Wednesdays With … James: Don’t Forget to Ask this One Thing of God

My three-year-old daughter was completely taken aback as she slowly approached the hauntingly beautiful and somewhat unsettling creature perched on a low branch just off the hiking trail. Even she couldn’t speak as she stopped to watch it slowly swivel its skull from left to right, scanning out over the lake presumably in search of prey. Her experience with this bird of prey reminded me of this classic children’s nursery rhyme. A wise old owl lived in an oak The more he saw the less he spoke The less he spoke the more he heard. Why can’t we all be […]

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Wednesdays With … James: Developing a Faith of Integrity

The site 99percentinvisible.org once reported that Citicorp Center in Manhattan was, at 59 stories, the seventh-tallest building in the world when built in 1977. You can pick it out of the New York City skyline by its 45-degree angled top, but it’s the base of the building that really makes the tower so unique. The bottom nine stories are stilts. The design originated with the need to accommodate The design originated with the need to accommodate St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, which occupied one corner of the building site at 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue in mid-town Manhattan.The stilts suspend the building […]

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Doubling Down on Delight

Does Jesus want you to achieve your life’s hopes and dreams, or is He your hope and dream? In John 6, there is a fantastic shift in affection for Jesus with regard to the general public. To the degree that He meets their materialist needs, Jesus is a smash hit. Yet the moment He calls the public on the carpet to be all about Him on His terms, not theirs, Jesus quickly becomes a one-hit wonder, ministering to a bewildered Sunday school class instead of thousands. A consumer is a huge fan of a company to the extent that its products meet […]

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Present, Compassionate, and Prayerful

I came across Matthew 9:35-38 recently and was struck by how present Jesus was. 35 Jesus continued going around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” It is all too easy to “minister” in a detached and sanitary […]

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Guilty as Hell

Several years ago, a lovely young lady got her first (and only) speeding ticket. I can spin this ticket a couple of different ways. I could say she was going 40 MPH in a 15 MPH school zone … while school was getting out. True story. But I could also tell you her car clock was set an hour ahead of actual time … that there were no children present … that she was pregnant and little off her game. Would these latter facts change your opinion of this lady’s guilt? She was very prepared to share all of this […]

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What Driving in the Rain Revealed in my Heart

I’m from Florida. One of Floridians’ many hidden talents is the ability to drive through the rain. I can tell you the dangers of driving too slow in the rain, as well as driving too fast. I can tell you what to do when you hydroplane. Floridians are familiar with tropical weather impeding their plans; we’ve got names for our hurricanes, for Pete’s sake. I have found that Nashville drivers, on the other hand, do not know how to drive in the rain. I experienced Nashvillian fright on the rainy roads one week while on my way to work. The […]

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Three Ways Busyness is Destroying your Relationships

All too rare are the days when the list of our daily tasks lines up well with our available resources to achieve those tasks. Perhaps our expectations for the day are too high. Maybe we are lazy. Maybe time and money are short. The reasons vary, but the result is still the same: we end each day feeling we haven’t accomplished enough in order to rest well. And our reaction to this feeling of disappointment is to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and try all the more to accomplish. This is an unending, life-killing loop of insanity: a list […]

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Sometimes Doing Nothing is Doing Everything

I read a fascinating article a while back about how young baseball players sometimes pitch multiple times a week all year long playing school, summer, and fall ball. The net statistical result is an increased number of Tommy John surgeries at younger ages, even for some kids not out of high school. As one of the trainers in the article said: having kids pitch so fast, so hard, and so soon is “nothing less than child abuse.” The article contrasted this with a story about Josh Beckett who has played for 14 years and 2000 innings, and who is 34 […]

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Four Things to Tell Yourself when You Worry

It occurred to me recently that in six years my oldest child will likely be old enough to live on his own. Or at least with less of my help than he currently has. Whatever. I bring this up because immediately following this revelation was an avalanche of worry. How will I provide a car? How can I afford the insurance for the car? Will my savings be enough to meaningfully blunt college expenses? And on and on and on. Honestly, it weighs on me even as I write about it. Which is why I must tell myself four very […]

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Paul’s Solution for a Church Divided

Perhaps you’ve heard it said, “Wherever 2 or more are gathered in His Name, there will be conflict.” It’s funny mostly because it’s true. Unity has eluded Jesus’ church since its founding. Even the Apostle Paul, the founder of many of the early churches, found himself at odds with the very congregations he started. The number and type of divisions are seemingly infinite, and so are the number of books and articles written to help restore unity. Many of these resort to “best practices” … the 7 ways to do this or the 5 ways to insure that. Most are […]

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