Spirit Guide Silliness (Part 2 of series: How Does God Guide Us?)

Anyone looking for spiritual guidance? Plenty of Barbies here. Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/clevergrrl/.

Spiritual guidance is a marketable commodity these days. If you’re willing to fork over a few bucks–sometimes, a few hundred–you can receive personal guidance from people who claim to have a special channel to “the spirit world.” Many of these gurus hock their supernatural wares at expensive conferences and workshops. Others have turned to the [Read More...]

How Does God Guide Us?

Maliub Club on Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia, Canada

As a pastor, some of the most common questions I’ve received have do to with divine guidance. What is God’s will for my life? Is God leading me to take this new job? Does God want me to marry this person? Could God be pointing me in a new direction for my life? Of course [Read More...]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: Come and Listen!

Come and Listen! Psalm 66:1-20 Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. Psalm 66:16 In Psalm 66, an anonymous poet celebrates God’s awesome deeds. His example of testifying to what God has done serves as an example for the whole earth, so that everyone [Read More...]

Texas Wildflowers: The Willow City Loop

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As you may be aware, Texas is in an extreme drought this year. Thus, we have seen relatively few wildflowers (though I’m amazed by the fact that quite a few flowers bloomed even with almost no rain for months). In ordinary years, where rainfall is plentiful, the wildflowers are stunning. Last year, my family and [Read More...]

Should Christians Hate Their Families? Part 2

The sanctuary of Irvine Presbyterian Church, where I served as Senior Pastor for sixteen years.

“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” Jesus of Nazareth Luke 14:26 Yesterday, I shared here one of my Daily Reflections. It dealt with a particularly troublesome passage in the Gospel of Luke. Today, I’ll share [Read More...]

Should Christians Hate Their Families?

“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” Jesus of Nazareth Luke 14:26 In addition to blogging each day (more or less), I write a devotional known as The Daily Reflections. These reflections are published on The [Read More...]

Religion and Culture: Interfaith Effort Encourages Religious Tolerance

Laurie Goodstein, religion reporter for the New York Times, has written a fascinating piece on a relatively new effort to increase religious tolerance in the United States. In “An Effort to Foster Tolerance in Religion,” Goodstein tells the story of Eboo Patel, a Rhodes scholar with a doctorate in sociology from Oxford, a Muslim man [Read More...]

What Was the Message of Jesus? Summary

Throughout this series on the message of Jesus I’ve attempted to answer the most common and central questions people have about his message. In this final post I want to review what we have learned by summarizing my answers succinctly. I have gathered all of the individual posts on this topic into a series I’ve [Read More...]

Something to Think About: Justices Using Dictionaries

Adam Liptak explores the growing use of dictionaries by U.S. Supreme Court Justices in “Justices Turning More Frequently to Dictionary, and Not Just for Big Words.” Increasingly, justices are turning to dictionaries for definitions that help them decide legal cases: A new study in The Marquette Law Review found that the justices had used dictionaries [Read More...]

How Does the Message of Jesus Lead to His Crucifixion?

Model of the temple in Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. From the Israel Museum.

Part 19 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? In my last post, I wrapped up an extended answer to the question: How is the kingdom of God coming? I showed that Jesus, contrary to the expectations of his disciples and, indeed, all other first-century Jews, believed that the kingdom of God would come [Read More...]

How is the Kingdom of God Coming? Part 6

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Part 18 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? In my last post, I discussed Jesus’ rather elliptical response to James and John when they ask to sit alongside him in his glory. “You do not know what you are asking,” he says. “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?” (Mark [Read More...]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: The Divine Complaint Department

The Divine Complaint Department Psalm 64:1-10 O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats. Psalm 64:1 Perhaps one of my least favorite parts of being a pastor is hearing people’s complaints. During my sixteen-year tenure as Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, I was blessed with a congregation that had [Read More...]

What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter?

Today is Pentecost Sunday, a day of celebration for Christians around the world. In the last three days I have been blogging on the meaning and spiritual significance of Pentecost. I have gathered these three posts into a series which I have called: What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter? In this series I discuss [Read More...]

What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter? What is the Spiritual Significance of Pentecost?

“Pentecost” by Giotto di Bondone, 1320-25, National Gallery, London.

Part 3 of series: What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter? My last post in this series began to answer the question: So, then, what difference does it make for us today that the first Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit almost two millennia ago on the Jewish festival of Pentecost? I suggested two [Read More...]

Pentecost FAQ, Part 2: What is the Spiritual Significance of Pentecost?

A stained glass window from the Meaux Cathedral in Meaux, France. Public domain.

Part 2 of series: What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter? In yesterday’s post I gave a brief overview of some basic facts about Pentecost: What is Pentecost? What does the word “Pentecost” mean? What actually happened on the day of Pentecost? Should we believe that all of this actually happened? How is Pentecost related [Read More...]

Something to Think About: On Lying Politicians

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As more and more national leaders from both political parties are calling for the resignation of Congressman Anthony Weiner because he sent lewd, unwanted messages to women over the Internet and then lied about it repeatedly in public, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is confused. According to ABC News: [Read More...]


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