Signs, Signs, Everywhere the Signs

Do you know the word “apocalyptic?” Since I was a boy, growing up in a Pentecostal church in the South, I’ve heard gospel songs, sermons, and even watched religious movies, about the “end of time.” And that is what “apocalyptic” means – having to do with the end of time. It seems each generation through history has speculated in one way or another with the “end of time.” And it doesn’t require…

With Faith and Love, Draw Near

Several years ago I was part of a group on the square in Marietta, GA gathered to hear some political speeches by different politicians in the federal government in Washington, DC. One of those speakers was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. This politician is constitutionally in line to be President if something catastrophic were to happen to the President and the Vice-President. A pretty powerful position to be in. At…

They Know Not

What is it about close relationships that either blind you or enlighten you? What I mean is, I’ve known folks who were so close to someone else that they were absolutely blind to that other person’s faults. I’ve seen it get so bad that the two people were so enmeshed with each other that they really were their own worst enemies when it came to other friends and relatives. There’s nothing like…

Keep Asking Why!

This message was a central focus of our recent clergy retreat. It is fascinating to see in my own life how easy it is to forget the basic and fundamental question of “why are you here?” Every time I’ve taken this fundamental and foundational understanding for granted, I’ve forgotten “who” I really am. And the results have always been confused priorities, ineffective efforts, and little to show for my labors. No wonder…

It’s 3 AM and I’m Afraid

A recent article in Psychology Today said that “Sleep loss from worry was at its highest during the ages 35-55. During the period of 55-60, worry began to decline as a factor in sleep loss, and leveled off with the onset of old age during the years 66-70.” Psychology Today, December 2012. In fact, one of the leading causes of insomnia in adults is that nagging inability to “shut off my brain”…

Shaking Dust

Several years ago there was a TV show on called “Allie McBeal.” Long story short, the show was about a young woman who was a lawyer in Boston and the eccentric co-workers around her. But one of the main arcs of the story line was Allie’s continual inability to have a meaningful relationship, which she so desperately wanted. Every time she seemed to have met the man of her dreams she seemed…

Shocking God

I love this quote from St. John Chrysostom: “Upon leaving the house one should without fail say, ‘I renounce thee, Satan, thy pomp and service, and I enter into Thy service, O Christ.’” It’s so radical in its insistence that we actually take seriously the reality of the spiritual warfare and the power in a focused devotion and dependence on Christ with every step of my day. But say something like this…

Close Encounters

Every time I think of the Super Bowl commercials, the one I remember most is Mean Joe Green and the little fan meeting each other as the great Pittsburgh Steeler player comes off the field. Those of a certain age already have a smile on their face. That kid will never forget that moment! And I bet he still has the jersey. In today’s Gospel Lesson we revisit one of the most…

Freedom Isn’t Free

There’s one sure way for any politician to get an applause line in a stump speech. All he or she has to do is say “I support our troops!” And rightly so. The brave men and women who serve in our military perform a vital function in the preservation of our liberty, and we, as a nation, should always show our gratitude for their sacrificial service. The truth is freedom isn’t free,…

The Same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever

Today is the feast of the Three Hierarchs, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom, the great 4th century preacher in Constantinople. Each year this feast day marks a powerful moment in the history of the Church. You see, at one time, these three saints had singular and separate feast days, and, as humans will do, controversy ensued. There developed over the years something of a rivalry…