Come, Lord Jesus

A friend asked me if I wanted to join her at a night of corporate worship at a church a decade ago in a nearby town. My friend and I were "church nomads" at that point, and we both missed the dynamic of gathering with others to worship. Neither of us knew anyone at the church, and I think we both expected a couple of hours of singing. The end.As we walked into the church building, there was a palpable, nearly overwhelming sense of the nearness of God. This sense of simultaneous exposure and … [Read more...]

Strange place to plant a family tree

Open the Gospel of Luke, right there in chapter one and begin reading. The physician-scribe throws us right into the middle of the action first with the warm-up of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of John the Baptist and then the history-splitting incarnation of the Lord Jesus. Luke has penned a real page-turner!A hinge of sorts happens in chapter 3, as the cousins come together in the river. Jesus asks John to baptize him, and eternity invades finite space and time:"When all the people … [Read more...]

Boundaries or brick walls?

My husband and I had visited a church a few times, and invited the pastor and his wife over for a meal after having some pleasant post-service chat with them both. We told them we were looking forward to learning more about the church as well as enjoying a relaxing evening of conversation.It was fun to swap child-rearing and ministry adventure stories with them. We'd travelled some similar roads, and we shared a lot of laughter through the evening. But as the evening was drawing to a close, the … [Read more...]

2009: Black Belt in klutziness

The week between Christmas and New Years is filled with all manner of "Year In Review" lists. Biggest news stories, worst movies, best books, that sort of thing.My own 2009 list is a little more...uh...specific. When I think of this year, the list that's easiest for me to make is that I managed to experience regular doses of high degree klutziness in almost every arena:(1) February - Got lost alone in Jerusalem, wandering like an Altzheimer's patient for nearly an hour while trying to find … [Read more...]

A look at the people Jesus loves – Part 4

Click here to read Part 1, here for Part 2 and here for Part 3 of this series. At this time of year, the focus is on the Baby. If you focus on the incarnation long enough, you might also find yourself drawn to meditate on the Child's future - and your own. The longing and waiting that characterize this season have more to do with the mystery of the end of all things than most of us see at first glance. The trees and tinsel obscure a clear view. But if we take the time to look, we can see … [Read more...]

A look at the people Jesus loves – Part 3

Click here to read Part 1 , and here to read Part 2.Jesus began his ministry with a very audacious-sounding statement of purpose torn right from the sacred scrolls before him:He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach … [Read more...]

A look at the people Jesus loves – Part 2

Click here to read part one of the series.Jesus and religious insidersThe Pharisees' motto: We do life right! You don’t! Color in the lines.Drive 55 miles per hour.Obey the rules.Be an Eagle Scout. President of the Student Council. And while you’re at it, prom queen.It feels good to be good. But it feels even better to have people recognize how good you are.The Pharisees began as a renewal movement within Judaism. These were people who took God seriously. They wanted it to do their lives rig … [Read more...]