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…

Can You Tell The Difference?

Do you know the difference between a barrier and a threshold? It’s actually quite an important distinction. The old saying goes “good fences make good neighbors” and there’s no disputing that clear boundaries are necessary in relationships for there to be healthy communion between persons. But, what happens when a boundary gets used to diminish the value of others or even exclude someone from the “group” simply because they are who they…

Thus Says The Holy Spirit

The ancient saying “The Unexamined Life is not worth living” hits home today in so many ways. Our society is being given a look at ourselves through the twin mirrors of a health crisis AND the brutality of those sworn to protect AND those who would burn down their own houses in response. But here’s where the Church comes in to “Prophecy.” We who are the Body of Christ are here to…