Familiarity Breeds Contempt

“Hey, I know that boy. I’ve known him my whole life. Who does he think he is?” I confess, it hurt a bit. You see, I was preaching one of my first “sermons” and some “friend” of the family who had, actually, known me and my parents since I was a baby, was a bit put out at my sermon topic. I don’t even remember what it was now, but I do…

Fruit Inspector

Marketing experts expect U.S. companies to spend over 200 BILLION dollars on advertising and marketing this year. While TV advertising is still number one in marketing dollars, online ads are gaining ground, with the mobile ads starting to appear on the phone screens of Americans gaining the most ground. And do you know why American companies will spend this much money on advertising? Because it works! In fact, something horrible happens when you…

Learning to Say “No”

Several days ago quite a few news outlets reported on a scientific study done to test the effects of fasting on our immune system. The discoveries were presented in a paper that suggested that fasting reboots the immune system and encourages the creation of stem cells. Isn’t it fascinating when science catches up with timeless wisdom? If one were to take the fasting disciplines of the Orthodox Christian faith seriously, a purposeful…

An All New Faith Encouraged LIVE on the Protestant Reformation

Dear Faith Encouraged Family, On tonight’s show, my special guest, Fr. Panayiotis Papageorgiou, talked about his recent paper presented in Germany on the early contacts between the Protestant Reformers and the Orthodox Church. Here is a copy of his paper that you can read for yourself: The Protestant Reformation and the Christian East: The Protestant Reformation and the Christian East Thank you, Fr. Panayiotis, for opening our eyes to so much vital information.…

God is Blasphemed Because of You

Ouch! That hurt! It wouldn’t have hurt anymore if he’d actually hit me with his fists. He had confronted me with the reality that my words had so offended his friend that that friend didn’t want anything to do with God anymore. Oh No! I was young and foolish (of course now I’m old and foolish, but, oh well), and I had tried to explain why a certain tragedy had happened to…

By Grace You Have Been Saved

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.” I can still hear my grandmother singing that song when I was just a little boy. It’s almost one of the earliest memories I have of her. She and my grandfather would take me to their little Baptist church and Pawpaw would lead the singing and…

The Wrath of God (It Ain’t What you Think!)

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…

I Am Under Obligation

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…

Walk As Children of the Light

When we were very young, my brother and I got up one early Christmas morning to see what we got for Christmas. Now, mind you, our parents were still sound asleep. But did that stop us? Did we go and wake them up first? No! And boy we had a blast, I remember one toy in particular. It was a snow cone maker. It was shaped in the form of a snow…

You Should Have Listened to Me

“I don’t mean to say ‘I told you so,’ but I told you so!” I kind of doubt that he really didn’t mean to tell me that. My buddy was listening to me complain about a job I had accepted for the summer that turned out to be a disaster! True, he had warned me not to do it, but my stubborn pride insisted I could make everything alright. I couldn’t. I…