Why Do You Call Me Good?

I love what Mark Twain once said: “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” Yep, I know what he means. I squirm under the light of someone who’s life radiates a goodness I so often wish I had and all too often do not! My best friend use to say that “No life is a total waste; it can always serve as a bad…

Jesus, Our Final High Priest

What is the significance of the phrase “not made with hands?” We see this in our lesson today and we even see an Orthodox ikon of the same name. You know the ikon I’m talking about. It is the ikon of the Lord’s Face that the Lord sent to Abgar, the leader of the city of Edessa who had been afflicted with leprosy. The tradition says that the Lord commanded a bowl…

Lord, Let Your Servant Depart in Peace!

I love this quote from Jimi Hendrix: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” It seems we hear a lot about peace and how to achieve it through human history, but it always seems to be just beyond the grasp of we humans. And yet, we know we need peace. We sure do seem to want peace, and we never seem to have a…

God Never Rejects You!

She was always cheery. It seemed no matter what, she had a smile on her face. I could count on some inspirational quote or some uplifting phrase every morning as we worked together. And then, the bottom fell out of her life. I watched as her smile began to fade and her words of encouragement became fewer and fewer. You see, her life and disposition had never been tested like this before…

Recall the Former Days

In 1861 Robert E. Lee wrote, “With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home.” In the end, he simply couldn’t raise his sword against his home state of Virginia, even though President Lincoln had offered him the command of the whole…

Hearing AND Seeking Jesus

In the beginning, God said…. And with that action, God has been using speaking and hearing to start the process of metania (repentance) in the hearts of those who have “ears to hear.” There are so many examples of this pattern of God’s actions that there are too many to mention them all. God “called” Abraham from the land of his father. God “called” the prophet Samuel and the prophet Isaiah in…

You Are The Feet and Hands of Jesus

In World War 1 the two opposing armies would dig in and conduct what was then called “trench warfare.” The land between the two armies entrenched for the fight was called “no man’s land” because anybody who tried to attack would be shot by the other side! Not a pleasant place to be. But recently I was teaching after our regular Wednesday night service about the unique place the priest occupies during…

The Disappointing Fig Tree

“Well, THAT was unexpected!” I remember saying this when I and my friends went to a particular movie together years ago. We thought this was going to be a comedy, but it turned out to be quite an inappropriate drama. We all decided to leave when we realized we weren’t going to have the experience we expected. That’s what happens when you’re disappointed. You end up having to confront the absents of…

Hearing Plain Talk!

Do you mind if I get on a soapbox today? Thanks! Someone can be truly sincere AND sincerely wrong. It doesn’t help good people to be more concerned about their fragile feelings and ignore the danger they are in by heading in the wrong direction. Sometimes, speaking the truth in love is unpleasant and unwelcome. But love DEMANDS I care more for the other than their opinion of me. Recently I told…

Get to Know the Crossroads Program for Teens

Dear Faith Encouraged Family, The older I get the more I struggle with the challenges with reaching our youth with the power and the importance of our precious Orthodox faith. One of my greatest tools to help me address this challenge is the Crossroads Summer program. Please make sure your parish priest and your Youth ministry know about this Summer youth program. I send my young people to this program and I…