False Prophets In Sheep’s Clothing

Marketing experts expect U.S. companies to spend over 200 BILLION dollars on advertising and marketing this year. While TV advertising is still number one in marketing dollars, online ads are gaining ground, with the mobile ads starting to appear on the phone screens of Americans gaining the most ground. And do you know why American companies will spend this much money on advertising? Because it works! In fact, something horrible happens when you don’t…

Fasting – Saying “No” So You Can Say “Yes!”

Recently, quite a few news outlets reported on a scientific study done to test the effects of fasting on our immune system. The discoveries were presented in a paper that suggested that fasting reboots the immune system and encourages the creation of stem cells. Isn’t it fascinating when science catches up with timeless wisdom? If one were to take the fasting disciplines of the Orthodox Christian faith seriously, a purposeful follower of…

Blessed to Bless Others!

Ouch! That hurt! It wouldn’t have hurt anymore if he’d actually hit me with his fists. He had confronted me with the reality that my words had so offended his friend that that friend didn’t want anything to do with God anymore. Oh No! I was young and foolish (of course now I’m old and foolish, but, oh well), and I had tried to explain why a certain tragedy had happened to…

Are You Living A Diluted Faith?

Today is the Feast Day of the Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas, and my name day. As I was considering another year named for St. Barnabas the Apostle and what it means to be named after the “son of encouragement, I thought about a sermon I once heard that really “encouraged” me to think about my own faith! “It’s like trying to take an aspirin for cancer!” OK, that got my attention! The…

The Reality of God’s Wrath

American author Laird Barron once said “Mom was all about hellfire and brimstone. Her Old Testament God was a colossal, ancient brute, a maelstrom of blood and fire, of appetite and wrath.” Sounds familiar. Our society has been shaped by a narrative, both subtle and overt, about how we think of God. And, for many people (could we say the majority?), God is exactly like Barron’s mother described: A colossal and angry…

Hear the Call For Your Life

The dictionary defines the word “obligation” as “an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment.” When I was growing up, my mother taught me that I wasn’t free to do what I wanted until I did what I must. In other words, I had obligations to my family, my home, and myself! “Brush your teeth” wasn’t a suggestion; it was an…

The Spirit-Filled Life

When I was growing up in the Pentecostal church of my youth, a regular theme of sermons I heard was about being “spirit-filled.” Our emphasis on the Holy Spirit had everything to do with “living a holy life” and experiencing an intimate relationship with God. By the way, both of those are really important! Of course, the problem came from being disconnected from the continuity of wisdom from the centuries. That meant…

Intimacy With God Brings Clarity of Vision

She just rolled her eyes. I’m getting that more and more from my 13 year old lately! Sure, I had just used one of my old, worn out Dad sayings, one of my favorites when I say that everyone would be happier if they would all just do as I say! She thinks I’m silly, and I do mean it in jest most of the time. But I confess a part of…

Don’t Follow Strangers!

I was a nervous wreck! A 15-year-old teenager with his best buddies was sneaking into a movie theater without paying! I can hear the voice of my mother in my head “Young man, you carry your family name. That should make you think twice about doing things you know you shouldn’t!” We didn’t get caught. We loved the movie. We laughed, and we congratulated ourselves for our stealth and our “courage.” And I…

Deliver Us From All Affliction, Wrath, Danger, & Necessity!

When I am at peace with the direction of my life I find that restfulness spills over onto those around me. But that makes perfect sense. After all, we constantly pray in the liturgy “For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger, and necessity, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.” Freed from my life being driven by “necessity” I am invited to a life of peaceful sobriety that quiets…