It It Possible to Teach the Art of Conversation and Civility?

The Washington Square Arch, through which you can see the Empire State Building, the "campus" of The King's College

Alissa Wilkinson thinks so. A writing instructor at The King’s College in New York City and an accomplished writer in her own right, Wilkinson believes it is both possible and beneficial to teach students, not only how to write decent prose, but also how to communicate effectively in today’s world. Wilkinson is especially concerned that [Read More...]

Divine Guidance Through Circumstances, Part 2

Dunster House of Harvard University, along the Charles River

Part 5 of series: How Does God Guide Us? In my last post I explained that God guides us, in part, through circumstances. In this post I want to tell a story from my own life in which I experienced this sort of guidance. When I was a sophomore in college, I wanted to share [Read More...]

Divine Guidance Through Circumstances

An actual remnant of a jail in ancient Philippi. Some think this was the very jail in which Paul and Silas were incarcerated, though there is no way to prove it one way or the other. Photo used by permission from holylandphotos.org.

Part 4 of series: How Does God Guide Us? Yesterday, I showed how Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit guides the people of God. As I continue my series on divine guidance, I’m beginning with this post to address specific ways we are guided by the Spirit of God. Today I begin by noting how [Read More...]

Divine Guidance Through the Holy Spirit

El Greco, "Pentecost," 1789

Part 3 of series: How Does God Guide Us? The Bible reveals that the God guides his people. Scripture abounds with examples. Some are dramatic, as in the Book of Exodus. There, not only does God direct Moses by speaking through a burning bush that is not consumed, but also God guides Pharaoh to release [Read More...]

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

willow-flowers-field-7

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

Jacomart-Last-Supper-5

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...]


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