You Are Given The Kingdom!

I know, I know, it doesn’t make sense right off the bat. But it really is true; God wants to GIVE you everything He has! AND, you’re going to have to WORK for it! I really do get why this paradox is so confusing and, frankly, off-putting. How can both of these truths BE true? God is all-powerful. Who can resist Him? No one, that’s who. Humanity is bent toward selfishness and…

After the Temptation

The old saying is “It is easier to avoid temptation than to resist it.” And while that may be true, our real lives have shown is that we will most likely have to resist temptation more than we will be attentive enough to avoid it! But that isn’t all bad. The truth is learning to resist temptation builds those spiritual muscles that give me the confidence to grow in my faith and…

How Do You KNOW?

I never will forget the moment in college when I was confronted with the question “how do you know?” It was in an undergraduate philosophy class and I had actually never really thought about “how” I knew things. The fancy name for this is “epistemology.” And epistemology is the study of how we know. It turns out this is an extremely important question to ponder. So, how do YOU know what you…

He Escaped!

OK, I’m afraid of closed in places. I think it’s called “claustrophobia.” The first time I remember discovering this uneasy feeling was when I was a boy and we were playing hide and seek. I found this perfect hiding place in a small cupboard in the kitchen. And it must have been a good spot because no one could find me. But after a few minutes in that closed in place, I…

Surviving Temptation Means Preparing for Next Time!

My teenage daughter and I have some great conversations in the mornings when I take her to school. Recently, we talked about the importance of a foundation for our thinking and choices. I was encouraging her to learn HOW to think so that she can maneuver all of life’s situations with a consistency and strength. That means learning how to examine the WHY of my choices, feelings, and motivations. What shapes the…

Hiding From Death

We are a death-denying culture. In the US, the Funeral business is a $20 Billion industry employing over 13,000 people nationwide! And, in 2016 we crossed that line where over half of the American’s who passed away choose cremation over a burial. If we don’t choose cremation, we apply technics to the body to make it look less like a corpse. While all of this may seem to be honoring, and to…

Did You Receive The Holy Spirit?

Early on in my journey into Orthodoxy I read a book by an American philosopher named Dallas Willard. The book was “The Spirit of the Disciplines.” This was really my first exposure to the wisdom that how you are formed inside, how you are shaped, and what you allow to shape you, has a profound effect on how you act. Willard goes on to say “Spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers…

Now Appearing!

Christ is Baptized! “Now Appearing!” I read the words with a mixture of pride and embarrassment! You see, this was part of a sign advertising a book signing I was doing in an area. Ugh! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be a “published author.” Frankly, coming from the back woods of the American South, being the first member of my family to have a Master’s degree, a passport, and…

“You Know-It-All!”

Christ is born! It was arrogant of me, I know. I thought I knew how to communicate deep Orthodox wisdom to everyone. But, here I am in front of these folks who are very different from me. They weren’t from my country. They didn’t speak my language. They didn’t know any of the references to the Bible I was making because they had never read the Bible! And I knew I was…

A Spectacle to Angels and Men!

Christ is born! “You’re making a spectacle of yourself.” With that, my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Thompson, set about correcting me for being the class clown during math! Since I didn’t know what a “spectacle” was, she suggested I look it up! Mrs. Thompson was a really good teacher! “Spectacle” is defined as “a visually striking performance, or display; an event or scene regarded for its visual impact.” It comes to us…