The Rhythm of a Faith-Filled Life

The faith-filled life has a rhythm to it. We ask, seek, proclaim what we learn, and then learn to ask anew. When I worked at an agency for youth in the state foster care system, this rhythm became our familiar soundtrack.

Honest Hallelujahs

I was too young. Youth and vitamins fortified my body; a promising future fortified my mind. But something else threatened all that, something that made me hold my breath for several months. On the day of my final checkup, after the surgery that removed what wasn’t supposed to be there, the office receptionist was infuriatingly chipper.

Learning from Others’ Lenses

My seventh grade Sunday school class was studying King David using student workbooks and homework assignments. During the week that we studied today’s passage, our leader explained that these verses were proof that David cared for Bathsheba more than he cared for his other wives.

Life on the Ark

We can only imagine how messy and confusing the ark must have been. There were people there—Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives. There were animals there—two of every kind. And there was food there—every kind of food eaten in that day.

Hardwired to Sin

As future adoptive parents, my wife and I just completed a two-day course about the ways that neurochemistry determines the behaviors of children and parents. We learned that neuropathways form in an infant’s brain on the basis of a caregiver’s abuse or neglect.

Verbal Blessings

This year I’ve often found myself thinking about blessings. Not material blessings or even the blessings of relationships. What I’ve been pondering is the practice of giving someone a verbal blessing. I suppose that offering another person a blessing is considered weird, or at best something that only ministers do.

“I Will, with God’s Help”

When Lauren Winner, now a professor at Duke Divinity School, converted to Christianity from Orthodox Judaism, she argued with the promises she had to make in the Anglican liturgy.

Knowing the End of the Story

The last week of Jesus’ earthly life begins with eager expectation and joyful celebration. Enthusiastic, palm-waving, hosannas-singing crowds welcome Jesus to Jerusalem. The news of his raising Lazarus from death precede his arrival and his fame has grown.

When People are like Duct Tape

Duct tape is amazing. You can do so many things with it. Make a dress, reattach a car bumper, do some duct work. Duct tape is decorative and functional, durable yet flexible. It can fix just about anything. Its only problem is that duct tape isn’t a permanent solution.

Playlists for July 14-20 Reflections

As the writer of the July 14-20 devotions in the Reflections Devotional Guide, I invite you to the banks of the Ocmulgee River in Macon, GA. These waters baptized the music of Little Richard, Otis Redding, and the Allman Brothers.

Quiet Miracles

You haven’t truly seen the night sky until you see it from the middle of Peru’s remote jungles, hundreds of miles away from any electricity and several days’ drive from the nearest city. Imagine a sky of black felt, covered in the glitter blown from a child’s hands.

God Only Makes What God Loves

Most of us struggle to believe that God fully loves us (and others) since we do not measure up to God’s law. We hear the constant refrain of “I am not good enough.” Or we wrestle with the “woulda’, coulda’, shoulda’s” of our lives. “God loves us, warts and all,” we say, but that theology falls short.

Meanwhile…

All Philip knows as he starts walking is what the angel said: At noon, take the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza (v. 26). Most of us get a gentle nudging, an inkling of what God wants us to do. Philip got a timetable and directions.

On the Emmaus Road

What courage this pair of disciples shows on the way to Emmaus. When so many others have denied Jesus, fled, or locked themselves away, these two meet a stranger on the road outside of Jerusalem and freely declare themselves to be disciples of Jesus. Maybe it was the grief talking.

Help During Times of Darkness

A few years ago, I was driving home from church on a Wednesday night when the greatest number of emergency vehicles that I had ever seen whizzed past me on the other side of the highway, their bright lights flickering and sirens blaring. I soon discovered that a fertilizer plant in the neighboring town of West, Texas had exploded.

Seeking True Hope and Happiness

About this time each year, I start to feel a bit sorry for myself. The weather is usually dreary and cold. The excitement of the holidays and the promise of a new year have passed. I have not made any progress on my resolutions since the first week of January.

“Be Not Afraid”

A popular quote being passed around the internet says that no phrase appears in the Bible more times than “Be not afraid.” One version of the quote claims this phrase occurs 365 times, one for each day of the year. That’s a beautiful idea. Unfortunately, it’s not accurate.

“Thank You, Jesus”

For years a friend of mine faithfully visited his mother in a nursing home. On each visit, en route to her room he passed a thin Alzheimer’s-ridden woman in the hallway. Red-faced and wheelchair-bound, she repeated, “I want a good deal.”