Parrots Can Not Sing A New Song

Maybe it was the parenting book loaded with cliches written by someone whose oldest child was 6 years old. Or it could have been a concordance word search of strung-together topical verses masquerading as a sermon. Or perhaps it was the blog post that was nothing more than regurgitated words the author parroted from his or her favorite superstar teacher/preacher.The content of each was solid enough, I suppose. But in each instance, the speaker's words came across as an echo of … [Read more...]

What does it look like to travel light?

A true disciple of Christ travels light, right?We've all heard messages about how Jesus sent 72 of his first disciples out in his name with instructions that included traveling with only the clothes on their backs. We have Paul's impassioned description of what his life as a follower of Christ was like in 2 Corinthians 11 to underscore the fact that following Christ may be filled with challenge and difficulty, not comfort.I ran across this passage a few days ago. I've never heard it … [Read more...]

Lord, please hear my prayer

Perhaps it is a sign of the times. This month, instead of Christmas carols, I've heard minor key songs of lament from so many people I know. I am powerless to do much to alleviate most of the suffering around me. I want to be present, to be honest about my own similarly-broken state, and to be ready to share the comfort and provision God has given to me.And being fully present in the lives of those who hurt means that I plead with God for the needs of every one of us:Immanuel, God-With-Us, I … [Read more...]

Marking time with God

I'm posting this in hopes that maybe one of you can offer some insight to my calendars quandry. Plural intended.I'm not wrestling with the 365-day, 12-month calendar hanging on my kitchen wall and filling the pages of my Day-Timer. The calendars that don't make sense to me are the calendar marking the cycle of feast and fast observance prescribed in the Old Testament and the calendar used by liturgical churches to mark the Christian year. Jesus celebrated the former, but within a few hundred … [Read more...]

Backed into a corner?

Being backed into a corner brings clarity.When you are fighting for your life, that punch list of Thursday afternoon errands (Grocery store: Eggs, toilet paper, broccoli; Dry cleaners: pick up winter coat; Office Max: Business envelopes; Make dentist appointment) is nothing more than ephemera tumbled into a northwesterly breeze. The corner - no visible exits, no trap doors, no possible way out - strips life down to its essence. Who are you? Who is your God/god?In the last week, two people … [Read more...]

Go on out to the lobby, go on out to the lobby…

On Thursday, November 3, about 350 leaders from northern Chicago churches and non-profits gathered for the 6th annual Christ Together Forum. The shot above was taken during the main session.Well, that's what we all call the time when we sit together in a big auditorium and pray, sing, hear some keynote messages and learn about some of the things the big "C" Church is doing in Lake County such as educating kids in underserved schools, feeding families, reaching out to their neighborhoods in … [Read more...]

Link by link

I have been witness to some pretty explosive displays of spiritual freedom over the years. During our time in fundamentalist churches, the fireworks came most often when someone reported an instantaneous deliverance from tobacco addiction. While attending charismatic congregations, I saw that the signs and wonders demonstrating God's supernatural liberation came in lots of shapes and sizes: physical and emotional healings, freedom from spiritual oppression and all kinds of addictions, and the … [Read more...]