Cleaning House

Cleansing the Temple

“Uh, excuse me, but I was hoping for the ‘meek and lowly’ Jesus!” I bet that was the thoughts of the men the day the Lord walked into a section of the outer courts of the Temple in Jerusalem and started turning over the tables and sending the “men of commerce” running. “This isn’t the Man we heard about who sits little children on His lap! What’s He so upset about?”

The Things That Make For Peace

Tools

He corrected even my prayer that I said at the beginning of our homiletics class! He was my homiletics professor during my college years and he was known as the toughest professor at the school, and somehow he became fixated on me. It seemed I could do nothing right in his class, and it also seemed he was intent on scrutinizing every move and word I made in the preaching class. He would say things like “Mr. Powell, words are your tools. Would you trust a mechanic that just tossed his tools around his shop as if they meant little to him? Words are your tools, Mr. Powell. If you aren’t going to use them well, you are an unfaithful steward of the gift God gives you!” Needless to say, I walked into his class for two years straight a bit nervous!

I Guess I Should Come And See

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Today, we hear two different men respond to two different questions with “Come and See.” The first question was asked by some of John the Forerunner’s disciples about where the Lord was staying and He responded”Come and see.” And the second question was asked by Nathaniel of Philip about whether any good thing can come from Nazareth and Philip responded “Come and see.”

The truth is we are never going to come to grips with the reality of our faith without actually risking encountering it in it’s fullness. No amount of reading about it or contemplating it is ever going to be enough to see the fruits of practiced faith in our lives. We have to actually take the risk of practicing our faith, loving our Lord, and living our beliefs if we are ever going to “know” this eternal relationship!

So, I guess today is the day to “Come and see!”

Black Friday

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And they’re off! The sales, the markdowns, the deals, all conspiring to get us to spend, spend, spend. The competition is hot. The deals are unrepeatable. Knock that person ahead of you down. Reach across that lady’s grasp. Get here first! Fight, fight, fight!

Like A Child

Little girl is playing hide and seek outdoors

Think of one (just one) foolish thing you did as a child. I remember one “project” I attempted as a single-digit aged kid. I thought it would be “fun” to paint the basement of our house! The problem was I didn’t have enough paint to do all the walls. I didn’t have the right paintbrush to do the job. And I didn’t have the “know-how” to do it right. Needless to say a little paint here and a little paint there was all I managed and it didn’t please my mother at all.

If Only I Could…(You Can!)

“Who touched Me?” What? Lord, the whole crowd is pressing in to touch You, and you ask “Who touched Me?” Lord, it doesn’t make sense. Everybody is touching You. I imagine that is what most of the disciples were either thinking or saying when the Lord asked this question in a large crowd one day. In reality someone had touched Him, but she had touched Him in desperation, in faith. After all,…

Not By Might, Nor By Power, But By My Spirit

Volcano

 

It’s the Nike slogan: Just Do It! It’s the “American” motto: Can Do! It’s the modern world’s obsession: Make it happen. We are a people who have been shaped in our contemporary age with an expectation of getting things done, accomplishing goals, and doing whatever it takes to achieve our aims and dreams. We are an extremely “productive” race!

A Good and Faithful Steward

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Just in case you missed it, here’s the link to Faith Encouraged LIVE. I really enjoyed speaking to my dear friend, Bill Mariannes, last night about the timeless Orthodox Christian understanding of Christian Stewardship that creates the virtues in our hearts. This is exactly what Christ meant when He called us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”

Just click here to listen! http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/faithencouraged/a_good_and_faithful_steward

A Confused Man

Today we read the parable of the man who confused possessions for riches and safety. His confusion caused God Himself to call him a fool.

The only true riches and safety is found in remembering our mortality and preparing for it.

Are you rich?

Prepared and Ready

Entry Into Temple

Today we celebrate the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple as a small child.

This great feast of the Church isn’t known to us from Holy Scripture, but from Holy Tradition and it reveals to us the reason why Mary was able, in her teenage years, to say “Yes” to the Archangel Gabriel when he came to her to tell her she was going to be the mother of the Messiah.