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Week of March 29, 2021

Monday, March 29, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                One could say that no week in one’s life is any more important than any other week, but the week before us could be different.  There are times and seasons rooted in the scriptures that seem to set us up as followers of Jesus to naturally open the aperture of our minds and hearts to something more.  I wonder if with the disciples that a year after the first Holy Week if they spent any time reflecting on the previous year.

                In each of the gospels this week’s journey from the two days before the Triumphal Entry to the early morning on the First Day of the week after the Resurrection the account is quite expansive, covering a large part of each gospel writer’s essay.  This week is one of those times that it behooves us to “drill down” into the story and using our God-given ability to place ourselves in the storytelling.

                 The great privilege is to surrender ourselves to the rhythm and sequence of joining Jesus and the disciples in an incredibly unique week in history.  At each place and in each day, you are there if you allow yourself to be.  Use your five senses to participate with Jesus and your fellow disciples.  We have the benefit of being able to sit with what we read.  Let it benefit your spirit.

 

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Week of March 22, 2021

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                Time seems to march on no matter what, does it not.  Here we are only a few days before the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem for the final time.  I wonder what he was thinking and feeling as the scriptures tell us that he had turned his face toward Jerusalem knowing what was about to happen.  In the events before him the astounding statement in a way was that nothing caught him off-guard or by surprise.  Why is it that we are so often “caught off guard” or are surprised by what goes on?

                Learning to live in the “already” and the “not yet” simultaneously seems to me what it looks like to follow Jesus with every step in the journey.  I have a friend who used to introduce worship with the invocation, “Jesus Christ is in this place and anything can happen here.”  Isn’t that the truth of living in the kingdom of heaven here and now?  In the days over these next two weeks in Jesus’ life we are faced with the absolute worst and the absolute best.

                In these days leading up to Maundy Thursday (the upper room incident), Gethsemane, Good Friday, and Resurrection Morning I have been reading the story of eight women in recent history who have been persecuted severely for their faith in Christ.  There is so much history to support the fact that we need to learn how to live in the “already” and the “not yet” and not be surprised by the best and worst rolled up into the one life God has called us to live.  This isn’t heaven yet, nor is it hell.  As someone that I know used to say, “Good is often hard.”

 

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Week of March 15, 2021

Thursday, March 18, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                I wonder why in every season in the church year, prayer is always one of the primary disciplines?  What is it about prayer that seems so central to everything in our lives in relationship to God?  Is it like any human relationship – communication?!  I think that is what is essential with anything that is animate.  It is the difference between all that God created for the sake of relationship.  Is there a reflection on the Genesis statement that animals were created to fill the relational need of man?  Only to find them as inadequate.

                The creation of woman was for fulfilling the image of God as well as to fulfill the relational need of man.  Man was incomplete without woman and the purpose was to be completed in the relational dimension of human existence.  Relationship seems to be everything in the creation of humankind.  Relationship with the Almighty has everything to do with prayer.

                Some have defined prayer as talking to God, put the saints of old have helped us conceive of a much higher role for prayer.  As much if not more prayer is a matter of listening to God.  Throughout the scriptures, prayer has emphasized both if not more on the listening side.  The will of God is central to existence not the will of man.  From Adam through John of Revelations, prayer carries the weight of the relationship that begins with birth and carries on into eternity.

 

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Week of March 8, 2021

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                Repentance as a theme in the Lenten season is probably one of the least appreciated and understood of the Jesus Way.  It is most commonly perceived as confessing sin and feeling bad about it, but is that really what Jesus was calling us to?  You are probably quite aware that the Greek word in the New Testament is metanoia or to change one’s mind about.  That repentance requires so much more from us than sorrowful emotions.

                Repentance is seeing things as they are.  It is not unlike Paul’s word in Romans 12 when he calls us to “sober judgment” or having an accurate judgment of ourselves.  Repentance begins with facing ourselves in truth.  What is the truth about me in thought, word, and deed?  Is it possible that in light of repentance we have been living in denial of what God says about us?  For instance, am I living with false narratives about God, myself, and life in general?

                In that sense repentance is not reserved for the season leading up to “The Day the Revolution Began” to use N.T. Wright’s title.  It is meant to be a way of life in which we are growing aware of falseness within ourselves, both in the sense of unrighteousness as well as distortion within our hearts.  In the Lenten season there is a fresh emphasis to own thoughts, words, and actions that are less than what we were created for and what God says.  Repentance is not my enemy, but my friend.

 

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Week of March 1, 2021

Wednesday, March 03, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                Sacrifice is what this season is about.  These days are all leading up to the price Jesus paid for the forgiveness of sins and what it took to introduce the kingdom life on earth.  The price was sacrificial, it was the laying down His life for ours.  Sacrifice is not understood in our day with deep respect and appreciation, not just on Jesus’ part, but on anyone’s part.  The only sacrifice that has a path in our world is one that would eventually be remunerated, usually with money, power, or prestige.

                I’ve been reading the stories of eight women in history, some in the century behind us and some quite contemporary.  The consistent theme is the theme of sacrifice, sacrifice their faith demanded of them.  I wonder if there is a willingness to sacrifice for the sake of our faith, my faith, your faith?  Or, have we become so weak that we will no longer sacrifice in the face of persecution, easy persecution or life and death persecution?

                The mantra Jesus taught anticipated how his sacrifice would be viewed when He said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  I wonder, is there enough in my faith to merit persecution?  The issue it seems to me is, “Has the quality of my living faith enough to be a threat to the ways of my world?”  Living differently no matter what the difference makes our world uncomfortable.  Is there a difference in our lives, the difference that sacrifice creates, to make my world uncomfortable?  Lent should remind us of that difference.

 

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Week of February 22, 2021

Monday, February 22, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                I did not grow up with any knowledge of the seasons of the church year, so I didn’t know anything about Lent as the 40 days before Easter to give ourselves to enter the last 40 days of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  I did not know what it was to give oneself to “preparation” for the Cross and the Resurrection.  They were just an extra day off from school (Good Friday) and new clothes for Easter morning.  How shallow and cheated my spirituality was.

                Since this past week beginning with Ash Wednesday, we have entered into a sober season that our sin created for Jesus and if I’m going to take my apprenticeship to Jesus seriously wouldn’t I want to be with Him in these days.  The traditional spiritual practices for this season include repentance, fasting, prayer, and alms giving.  I’ve learned that those are good not just for Lent, but as an ordinary part of one’s life in Christ.  But I’m sure there are other disciplines that may also be helpful in this season.

                The point is to “turn our eyes onto Jesus.”  I know it is also a consistent challenge to “always keep Him before us,” but specifically this is the time to focus on the heavy season that we learn to carry His concerns all the way to the Cross in hopes that we will be readied once again to join Him in His heart for redemption, reconciliation, and restoration in our own hearts and for the sake of the whole world.  Look for something that you can attach yourself to that can gain your attention.

 

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Week of February 15, 2021

Monday, February 15, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                The culture hangs onto religiously oriented holidays, but for different reasons.  St. Valentine was known for doing good out of a heart of love, so what can secular culture do with that?  Of course, all that natural man knows is the romantic love between people but lacking a more substantial love as in “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a delight to share romantic love if you have a spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend, but I doubt that we need to be reminded of what we “feel.”

                What might be a greater need is to have a holiday to emphasize, “love your enemy, do good to those that persecute you…”.  I guess that is what sets the Christian faith apart from all others.  Maybe in light of Valentine’s Day we could make space to consider who we think of as “your enemy” and set aside a day to make a list and then consider praying God’s blessing on them one at a time.  What if we were to set aside one day a week to pray for our “list of enemies?!”

                I suspect the reason that we don’t do that is because we doubt that it will change them or us and besides, “we don’t want to.”  We would rather use the negative energy that “enemy” provides to energize our anger or hatred for those persons, rather than invite God to change us and bring transformation in them.  Since we all get exercised about politics and politicians, why not start with them in praying God’s blessing.  That is the “cold water” that we can pour on them while releasing the pent up feelings within us.

 

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Week of February 1, 2021

Monday, February 01, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                What after all is the “good?”  When Paul writes that “all things work together for the good,” what is the “good?”  It seems when we turn to the pages of the Scriptures, “good” takes on an expanded meaning.  If we were the center of the universe instead of God, “good” would have a limited meaning since we are finite creations.  Our finiteness makes “good” to also be finite.

                Like every other quality or virtue God defines the terms.  The amazing (to me) reality is that God always has my good in mind as he works through my mind.  My “good” from an infinite perspective is not necessarily my finite sense of comfort and convenience.  Sometimes it is, but most times not.  As God’s creation I have little natural sense of the eternal.  It has to be revealed to me.  When God says something in His Word as truth the issue for us is trust.

                Am I willing to trust God for his plan for my life (Jer. 29:11)?  It is more difficult for us to trust Him from a distance, than it is to trust Him up close.  Therefore, once again we are faced with what Paul had learned from his desert experience with Yahweh way back in the Arabian desert soon after his conversion.  When he writes this affirmation in Romans 8, he has experiential data to support what he is declaring.  The practice of reflection sets us up for confidence in the truth.  It is not hard to believe when one gathers the evidence.

 

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Week of January 25, 2021

Monday, January 25, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                Facing ourselves in truth is the foundation for personal transformation.  If we give ourselves to an honest openness in dealing with ourselves in the midst of everyday life, we position ourselves in the healthiest way to capture reality.  It gives us the gift of seeing what God is doing in our inner person as well as recognizing needed changes.  Facing ourselves is an exercise that the Holy Spirit is glad to engage in with us taking the lead.

                It seems that it is easier to seek to live out life in Christ by committing to certain principles rather than to live in response to the direct leadership of the Spirit.  In some ways to live by principles is no different than arranging life around the Old Testament law-keeping.  The New Testament provides a testament of the will of God as well, but there is a difference between living out an ethic and living out a living relationship with Almighty God.

                Living by principles leads us to think that we know God’s will in any particular situation.  It is a messier process to “seek his face” to listen to Him, converse with Him, and ask Him for his help in following through personally in an immediate circumstance.  There is a great diversity among people who are “trying to live out Christian principles.” Sometimes those approaches are in conflict with one another.  Our own subjectivity, or ourselves, is the most determining aspect to how we see and then act.  The most effective aspect of living out truth remains, “facing ourselves in truth.”

 

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Week of January 18, 2021

Monday, January 18, 2021
 Weekly Blog

 

“In the world, but not of the world!” It is always easier said than done. The world in which we live has a competitive pull on all of those who belong to Jesus. The “pull” is the tension that exists between the two kingdoms that we live in, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. The challenge is in the fact that we live in a temporal world with the calling of the eternal world. Our vocation is holiness, and our worldly environment is power.

In this season of testing, it is a “refiner’s fire” of sorts. What will be burn off and what will rise to the surface. I hope that you recognize the stressors for what they are. If we choose to listen to the eternal Voice in the midst of the noise, we will benefit if we listen to the noise, we will suffer. This a great time to sort out the voices.

The season we are in is the time to listen for Jesus words to us. This is an ideal time to immerse yourself in what Jesus has said to us in the gospels. I would highly recommend that we devote ourselves to the memorizing of the scriptures and to prayer. How we respond to the chaos around us is dependent on the condition of our inner man.

 

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Week of January 4, 2021

Tuesday, January 05, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                After the cultural holidays how do you approach your days?  For some of us with the reduction of activities we begin to feel the backwash that can lead us down, but in the realm of the kingdom of God what we have before us is the “sacrament of the present moment” which can keep us engaged in the movements of God right in front of us.  One of our challenges is to let God lead us into each day looking for his presence or his direction.

                One of my favorite verses was expressed when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus prayed, “Glorify me Father for I have done what you showed me to do.”  As we enter each day, we can bring that prayer with us.  I’ve learned to pray, “Father show me what you want me to do today.”  There is more than enough agenda in his hands for each day. 

                Part of our spiritual disciplines includes living in light of Jesus’ agenda for our lives as his followers.  That way we can know that each day has enough in itself and we don’t have to depend on the way of our common culture to decide what is of value.  The hard part for our natural egos is to learn to live responsively – responsive to God and his will.

                We often quote Jer. 29:11 as an encouragement, but what is in his promise is the challenge to engage the plans (will) of God each day.  The promise requires our daily participation in those plans.  This is meant to be a very active interactive participation.

 

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Week of December 28, 2020

Tuesday, January 05, 2021
 

Weekly Blog

 

                As I contemplate Advent and Christmas, I know that I used to think of life differently than I do now.  I used to move from event to event, not even season to season.  I see things differently now.  It has become a major mantra to me, slow down, slow down.  As I think about that one of my favorite songs from many years ago is entitled by those words – “slow down.”  The gist of the song is to slow down so that you may encounter the Holy One.                                                                                                                                       It is quite difficult to fully encounter anything or anyone while in a hurry.  The wisdom of Richard Foster’s response to the question as to the major obstacle in today’s world to the spiritual life is obvious – distractions.  Whether technology, speed in its many forms, or superficial appetites a distracted life tends to squeeze all the meaningfulness out of human existence.                                                                                 Therefore, it is essential to learn to make empty space for God alone.  Isaiah’s prophecy identifies Jesus in the terms that we desperately need: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  God works independent of the circumstance, but I think it behooves us to do our part.  And that part is to slow down and make empty space for God.  Intimacy with Him takes that empty space for God to transform our experience with the counselor, God, the father, and the prince.  Join me in the “emptying” way this year.

 

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Week of December 21, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

 

                “Do not be afraid.  I bring you glad tidings of great joy that will be for all the people…”  Yes, we are quite familiar with those words, but what do they actually mean for you?  We have a hard time thinking about a time when we did not know these words.  We know the story.  We rehearse it annually.  But what does it actually mean for me?  What is the joy of having a Savior?!  The promises that seem destined for the future, like “when I die” or “when Jesus comes back” are hard to hold in the frontals of our minds.

                There is a difference between historical truth and spiritual truth.  History can be confirmed through an intellectual process, but spiritual truth is quite another thing.  Spiritual truth is entered in through our Creator/creature experience.  Spiritual truth has to be revealed and cannot be known any other way.  We cannot come to spiritual truth simply through our intellect, God has to bring it to us.

                What was the spiritual truth that came alongside the historical truth of the Incarnation?  The spiritual truth was that this Jesus, fully human and fully divine was sent to enter into personal experience with each who would receive Him.  Reception included a complete makeover of our human experience.  We were then invited into a real relationship with our Creator.  How then would you describe what that relationship means in your ordinary life?  The Nativity that stands before us this week is not just historical, but fully spiritual.  Can you enter the spirit of that good news this week?

 

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Week of December 14, 2020

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

 

                Our Advent week before us is focused on love.  Certainly, it is the character of everything that has to do with Yahweh.  It is out of love that the Incarnation was conceived.  What we have before us is a standing call to love as God so loves.  However, most of the love intended in our day is the feeling it gives the one who loves, and we miss the sacrificial nature of God’s love.

                We need to know what loves is generated out of and I think love as it relates to followers of Jesus is captured by the great American theologian and pastor, Jonathan Edwards when he said, “A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this.”

                I think we know so little of true love, so it behooves us to gather the wisdom of others to capture what is truly transformative in the Incarnation.  More recently the wisdom of MLK is helpful at this point when he said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”  In the sense of these two Christian thinkers Advent love is about overcoming the gaps that naturally form in our lives.  May this Advent Season bring you the strength to overcome the disappointments and wounds that our life has brought you.

 

 

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Week of December 7, 2020

Thursday, December 10, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

 

                Times and dates change but truth does not.  Jesus remains the Prince of Peace though it was heralded so very long ago.  Matthew Henry said it so long ago, “What peace can they have who are not at peace with God.”  First things are always first!  Our weakness is when we ignore the power of our inner life and settle for a reduction of conflict in our public life.  The substance of life is often ignored for the sake of image.

                Our lives are actual inside out affairs.  What the reality is, is what is on the inside of us.  Thomas `a Kempis brings us wisdom in this Advent Season when he said, “All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.”  Ironically, real peace comes through our surrender to Christ.  Why wouldn’t we do that?

                It seems to me that we are too busy and frenetic to actually embrace the peace that Jesus offers to us day by day.  Empty space must be created to dwell in the peaceful Presence of the “Holy One of Israel.”  In order to pass on the peace of Christ to the other, we must experience it ourselves.  That is surely the way of God in everything.

Week of November 30, 2020

Tuesday, December 01, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

                I’ve been giving thought to foundations upon which we build our lives.  As we make space to listen to the pain and thinking that guides our day, it seems like the foundations have to be recalibrated.  I’m wondering if each new generation needs to revisit the foundations that set the disciples of Jesus apart from those who are simply Jesus admirers.  What does it mean for us to “love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind?”

                I’ve been rereading the work of A. W. Tozer, solid disciple of Jesus in the middle of the 20th century, The Knowledge of the Holy.  What stands out is that we are almost completely ignorant of who God is and how God works in our day.  The renewal that is needed in the church it seems is to restore the truth of God as our foundation.  Rather than our shaping God in our own image, it behooves us to let God shape us in His image.

                For all the desire in recent days to make the gospel of Christ relevant in our cultural milieu, it seems that our calling instead is to call the common culture to the gospel of Christ.  I am struck with Jesus words in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “Enter though the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  In these days of an ever increasing volume it seems that Jesus calmly calls us to just live the gospel and our Father will rejoice.

Week of November 23, 2020

Sunday, November 22, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

 

                In anticipation of a holiday instituted by presidents (Washington and Lincoln), Thanksgiving Day has more of a biblical spirit than a cultural one.  In the culture most make Thanksgiving a favorite simply because of celebrating family, food, and a break from the “hurriedness” of most people’s lives, but from a biblical worldview it is something much more substantial.

                Thanksgiving is about gratitude in the midst of whatever is the cultural circumstance.  Few of us were alive during World War II, but I’m confident that Thanksgiving was celebrated even in the midst of war, or even the Great Depression.  Thanksgiving provides a deeply needed heart posture – gratitude.

                Thanksgiving reminds me of Millet’s famous painting The Angelus in which two peasants with bowed heads are expressing their heart-felt thanks for God’s simple provisions in life.  Thanksgiving is a time to bow our heads is genuine gratitude for God’s beauty, goodness, and truth.  Personally, I intend to make space this week to take each area of my life and “count the blessings” of what God has done.  Do you want to join me in that?!

Week of November 16, 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

 

                Absolute necessity!  As we seek to follow Jesus and be shaped and formed by the Scriptures – God’s revelation to us we each have different lenses.  In a political world we tend to develop a hierarchy of values as to what is most important down a ladder to least important according to what we see in the pages of God’s Word to us.  Therefore, what is highest on that ladder is an absolute necessity.

                The hard part of living life together is that our hierarchy of values can become ways of separating ourselves from people instead of understanding that God doesn’t use that same set of values to decide who he loves and who he doesn’t love.  That which joins Christians in family relationship is something else.

                As John says in his first epistle three things, three times a true believer: believes the truth about Christ, walks in the light, and has love for the brethren.  We are going to have differing hierarchies of values.  Our focus is meant to be on what is truly is a biblical absolute necessity.  It needs to come from what the scriptures treat as absolute.

Week of November 9, 2020

Wednesday, November 11, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

 

                Righteousness is a unique phenomenon in our world today.  It maybe that for most, we are either ignorant of the blueprint or the Source or both.  It seems that we suffer from the myopic notion that we, individually, are the center of the universe and therefore, we are in the vaulted position to massage reality to fit our personal preferences.

                However, it seems that we are set up to experience the consequences of that false thinking.  Righteous is naturally beyond everyone of us.  We have the Source and the sources necessary to live in light of righteousness, but it requires a humbling of ourselves to understand that true righteousness is not self-generated.

                We have been blessed with the gift of the revelation of God both in the flesh, Jesus and in the written text, the Scriptures.  It would seem to me that we have lost touch with both and are left somewhat high and dry.  With the givens of our culture, this is certainly the time to renew our commitment to learn Jesus Way, Truth, and Life and become genuine people of the Word.

Week of October 26, 2020

Sunday, October 25, 2020
 Weekly Blog

When asked what the chief obstacle to spiritual progress in our day Richard Foster responded, “distraction.” There are issues that we ought to be cognizant of in our day, but not to the extent that we are living distracted from that which is of eternal value, our on-going relationship and intimacy with Jesus. Some things are more important than other things.

In fact, the deeper we walk with Jesus, the better prepared we are to respond to what is placed before us. “Issues” can move us away from living in the present which is all that we are accountable for. Living in the present moment and finding God’s presence and purpose in it is eternal work. I cannot live tomorrow today, but the best preparation for tomorrow is being fully present to God today.

It is the shape of our character that contributes most to today and tomorrow and being present to God is the most dynamic aspect of character shaping. The scriptures say something about that when it is said, “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isa. 64:8).

Week of October 19,2020

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

                We are all familiar with a variety of scriptures that we most likely agree are true, but in fact we hardly ever do what those scriptures teach us.  Maybe that is because we think that since we know the scriptures that is all that is needed or we haven’t been able to “read” the reality of our situation in order to see what it is that we need to “do” in the midst of it.

                It seems apparent to me in these days that the evil one has been successful in sowing mistrust in our society to a seemingly “victorious” extent.  Between mistrust and hate does it not smack of the “thief” who Jesus said would “steal, kill, and destroy?” Look around at what is being stolen from us.  Look around and see what is being destroyed?  The “killing” has grown exponentially in taking life, taking speech and taking hope.

                But what has God given us with which to battle the “thief?”  “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  The successful strategy is laid out for us.  Will we participate as the soldiers that we are? 

 

Week of October 12, 2020

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

                I ran across something in my quiet time several days ago that I think could be helpful for us every day, but especially in our present politically violent context.  The general focus was on living the compassionate life and the key passage was Luke 6:27-28, “… love your enemies…”.  In this period of history, most differences are treated as personal enemies that are painted with the “hatred brush.”

                Hatred is not a new thing, but an old thing, as old as Cain feelings toward Abel.  I think the hatred today reminds us that humankind, both personally and collectively is sinful and fallen from the grace that was offered in the Garden.  Choosing rebellion against God either passively or actively colors the heart of every human being.  This hatred makes people into enemies.

                I found great wisdom in the words from MLK.  This is why we must obey Jesus.  “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate.”  “Hate scars the soul and distorts the personality.”  “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”  “We must love our enemies, because only by loving them can we know God and experience the beauty of his holiness.”  Obedience to Christ is always better for everyone.

Week of October 5, 2020

Wednesday, October 07, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

              In the midst of the chaotic world in which we live, I’ve given thought this week to the notion of nobility.  Back in the day nobility was a social status which was relevant in days gone by, but I’m wondering that we might gain a sense of the scriptural sense that is not a matter of social status, but a matter of individual character.  I’m wondering if part of what David is getting at in Psalm 139 is the created nobility that is shaped in each one whom God has made.

              In fact, the wonder that David wonders is in the nobility that lies in the reality that each of us are first of all, made in God’s image.  There is I think a nobility in the path God has called us into as reflections of him.  As we usually use the term nobility is a human calling to rise above the ordinary to the place of extraordinary.  I suspect that God has given each of us the potential to “rise above” where we have been.

              I think the reality of nobility involves courage, perseverance, and risk.  Our greatest nobility is in arising to challenges that have been placed before us.  In that we have to have a sense of the invisible world of God’s kingdom life that calls out from us at least circumstantially our very “best self.”  When faced with the challenge, are we willing to lay aside our personal comfort and convenience for the sake of a greater good?  I think that is the question.  Any time we say or hear, “these are challenging times” it ought to be a clarion call to “step up” to accept the challenge.  I think that is what human nobility looks like.

Week of September 28, 2020

Wednesday, October 07, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

              From time to time someone says something that seems so very timely though it was said at a different time.  I ran into one of those things this week that seems so timely in our present circumstance.  Michael Cassidy, “The sort of person I am, is largely determined by how I handle the negative situations in which I find myself.”  We get to choose whether we will be persons of peace or persons of chaos.

              One of the great fallacies that we have learned to live into is to assume that circumstances create our responses to it, but Jesus showed us a different way.  When Jesus said in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives….”  The question is, from what source do I find my peace?

              Our world lives and breathes turmoil and has no peace to offer its citizens.  Yet, that is the only peace that most are aware of.  It would seem that this is a great opportunity for the apprentices of Jesus to offer real hope.  We have a real Object for hope, having hope in Him is hope that brings peace, real peace. 

Week of September 21, 2020

Wednesday, October 07, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

              As a philosopher, Dallas Willard engaged in the discussion and pursuit of “just what a good life” actually is.  Good living is not as popular as the pursuit of happiness.  They may seem somewhat the same, but they are actually quite different.  A good life carries a quality of goodness, which is a moral statement.  Therefore, what is a morally sound way of living?

              Happiness on the other hand is the contemporary replacement for the historic sense of goodness.  Since the focus has moved from a cosmic definition to a completely personal definition, the measurement has completely changed.  As C.S. Lewis stated, “Happiness is about what happens, joy is not.”  The deep inner sense of joy contributes to the cosmic sense of goodness.  Joy is a descriptor of the reservoir of the soul.

              As external circumstances change and the change all the time, happiness is always in question.  As such, the pursuit of happiness has become all consuming because of its variance.  This distraction is a subtractive element to life, always taking and never giving.  Goodness on the other hand has a filling and stabilizing influence on the individual life as well as our communal life.  As we learn to embrace “goodness” we naturally are drawn to the Definer of the Good and that helps us live differently and peacefully.

Week of September 14, 2020

Tuesday, September 15, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

              On one hand our world has come to relish in diversity and on the other not so much.  It seems that we are bent on the same path as civilization has always been on.  There are acceptable aspects of diversity that are championed; race, sexuality, and creed, in modern society and there are aspects of diversity that are denied; political incorrectness, a biblical worldview, and disagreement.  Often the outcome is reduced to socio-political power.  Then we are back to the same bent who has the power.

              It would seem would it not that the Jesus Way is not bent on power, but on a different Way.  Isn’t it more about simply going about creating “good culture” wherever we go?  Truly being redemptive, restorative, engagers of faith, hope, and love.  If indeed Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is a description of God, then doesn’t that call us to His Way in this world differently?

              It is easiest for us to expend our energy in what we are against.  In a way that seems to be “angry energy.”  It is more difficult for us to spend our energy on what we are “for.”  I’m calling that “restorative energy.”  Knowing what was originally intended requires that we pay attention to history so that we can invest in restoring and rebuilding that which is broken.  Wasn’t that, isn’t that simply what Jesus’ work has been, is, and always will be about?

Week of August 30, 2020

Monday, August 31, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

                I read an article in the present issue of Christianity Today magazine asking the question, “Can voting be a sin?”  The responses gathered were as diverse as were the respondents.  The only thing in common among the respondents was that they were all “spokespersons for Christ.”  It may suggest that the Church is as divergent as its adherents’ worldviews.  I’m sure that every respondent believes that their worldview is resident in the scriptures. 

                No wonder the world is confused about righteousness and justice.  There is little certainty in the Church, how could there be certainty is the common culture?  After reading the differing viewpoints I found in my own reaction wondering whether this person or that person is even a Christian.  The redevelopment of our worldviews from childhood or provincial adulthood to a serious apprenticeship with Jesus is the task of every serious disciple of Jesus.

                How we see things and what we value constitute our worldview, and we are accountable to God for our conclusions.  I am reminded of Paul’s admonition in Romans 12:2, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  One thing is sure, we must be men and women of the Word and rearrange our thinking and our living in light of God’s Word as best we can.

Week of August 24, 2020

Monday, August 31, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

                Self-reflection seems to be one of the least practiced disciplines in contemporary life.  I’ve wondered why that is and the best I can come up with is that our “center” is rather mushy, so we do not have a solid center made up of something more than simply opinion.  In order to reflect we have to bounce things off something that doesn’t change easily.  In order to know who I am and where I am, I need to recognize a “center” within oneself.

                The question: “Who am I” is not an untested question.  I’m reminded of Bonhoeffer’s poem by that name in the midst of a world “coming apart” in the early 1940s.  The reality is that circumstances can never hold the weight of my identity nor value or I will come crashing down.  Gordon MacDonald calls that a “sink hole.”  But I am much more than my worldview – the way I think things ought to be.

                It is in my “private world” that substance exists, and it is in our “private worlds” that we are held together.  I suspect that the “driven-ness” and noisiness of contemporary life leaves us scattered and distracted, not knowing which end is up.  The certain truth is who God says I am since He is the one who “dreamed” me up and brought me to life.  As we continue in uncertain circumstances, may we find great solidarity in the Word of God and the Jesus Way, Truth, and Life.

Week of August 17, 2020

Saturday, August 22, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

              There are many challenges before us.  What do you use to confront those challenges?  The more I talk to a variety of people the more one of those “hidden” dimensions of life surfaces – worldviews.  How we see things and what the nature of our own certainties are for the most part how we experience life.  I’ve been asking this question to many, “How does one become strong emotionally and how does one become weak emotionally?”

              When our worldview is based on how we think things should be and is rooted on the conclusions that we came to as members of our families of origin and the messages that have been prevalent in our society, then we are rooted in that which is temporary or transient.  The challenge for us as followers of Jesus is to make an unpopular decision, base our worldview on the revelation of God – the Scriptures.

              The worldview of the kingdom of God is the best and only eternal worldview that transcends time as it was given to us as “best.”  God’s way has been, is, and will always be best.  The best way to live makes us strong and centered in whatever the circumstances.  Just as the battle rages over what is truth or right, we can contribute a solidarity in a truly broken society.  Join me in living our “salt and light!”

Week of July 13, 2020

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

              Some have observed that a root problem in our “Judeo/Christian” society is that instead of influencing society sadly the common culture has influenced the Church.  It seems to me that just maybe the church has required so little of itself so that Christian discipleship has come to mean almost nothing.  I’m not sure how we have gotten to where we do not take the Bible seriously as an essential means of becoming followers of Jesus, but I think we are there for the most part.

              If we become satisfied with an altruistic ethic, rather then the painful process of true spiritual transformation, we not longer are true cross-bearers.  I’m afraid that we are keen on alluding to our favorite Bible verses without ever coming to grips with the depth of human experience that lies in each one.  Galatians 2:20 comes to mind, yet we have hardly entered into the substance of what it means to be “crucified with Christ…”  Have we joined him on the cross in our hearts?  Do we know how to “take up your cross and follow Him?”

              Honestly, I find it deeply disappointing that we have come to a place in which we embrace social theories above our embracing the inspired Word of God.  God has shown us how to “love one another.”  He has shown us what it is to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”  When we forget what we “know” we are particularly susceptible to living in a self-referenced manner which is simply rebellion against God.

Week of July 6, 2020

Wednesday, July 08, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

                In light of the “revolution” that is going on around us, I uncovered a statement from David Bentley Hart that I found very helpful that you may as well:  “Violent, sudden, and calamitous revolutions, are the ones that accomplish the least.  While they may succeed at radically reordering societies, they usually cannot transform cultures.  They may excel at destroying the past, but they are generally impotent to create a future.  The revolutions that genuinely alter human reality at the deepest levels – the only real revolutions, that is to say – are those that first convert minds and wills, that reshape the imagination and reorient desire, that overthrow tyrannies within the soul.”

                The “gradual, subtle, exceedingly small and somewhat inchoate at first – like the revolution of Christianity in its first centuries – slowly introducing its vision of divine, cosmic, and human reality into the culture around it, often by deeds rather than words” is the revolution that lasts.  The task before us is to simply live out the truth of Scripture beginning with the Great Commandment…”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all of thy heart, soul, and mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.”  Or, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is sufficient to fill the gaps that have been exposed in recent days.

                Our present culture is being held hostage by the false teachers of Critical Race Theory.  It is our challenge to know the truth that will set all men free.  As followers of Jesus may we enter others pain with listening ears and compassionate hearts and grounded in truth…not someone’s theory.

Week of June 29, 2020

Monday, June 29, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

                In a world in which some are pushing for systemic change through political influence I keep wondering if it becomes anything different than any other social power movement?  The intrinsic problem of “power over” others is that it is only temporary.  Temporary until the next political movement pushes forward to regain a new foot hold.  The problem is the unredeemed nature of humankind remains the same.  See the consequence of the desert exile of Israel until the previous generation of faithlessness died off – literally.  In time the new generation would become faithless and be destined to be exiled.

                It seems to me that until humankind is changed by experiences of spiritual restoration, most change will remain political in the throes of political power.  Though some righteousness may come out of the present mayhem, I have doubt that it will last unless the source of change changes.  Unless there is a spiritual conversion of the human heart, the seed will grow up only to be strangled by the “thorns and thistles.”

                The seed of change must be sown in the soil of the kingdom of God and his righteousness for it to last.  Yet, I admit according to the revelation of God, that which we have tells me that the progression of the “progressives” will eventually lead to more tribulation.  Hope in any other manmade stripe only leads to disappointment. The ugliness of fallenness will simply raise another “savior” to whom man devotes himself only to be disappointed once again.

Week of June 22, 2020

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
 

Weekly Blog

                The world outside of us is different!  What is the world inside of you like?  The kingdom of heaven that we pray in every day as we pray like Jesus taught us to pray does not depend on what is around us, it is a matter of what is in us.  The kingdom of God is the seed that was planted in us when we “gave our lives to Christ.”  Have we cultivated that seed?  Have we watered that seed?  Has it sprouted and bloomed?

                The weakness that seems to dominate is the weakness of non-germinated seed.  God placed within us the seed that was given to us to change the world for the good not for evil.  What is the condition of your seed?  Have you given any thought to that?  Have you ever asked God to cause the seed to flourish?

                Our “religion” has settled for productivity in life instead of pushing onward to fruitfulness.  The fruit depends on the seed becoming a stalk or trunk, and the trunk producing branches (passions/talents/gifts) and the branches producing fruit.  If there is something to grasp in this it is to always make space to cultivate the “seed” in your life rhythms.  It is meant to be the priority in life.  Don’t forget that!

Week of June 15, 2020

Monday, June 15, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

                We are residing in a unique time in our lifetimes.  We choose to live in reaction or in response to the stressors that are upon us.  It seems that when we look closely at Jesus, we always find Jesus responding from the inside out.  It is in his perfect humanness that he was always ready to respond to what was before him.

            We often simply ascribe his behavior to his divinity, but in fact his responses were rooted in his continual cultivation of his relationship with the Father.  If his work was to show us the Father in flesh and blood, the challenge to embrace the “Jesus Way” stares us in the face.  Do we respond to the world we live in rooted in the Word of God or have we exchanged that Life for the common culture’s way?

            If we embrace the stressors that we are engaged in from the perspective of politics, we have given up the wholeness and holiness that remains certain under the authority of the Trinity.  “Saltiness and Light” are rooted in the personal reality of our relationship with God.  As legitimate followers of Jesus it would seem that Jesus alone ought to direct our steps, because it is in Him alone that salt and light are defined.

Week of June 1, 2020

Monday, June 01, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

            With Pentecost now in the rearview mirror, what do we have in front of us?  This week we keep our sights on the gracious provision that God has made to us in our finite world of time and space.  We have the great mystery of the Holy Trinity set before us.  Though incomprehensible in every way, God has expressed Himself and continues to express Himself for us in intimacy and deference.  The image of the Trinity, though inconceivable is three in One.

            What we are left with is Love.  “We love because He first loved us!”  How and why God would reveal Himself in the sense of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we know not, but what we know is that He has done that to show love in its full dimensions.  He has done that for our sakes!  This is our comprehension of the Incomprehensible.

            So, what then does it matter?  It is for our sense of Mystery and Awe!  Our humanness is incomplete without mystery and awe.  Our inadequate understanding is necessary to come to grips with the truth that we are “nothing” and He is everything.  To be made “a little lower than the angels” includes this humility that sets us apart as “made in His image.”  As we pilgrim on through this week, I encourage you to do so with the spirit of mystery and awe.  Look and listen with amazement!

Week of May 18, 2020

Thursday, May 21, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

            The path narrows this week to arrange our focus on the Holy Spirit.  In the season of Easter, the Holy Spirit is the promise that Jesus offers all who would follow Him.  These weeks leading up to Pentecost are weeks of celebration, learning, and anticipation of that which personalized the mystery of God’s way with humankind.

            The Spirit’s work of revealing Jesus more fully, guiding us into all truth, and conviction humankind of sin, righteousness, and judgment is life itself for us.  Jesus becomes our exposure to beauty, goodness, and truth.  Opening us to truth in every endeavor, the Holy Spirit does the inner work of conviction of sin, declaration of righteousness, and life apart from Christ daily and eternally.  Without the Spirit we would be left alone in Moses’ Law.

            As we embrace this “season of the Spirit” over the next week, I would like to challenge you.  Is the Holy Spirit a definitive member of the Trinity in your thinking?  What is your relationship with the Holy Spirit like?  Is the Spirit as personal and intimate as the Father or the Son?  I’ve been giving some thought to that question this past week.  Consider what it means to you to love the Holy Spirit with all of your heart, soul and mind!

Week of May 11, 2020

Thursday, May 21, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

                This week in our pilgrimage to Pentecost the message is simple.  The ministry of the church is an important chapter in the story of resurrection life, purchased and demonstrated in the Easter event.  Lest you think of a smorgasbord of busyness like is often the case in contemporary churches, I want to offer us a simple and profound statement that Jesus made while in the Upper Room after the Seder dinner.

            John recalls it this way, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

            For all the complicated and sophisticated programs we are capable of creating and developing, the call and command is really rather simple.  We are simply to be about what Jesus did that the Father might get the attention and amazement that is his.  Our lives will be completely full if only we would do what Jesus did.

Week of May 4, 2020

Monday, May 04, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

                In this third week of Easter our focus is on worship.  Too often we have a very narrow definition of worship, usually thinking it is the same as songs and singing.  However, the root of worship is found in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice to God which is your spiritual service of worship.” (KJV).  It is so much more than singing.

            Worship is very physical!  Consider Mary in Jesus’ last week when she poured perfume on his feet and wiped them with her hair.  Worship in light of Easter is submission to God in whatever place God calls you to.  It could be to serve your neighbor, it could be in praying for others who are in need, it could be in contacting or writing a letter of encouragement; in a way it could be anything that requires physical action on your part.

            Worship in light of Easter is very tangible.  The resurrection of Jesus was a very tangible event and in the spirit of that event there is a path now provided for us to carry the scent of resurrection into our world day by day.  Can you see how utterly different than anything that is natural to human beings?  By the way, worship isn’t about how it makes me feel, but how I have invested myself.

             

Week of April 27, 2020

Monday, April 27, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

                Many in the church view the events like Christmas and Easter as simply one day affairs.  It seems like it is quite normal for us to simply move on after the crescendo event but let me suggest that there is a whole symphony that follows if we can quiet our hearts enough to hear.  In the weeks that follow Easter (7 of them) leading us to Pentecost, we have the opportunity to digest the experience of the salvation, restoration, reconciliation, redemption, and renewal that Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday brought us.

            May I encourage you to make space over these weeks to think about the salvation that has been offered to you including its cost.  Gather up experiences that you have had of restoration, of reconciliation, of redemption, and in what ways your life has been renewed when it so desperately needed it.

            We could take a week for each one of these experiences and fill a journal almost of the richness and depth of experiences we have as a consequence of Easter.  It is truly an amazing gift given to us when we think of the Risen Christ!  What he did for us even after we turned our backs at Him is nothing short of awe-inspiring!

Week of April 20, 2020

Tuesday, April 21, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

              Many in the church view the events like Christmas and Easter as simply one day affairs.  It seems like it is quite normal for us to simply move on after the crescendo event but let me suggest that there is a whole symphony that follows if we can quiet our hearts enough to hear.  In the weeks that follow Easter (7 of them) leading us to Pentecost, we have the opportunity to digest the experience of the salvation, restoration, reconciliation, redemption, and renewal that Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday brought us.

              May I encourage you to make space over these weeks to think about the salvation that has been offered to you including its cost.  Gather up experiences that you have had of restoration, of reconciliation, of redemption, and in what ways your life has been renewed when it so desperately needed it.

              We could take a week for each one of these experiences and fill a journal almost of the richness and depth of experiences we have as a consequence of Easter.  It is truly an amazing gift given to us when we think of the Risen Christ!  What he did for us even after we turned our backs at Him is nothing short of awe-inspiring!

Week of April 13, 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

                What does Easter mean to us, really mean to us?  Meaning is not simply print on the paper of our Bibles.  Meaning has dimensions of heart, soul and mind.  Meaning changes us in the way we see, hear, think, and act.  It has substance of length and width, but even more so height and depth.

            As humans made in the image of God, our substance is in part the substance God created in us.  How often are we described in tangible and intangible ways!  Our heart is not the muscle beating in our chests.  Who can measure the soul or even the mind?  So, when I ask what does Easter mean to us, I am asking, “in what ways does this week from Sunday to Sunday shape and form our hearts, souls, and minds?

            Often, we have been keen on declaring ourselves, the Easter people, but is there the evidence in us or is it simply a little ditty that makes us feel good.  Has Easter gripped our hearts, souls, and minds sufficiently to reveal the kingdom of heaven through the way we live, breathe and have our being?  The circumstance in which we presently live is in dire need of Easter people who live meaningfully.

Week of April 6, 2020

Thursday, April 09, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

                Holy Week stands apart from the other 51 weeks of the year.  The story that unfolds before us in John 12-20 sets the redemptive tone to the lives we live.  Always remembering that as disciples of Jesus and not simply “Jesus admirers” the path that we tread was walked before us by the One who loves us most.

            In this time of suffering in our present circumstance, Jesus knew it so well and because of that this is the laboratory in which we prove our faith and trust in Him.  It is so much easier to sit in the classroom taking notes than it is meeting in the laboratory to test out the ideas and theories that we have garnered in the classroom.

            Sometimes we miss what is there for us if we cannot use our imaginations to help us understand.  Do we forget that the pages of John’s gospel here are describing a real series of events?  The Passion of the Christ only picks up the story in the Gospel of John, Chapter 18.  From before the Triumphal Entry through Calvary’s Tree to Resurrection morning history records a story that could be screened powerfully as it tells of the event that changed the world forever.  Do yourself a favor by making this story real in your heart, mind, and soul.

Week of March 30, 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

                We are entering the fifth week of Lent and it is a transition week.  Jesus is closing in on Jerusalem and the week of solemnity leading up to the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday.  In this week of contemporary time there is a reason for sobriety and sobriety is not panic.  Just as Jesus knew what was ahead of him and yet stayed focused on giving his life away in all its dimensions, so we learn how to live from him.

            The O.T. theme this week is taken from Ezekiel 37 and his vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.  The point was that that which was dead was going to be made alive.  You might want to reread that portion of scripture this week.  The spirit of the vision was seeing the redemption, regeneration, and restoration that lies in the hand of God.

            During this time of fear or suffering, I encourage you to look to God and the power of redemption that lies in him.  Redemption is simply the capacity to “buy back” that which was lost.  To the extent that you have given up peace to fear, or love to self-centeredness, or trust to doubt, this might become your own Valley of Dry Bones.

Week of March 23, 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

                The season of Lent is always a challenge for us.  Usually because of the distraction of ordinary life, but in God’s sovereignty this year Lent and ordinary life fit like a glove in our experience.  I connected the Lenten practices last week with what is needed in our present circumstance with the coronavirus.

            We are being asked to fast from the busyness of life and hunker down at home.  I think the richness of this circumstance is to move through the day in a more hurried way, in our conversations and any other domestic experiences.  Making space for quiet, reflection, and listening has always meant to be the path to true wholeness and holiness (Psa. 46:10, read the whole verse).  Prayer has been given to us as the richest expression of our Divine/human connection.  This is a season for helping others carry the weight of life through our devotion to others.

            Our culture continues to value the ethic of alms-giving or sharing resources with those in need.  I pray that this week will find you, setting aside fear through prayer and opening yourself for availability to living out the “kingdom of heaven on earth” for those around you.

Week of March 16, 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
 Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

I find it ironic that during our Lenten season we would be faced with a circumstance that sets us up for the spirit and activities that fit with the practices characteristic of this season of the church year: fasting, prayer, and alms-giving. We are being asked to fast from social settings; probably a fast that no one planned on. Clearly, this is a time to come before the Father in prayer for ones’ self, for our “neighbor”, and for national repentance of sin and the seeking of the Righteous One. This is the perfect situation that encourages followers of Jesus to stand in the “gap” for others.

It seems to me that this is the time in which we separate ourselves from the panic, fear, hopelessness, and greed that is presently rampant. These are the times when the “cream rises to the top.” The world should be able to look to the church for the faith, hope, and love that it is so desperate for in these days. In light of Lent we ought to see the implications of the cross quite clearly. Obviously, there are imprints from the cross that shape our lives; take time to give unhurried thought to them.

I’ve been a devotee of Henri Nouwen’s little book, The Way of the Heart. Maybe this is an ideal time to reflect on the three activities that he summarized: solitude, silence, and prayer. Believe it or not, this is a strengthening pilgrimage. 

Week of March 9, 2020

Monday, March 09, 2020
 Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

When we join Jesus and during this season have the cross in view, the notion of fasting makes a lot of sense. In the past when life was more about subsistence food was an absolute necessity for survival and the discipline of fasting was a great sacrifice. Felt sacrifice puts us in touch with the heart of Jesus as he headed toward the cross.

Since most of us in the Western world could benefit a great deal of setting aside a few meals, it hardly captures the sense of fasting that carried a great meaning in former times. On the other hand, we can struggle to set aside the conveniences that often govern our lives. There are parts of life that distract us from our attention on God’s coming kingdom.

It is in those conveniences that a path to sacrifice is set. The cross of Christ is meant to draw us forward in the ways of the kingdom of God. It behooves us to attend to the movements of the Spirit and let God show us what it is that would benefit us to set aside during this season.

Week of March 2, 2020

Tuesday, March 03, 2020
 Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

This season in which we turn our focus on the Cross of Christ is a true blessing to our souls. The blessing lies in knowing that there is a Reality that is invisible to the naked eye as well as the background noise we call, “the media.” Aren’t you grateful that what you hear every day from the various pundits is entirely secondary to what truly matters?

Lent captures kingdom of God practices that are often out of sight to the naked eye. As we re-emphasize fasting from that which distracts our hearts from the One who loves us most, prayer that engages our heart of hearts, and alms giving that opens our hearts to the needs that present themselves every day; we are blessed with the Life that gives us life to the fullest.

The truth is we have to fast and pray and give openly just to not lose the joy and freedom that the cross of Christ secured for us. So, in a way we have to be willing to fight the good fight of faith, or we will suffer in our souls needlessly. These days have been given to us as a weapon to push against all that would suck the very Life out of us.

Week of February 24, 2020

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
 Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

Winter is a season in nature as well as in our spiritual journey. It makes sense that Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Season would begin in creation’s winter season. We are about to embark on the season of prayer, fasting, and giving. I think those practices were chosen because they put us in close proximity to Jesus and his turning toward the Cross.

Naturally we don’t like this kind of journey puts on our contemporary desire for beauty and goodness, but there is the truth still of Jesus walk to the Cross because of his great love for us. Sad and sorrowful on the one hand, but the path to eternal hope and joy for all of us who would believe and follow.

Personally, I am always in need to reflect on what needs to be set aside even for a season to help me set a sharper edge for the plowing the soil of my life. The practices of preparation during this season leads to a greater fruitfulness in the ultimate “resurrection life.”

Week of December 23, 2019

Tuesday, December 24, 2019
 

Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

                As often as our song writers write about it, it is probably one of the least practiced characteristics in our world today – love.  Love is one of the main messages of the Incarnation of Jesus.  It was because of love that we celebrate this event some 2000+ years later.  I suspect that what is missing in our world is that we hardly understand the story.

            Generosity, family connecting, and joyfulness are all resident in the love of God.  The truth is we live such unconnected lives that we think that these attitudes and activities are separate phenomenon.  I wonderful if that is why those things don’t carry on beyond the Season of Christmas.

            Everything about the Incarnation event is meant to set apart life as a way of life itself.  I suspect everything that is good is resident in the love of God on that manger Night.  All that gives life to us is there.  We need to meditate on it this week to enhance the meaning of Christmas for each of us.

Week of December 9, 2019

Thursday, December 12, 2019
 Pinebrooke Weekly Blog

 

In the harsh reality of our world it seems like Isaiah was simply being an irrational poet when he wrote, Prince of Peace as he described the One who was to come. I wonder how the Israelites thought about the prophecy? I would imagine that if this was to describe the Messiah who was to come, it most likely was understood as a way out of Roman occupation.

Too much of the time we shape and form our worldview around the external world, when Jesus himself was the one who said, “the kingdom of God is within you.” The resistance has always been there that “the circumstances of life is what needs changing” rather than “I” am the one who needs changing.

As we engage peace in this second week of Advent, the challenge before us is that Jesus offers his peace as our personal antidote to our lack of peace. Peace and being a person of peace takes root in our souls and then is able to be worked out into everyday life. The hard part of the Jesus Way is that every problem in the “outside” world always begins within me.