Quiet Please

            I have 382 songs downloaded on my computer. That equals 26.8 hours of music. It never ceases to amaze me that at certain times, without any forethought or planning, the right song is played. That song has the right lyrics that hit me in a profound way at just the right time. I had the same thing happen the other day with a devotional I use. The daily lessons were compiled in the 1930’s. This book, written almost 90 years ago, touched me intensely with the right words at the right time and in the right way. If that can happen with a book written 90 years ago, it blows the mind to imagine what the Bible, written over 2000 years ago, can do.             The passage, in the devotional “God Calling,” that made such an impact on me stated the following:             “Comfort Me, a while, by letting Me know that you would seek Me just to               dwell in My presence, to be near Me, not even for teaching, not for material               gain, not even for a message – but f

Are We There Yet? A Defense of Advent

            Most parents have experienced cries of agony from the backseat of the minivan, “Are we there yet?!?” Sometimes these are audible sounds of boredom, been there, done that. At other times, they are sounds of glee, joy and expectation. The excitement is ramped up to such a level that each passing mile is agony. You are ready to burst with joy when you finally reach your destination. It hurts not to be able to release all this pent up excitement. Drive faster, we can’t wait to get there!             This is the purpose of Advent on the church calendar. Too many view Advent as a season of killing joy, as a sense of depravation. In actuality, it is not depravation but preparation. It’s time when our expectations over the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is heightened to such a degree that we feel ready to burst. We look back to his first coming and all that he accomplished for us when he was present with us in the flesh 2000 years ago. But, we also look forward to his coming a

Stepping into the Ring . . . Getting a Love Tap

            Have you ever had those times of prayer and contemplation when you feel like you stepped into a boxing ring with God? And, much like any of our chances against a real heavy weight champion, we get, not only knocked down, but knocked out. Kierkegaard wrote about the Bible that it is not only speaking to me, it is speaking about me. This does not only happen reading the Bible. There are other books that bring the same response. They seem to just pummel us where God is concerned. It can be so convicting that our selfish, complacent faith is bruised and beaten. It is not that God wants to beat us into submission. That’s not his style or modus operandi. He loves us too much for that. But, there are times when what we encounter brings us to the point of feeling that we have been dropped into the ring with God.             This happened to me today in such a powerful way. It was overwhelming. These times are real and too often few and far between. I know it is my fault bec

Ninja's For Christ

           I was just on vacation visiting my son. He is a martial artist and he invited his mother and me to watch him test for his 4 th degree black belt in taekwondo. While we were there, we observed him as he trained in jujitsu. That’s what he does for fun. He teaches taekwondo and for recreation does jujitsu. I took taekwondo for several years so I know a little about it. We were taught to try to avoid being knocked to the ground. On the ground, you were in trouble. Jujitsu is a ground based martial art. So, I guess my son has both situations covered.             Taekwondo is graceful, fluid and well-choreographed. Each move is part of a patterned whole which is called a “form.” Each move is the result of a particular technique and designed with a purpose. All those moves are for more than just looking pretty. Taekwondo is flowing, powerful and graceful. When executed properly, it is beautiful to watch.             Jujitsu, on the other hand, seems more reactionary, more dow

Emptiness = Exoneration

You cannot listen to the news today without hearing the word “exoneration” mentioned at least twice. Exoneration is the action of officially absolving someone from blame. It is official as it comes from one with authority to declare the purported offender free from blame or guilt. While in our current political climate this has sparked much debate, in the spiritual realm if hasn’t! As we approach Easter, we notice the emptiness. The emptiness of the cross where the King of Glory died. He died – not an untimely death of a young martyr – but as the sacrificial Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world. On that cross hung the only truly innocent man in the history of mankind. He suffered and died, not for anything he had done, but exclusively and only for what we had done. The centurion who stood at the foot of the cross while Jesus’ execution transpired, witness the whole ugly scene. And witnessing Jesus’ words and actions on the cross he mutters words that fall short of what actuall

Be All You Can Be

Have you ever noticed that some of the greatest adverting themes were plagiarized from God? Those iconic ad campaigns could just as easily be used by Jesus. You don’t have to dig too hard or far to see that this is true.             Nike: “Just do It”             United States Marines: “Looking for a Few Good Men” Coca-Cola has a list of themes for their ads through its history listed on line. ( ) So many of these could be used as spiritual themes.             1924 – Refresh Yourself             1927 - Pure as Sunlight             1929 – The Pause That Refreshes             1942 – The Only Thing Like Coca-Cola Is Coca-Cola             1952 – What You Want Is a Coke             1963 – Things Go Better with Coke             1976 – Coke Adds Life             1988 – You Can’t Beat the Feeling             1990 – You Can’t Beat the Real Thing You get the picture. Replace the product name with Jesus’ name and there y

God or Molek?

            It is hard not to admit that we seem to be living in some far-fetched end-times sci-fi novel with dystopian features. However, this is not a fantasy and it is really happening. The concepts and notions contained in that genre of literature has come to life in modern 21 st century America. We are not imagining it. It is a reality. For me, there has been a tsunami of events that has led me to this feeling of despair for our society as we dive headfirst into the abyss.             This whole season was not without prediction. St. Paul, in his second letter to his young protégé Timothy, wrote: “evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:13) In his first letter to Tim, he said: “such teachings will come from hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Tim 4:2) The term “seared” literally means “to be cauterized” – to be desensitized. This perfectly describes the coming wave of assault on li