as we will in the future. The Apostle Paul teaches us to think this way in his famous […]

Who Gets into the Kingdom of God?

Like Jesus, the Apostle Paul sets high standards for entering the kingdom of God. In his first letter to the Corinthians he writes: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of […]

Jerusalem and Sodom

None of us can afford to call good bad, or bad good. The prophet Isaiah says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and […]

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