Twenty years ago, my wife and I were living with our two daughters in a suburb on the northern edge of New York City. The shock waves from the two planes that slammed into the World Trade Towers reverberated across the nation—and indeed, around the world—but it was categorically different living in New York on … Continue reading Why Do People Pray During Times of Crisis? Twenty Years After 9/11
I’m writing these comments as someone who has great appreciation for the modern worship movement. Still…. Am I the only one who has noticed a spate of unusual metaphors popping up in our worship songs in recent years? There isn’t anything profound that I’m trying to communicate in this post. I’m simply issuing a plea … Continue reading 12 Awkward Metaphors in Worship Songs
After an extended time of prayer in the mountains last year, I left with one perspective that has proven extremely helpful to me. Here is that perspective: God has apportioned to each of us who are part of his kingdom not only specific ministries to build up the church and extend God’s kingdom work in … Continue reading How Wide is the Sphere of Ministry God has Given You?
I grew up in a church setting that was really into “higher life” teaching. This teaching goes by many different names, including “victorious Christian living,” “the exchanged life,” and “the crucified life.” A particular stream of higher life teaching that continues to be influential is known as the Keswick Movement (pronounce KES-ik), named after an … Continue reading “Let Go and Let God”?
This morning I talked with someone who was describing some items on their bucket list. A “bucket list,” if you don’t know the term, is “a list of things a person wants to achieve or experience, as before reaching a certain age or dying,” according to Dictionary.com. Such lists routinely include fun activities to do … Continue reading A Different Kind of Bucket List
Are you a people pleaser? Do you do things for others so they will like you, thank you, or just not get upset at you? The Urban Dictionary facetiously remarks that when people-pleasers die, it isn’t their own lives that flash before their eyes; they see the life of someone else flash before their eyes! … Continue reading Are You a People Pleaser?
Have you ever been present when God’s manifest presence breaks into a prayer time, a sermon, a worship service, or a Bible study? This happened quite unexpectedly one morning during a summer class I was teaching—yes, in a college classroom. I was discussing Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-8). What was it, anyway? … Continue reading Strength in Weakness: When God Showed Up in my Classroom
Have you ever experienced pain from someone you deeply love? I have. Few things in life are harder. The hurt penetrates even deeper when the person who has spurned you also turns his back on the Lord. Following is a list I drew up in my journal some time ago during a period when I … Continue reading It Must Have Been So Painful
Last year, I was at home with my family on Good Friday because of Covid-19. My home church streamed a somber and beautiful online service. One of our church leaders led a soul-searching time of reflection on the passion narrative, interspersing six pre-recorded readings from the biblical text with solemn songs led by our worship … Continue reading I Abandoned My Lord: A Good Friday Reflection
“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor 2:15-16) One smell you’ll probably never encounter on the … Continue reading The Fragrance of Christ