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…

I Must Not Fear!

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” This is the litany Paul Atreides recites in the book “Dune” as he is being tested. A…

No Wasted Circumstances

What if every time you turn around, no matter what happens, it ends up helping you? It seemed like it was one of those days. All the traffic lights were green. Even the cars in front of me were moving along at a good speed. My favorite song came on the radio in just enough time for me to hear the whole song before I arrived at my appointment. And then, when…

3 Insights for A Faithful Life

Our busy lives really do challenge us in keeping our priorities in the right order, don’t they? We moderns are a complicated mishmash of schedules, opportunities, affluence, and “freedom.” And that multiplication of events, desires, hopes, and advertisements don’t seem to be slowing down. It seems that each new day brings a new barrage of invitations, exhortations, and marketing all meant to fill up every available moment of our day with “You…