Abraham Had Two Sons…

“Did you hear…” That’s the beginning of a moment that rarely turns out good! And that’s because this is usually the beginning of a conversation that is more gossip than true. But we do love to gossip, don’t we? Unfortunately, there are real consequences to spreading stories, especially when those stories are either untrue or, (sometimes worse yet) half true! And it seems to be so easy to not get the story…

Give FROM Gratitude, Not TO Need!

It’s just who I am. I remember my time at an Evangelical Protestant school for my undergraduate degree, and the 2 years of homiletical classes (how to give a sermon). It was a bit gruelling and my professor was particularly tough on me. One day, I was walking with another seminarian and he overheard our conversation. He stopped me and said “Brother Powell, you are a preaching machine!” I chose to take…

At His Feet

There is a story about a great man. He had searched the world over for wisdom. He had gone to gurus, and sought out great religious leaders and learned philosophers. But still his heart ached for more. Sure, he learned great and awesome ideas, and heard wonderful words, but still he felt empty from the searching. Discouraged, he cried out to God “Lord, where is true wisdom? Where is true knowledge of…

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

I love the scene in “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson’s character looks at the military lawyer questioning his leadership of his troops in Guantanamo. It’s at a pivotal part of the drama. The commandant, Colonel Jessup, was a rough and tough Marine leader. He was a strong man, and he didn’t have any respect for the Navy Colonel lawyer questioning his judgement in leading his men. In that moment Colonel…

You Hypocrites!

“Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?” You can almost hear the sneer in this question to Jesus in the passage for today! And, frankly, it’s a good question. You see, as a Church, we Orthodox place a great deal of confidence in the consistent witness of the Faithful through the centuries. And we get that honest, as my grandmother use to say. We inherited that attitude from the…

Making Masters Servants!

I know it is a bit “old fashioned” and it may be hard for those of this generation to understand, but the timeless message of the Faith is that we are called to battle and tame the passions SO THAT they are our servants and never our masters! So what are the passions? Some may say “I thought being a passionate person was a good thing.” Well, as usual, it depends on…

A Deeper Knowing

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to “eat crow” over some idea I had or position I held that turned out to be, oh not necessarily “wrong” but “too small” or “too narrow” for the subject at hand. It’s made me a bit gunshy at times to make a definitive statement before I’ve had the time to really contemplate my own thoughts. After all, as the scripture says, “The…

Sell Everything and Buy the Field

He looked at me right in the face and said the words I will never forget: “When you’re ready to ‘sell all you have’ to have this faith, then, and only then will you be ready!” Whoa, wait a minute, let’s talk about this! Everything? Yep, everything. It was a turning point in my own spiritual journey and I was having to confront my own desire to “play it safe” or not…

The “Weeds” in Your Heart

OK, let me confess something; I am not very talented when it comes to growing things. In fact, every time I’ve tried to plant and tend a garden, it has ended up either overrun by weeds or eaten by critters or over watered or under watered! I just don’t have the proverbial “green thumb.” I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a lack of patience, or a lack of discipline. Or maybe it’s…

You Tell The Best Stories, Pawpaw!

My grandfather was an amazing storyteller. He was always a larger than life figure in my eyes as a boy and still is even as a grown man. He had this ability to mesmerize us grandkids with his stories of being a police officer in Atlanta, and his stories of his adventures with his friends. To this day, I have no idea if any of these stories he told actually happened! He…