On Rising Early

Dawn breaks, light trickles through tiny fissures in our carefully arranged curtains, and most of us hide our faces lest the day overtake us. Because of our hectic schedules, being overworked and overtired, our sinful pace of life and idolatry of achievement, we fear the morning. How different the approach of the psalmists, who longed for the coming of the new day—that they might meet anew with God. To him they offered the first thought…

Meditations (4 of 4)

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending some time with a group of high school students on our annual retreat. As a community we devoted a good portion of our time to silent meditation on four verses from the Holy Scriptures. Here are some reflections springing from that time of meditation.   Fourth Meditation: 1 John 4:7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has…

Meditations (3 of 4)

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending some time with a group of high school students on our annual retreat. As a community we devoted a good portion of our time to silent meditation on four verses from the Holy Scriptures. Here are some reflections springing from that time of meditation.   Third Meditation: Colossians 1:22 “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in…

Meditations (2 of 4)

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending some time with a group of high school students on our annual retreat. As a community we devoted a good portion of our time to silent meditation on four verses from the Holy Scriptures. Here are some reflections springing from that time of meditation.   Second Meditation: James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be…

Meditations (1 of 4)

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending some time with a group of high school students on our annual retreat. As a community we devoted a good portion of our time to silent meditation on four verses from the Holy Scriptures. Here are some reflections springing from that time of meditation.   First Meditation: Isaiah 48:17 “This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your…

On Writing Blogs

Writing blogs is a dangerous pastime. The trouble with writing something short is that one never gets to say all that there is to say on any subject. Instead the blogger must rest content with hinting at the fullest possible picture, while packing as much rhetorical punch as possible into a few short lines. The possibility of misspeaking or being misunderstood proves all too real.   I am certain I will not succeed uniformly, but…

Waiting on Congregational Tables

In Acts 6:1-7, we read of a strange moment in church history. Some in the church have begun to complain (this is nothing new under the sun) because a certain group, it seems, has been privileged over another. They bring their complaints to the Twelve. And here is where it gets interesting.   Rather than mediate the dispute, offer counseling, throw a pot-luck dinner, the apostles send the complainers away—because they have more important matters…

The Goal of Parenting (Part Two)

The goal of parenting is not to be the perfect parent.   The goal of parenting is that your children know God as the perfect Father.   Parents devote too much energy to the idolatrous pursuit of perfection in parenting: choosing the best method of discipline, sleep training, nutritional habits, devotional activities. While working through the possibilities and choosing the wisest course for your family is important, it is not the most important.   What…

Our God Strong and Loving

In hauntingly beautiful words, the psalmist declares,   “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.” (Psalm 62:11-12a, NIV)   There is much to meditate on in these short verses. What does it mean if God is strong and loving? What rest can we find in the sweet promise of these words?   If God is strong and loving, we have no…

Teaching Itching Ears

Youth ministry can be a frustrating activity. Not the youths themselves, mind you; they bring curiosity, energy, vitality to the disciple-making enterprise. No, the trouble is the warnings shouted at those of us who have the privilege of ministering to youth.   You mustn’t talk of theology, we are told, for they will grow bored quickly. Our children need games, activities, to keep them interested and involved. No wonder many youth leaders seem better equipped…