Sanity About the Spirit: Not in 1 Corinthians!

Fire flames on white

Confusion. That's what we get in the contemporary church when it comes to the Holy Spirit. You've got the Pentecostals, of course, who make great hay of the Spirit. But they differ dramatically from one another. The Assembly of God, for instance, sees speaking in tongues as clear evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Not all Pentecostal churches are so strident, and some are even more strident. The Vineyard, a movement I deeply appreciate, is more lax about speaking in tongues because it sees … [Read more...]

The Holy Spirit: so much left to learn!

40 scripture texts.40 thoughtful meditations.40 spaces to write your own reflections.40 original prayers to the Holy Spirit.That's my newest book, Forty Days with the Holy Spirit, hot off the press. So hot, in fact, it's just out at Amazon, or you can get your copy on sale straight from Paraclete Press. It's the perfect book to deepen your discipleship and refresh your faith during Lent, which begins in a couple of weeks.I'll post the first day's meditation and prayer later on … [Read more...]

An Ambiguous Little Trickle of the Holy Spirit

Cover with words

A snippet of my latest book, Inspired: the Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith, to whet your appetite for more. Priscilla and I bought our first house in a sketchy corner of Kansas City, about a mile or two from the seminary where I taught at the time. It was a big old house with a grandiose stone front porch, rich wooden beams, and small crystal chandeliers. We had failed to notice that the electricity was outmoded, the basement walls porous, the roof leaking, a ceiling sagging, and the ne … [Read more...]

Simeon’s Song and the Clarity of Christmas

Simeon Rembrandt

We are obsessed with power, but the story of Jesus begins in the corridors of powerlessness—in the Jewish temple, though not among the hustle of priests and the din of the Pharisees’ discussion of Torah, but at the seemingly insignificant fringes of Jewish life, in the world of widows and old men. The scene is prompted by the appearance of peasant parents from Galilee who are so poor they can't afford the offering of sheep for purification after the mother gives birth; this peasant couple brings … [Read more...]

Stop giving! We have more than enough!

offering hands

Ever heard a sermon titled, “Stop giving! We have more than enough!”No?Me neither.That’s why the story of the tabernacle in the book of Exodus is entrancing. (No, I’m not kidding. Entrancing.) The tabernacle was a portable tent the Israelites could put up and take down, like an old-fashioned circus tent, a Bedouin bed-and-breakfast, of sorts, for God.You may not see how entrancing this story is on a first read-through. The instructions on how the tabernacle should be prepared are … [Read more...]

The Spirit & the Dreamer


On Wednesday night, my Hebrew class translated Genesis 41—the dead center of the story of Joseph. The word plays in Hebrew are hilarious and skilled, the storyline suspenseful yet playful. In one verse, the seven scrawny cows of Pharaoh’s dream devour seven pleasantly plump cows, but you can’t tell because the skinny cows come to "the innards” (kidneys, livers, tripe—food thought to be delicacies by everyone but me during my Cambridge days), gobble them up, and stay scrawny. As one student puzzle … [Read more...]