Pinebrooke Community Church
Friday, March 31, 2023

The Pinebrooke Post

The Pinebrooke Post The Pinebrooke Post

Week of March 27, 2023

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Weekly Blog


               I have given some thought this week to forgiveness.  As we pray the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, forgiveness of trespasses, debts, or sins (depending on the translation and the location of the Lord’s Prayer) seems to be central to kingdom of God living.  Knowing that our culture no longer recognizes personal sin as a reality, though evil is attended to as long as it is seen as “out there” away from “in here” we are left with tolerance.  Tolerance requires nothing from us.

               In the words of N.T. Wright, “forgiveness is richer and higher and harder and more shocking than we usually think!”  When it comes to personal experience forgiveness requires more from us.  We are required to see ourselves in truth understanding our own sin and then not hold the “other” more accountable than we hold ourselves.  It is true that wrong is wrong, but sometimes our expectations of others is misplaced.  Sometimes we expect of others what God alone can do.

               In our common culture forgiveness itself is other offensive and to forgive becomes a point of contention, but is the way the kingdom of God will always be in earth’s fallenness.  When Jesus warned his disciples that they will be hated because he was hated we often forget that.  For some reason we have never owned that as part of our spiritual heritage.  Consequently, we have often failed to live out our identity in Christ.  If we could remember what Jesus said and just lived that out, we could come to understand better that we are “strangers and aliens in a foreign land.”




Week of March 20, 2023

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Weekly Blog


               I have given some thought this week to forgiveness.  As we pray the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, forgiveness of trespasses, debts, or sins (depending on the translation and the location of the Lord’s Prayer) seems to be central to kingdom of God living.  Knowing that our culture no longer recognizes personal sin as a reality, though evil is attended to as long as it is seen as “out there” away from “in here” we are left with tolerance.  Tolerance requires nothing from us.

               In the words of N.T. Wright, “forgiveness is richer and higher and harder and more shocking than we usually think!”  When it comes to personal experience forgiveness requires more from us.  We are required to see ourselves in truth understanding our own sin and then not hold the “other” more accountable than we hold ourselves.  It is true that wrong is wrong, but sometimes our expectations of others is misplaced.  Sometimes we expect of others what God alone can do.

               In our common culture forgiveness itself is other offensive and to forgive becomes a point of contention, but is the way the kingdom of God will always be in earth’s fallenness.  When Jesus warned his disciples that they will be hated because he was hated we often forget that.  For some reason we have never owned that as part of our spiritual heritage.  Consequently, we have often failed to live out our identity in Christ.  If we could remember what Jesus said and just lived that out, we could come to understand better that we are “strangers and aliens in a foreign land.”



Week of March 13, 2023

Monday, March 13, 2023

Weekly Blog


                I’ve been reflecting on Annotation #6 in the Ignatian Exercises this week and I think it is relevant for all aspects of spiritual growth.  When evaluating the readiness of someone who has indicated a desire to be led through the Ignatian Exercises the standard is; are they open, generous, and courageous.  The synonym that is common within the Navigator Ministry is faithful, available, and teachable.  I have often found that people don’t change unless they are hungry.  These would all be good indications that someone is hungry.

                Unless in crisis of some kind most don’t live in the realm of openness, generosity, and courage.  The problem with crises is that they can be resolved more quickly than what is needed for actual growth.  I wonder also about age.  Do most young people have the hunger of openness, generosity, and courage necessary to face their lives in truth and want more from God and more with God?  Too much of one’s identity is tied up with possessions, position, and opinion.

                Richard Rohr has written to the effect that real growth is a second half of life thing.  It is true that with reflection, realization (experience), and restoration (appetite) change and growth has a chance.  Change itself is not the answer as there are many who make changes that are morally deficient, but with the Way, Truth, and Life of Jesus as the standard, but enriching genuine growth can take place.  When the God of the Bible is our point of reference, there is hope that is good hope.



Week of March 6, 2023

Sunday, March 05, 2023

Weekly Blog


                Even during the intentional season of Lent the ordinary battle presents itself to us – distracting noise.  No wonder one of the first disciplines in the disciples’ life was the practice of solitude and silence.  It is hard to imagine that in the first century A.D. believers had to deal with it, but when the Desert Fathers and Mothers of second and third centuries headed to the desert to escape the church, they were escaping the worldliness and noise that kept them from hearing the Word of God.

                What must the Lord bring about to get my full attention?  Maybe we need to learn to “read” our circumstances as tools to get our full attention.  I remind us that God is not a competitor and usually speaks in a still, small voice.  Is there empty space in my life in which I can hear Him?  In the practices of Lent, namely, prayer, repentance, and giving am I making space for Him?

                We need to remember in the midst of the noise, God is personal and He wants our relationship with Him to be personal.  In any healthy growing relationship communication, personal communication is what makes the relationship personal.  If He is not personally communicating with us our relationship is hardly personal.  If I am not actively communicating with Him, then our relationship is not personal.  The life we have been given in Jesus is personal in every way.



Week of February 27, 2023

Monday, February 27, 2023

Weekly Blog


                Here we are at the beginning of the season in the life of the Church called, Lent.  It is a season of preparation, preparation for the sincerest of celebrations, the celebration of Resurrection Sunday.  To get to the joyous celebration of the resurrection of our Redeemer and Restorer, it behooves us to walk carefully and soberly through the days of sorrow and sadness that sin requires of us.

                It is so ugly that sin ruined the beauty that God created in the First Garden that made Gethsemane necessary, but that is the nature of sin – to create suffering.  If we join Jesus in the journey, we know that there is an ominous nature to life that requires that we not flippantly race to Easter unscathed.  For the Resurrection to maintain its substance we have to come to grips with reality.

                That which is real is that in light of living in the Light of Christ we have before us an excessive self-referenced orientation that minimizes the forsakenness that Jesus built up to endure for our sakes.  This is a season meant to bring us to the end of ourselves and to bring us to a heart-felt love for the One who loves us most.  These days are days of stunning love!



Week of January 30, 2023

Monday, January 30, 2023

Weekly Blog


              The Bible is replete with episodes of God’s people communicating with God directly and honestly.  I wonder if we tend to miss that and not understand that this is what it looks like to be honest or people of the heart.  The truth is God is omniscient and He knows things as they are.  If we find ourselves reluctant to “tell it like it is” because we want to see ourselves a particular way, it is an example of self-deception.  As my good friend, Luther, is frequent to say, “It no use kidding ourselves.”

              God makes a distinction between honesty and dishonesty.  “With their mouths they praise me, but their hearts are far from me.”  As followers of Jesus are we not called to be the people of the heart?  Without our hearts engaged we are simply people of façade.  Maybe it is a matter of self-protection or worse that we think that we can have a relationship with God with only part of us.

              I suspect that many of us were taught that discipleship was essentially a matter of learning biblical theology and practicing evangelism.  On the other hand consider the disciples experience with Jesus which was a holistic encounter 24/7.  No wonder that Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  Does this not include our whole life, whole experience, relationship with Jesus?  It behooves us then to live honestly with Him because He is always honest with us.



Week of January 23, 2023

Monday, January 23, 2023

Weekly Blog


              Numerous stories in the scriptures reveal the nature of godly characteristics.  I think that is intentional on God’s part so that reality is beyond concept.  I’ve noticed that the Old Testament is rich with stories that reveal the characteristics of godliness.  If we are serious about becoming people after God’s own heart, we need the examples of character lived out.  We can learn in the classroom, but we only come to know as godliness is lived out in the laboratory of life.

              I’ve been dealing with commitment at the beginning of Ruth’s story this week.  It is a normal process for any characteristic to be tested and tempered.  The circumstances of life are both the arena for expression as well as the testing environment.  Circumstances reveal what is real and what is false.  It is always easy to perceive ourselves inaccurately.  Self-perception is almost always distorted.

              It is the grace of God that we are not faced with everything about ourselves all at once.  Living life, a day at a time is sufficient to be faced with the truth about ourselves an eye dropper drop at a time.  Life lived well is lived with a growing knowledge of the ways of the kingdom of God.  Not knowledge about, but knowledge of.


Week of January 9, 2023

Monday, January 09, 2023

Weekly Blog


              Perseverance, what does that godly characteristic look like in your life?  From time to time that is part of God’s agenda with us.  I suspect it is what is often the purpose behind suffering in our lives.  I don’t think we learn perseverance apart from it.  Obviously, there are many levels of suffering from mild struggles as in frustration with ourselves to actual physical and emotional suffering.  Sometimes we bring suffering onto ourselves through our expectations that are not met and at other times we experience suffering through the losses in our lives.

              According to the scripture writers suffering leads to perseverance and perseverance leads to hope (Jas. 1:1-2).  There is so many connections in the development of our character that includes “hard” that leads to “good.”  Left to ourselves we would always choose comfort and convenience leaving ourselves shallow and weak.  The weakness that the scriptures offer us is always humility and actually meekness or strength under control.

              As life becomes foreign to the apprentice of Jesus, we have the challenge of holding firm which will require perseverance.  If we hold out for the ways of the kingdom of God, we will always experience “push back” from our dark world.  Simply stated, perseverance is necessary if we are to remain faithful which is to remain loyal to our God.        



Week of January 2, 2023

Monday, January 02, 2023

Weekly Blog


              What does a new year offer us?  Some would say, “nothing new!”  But, in the spirit of the Advent Season that we have just completed there is so much more in the shadow of the Almighty.  If we keep the Savior in view, we are offered genuine hope, peace, joy, and love.  If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, we will have so much that our neighbor is not possessing.  We have the substance of an amazing ambassadorship.  We are meant to carry the way of the invisible within us.

              In a new year, we carry an invisible reality within our hearts, minds, and souls.  When Jesus entered our lives, we were remade to be different and then sent back into the darkness of a sin immersed world to be its light.  So, a new year offers us a new opportunity to shine with the light of Christ.  We should be able to be identified by the light of Christ shining through us.

              This is the feedback that we need to offer each other as a source of accountability.  We need to feedback observations from time to time to keep our light in focus.  Plus, we need to encourage one another as a means to build up one another.  That is part of our regular work within the community.  The challenge is always before us and in light of a new year, a fresh commitment to build up one another is on the agenda.



Week of December 26, 2022

Monday, December 26, 2022

Weekly Blog


              The ultimate night in the Holy Season has arrived – Christmas!  Is it a celebration of good news for you?  For many it is an event to get passed instead of a moment of new beginnings.  I’ve given much thought that in the divine announcement the angel said, “a Savior has been born unto you.”  What is it for the Savior to be born unto each of us?  I think the point is he is there and where am I to him.  Like most things in the first Advent, it is here and where are you in relationship to what God has given?

              This is an invitational season.  The invitation is an invitation to hope once again.  It invites us to embrace peace once again, embracing the wholeness of life that the Savior came to offer.  We are invited to rejoice in the gift of a Savior.  The love that we are drawn into is a first-time love.  For the first time agape love was revealed on earth.  This was to be a new kind of love, an unconditional love for the other.

              Frankly, the sentiments of the Christmas holiday celebration fall so far short of what is being offered to us in the Christmas Story.  This is one of those times that the original cannot be improved upon.  The announcement was a revolutionary moment in history.  And if we take the message seriously it remains a revolutionary message for all time, “a Savior has been born unto you.”  To everyone who will believe.


Week of November 7, 2022

Monday, November 07, 2022

Weekly Blog


                There is truth that has been revealed to us in the scriptures and most of it we forget because it hasn’t been shaped and formed in us.  I’ve been thinking about God’s ways that Moses learned of as he walked with Yahweh, experiencing fellowship with Him day by day.  David draws our attention to that fact when he wrote, “Moses knew the ways of God, Israel knew the deeds of God (Psalm 103:7).”  That has led me to reflect on something that the Lord said in Isaiah’s prophecy, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”

                The fact is we get completely “bent out of shape” as we discover the reality of that truth unless we can remember it on a practical basis.  Ultimately, the issue is to learn to live in submission to God.  To not live that way creates our own stress.  When we struggle with wanting to get God to fulfill our wills, we are in an endless drama that God has nothing to do with.

                We can throw our hands up in frustration or we can seek to learn to know Him and how He works in our lives over the times of our lives.  Moses lived a very practical life with God, and he was conscious of what God’s ways had been with him.  God’s character is the same for everyone, but His ways are often very personal.  Think about it!  What have God’s ways been with you over the last 50 or whatever years?   



Week of October 24, 2022

Monday, October 24, 2022

Weekly Blog


                God’s ways are predictably unpredictable.  His character isn’t, as it stays the same, but what is often a mystery to us is that we often are at a loss because we don’t know His will.  Our tendency is to take our will or how we think and project it onto God.  It is hard for us to grasp that He alone gets to define the terms under which He is operating.

                Our temptation is to think that He should operate under the ways of heaven while we still live on earth.  His ways are redemptive and restorative and reconciling, but still in accordance with His will.  The key for us is to grow in intimacy with Him.  He always allows His created ones to choose His will or their will.  There is always more for us to learn in seeking Him.

                The ways of the Kingdom of Heaven are our calling.  It behooves us as the hands and feet of the Holy One to devote ourselves as the servants of His ways.  As we learn His ways as we come to know Him more intimately, we have the opportunity every day to live the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven among humankind.  That is how we live out the prayer Jesus gave His disciples.  




Week of October 17, 2022

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Weekly Blog


                The human ego can turn on a dime.  If our lives are built on an identity that is temporal, wealth, power, position, and all self-referenced living, all that needs to cause it to come crashing down is a change in our circumstances.  No matter how good it feels that it is, when a problem arises that we cannot control the response goes directly to an extreme.

                The scriptures are replete with examples of characters that crashed because one or more of the big three fell apart: wealth, power, prestige.  That is why Jesus’ teaching was so difficult for so many to comprehend.  When he tells us that we can gain the whole world and lose our soul, maybe the confusion was that his audiences didn’t really understand or recognize their souls.

                It sounds simple, but if we are rooted and grounded in Christ, the ego is set aside to its proper role and not the fallen notion that it normally takes.  Our rooted and grounded experience is the impotence to focus our well-being on that which does not change and is not destroyed by circumstances.



Week of October 10, 2022

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Weekly Blog


                Every episode of life is full of opportunity.  The opportunity is to reveal the ways of the kingdom of God as it resides within our hearts and minds.  As an example, there is a great difference between someone who can behave in a loving way from time to time and someone who is a loving person.  The one is a situational choice and the other is the natural way of living.

                The work of God is the transformation of the person so that in whatever circumstance there is the consistency of one’s way of being.  It seems as though our modern approach to discipleship has been satisfied with expressions of behavior.  Historically from the beginning of the Christ-life the emphasis has be on the transformation of the heart of persons.

                Paul describes it in Colossians 3 this way, “Since you have been raised to new life in Christ, think about the realities of heaven where Christ is seated in the place of honor at the right hand of God.”  The point is that we have been raised to a new life, a new way of being in Christ.  From day one it has been about being transformed into a new way of being.  May we not settle for anything less.



Week of September 19, 2022

Monday, September 19, 2022

Weekly Blog


                God gives us stories and incidences to teach us about His ways with us – the people of God.  These stories are gifts for us, and He wants us to open the gifts and enjoy the contents of those gifts.  We are unwise if we do not learn from these gifts what God is like, because learning what He is like adds to the reality of our experience with Him.

                We add these stories to teach us the dynamics of our theological structure.  The encounters in history provide the skeleton that the muscles, organs, and skin of our faith and knowledge of God are supported by.  That is part of how our faith becomes a “living faith.”

                We add the revelation of God in the Scriptures as the backbone of what we come to know of His relationship with us by faith.  In the times that we lack faith, these biblical stories of God with us can lift us up from doubt to belief.  When God has met this character in this way, He can meet me in a similar way.  Then faith is built.



Week of September 12, 2022

Monday, September 12, 2022

Weekly Blog


                Looking for the fingerprints of God in our life story is time well spent.  When we reflect on what God has done when we were not looking for Him can be a great encouragement that He has always been there, and He has always been at work.  Where we are today is simply another stop on the journey to where He is taking us.

                I’ve been freshly made aware of something that God told us through Paul’s letter to the Roman Church when he said, “You have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ.”   Whatever is going on in our lives has a reason, to conform us to the image of Christ.  Our conversion story is only the beginning of the journey.

                The circumstance of life is simply the setting for God to be at work in us to conform us to the image of Christ.  Circumstances are just circumstances.  The issue before us is always how do we respond to the circumstance; I think that is the substance of what God is interested in most.  He is about the work of shaping and forming our hearts so that we become like Jesus in our hearts.  When our hearts are changed, we live differently.  



Week of September 5, 2022

Monday, September 05, 2022

Weekly Blog


                I am almost embarrassed to say what the Lord has been saying to me this morning.  There is a connection with James 4:17, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”  I’ve been reflecting on the “theory” of the Lord’s Prayer and realizing that it was given to us as the way to live.  I have been thinking about the things that I “trust” in that are usual, but transitory. 

                I have been rebuked by the Word as though I had thought that I didn’t need to live the way that Jesus instructed, but simply that I “ought” to live that way.  How foolish of me that I would treat what Jesus said as “theory” and not reality.

                One of the many ways that we(I) have been deceived is to think that Jesus’ teaching is a suggested way of life.  Those in history who have taken the Word seriously have much to teach us.  In particular this summer, I have been confronted with “The Stories of Great Christians” and George Muller in particular.  His commitment to the Lord’s Prayer is deeply convicting.   



Week of August 22, 2022

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Weekly Blog

                We are truly indebted to those who have gone before us in our faith.  As they have lived out the gospel of Christ, they have drawn attention to the many shades of Jesus’ way, truth, and life.  No one lived every color of the spectrum of the gospel perfectly, but each of the great Christians can enrich our spiritual lives.

                Every apprentice of Jesus lived in a particular time and circumstance, and they faced the world, the flesh, and the devil in their own time.  As Jesus took root in their lives and they apprehended the Word of God, the path before them reflects the light of Christ.

                Since Eden darkness has pervaded the human experience.  As someone has said, the saints of God are to be punching holes in the darkness with the light of Christ.  Each life story has been given to us as an inspiration and inspiration, faith and faith, hope.  Therefore, we need to know our world-changing ancestry and its help in our own journeys of faith.



Week of August 15, 2022

Monday, August 15, 2022

Weekly Blog

              We learn through our own experiences, but do you learn through other’s as well.  I know we don’t learn with the same dynamic as our own encounters, but isn’t it wisdom to learn from others as well as at least learn the revealed truth through the Scriptures?  This week I am learning through John Wesley’s story, and it draws me back to the Scriptures.

              He was actually a very wise man, and you can go online and discover at least 35 of his quotes that are gathered there.  When we expose ourselves to wisdom whether in the Scriptures or through a servant of Christ, I think it behooves us to read, absorb, and apply truth when it comes to us, especially in the easy way of someone else’s experience.

              I had a wise professor say that in his estimate if we read and absorbed and applied one Proverb a day (there are 31 chapters of Proverbs) we would do well to learn wisdom.  If one thing is missing in ordinary life it must certainly be wisdom.



Week of August 8, 2022

Monday, August 08, 2022
 Weekly Blog

Having just read, The Pastor’s Wife I am struck with the lack of remembrance in our daily lives of those who suffer imprisonment and a physical beating for their faith in Christ.  Why is it that hatred is rampant in our world against those who name Christ as their Savior, Redeemer, and Lord?  It is clearly the dominance of the evil one who hated Jesus from the very beginning.
We often forget, that is, if we have become so distracted by everyday life that we exist in the midst of a war.  The Apostle made that clear for our Ephesian ancestors when he said, “We war not against flesh and blood, but against principalities…”  Is it not our assignment to raise our intercession for those who are suffering in prisons and on the streets of every city?
I wonder if our greatest enemy lies in our expectations.  The common expectation in ordinary life is that this is more like heaven than hell.  Yet, if Satan has been given a degree of free reign on earth, shouldn’t we be conscious of that?  It confuses us those contradictory realities are simultaneous.  We are in the midst of our continual pursuit of the Holy One and at the same time here to battle in prayer and obedience against the evil. 

Week of August 1, 2022

Monday, August 01, 2022

Weekly Blog


                In Surprised by Joy we are gifted with a sacred narrative of one of the 20th centuries “Greatest Christians.”  What is the story of your journey to faith in Jesus Christ?  Can you look back and see the hand that was wooing you to a new life?  One of the gifts that C. S. Lewis gives us is that however the “moment” occurred, life was meant then to change forever.  It seems to me that we often celebrate the moment more than we celebrate the life that follows.

                One thing that Lewis does for us is that in his fiction he revisits the past and its impact on us in light of the journey that God has called us to.  A journey that shapes our experiences with Jesus as we move into fresh encounters of joy.  Joy is the term that C.S. Lewis uses to describe the arrival.  And as he is quoted as saying, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”  Added to the depth of that observation, Dallas Willard is quoted as saying, “God is the most joyful Person in the universe.”

                Why have we so often lost our way in this world of chaos and suffering?  God is fully aware of all the chaos and suffering – that isn’t anything new to him.  Yet, He is by nature joyful and if we are truly in Him and He is us, why would we let the chaos and suffering rob us of joy.  Joy is a matter of seeing things through the eyes of the Divine.  Maybe it is time we move onto that!



Week of July 25, 2022

Friday, July 29, 2022

Weekly Blog


                “What God gets out of my life is not what I accomplish; it’s the person that I become.”  The wisdom of Dallas Willard turns the way of this world on its ear.  The difference between a self-referenced life and a Christ-referenced life is a universe apart.  I am challenged by Paul’s comments to the young church in Colossae when he said, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven….  Think about these things of heaven, not the things of earth.  For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”   

                As followers of Jesus, we are called to think differently, what is important, what to invest in, and what to live for.  Our identities are meant to be rooted differently than our neighbor.  Dallas also helped us with the notion of reality.  God is real and life in Christ is what is real.  When the scriptures tell us that we are “strangers and aliens in a foreign land” it is telling us that we are meant to be transformed in our minds and hearts and called to be “different” than the culture in which we have been born.

                Summer is a time of growth.  Maybe this is a summer in which you grow more deeply in your experience with God.  Our whole salvation has been to lift us up into a realm of real encounter with the God who loves us most.  Summer is also a time to rest, so maybe your rest is simply to slow down so that you take in God’s loving presence and make empty space to hear His voice which usually comes as a whisper.



Week of July 4, 2022

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Weekly Blog


                “The way of God’s kingdom…which is the best way in the world, is accompanied with the most difficulties.”  Thus, spoken in the words of John Winthrop, first Governor of the Puritan colony in Salem, MA.  I’ve given considerable thought to our founding fathers in this present season of celebration.  Winthrop’s arrival to the shores of Massachusetts was some 10 years after the arrival of the Pilgrim sojourners at Plymouth.

                In the midst of the variant notions regarding the founding influences that we are immersed in today, it takes a courageous posture to look at the facts once again.  In the pre-1620 world of adventure and exploration, the investors from Europe funded the voyages for economic gain, but both the Pilgrims and the Puritans risked their lives and their fortunes for the single purpose of religious freedom.

                The intent from both Pilgrims in Holland and England and the Puritans from England was to establish a world built on the “way of God’s kingdom life.”  Though both endeavors have since been swallowed up by the greed and flesh of unredeemed man, the original pursuit was entirely valid.  It is my conviction that their intention ought yet to be the intention of the church of Jesus Christ wherever it exists.  I stand humbled by their grace and hope.



Week of June 20, 2022

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Weekly Blog


                “Courage is borne in adversity!”  I don’t know if you are familiar with the author, Corrie ten Boom, but you should be.  As followers of Jesus if ever we needed to own this truth, the moral chaos of this present day should call us to out once again.  To say the least this is a culture-wide day of moral adversity, when right is declared wrong and wrong is declared right.  I’m especially aware of the confusing message for children and adolescence.

                The struggle for biblical morality is not a new thing.  It is as old as human existence, but it is new presently because it has become a national and political strategy to influence society intentionally against the truths of God’s Word.  It is not that we have every been a truly Christian nation, but we have been a people with a deep respect for what the Scriptures teach.

                Courage is a positive statement of what is right and what is wrong.  Courage as a virtue has brought about most of the greatest acts from the people of God.  Where is God asking you to stand up and be courageous for truth and righteousness?  Courage begins with faithfulness to the Word in our own ways of living, that is, we were meant in Christ to live righteously.  Be what you speak!

Week of June 13, 2022

Monday, June 13, 2022

Weekly Blog


                There are basics that make all the difference in life, not the strange and unusual, but the basic.  I have in mind something that was developed by Dawson Trotman in the 1930’s that is so essential that it has not been improved upon.  The development of the individual has three streams of behavior that reflect the nature of character: faithfulness, availability, and teachability.  In reverse order, are we open to be taught?  Do we make ourselves available or present to life’s teachers?  Are we willing to hang in there and be consistent in the learning process?

                We are examining the lives of some of the “Great Christians” that have gone before us.  Are we willing to learn from them as to how they lived out the gospel of Christ through their lives?  We are each unique, but what can we learn from others as they took the Word of God seriously and they had dynamic personal relationships with God in Christ?  Each life had an emphasis that we can learn from.  But the question is, are we learners or boxed-in “knowers?”

                It is wisdom to observe how specific truths shaped and formed the character and activity of another of the Saints.  Can we open ourselves to learn from them?  They obviously had shaping and forming experiences that God gave them to live out His kingdom in fresh ways.  In our work this week we are giving our attention to George Muller whose work continues more than a century later.



Week of June 6, 2022

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Weekly Blog


                Beginning with this week the rhythm of the church moves again into ordinary time.  Ordinary Time has the support of the redemptive pillars of the Lenten Season leading up to the great celebration of our salvation accomplished on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  The scent of Easter has been with us for seven weeks culminating this past Sunday with Pentecost and the advent of life in the Spirit.  So, what of ordinary time?

                The summer season before us is naturally fruited with growth and rest.  These feel like contradictory realities, but I assure you they are not.  Rest or making empty space with God is critical to our growth.  Growth is not pure activity but is the result of the intimacy created through “empty space.”  In God’s way with us He speaks in whispers and learning what His will is requires quiet so that we can hear Him.

                The shift that is required in our “perceptual framework” is to realize that God’s will and our natural wills are not the same.  If we choose to live for the glory of God, then His will becomes paramount.  If we live for our own glory, then we can settle for the lesser reality – our will.  No matter how loud our world is our self-referenced will is a dead-end path.




Week of May 30, 2022

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Weekly Blog


                The end of God’s written revelation to us emphases the imminent return of Jesus.  The exclamation and the invitation are the same, “Come, Lord Jesus!”  In the midst of the context in which John’s letter is written to the seven churches of Asia Minor, the most precious thing for them given the impending persecution would be the return of Christ to escort them into the New Jerusalem.  That would be the least painful outcome.

                At the same time Jesus is inviting people to come to Him.  The return of Jesus will be a great relief to those who know Him, but tragedy to those who do not.  Therefore, there is a standing invitation to those who will come to Him.  For all who long for the peace of Christ both now and later the invitation is absolutely good news.  If people still reject the offer, His arrival is bad news.

                The fact is that we only have one life to live no matter what Hindu philosophy suggests.  What is true is that life with Christ is surely a new life apart from the life before Him.  The lie of the evil one is that we have “second chances” and that some how we are on a progressive cycle upward.  The is truly a “line in the sand” that is drawn by our Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.  Never forget that we get to choose.

Week of May 23, 2022

Monday, May 23, 2022

Weekly Blog


                I’ve been interacting with John’s letter to the seven churches in his letter called, Revelation since Easter Sunday.  Historically, my experience with Revelation as a child was all about end times and listening to spokespersons trying to figure out when Jesus is coming back.  But this time I perceive that the point is somewhat different.  Some have noted that John is writing a letter describing his celestial experience to encourage his audience as they anticipate a dark time of persecution.  That makes a lot of sense to me.

                The hope of Easter is a promise of redemption and a challenge to develop a faithful life, trusting in the truth of Christ and the hope of the New Heaven and New Earth and in particular a New Jerusalem, Jerusalem being the place we go to meet with God.  Given the experience of deception and hostility that Satan has originated among us, to gain a clear minds eye of the endgame or destination of all who remain faithful is a great encouragement.

                Living in light of the New Jerusalem is a whole new way of living.  Though we are not there yet, we get a chance to recognize what is substantially important about living life that will not change.  Substance is the essential to living in the reality of God.  Substance is what is genuine.  Based on the New Jerusalem, the glory of God is the attraction not the glory of man.  In the end, all of our human glory will be subsumed into the only glory that lasts.  The good news is, we can live that way now – not perfectly but intentionally.  



Week of May 16, 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Weekly Blog


              Easter hope is a redemptive restorative characteristic.  It is meant to renew the relationship between man and God, but it is even more than that.  It is restorative in that it is meant to restore the developing intimacy with God.  This Easter hope provides the open avenue, but we must make an investment as individuals in the cultivation of the intimacy.  Our investment is not about earning anything, but it does require effort.

              The best metaphor for me is the metaphor of the work of the farmer.  His work is cultivating work from plowing, or pruning, or watering, or weeding, and certainly patient waiting and praying.  God always causes the increase.  There is both the process of effort and yet it is also the humility to know that he is not making something happen.

              Intimacy with God is kingdom of God on earth.  Out of that intimacy, God directs us to the actions He has prepared for us, Eph. 2:10.  Our struggle is when we take up the ways of the kingdom of man and assume they are the same in the kingdom of God.  When we live that lie, we are either “puffed up” or we are consumed by despair.  As Gordon Smith made clear to us that God’s kingdom is the experience of mankind is built on “vocational holiness.”  Our calling or work is holiness as God is holy, 1Peter 1:10.   



Week of May 9, 2022

Monday, May 09, 2022

Weekly Blog


                Easter hope is a redemptive characteristic.  If we learn to live Easter hope in our hearts and minds, we are positioned to live out the kingdom of God in the kingdom of man.  There is no real sense of redemption outside of Jesus.  People attempt to massage their lives, but their messing around is limited to their sin-sick potential.  The best that we can do as humans is always lacking as to what is needed.

                Easter hope is a life that lacks nothing because Easter hope is lived out under the supervision and enabling power of the Great Shepherd, the Holy One of Israel.  Easter hope enables us to live in light of the throne of God upon which Jesus sits.  Easter hope narrows the space between the now and the then.  Easter hope captures the vision for our lives as we seek to live out the prayer that Jesus first gave his disciples.

                When we pray in the now that God’s kingdom come His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are praying that it would first be done in us and then around us and through us.  Without Easter it would be just noise, but because of Easter we enter a new but old kingdom for which we were first designed as workmen.  Lift up your hearts, lift up your minds we live in the kingdom of eternal Easter!

Week of May 2, 2022

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Weekly Blog


                Easter hope is not just a theological concept, but a living reality.  This past week I attended the memorial service of my brother-in-law, Richard Eugene Thiessen.  Easter hope is a statement as to how we shall then live.  My brother lived with the scent of Easter filling his nostrils, not just at the end years of his life, but throughout his life from his first encounter with Jesus to his last breath.  Easter hope is meant to be the air that we breathe, energizing our spirits all along the path.

                For most Easter is but an annual event to be celebrated each spring, yet its dynamic is meant to ingest our lives with the hope of Christ every moment of every day of our lives.  Easter hope allows us to live in the present moment with the Spirit of eternity filling that moment.  It is meant to shape and form our presence as we encounter what is placed before us.

                Easter hope is not a description of the past, but a commentary on the present.  It determines as to whether we live life well or whether we live life poorly.  Easter hope is a matter as to whether we live life from the inside out or the outside in.  If our souls are at the center, then everything that we do to enrich the substance of our souls is effort and time well spent.  Easter hope is carried in the soul.  



Week of April 25, 2022

Monday, April 25, 2022

Weekly Blog


                One of the great benefits of celebrating Easter each year is the subsequent reminder that He is coming again.  The next time He comes will be as judge of the living and the dead.  The fact that Jesus has earned every right to be the Judge is encouraging.  The encouragement is that justice will be served.  Justice as to the souls of men.  The text of prosecution is the Book of Life.  Is my name there or not.

                Judgment is God’s expression of morality.  The fact that Jesus comes to render judgment is necessary to maintain the morality of the universe.  Some don’t want to consider the importance of morality, but it is God’s task to maintain the morality of the universe.  Holiness is the separateness of God.  Morality is the nature of that separateness.

                So, Easter reminds us of the moral separateness of God.  Without this moral separateness, sin would not need to be forgiven.  Sin has to be forgiven because of morality.  God alone can maintain the moral nature of the universe that He created.  When we read of the “wrath of God” it is always because it is His desire to maintain the moral nature of the universe.  The forgiveness of sin is no small thing.  It is the largest thing in light of the universe.



Week of April 18, 2022

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Weekly Blog


                What is life like in the aftermath?  If Easter is simply an annual holiday of family/friends gathering with Easter eggs and chocolate for the kids and ham and sweet potatoes for the adults, then we have missed the point.  Just like any celebration in common culture, it usually misses the point.  The social pressure to celebrate with food and activities tends to drain the resources.

                Easter is a unique season in the life of the church.  The part of the church that practices Lent actually keeps things in perspective.  Easter requires that we prepare for it spiritually.  Though I did not grow up with the 40 days of preparation, it makes sense to me to walk with Jesus in sobriety, fasting, and grace in order to deepen my sense of victory over sin and death.

                In the aftermath the lectionary this year takes us into the Book of Revelation.  Honestly, we either avoid Revelation like the plague or we become fixated on it at the exclusion of the rest of Scriptures, especially the Gospels.  In the aftermath Easter has needed to give us a perspective or perceptual framework from which to view our world and the importance of the kingdom of God.



Week of April 11, 2022

Monday, April 11, 2022

 Weekly Blog


                Like most things spiritual when the object of the spiritual is God, they remain invisible in our noisy world.  To engage Holy Week, we have to be intentional because there is nothing about it save Easter Sunday that is noticed even a little in our common society.  It seems to me that the further we go in the Jesus journey, the more we need to be intentional.  It is not particularly about religion per se, but it is definitely about spiritual in light of our spirits and the Holy Spirit.

                There is a richness to be gleaned when we consider the last week of Jesus’ life in the flesh assignment.  I’m pretty sure in the following days and years the 12 minus 1 had many a conversation reflecting on what was about this week that they did not realize as it was happening.  That’s one of the benefits of memory, convergent things come to mind.  The is an illumination that comes from recalling the story.

                As we enter Holy Week this week, it behooves us to consider the story of the scriptures slowly.  Using our imaginations adds to our deep awareness of Jesus great compassion and ability to keep his focus centered even as he responds to all that is presented to him.  Maybe if we can learn from him, we might take on a depth of spirit that enables us to respond to what God puts before us and still remain in conversation with Him.  May your week bring you to a richer experience of God’s love for you. 

Week of April 4, 2022

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Weekly Blog


                We’ve lost the value of a great word in the midst of our world culture, fundamentals.  Fundamentals have been co-opted by the term “fundamentalist” which has in kind been co-opted by the word “terrorist”.  Most of what Jesus taught us were the fundamentals or the building blocks of the kingdom of heaven.  He taught us that “this is the way it will be in eternity in the Presence of the Trinity.”

                As we encounter the N.T. Epistles by one author, or another simply explain the application of those gospel of Jesus fundamentals.  These are the building blocks for the Jesus Way, Truth, and Life that Jesus came to give us in order to live out heaven’s realities.  Fundamentals when used historically were able to teach us what something was built upon.  When you change the foundation, you change the building.  The building can be weak or strong depending on the foundation.

                As we head toward Jesus’ last pre-resurrection week, the fundamentals will be on graphic display both in Him and in fallen humankind.  Celebrating joyously one day and crying out for assassination the next is so fundamental to man’s sinful nature.  This would be a great week to read through John 10-19 and pay attention to the fundamentals of Jesus’ actions and words.



Week of March 28, 2022

Monday, March 28, 2022

Weekly Blog


                The Christian ethic remains revolutionary from when it was first declared on the Sermon on the Mount through every century including the present.  The Apostle Paul taught that ethic over and over in his epistles to the churches that were being formed in city and village after city and village throughout the known world.  Much of the God-with-us Story is characterized by the moral will of God lived out among people.

                Though the Story is old, it’s effect remains revolutionary.  Just as in the founding of our nation revolution is meant to secure territory and instigate moral knowledge rooted in the Book.  Our opportunity as followers of Jesus is as vivid now as it has ever been.  As the “Word” lives in us given the nature of our world, we become necessary activists of the revolutionary message of God among men.

                I must confess that I do not like to be an activist because “I am not cut out for this” but I’m coming to realize that I do not have a choice – really.  The great Apostle tells me in 2 Cor. 5:18 that I have been given the “ministry of reconciliation.”  It has been assigned to all of us who are called by His name.  It is time to stand up!  I must see that I am, we are, called to punch holes in the darkness!

Week of March 21, 2022

Monday, March 21, 2022

Weekly Blog


                We live in a world full of suffering!  I don’t think that is a new thing, but since our world has shrunk because of technology we become aware of suffering both near and far.  In this Lenten Season it is a good question to consider, “How do I respond to suffering?”  Has it simply become a distraction because of the sheer volume of incidents?  What does it strike in us when it is not our own suffering?  I wonder if our hearts are “glazed over” with a self-protective membrane in order to survive?

                Appeals are constantly made that are designed to gain a sacrificial response from us.  Apparently, that works well in marketing.  For some of us suffering becomes like white noise that is not actually heard.  Yet, in the Apostle’s concern for us is that we become people who are “tenderhearted merciful people.”  I wonder if what is missing in us is an intimacy with Jesus that would lead us to always pray, but only sacrificially respond when He tells us to.

                The more complex the world becomes the more we depend on intimacy with Jesus to keep us whole, holy, and healthy in body, soul, and spirit.  The complexity is fraught with a cacophony of voices.  We need to learn the tenor of His voice, or we will get lost in the static of everyday life.  The Lenten Season is a great time to make some space for silence empty of everything but oneself and Him.

Week of March 7, 2022

Monday, March 07, 2022

Weekly Blog


                It seems like the further we go in the journey, the more we need the fruits of the Spirit.  Today I am thinking about self-control.  Actually, the subsidiary of self-control or self-discipline is what I am thinking about.  Every time in contemporary culture is chaotic, but as followers of Jesus we are continually called to a different realm in the midst of the chaos.  I’m thinking today of our precious Lenten Season while the growing noise is like static to the soul.

                Our sense of rhythm leading up to the Resurrection is so important for the sake of the soul.  The Cross of Jesus and the Empty Tomb are the eternal realities, the heavenly realities that deserve our attention.  These are the facts, truths, and events that will last.  To give ourselves to this Story is what is needed.  It lasts beyond the next headline or news story.  Living real life is rooted in these two events that happened.  It no longer needs any present-day fact checking.  It is settled history, settled reality.

                The self-discipline that is required is to carve out empty, quiet space in which we can meet God alone.  Fasting, prayer, and sobriety is needed to gain a focus that is given us to reshape our perceptual framework.  How we see things and think about things and what we are able to hear in the silence are the disciplines that are necessary to gain life in its eternal fullness.  There is nothing that naturally causes us to make these choices.  We need a vision for what reality is and then an intentionality that puts us on the good path and then the actions that we need to take.


Week of February 28, 2022

Friday, March 04, 2022

Weekly Blog


                We are on the precipice of the pinnacle of the Church’s spiritual seasons.  Beginning Wednesday with Ash Wednesday we are invited into the days leading up to the Cross and the Resurrection, the two events that set Christianity apart from all other religions.  This is the season of our salvation story.  Our story is unique in that salvation was instituted by God because He loves His creation and wants to redeem it from its path of destruction and lostness.

                In these next 40 days we rehearse the focus on Jesus’ part to prepare his twelve for his soon departure from earth.  This was an intense training season to raise the economy and philosophy of the Kingdom of God front and center.  Through the parables and teaching moments leading up to Holy Week Jesus is making clear the Jesus Way, Truth, and Life to his disciples.

                The practices that are traditional during Lent are meant to capture the consistent themes of Kingdom of God life.  Fasting or choosing a path of sacrifice for the sake of focus is essential for us as followers of Jesus.  Sobriety or facing life with truth and honesty is meant to keep us sensitive to the truth about ourselves in light of God’s holiness.  Alms giving is about generosity and openness.  Living free of the grip of materialism is meant to live for the sake of others.  This is not ritual but grandness!  The grand life we have been given in Christ.



Week of February 21, 2022

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Weekly Blog


                What has come to my mind this week is the connection between spiritual seasons and natural seasons of life.  Here we are in the midst of winter, though I am much fonder of spring and am anticipating it arrival.  Winter is our lives can be a season of hard suffering or it may not, but what is characteristic is that it is a season in which the growth from the growing seasons is solidified.  Winter is when the growth rings in a tree are solidified and distinguished from the previous year.

                The activities of winter include solitude, silence, and prayer.  I find it interesting that sometimes our growth is most distinguished by our willingness to listen, reflect, and respond instead of plan, direct, and act.  The will of God is not natural to us, but is expressed by God through his Word, through our hearing his Voice, and through our obedience.

                Therefore, winter can be the most fruitful season of growth because it is a matter of getting God in front of us instead of behind us.  The images we have of Jesus and the sheep always has him in front.  Not just because of Middle Eastern agriculture, but we have never been likened to cattle who have to be driven.  If you get in front of cattle, they do not follow…sheep do, however.  May the remaining weeks of winter find you embracing the posture of solitude, silence, and prayer.  

Week of February 14, 2022

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Weekly Blog


                Through many FB posts I am struck with the continuous battle over the Bible.  It’s as though many know that the Bible is important, but they do not want the Scriptures to speak to our times because it challenges the narratives that we carry within ourselves.  The assumption is that contemporary thought should trump ancient texts rather that the Word of God is to correct our present-day wrong thinking.

                The inclusiveness of God’s love and yet the exclusiveness of God’s plan and way is continually rejected because of the power of contemporary sociology.  It seems that so much of righteousness is defined and exported by the “thought police” instead of sought out by a sincere study of God’s Word.  We reside in a time when sociologists and psychologist and academics become the writers of holy script.

                I’m sure it is not news to us, but in case we need to be reminded every generation has to “battle for the Bible.”  The serious study of the Word of God requires that we have some grasp of the science of interpretation (hermeneutics) and the a sincere study of the text so that we recognize its inspiration and hold on to the historical accuracy of the text.




Week of February 7, 2022

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Weekly Blog


                What do you desire for others that like the Apostle you are willing to “struggle in prayer” for them?  Many in history grasped the path to the heart of God and often it led to prolonged seasons of prayer.  When I think of prayer I am struck with the nature of our prayers.  Frankly, it is most often for “things” or “healing.”  Rarely is our prayer for ourselves that we might grow in the character of Christ and if we pray for others, it seems to me that it is most often that their circumstances might change.

                Many of our forefathers, George Mueller comes to mind, understood both the “long term” aspect of struggle and the absolute dependance in the midst of struggle.  I am also mindful of something that C.S. Lewis said, “Prayer changes the pray-er.”  The more we learn to prayer the greater the realization that “we cannot make happen” what we care most about.  I think the Apostle’s challenge to us is, what do we really care about for the sake of others.

                I think the challenge of prayer is also whether we think all things are possible with God.  For the sake of others are we asking God to do what only He can do?  Are we familiar enough with the will of God that what resonates in our hearts is what resonates in His heart?  Are we willing to enter the Lion’s mouth where spiritual battles are fought?  I confess that I have not been consistent in prayer over the character of Christ in my own life.  Will you join me in prayer for your own life, for the sake of others?


Week of January 31, 2022

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Weekly Blog


                “I’m just not cut out for this!”  Isn’t that a common response when we are called to do something that is hard?  The shaping and forming us in the image of Jesus is not a painless process.  Often times hard is good!  The transformation of our souls is not easy, it creates friction for us and is not our preference.  What is natural to us is to be able to control the agenda of life.

                I suspect that when we encounter the “hard” it would behoove us to consider that what God is facing us with is meant to change us, to mature us.  “Cleansing the inside of the cup” is Jesus’ way to describe our growth in him.  This is the inside/out transaction that is meant to mature our being.  In order to do what Jesus did in the way that Jesus did it requires the re-formation of our being.

                Hard is a flag to remind us to turn our attention to Him.  The prayer, “show me what you want me to see” is the necessary prayer of openness to open the aperture of our minds and hearts for the Spirit’s fresh working within us to “will and work according to His good pleasure.”  The shaping and forming into the person that we were created to be is on-going until the day we meet Him face to face.


Week of January 24, 2022

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Weekly Blog


                What is the nature of opportunity?  It comes with our “seeing.”  Robert Mulholland is his little book, Shaped By The Word shares a term that has been potent since I came across it, perceptual framework.  I’ve come to see that how we see is one of the most important aspects of our discipleship.  When you think about it, the perceptual framework of Jesus is one of the ways he was set apart from us in his humanity.

                When the scriptures tell us that “we have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ” does it not suggest that we are to be conformed in his humanity since we never become divine.  Seeing things from Jesus’ point of view is substance for our ordinary lives that sets us apart from the noise and distraction that permeates the world around us.

                When we walk through life saturated with the presence of Christ in us, we see differently.  We see opportunities because our perceptual framework is changing.  We are seeing with spiritual wisdom and understanding.  It is what Paul often prayed for bodies of believers that he wrote to, Col. 1:9-14.  Jesus is formed in us through how we see.



Week of January 17, 2022

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Weekly Blog


                One of the most impactful chapters that I have read period – and that is saying something when I consider that I am almost 74 years old – came from a little book that Gabe Lyons wrote some 12 years ago, Next Christians.  The title of the chapter is, “Creators, not Critics.”  The gist is this there are those in the years to come who will use their energy to create good culture rather than use their energy to critique culture.  That resonates deeply within me.

                In every encounter and opportunity in life am I invested in creating or critiquing.  It seems that it is quite easy to see what is wrong if we are shaped at all by the Word of God.  The great challenge remains, how do I create that which is clearly stated as the kingdom of God in my day-by-day interactions and activities.  God has always been the Creator of good, beauty, and truth.  Am I willing to walk in those same steps?

                As a follower of Jesus, I think that might be my mantra for each day and each encounter that is presented to me.  Creating good culture is something that seems to me is consistently reflective of Jesus.  The conflicts that arose only existed because there are “forces” that are bent on stealing, killing, and destroying.  Creating good isn’t always easy because it requires a stability, certainty, and wisdom.  Join me in this work, would you!?



Week of January 10, 2022

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Weekly Blog


                As I have been thinking about the contrast between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man it seems that the difference is peace versus chaos.  Truly, chaos brings the worst out of us, and peace is the best of us.  Maybe that is because we were created for peace.  The further we go in the journey the more we understand that we were created for the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of man.

                Is it not true that Adam and Eve were genuinely created for the Garden and that their resistance was not what they were here for?  The fact is that we have been created with the freedom to choose.  So, it is our choice as to which kingdom we will live in.  Like most things in earth life what we experience comes down to choosing.

                It seems to be a very vivid circumstance in which we live.  We are surrounded by chaos.  To not live in chaos is a daily choice.  It takes genuine effort to focus on the invisible kingdom of God and it takes effort to position ourselves so as to not react to the chaos but to respond to the presence of Jesus day by day.  If in the Spirit, it still takes a pushing against the chaos rather than a submission to it.  Life takes effort that has nothing to do with earning anything.



Week of January 3, 2022

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Weekly Blog


                According to the lectionary we are still in the season of Christmas up until Thursday with is Epiphany or the showing of Christ.  I’ve learned that for those in the Jesus Movement that the lectionary leans heavily on the Gospel readings throughout the year.  My education focused more on the Epistles as the living out of the Gospels which is good, but sometimes to the neglect of the Gospels except around Christmas and Easter.

                There is a tacit movement of Jesus’ story through the lectionary gospel passages and, in this week, the second week of Christmas we know that focus of the Magi was to come worship the King.  It is to our advantage to broaden our sense of certainty that God sent non-Jews, the Magi from an astrology perspective to confirm what God had done in the birth of Jesus.  It adds support to the Christmas Story.

                It behooves us to live at Jesus’ pace as we enter a new year of life.  His pace is resident in the Scriptures and given the three years of active ministry out of 33, there is a great deal of preparation in God’s time.  Scholars tell us that the Magi most likely came some two years after the birth, thus Herod’s assassination plot.  Isn’t it interesting that the whole story is reduced to one night in our celebration?  My main take away is that living at Jesus’ pace is a lot slower than we are inclined to live.  



Week of December 20, 2021

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

 Weekly Blog


                As we approach the fulfillment of the Advent Season in a week, I am reminded to the declaration, “I bring you tidings of great joy!”  I’m concerned that we have lost the edge that we have been given as pilgrims of great joy.  Have we allowed the concerns of the day to rob us of our birthright?  The fear and confusion of our day is actually a perfect opportunity for followers of Jesus to rise to the occasion with sincere joy.  Speaking from hearts filled with the joy of redemption.

                We have been saved and are being saved not just for heaven but to bring the messengers of heaven on earth.  We pray that from time to time, “thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth just as it is in heaven.”  For the kingdom to come to earth God has chosen his messengers, not angels, but his children to be the bearers of the kingdom.

                C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”  If that is so, and I think it is, we are meant to be the joy bearers.  Our message is the message of Gabriel at Christmas time, announcing the reality that cannot be seen except through the lives of the Christ-followers, “Glad tidings of great joy.”  Do you think our world needs to be reminded of that life-giving truth? 



Week of December 6, 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Weekly Blog


                The thread in our Advent season is the thread of love.  It’s not the love that strikes most peoples fancy, but the love that moved the Trinity to shuffle its dynamic at great sacrifice for humankind.  We love the gentleness of the Incarnation story, but the essence of that love is sacrifice.  Just as we have focused on the substance of hope being trust and the substance of peace being wholeness, so the substance of love is sacrifice.  One wonders about the prevalence of love in the midst of the redeemed.

                In the Biographical History of Christian Missions, Ruth Tucker tells our stories as followers of Jesus.  One of the constants among these known and unknown heroes of the faith is their commitment to sacrifice for the good of people who have never known the redemption story of God’s love.  That is what biblical love looks like.  It is important that we not lose sight of the central nature of love.

                Often times we are educated in the definitions of love, but that can cause us to lose sight of the power of love.  In non-religious terms love is often described as “making the world go ‘round.”  Maybe this Advent Season it would be a good time to let God define love.  His defining activity always brings us back to the soul-building sense of sacrifice.  What are we willing to go through for the sake of others?  I’m reminded of something missiologist, Ralph Winter once said, “Risk is not to be evaluated on the probability of success, but on the value of the goal.”  Love sees the value of the goal.



Week of November 29, 2021

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Weekly Blog


                Suddenly the colors of the season have changed from green to Royal blue.  For those of us who are conscious of the liturgical seasons, we know something is afoot.  The weekly scriptures turn to the Jesus Story and the Advent of the Christ.  This year we begin with Jesus’ account of the Second Advent when things are different than the Story of the Nativity.  By nature, we love to remember the baby in the manger account, but we don’t like the power and upheaval of the Advent of the Judge.  We like love, but we don’t like holiness so much.

                The accountability of holiness is one of our least favorite sports.  I have a friend who told me a true story of a customer who refused to pay for the repair/replacement of her tire after she had hit a pothole and blew out her tire, because it wasn’t her fault that she hit the pothole.  It was the municipality or government entity who was accountable for the blow out.  It was the pothole’s fault, not hers.  In the mindset of our world, everyone goes to heaven, the world lives unprepared for the return of Christ.

                One of the things I most notice in the life of the Christians today, the lack of compassion for those who do not yet believe.  Luke 21: 25-36 is this week’s gospel reading.  Jesus tells us that when he returns and he surely will, he will come as the Judge, not the Savior.  It will be the market day for the sheep or the goats, this is the day when things will be seen for what they are.  It is my hope that we will return to the great compassion for men’s souls that lead us to step it up and step out.