Can You Hear Me?

“Um, sorry, what did you say?” That’s the response I get many times when I’m talking to my younger brother. His hearing took a beating years ago when he was working at a car body repair shop. The steady noise combined with his serious work ethic damages his hearing, so now, I have to repeat myself a few times sometimes when there is a lot of ambient noise around us. And of…

What Is Love

“I love you 3000.” This iconic bit of Hollywood scripting is such a powerful illustration of our current understanding/misunderstanding about love. The sentimental side of me sheds tears as a child tries to tell her daddy how much she loves him, and in her little head, the number 3000 expresses a huge amount. But then the grownup side of me knows that mere sentiment simply cannot capture the depth of true love…

They Hated Him First

“Hate” is such an ugly word. And yet I use it all too often. “I hate this traffic.” “I hate coconut!” ( I really don’t like coconut. I think it’s the texture.) “I hate that music.” You get the idea. But, sometimes, dark times, weak times I have even used that word about another person! Horrible! Lord, forgive me! And I’ve had that word used about me. It was a shock and it hurt deeply. Someone “hates”…

Lifted Up On The Cross

There’s an old chorus our youth group liked to sing during youth meetings called “Lift Him Up.” It goes something like this: “Lift Him Up, Lift Him Up, Lift the Name of Jesus Higher. Lift Him Up. Raise His Banner to the sky. He said ‘If I be Lifted Up, I will draw all men unto Me.’ Lift Him Up, all you people, Lift Him up.” Neat words and a catchy tune,…

What Is The Foundation of Your Life?

We were talking in Bible study recently about “First Principles.” It seems this is something we so rarely consider, but if we miss fundamental truths, we always end up in places we never intended to go. For instance, if you don’t build your life on the fundamental truth that when you say “God” you mean the Holy Trinity, you mean the Father, and you mean the UNCREATED, you will wind up with a basic…

Godly Grief Works Repentance

But I was really sorry. I said so over and over again. And I really meant it. I was sorry for what I did. And it wasn’t the first time. It wasn’t even the second time. It was multiple times I’d stumbled over the same mistake. And I was really sorry. But nothing changed. Why? Why was I so gripped by this short-sighted behavior? Why was I so vulnerable to this “besetting…

Soldiers of the Light

It was a favorite Sunday School song in my 1st-grade class on Sundays! “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine!” We would hold up our right index fingers as we sang the song. What a nice memory. But then something…

The Curtain Is Pulled Back

When I was a boy the movie The Wizard of Oz was always showing around Easter time. I’m not sure why the TV executives chose that time of year to show this movie, but I do remember looking forward to it every year. I especially like the spot toward the end where Toto pulls back the curtain hiding the professor who is running all the gadgets that he created to trick others.…

Not What But WHY

“We must speak out! We CANNOT be silent! Silence makes evil possible!” We hear this a lot nowadays, and I confess, I have great sympathy for this message. I’m a preacher, after all. And the public and fearless declaration of the Gospel is normal for we Christians through history. But, as usual, a one-sided perspective on this will lead to a lack of sobriety and balance. There is an equal witness to…

Perfect, Complete, Mature, Healthy!

A recent article on the Christian view of marriage is titled “Marriage is a Lifetime of Suffering.” You won’t see that on any Hallmark card for wedding anniversaries anytime soon. And yet, the idea of salvific suffering is so foreign to us as to be actually offensive to many. But the Christian understanding of life and salvation can be summed up in this quote from Elder Sophrony of Sussex “…in this world,…