Let’s Make a Deal

“So, now we’re negotiating.” It was a great moment. We had been going back and forth for a while and finally had agreed on a course of action and all that was left to do was determine the details. You see, it had become clear to me that we were not really on the same page about the general vision and direction we wanted the ministry to go and if we were…

God Changes Your Name

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Well, sure, but the name “rose” captures that smell perfectly, doesn’t it? You see, names matter. They aren’t merely random labels we attach to things, places, and persons. That kind of thinking has gotten us in deep trouble as a society! No, it is no mistake that one of the first jobs God gave Adam was to “name” things! Names reveal (or…

Believing IS Doing!

There’s a prevailing notion that the mere granting of mental assent is believing. But is that really true? Is that really enough to actually believe? Does simply saying you think something is true mean you truly believe it? I know we live in a society that likes to reduce life to “manageable” sizes. We want to reduce achievement to “imagine the possibilities.” We want “positive thinking” to replace the hard work of…

Where Are Your Holy Places?

The concept of “holy space” takes a beating in our modern society that values egalitarianism above hierarchy. But without one place being set aside as “holy” we lose the ability to see the “holy” in every place! In our Scripture Lesson today we read how God promised Abram (later his name would be changed to “Abraham”) the land of Israel for his people. Look at Genesis 13:12-18: Abram dwelt in the land…

4 Opposites Reveal Wisdom

OK, it’s a great scene: Indiana Jones and his dad have reached the cave where they believe the Holy Grail has been hidden. But, to get to the treasure Indy has to pass some tests. As he approaches the first test, he remembers the words of warning “Only the penitent man will pass.” As he approaches the test, he says that the penitent man kneels before God, and he kneels at the…

What Seems Right IS Wrong!

“How can it be wrong when it feels so right?” Probably one of the most overused lines in the history of mankind right before someone does something really stupid! Yeah, I know, I’ve said it myself! So, why is it we humans get ourselves into messes like this? Simple, we let our heart be our guide! But, you say, that’s what they told me I was supposed to do, follow my heart!…

When to Speak; When to Listen

An ancient Roman writer once said, “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.” I confess that has been a hard lesson for me, personally. Once, when someone asked me “Why do you talk so much?” I responded, “Because the sound of my voice comforts me!” As a big smile came on both our faces, it was clear he got my point. We humans are enamored with our own voice, and…

He Will Swallow Up Death Forever

It’s just not news. Seriously, you have to try and not notice that the message of God since He confronted our first parents in the Garden after their deadly choice was that He was going to fix what we had forfeited by our short sighted thinking. God has always planned to undo the “knots” we tied at the Fall. This consistent message is key to see during our “bright sadness” of Great…

This is The Purpose for the Whole Earth

I’m not a big fan of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. But I do like this quote of his: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Spend any time with my writings and you’ll see me say this and more often about being Orthodox on Purpose. Having a purpose transforms a daily life from drudgery to meaning. And when a purpose is missing, well, life lives…

Time to Build an Altar

At the very heart of the timeless Christian faith is the Eucharist. And you’ve heard me say many times before that the word “Eucharist” has its root in the Greek word for “thank you.” The very center of what it means to be a Christian isn’t some cultural habit “I’m Christian because I was born in a Christian family.” It isn’t in some political allegiance like insisting we are a “Christian” nation.…