A prayer for this week: Father, today we pray for those we hate.We confess that our hatred is wrong and we confess our inability to do the very thing we want to do — bear your image. Heal our wounds Lord, surgically remove the scar tissue that obscures the tenderness that is within us — the best of who we are. Help us! Amen … [Read more...] about Prayer
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He … [Read more...] about What do I do?
Do you have a tendency to question God about the bad stuff in your life? It’s a common response to suffering. Folks have written entire books trying to make sense of what is often referred to as “bad things happening to good people.” I appreciate conversations about this, because I happen to think this is a very clear place where we can discipline ourselves and develop a more robust spiritual … [Read more...] about Flourishing
After the massacre in Broward County, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, our community spent a Saturday evening sitting in our suffering. We were all heartbroken. We have teachers in our midst and they felt afraid; parents of children in schools felt afraid too. Others felt despair, some felt angry. A few people have wandered into my office and asked me why such a bad thing happened … [Read more...] about Well-designed Suffering
One question we all wrestle over is the legitimate confusion we have about suffering. I know this guy who is a really bad dude; he hurts others and one would think that the justice system would stop his reign of terror. It hasn’t happened yet! He keeps getting released from jail with a long list of instructions to follow, all of which he ignores. Even his grandmother (and you know how we Memes are … [Read more...] about God’s Boundaries, Part 1
But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of … [Read more...] about Let’s Get Real
When things don’t make sense to us, most times we should assume that we are not stupid. (There are exceptions; but let’s start with this thought — when you think something is “off”, pay attention.) A common example of putting lipstick on a pig for me is when a couple in the middle of working through infidelity come to talk to me about God’s view on divorce. We know a couple things about … [Read more...] about Putting Lipstick on a Pig
Today, I pray for you and yours… Lord, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Who do we deceive? Ourselves, Lord. We deceive ourselves when… We believe we are too far gone for you to reach down and scoop us up in your arms . We judge ourselves and find our own deficiencies reason for condemnation. We manage our anxiety with veiled attempts to push it … [Read more...] about Prayer
Continued from my previous post….Once I focused on my pastor friend’s concerns (and not my own), I inquired about his insights into 1 Timothy (the passage that had him all hot and bothered in previous conversations). He had none. This is understandable. During times of severe duress we shouldn’t expect insights. When we are stressed out, our body is preparing to fight, flee or freeze. It’s not … [Read more...] about Chaos to Clarity
In several recent posts I’ve been talking about a crisis of faith experienced by a friend of mine who is a pastor. The crisis was related to his fear that he would lose his job because of his daughter’s substance use disorder. I set up a time to chat with my pastor friend and quickly learned the following: his daughter was not in treatment, he had sent her out of state to “visit” her … [Read more...] about Better than Jesus?