Take My Yoke

"Uncle" Lawrence owned a farm, and when I was a boy, my brother and I would visit this magical place. It was the first time I'd seen how chickens were raised and eggs gathered and cows milked. But what fascinated me most was when I saw the mule being yoked to a plow. The animal, use to this task, simply accepted the yoke and went about his work. Life can feel like you are yoked to a plow sometimes. The daily routine, the expectations of others, the seemingly unending series of challenges life throws at us; all can pile on to us and overwhelm us. And what makes it even worse, if I'm going to be really honest with myself, I bring a lot of these burdens on myself because of shortsighted choices! That's what really makes the burdens of life feel even heavier!

Life Encouraged on Ancient Faith Radio

  Starting TODAY, July 3, you see and hear the weekly homilies of Fr. Barnabas Powell on Ancient Faith Radio. Here are the links to the first podcast: Audio – http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/lifeencouraged Video – http://www.ancientfaith.com/video/lifeencouraged Of course, you can still watch the video homilies here at LifeEncouraged.org anytime. Please share this with friends and family, and stay tuned for more exciting news about LifeEncouraged.org coming soon!

What About Mary?

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” This saying has been around a long time and been attributed to several famous and not-so-famous people, but the heart of ring of truth we hear in this saying is this: It's hard to communicate AND easy to miscommunicate, especially if both speaker and hearer want to misunderstand! We are a people strongly shaped by an inherent mistrust of all authority except our own and we hold to the notion of equality to the point of idolatry. This might be good for having a culture shaped exclusively by free market ideals and entrepreneurship, but it might not serve us well in embracing ideas much older than either of these two philosophies.

A More Excellent Way

A More Excellent Way I can't help thinking of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" when I hear the word "excellent." That word got so overused in the '80's. It became the slang word used for anything one might like or admire. But the word "excellent" is such a wonderful word, and shouldn't be emptied of its value by overuse or misunderstanding. Something that is truly "excellent" stands apart and suggests a standard to be aspired to and attained through diligence, admiration, and emulation. If something or someone is truly "excellent" then that is a reality to be celebrated and embraced!

Like Father, Like Son

  Your theology, whether you know it or not, ALWAYS shows up in your choices, your behaviors, and even your organizational structures. Hey, tell me what your pastor wears on Sunday morning and I can tell you what your theology really is. It's because what we truly believe isn't what we necessarily say, but is best known by how we act and what we value. This is the truest way to determine what you truly believe. Because what you truly believe, regardless of what your mouth says, is always discovered in how you act.

Our Saturday Guest Blogpost: Finding the New Testament Church

Finding the New Testament Church by Fr Jon E. Braun Coming off a couple of decades of heightened awareness of our need for a personal knowledge of Christ–notably evidenced through such phenomena as the Jesus Movement and the charismatic renewal–most thinking Christians are realizing something else is needed: the rediscovery of the historic Church. Often, in heated reaction to dated and dead Protestant liberalism, we would hear evangelical preachers in the late sixties and early seventies say, “All you need is Jesus!” Read the rest here: http://orthodoxpathway.blogspot.com/p/finding-new-testament-church-by-fr-jon.html

Oil and Water

“You have to shake it” with those words I got my first instructions on how to handle salad dressing that had oil and vinegar and other seasonings. You have to shake it up because the ingredients just don’t normally mix together. Their properties are so different that they just don’t combine naturally. You have to shake them together. But when you set the bottle down for a while, they separate all over…

Many Sparrows

The gradual shift in modern educational philosophy to a "self esteem" emphasis is nearly complete. From the math standards that discourage teachers from "correcting" incorrect answers to the ball fields where "we don't keep score" so no one "feels" bad, this shift is now producing consequences of its own. To be sure, this shift in philosophy is motivated by the best of intentions, but, as in many of our human endeavors, those unintended consequences usually "surprise" all of us. While attempting to "correct" what we see as a flaw, we make matters worse by creating even more problems in our constant social experimentation. The problem is the real consequences show up in real people's lives. And then it shapes the entire society and enshrines these spiritual and emotional poverties as virtues!

An Eye On The Prize

  We live in a cynical world, and the dangers of cynicism lie in the deadening effect of cynicism on hope and joy. There is nothing more hopeless and sad than a cynic who simply can't allow himself to believe in something better. The death of faith always comes after the loss of the vision of the ultimate goal of a life of faith. When someone abandons the promise of the end of all this hard work of faith, then all the hard work becomes either silly or useless. After all, things are hopeless, right? Wrong! Things are only hopeless when I choose to abandon hope. Things are only hopeless when I choose to dismiss the promise of the One I say I trust!

The Trailblazer

You've met them before. They are the ones who aren't the center of attention, but they recognize who should be the center of attention and introduce those folks to everyone else. These people seem to have the knack of recognizing who should lead, who should speak, and who should be the example for everyone else. These folks are the ones who introduce the talented to one another. They are the sports scouts who see the talent in a young ball player; the talent scout who recognizes the acting gift in a young man in a high school play; the career recruiter who sees the potential for leadership in the 4 H team leader. Yep, you've seen these folks or at least you've seen their work, even if you never knew their names.