On the road again

Q: Would you drive 45+ minutes to attend an ideal church service each week or would you become a part of a church community with whom you differed on some points of doctrine and practice right in your own backyard? Though we've all been told that consumer Christianity is a bad thing, the truth is that since the Reformation, Protestant believers have often sought out the fellowship of like-minded compadres. We also know that that the thousands of different flavors of fellowship can be … [Read more...]

Stage mom Mary?

Friends in liturgical churches are honoring Jesus' mother Mary (Miryam) today/tomorrow. Suffice it to say that the various traditions have a pretty wide range of opinion about the way she lived and died. I can gladly rest in the fact that this faithful Jewish teen said 'yes' to the Lord in ways that most of us can begin to comprehend.Because I use a daily devotional put together by an Orthodox priest, some of this morning's readings focused on Mary, including this account where Jesus turned … [Read more...]

Book review: The Devil in Pew Number Seven

A campaign of terror waged by a church member furious at the changes a new pastor has brought to his little corner of the world ends in violence.The story would be unbelievable......unless you've ever been in church leadership. Then, except for perhaps the degree, you'd recognize all the stock characters of the grim drama in Rebecca Nicols Alonzo's compelling story, The Devil in Pew Number Seven (Tyndale, 2010)*. Veteran writer Bob DeMoss shaped the heartbreaking story leading to the violent … [Read more...]

Not for sissies

Writing isn't for sissies.I have been journeying with a friend as she's worked on her doctoral dissertation. A while ago, she'd asked me to do help her with some editing and offer some constructive criticism on her content. I reminded her that I do not possess even a bachelor's degree*, but that I'd be happy to look for misplaced modifiers and call her out on her use of passive voice in her sentence construction. It's been a lot of fun to watch her progress as a writer - and the subject of her … [Read more...]

Unsoiled hands

I'm looking forward to speaking at a local congregation this weekend about the parable of the unmerciful servant, found here. I had an opportunity to re-read the chapter I wrote in my first book, Parablelife, meditating on this story both in its original time and place and in the here and now. Sometimes allowing my imagination to ponder Jesus' now-familiar words back in the time when they were first spoken jolts me afresh into realizing how very radical Jesus' words really are. Here's my … [Read more...]

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall

I was working on a devotional piece for the Caspari Center newsletter this morning. I looked at a couple of the previous ones I'd written for them, and thought I'd share one of them here in this space today. One of the quiet ministries Caspari does in Israel is facilitating some gatherings where Jewish and Arab followers of Christ can come together, outside of the physical, spiritual and cultural dividing walls that separate them.I wrote the piece below with that setting in mind, but it is … [Read more...]

De-plaquing Mark 9:35

There are times when some of the more well-known things that Jesus said become plaques. The words get torn from their context, decoupaged to a piece of plywood, and hammered onto a wall.I've done it. Maybe you have, too.  This morning, some study time in the Word forced me to yank the plaque off the wall. The oh-so-familiar verse? Mark 9:35 -"If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." Though it's pretty obvious that Jesus speaks these words to his … [Read more...]


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