You Are The Feet and Hands of Jesus

In World War 1 the two opposing armies would dig in and conduct what was then called “trench warfare.” The land between the two armies entrenched for the fight was called “no man’s land” because anybody who tried to attack would be shot by the other side! Not a pleasant place to be. But recently I was teaching after our regular Wednesday night service about the unique place the priest occupies during…

The Disappointing Fig Tree

“Well, THAT was unexpected!” I remember saying this when I and my friends went to a particular movie together years ago. We thought this was going to be a comedy, but it turned out to be quite an inappropriate drama. We all decided to leave when we realized we weren’t going to have the experience we expected. That’s what happens when you’re disappointed. You end up having to confront the absents of…

Hearing Plain Talk!

Do you mind if I get on a soapbox today? Thanks! Someone can be truly sincere AND sincerely wrong. It doesn’t help good people to be more concerned about their fragile feelings and ignore the danger they are in by heading in the wrong direction. Sometimes, speaking the truth in love is unpleasant and unwelcome. But love DEMANDS I care more for the other than their opinion of me. Recently I told…

Get to Know the Crossroads Program for Teens

Dear Faith Encouraged Family, The older I get the more I struggle with the challenges with reaching our youth with the power and the importance of our precious Orthodox faith. One of my greatest tools to help me address this challenge is the Crossroads Summer program. Please make sure your parish priest and your Youth ministry know about this Summer youth program. I send my young people to this program and I…

I Must Not Fear!

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” This is the litany Paul Atreides recites in the book “Dune” as he is being tested. A…

No Wasted Circumstances

What if every time you turn around, no matter what happens, it ends up helping you? It seemed like it was one of those days. All the traffic lights were green. Even the cars in front of me were moving along at a good speed. My favorite song came on the radio in just enough time for me to hear the whole song before I arrived at my appointment. And then, when…

3 Insights for A Faithful Life

Our busy lives really do challenge us in keeping our priorities in the right order, don’t they? We moderns are a complicated mishmash of schedules, opportunities, affluence, and “freedom.” And that multiplication of events, desires, hopes, and advertisements don’t seem to be slowing down. It seems that each new day brings a new barrage of invitations, exhortations, and marketing all meant to fill up every available moment of our day with “You…

Look To Yourself And Know Yourself

The great, ancient philosopher Lao Tzu said “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” And I would, arrogantly, add that the first step in mastering yourself is truly knowing yourself. And that, my angels, is much more profound than what any of us might imagine. Of course, this is what’s behind all the Divine Mysteries of the Faith; the confrontation with…

An Eternal Citizenship

“This world is not my home. I’m just a’passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door. And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” That’s an old spiritual that I use to sing as a boy in church. And it strikes me now as a wonderful and terrible song. Wonderful in the sense that it preserves the Christian hope…