Tags: faith

Applying for Heaven

We endure application forms for credit cards, employment, life insurance, and driver’s licenses. We fill them out when applying for tax credits, college entrance, and passports. Sometimes they are required when applying for church membership. So let’s push the idea of applications to another level. Think about what it might mean to fill out papers […]

Children and Disciples

Is there a difference between being born into the family of God and becoming a disciple (student) of Jesus? Or are these just two different ways of describing what it means to come into the family and kingdom of God? The way we answer this question will determine how we interpret the New Testament, and […]

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 […]

Jerusalem Assignment

Wasn’t able to post something on arrival last night in Jerusalem, but did get a picture of a new section of “the holy city,” at night, out of my hotel window. The 10 hour flight from Newark to Tel Aviv was long but uneventful (except that the plane’s video system wasn’t working :-). Even caught […]

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 […]

Does Anyone Have Faith to Move a Mountain?

Jesus said that by faith his disciples could move trees and even mountains (Luke 17:5; Mark 11:22-23). His words remind us of other things we find in the Bible. If we start with Genesis and read through to Revelation, we see some pretty amazing miracles. Moses lifts a stick, and the Red Sea parts. The […]

Word Puzzles

To love well, we must also learn to hate. Some of what we hate, we must learn to love. Much of what comes easy will be difficult to endure. Some of what comes with work will give us rest. Riches are discovered in seeing our real poverty. Safety in a place of risk. More in […]

The Logic of Intercession

I don’t like to think about how many times I’ve told someone “I’ll be praying for you,” before only following through in a token way. And when I have prayed repeatedly for those I really care about– with no apparent results– I sometimes wonder why I don’t seem to be able to touch the heart […]

Living by Polls and Numbers

In the middle of an election year, with gas prices rising, the market falling, and the human costs of war constantly on our mind, I’ve been thinking of how inclined I am to live by the numbers. In so many ways numbers, statistics, and polls can be deceiving. On one hand, we need to measure […]

Political or Prophetic?

I grew up in the Midwest during the 1950s and got my introduction to the civil rights movement on a small black and white television set. But I don’t ever remember hearing a word in church about the plight of Southern African Americans. In my world, “conservative” churches stood for the gospel of Christ’s death […]

Caesar and Christ

It’s tax day in Rome. Caesar slouches back in his chair and says to his advisors, “I don’t have much patience with these Christians. They’re so absorbed with their “phantom king” I’m not sure we can keep them under our thumb. Yeh, most of them pay their taxes, but only because “he” tells them to. […]

Snoopy and God

FOR 50 YEARS, cartoonist Charles Schulz gave us pictures of ourselves wrapped in a smile. One of the last strips I clipped from our Sunday paper showed Snoopy the dog sitting on top of his doghouse with a typewriter, writing about his life. He titled his story . . . The Dog Who Never Did […]

The Unfairness of it All

There are reasons so many of us struggle to “forgive” a God who seems to have wronged us. The life he gave us isn’t fair. Helpless children suffer for their parents’ mistakes. Some who work hard are cut down prematurely by accident or disease. Others who hardly work at all inherit the wealth of someone […]

One Man's Anger

I don’t know of anyone who would say that God has broken his own rules. But neither do I know anyone who hasn’t had issues with God. As a number of us have already acknowledged, when we talk about our struggle to “forgive God” we don’t really mean we think God has sinned against us. […]

Forgiving God

My guess is that the idea of forgiving God could sound irreverent. I also know, however, that for some of us it’s a struggle that is real– even if that makes us morally and spiritually suspect. Because of terrible things that have happened to us, we are angry, embittered, and beside ourselves in disappointment with […]

Miracles

Have you ever seen someone go into a healing meeting with a withered arm or leg, and come out whole? Have you ever seen someone go to a miracle healer with advanced Parkinsons’, a cleft palate, or a prosthesis of any kind and come out completely and totally healed? Now, don’t get me wrong. I […]

Resurrection Living

I remember, years ago, talking to a Christian counselor who told me he’s convinced that, as a church, we have done a far better job understanding Christ’s death for us, than we have understood the implications of his resurrection. He went on to say that while he believes our reliance upon Jesus’ sacrificial death for […]

Hopeful?

Without hope no one can live. Yet, hope can be cruel. Solomon reminds us that, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov 13:8). So much of our unhappiness is the result of thinking we are going to get something better than we end up with. Yet no one will argue that disappointment and despair are […]

Disillusioned?

Why do you think so many followers of Christ start strong and then become disillusioned over time? Or maybe I shouldn’t assume that’s what you’ve seen. Maybe I should ask you a more balanced question. Is it your hunch that most people who begin strong end up being as hopeful, as warm hearted, and as […]

Imponderables (2nd of 3)

In my last post, I ended saying that the Bible introduces us to a God who makes no effort to answer questions that feel at times like they are driving us to the breaking point. Instead he gradually leads us to conclude that only when we have exhausted the limits of our own reason can […]

What I Can’t Do (3rd of 3)

In my last post, I talked about some specific examples of things I can’t do regardless of how much faith I have in God, myself, or anyone else. Let me give you a couple more examples and see if we can come to terms with what we can’t do: In addition to all of the […]

What I Can’t Do (2nd of 3)

In my last post, I talked about believing that we can be or do anything God wants us to be or do, but that I am also sobered by the awareness of what I can’t do. Let me give you some examples: I am troubled by the fact that I cannot control my circumstances. I […]

What I Can’t Do (1st of 3)

Over the years, I’ve reminded myself that, with God’s help, I can do anything God wants me to do, say anything he wants me to say, and go any place he wants me to go. In spite of some setbacks along the way, those convictions have not changed. I still believe a thousand demons with […]

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