Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Third Week of Advent: Anticipation

This was first published on December 12, 2012.

Jesus, as Israel waited in anticipation for you to come, so we wait. We anticipate your return to completely set all things right and restore your creation. As we wait, help us to be active as we pray for your kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. Let that kingdom come in our day-to-day as we follow you, until that day it comes fully. Amen

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Second Week of Advent: Hope

This was first posted on December 9,2012.

Taken from The Mosaic Bible:

Advent is a time of hope; the spirit of eager anticipation pervades the senses. Even in the refuge of your own home, the season is inescapable as carolers dismiss the social inhibitions that dominate the other eleven months of the year. But when tragedy, depression, or even loneliness steals your joy, you can almost resent the hope that others have.

When we think our hope unfulfilled, we adjust our expectations. We take on new causes, reconsider our optimism, or sometimes become leery of new endeavors. We can even become angry with God, feeling desolate or abandoned. But even if we lose our hope in God, he will never give up on us.

God doesn't share our limited perspective, and that is one of the reasons that the hope of Advent isn't dependent on how we are feeling. It can be comforting to rely on the one who give us hope, even when the light of that hope doesn't seem to penetrate our temporary darkness.

Monday, November 27, 2017

First Week of Advent

This was first posted on December 2, 2012.

Longing:

Everlasting God,
in whom we live and move and have our being:
You have made us for yourself,
so that our hearts are restless
until they rest in you.
Augustine of Hippo

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings will be a bit shorter than usual this time. This has been a busy week. I am part of an organization of artists that seeks to serve our community through the arts. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we held what we called Art Party. It was an event with art hung in various galleries, studios, and businesses around town. Friday ended with a very interesting play, and Saturday night we capped off the event with a dinner, with a speaker and a local band. We are all exhausted, but it was a wonderful time.

Funny animal pictures.
Good question then. Still a good question.
What really causes violence.
Keep up with the trends.
Freedom!

Good one from the Bee.
Jesus' blue collar outfit.
Giftedness and goodness.
Unfaithfulness.
Why Christians should read poetry.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Wow. It's November already. This year is zipping by. It seems like every year goes by quicker than the last. If you pay attention, you already know what the news is, so let's get straight to the links:

A little something for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Amazing story.
Here's a world record to try and break.
The other reformation.
Ruth Whippman on happiness.

Interesting place.
Looking for a new house?
Don't try this at home. Or anywhere else.
Not exactly setting a good example.
Clearing the path.

What is real wealth?
Putting the gas can down.
Good post from John Frye.
Accidental dictionary.
What matters.

Good post from Scot McKnight.
John 1.
Classic post from iMonk.

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Anger

A while back, I wrote a post about the number of folks that were letting their lives be ruled by fear. It seems to me that a growing number of people are also angry. This anger may be driven by their fear. We do have more of a tendency to get angry when we're fearful or when we don't understand something or someone.

Some of the prevalent images in the news or social media lately have been images of anger, from the white supremacists with their garden party torches, to the folks on the other side who just want to tear things down. They are angry. Angry because this group of people are getting what seem like advantages that they don't have, or angry because that group is trying to assert their rights. Neither side is interested in sitting down and trying to have a conversation because they are too busy being angry. Road rage is becoming a bigger problem. Some folks will shoot you if you don't go fast enough and they have to slow down.

There are things to be angry about. Some of the folks who are expressing their anger have a legitimate gripe.  I see situations almost every day that make me angry. The problem is not anger as such. The problem is letting that anger become so big that it takes over and drives everything we do. We focus on being angry and don't take that anger and let it be the fuel for positive work.

In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul writes that we should "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." Things are going to happen that make us angry. That anger may spring from selfishness or it may be justified. It may even be "righteous anger." In that anger, we are not to sin. We are not to let that anger cause us to harm or even denigrate another person. We are to deal with that anger and whatever is causing it. If I am angry at someone because they have done something I don't like, the first thing I need to do is ask my self if the anger is justified. As I have grown older, I've become more convinced that most things are just not worth getting angry about.

The second thing that I need to do is ask if there is anything I have done against the other person. Maybe their action was a reaction to something I had done. If so, I need to try to make it right. The third thing I need to do is ask if there is anything I can do in a positive way to help the situation that I am angry about. I can be angry about injustice, but I must realize that there is only so much I can do. A hard lesson for me to learn was the fact that I can't save everybody. I can only do what God gives me to do and trust him for the outcome.

Those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus should be the least angry people. We are to be gentle, compassionate people. Others should see the hope that is in us and want to ask aboutit. We should live lives that make people thirsty for the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus. May it be so.   

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

It's the weekend again! Sports fans love this time of year. The World Series is beginning, football is in full swing, both college and pro basketball are getting underway, and hockey season is starting. For those whose interest tends toward other pursuits, the second season of Stranger Things is on Netflix this coming weekend.

On to the links:

Praying after Vegas.
Challenging words from Charles E. Gutenson.
This would make for some interesting conversations.
Here's something for those of you who want to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
This is good.

Being true to yourself.
Good article on the psychology of religion.
This is interesting.
Important read.
Go right ahead!

Are you sleeping enough?
Funny article from McSweeney's
Brutally honest job titles.
Here we go again?
Don't overthink!

Timely post from The Babylon Bee.
What if it's really finished?
The politics of the Lamb.
The subversive kingdom.
Advice for entrepreneurs.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Weelend Wanderings

The first weekend links post of autumn is here! The weather is beautiful here in the sunny South. It was fifty degrees on our back porch this morning. There is a lot going on in the world these days, from the inconsequential things that get lots of attention to the important things that seem to not get a whole lot. I wonder about our priorities sometimes. Well, in the scheme of things, it's probably one of those inconsequential things, but here are the links:

Nietzsche's google search history.
Images from Cassini's mission to Saturn.
More excellent photos.
Good article from Benjamin L. Corey.
Jeffrey K. Mann on privilege.

Good post from Bob Edwards.
Erika Christakis on public schools.
Discernment.
Good question.
The cost of the opioid epidemic.

Is it really work?
Good post from Kathy Strauch.
Carina Chocano on distraction.
Drowning?
Technology and perception.

Beauty.
What do we worship on Sunday?
Authority.
The Jesus shaped life.
What to look for in a mentor.

Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fear

Franklin Roosevelt famously said, "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," as he tried to encourage the American people to see the future as full of possibilities rather than full of terrible, fearful things. Not as famously, he also stated that the "common difficulties" concerned "only material things." I think what Roosevelt was saying that the economic problems in the country at the time were not the most important thing, that there was something greater. That something was the spirit of the American people to pull together to do what needed to be done, including defeating the greatest worldwide threat the world had seen.

Centuries before, Jesus said to his followers, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom." He could easily have also said that difficulties they would face are not the important thing, that they paled in comparison to the kingdom. For at least a few hundred years, Jesus' followers went about their day-to-day fearlessly; facing rejection, misunderstanding, persecution, torture, and death. They were able to do so because they had confidence that the kingdom had been give to them, that they were subjects of the King of Kings, and that everything he had was theirs. They knew that absolutely nothing could separate them from their Father's love. These early Christians also could live fearlessly because they knew that the sufferings they did endure somehow were what the King used to bring kingdom on earth as in heaven. As Tertullian said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."

Today, I look around and see a group that is fearful. All it takes is some time spent on social media to see the fear that controls a great deal of what people say and do. Whether it's fear of a certain political party taking away freedoms, fear of the other side waging a war on Christians, or fear of a certain group coming and taking away jobs or our lives. This fear can lead to saying and doing things that hurt others, ruin relationships, and cause the name of Christ to be slandered. We can easily tend toward fear in our day-to-day as well. We fear that disease will strike us or those we love. We fear that we may lose friends. We fear that we can't do our jobs well. We fear that we simply aren't good enough, that eventually people will see through our charade and reject us.  This fear drives us to perfectionism, to overwork, to self medication. We hide behind masks because we fear that others will reject us if they learn the real us. Sometimes we fear facing ourselves.

There is much that can make us fearful. But, as FDR said, those are only material things. Those are things that are inconsequential compared to the kingdom. Compared to the great inheritance that is ours, all of the things of this earth are nothing. Compared to the life that we have been given, the life we fear losing is nothing. Because Jesus died and was raised, the new creation has begun. We are citizens of a kingdom that will never be defeated, that will never pass away. The King has come! We don't always see his reign in this life, although we do catch glimpses now and then, but he is in control. All the stuff of life that hits us, all the things that our enemy throws at us has already been overcome. We need to live from that reality. Will we still experience bad, even terrible things? Yes we will. But, those things can not wrench us out of our Father's hands. They can not ultimately harm us because our destiny is settled. It's hard, I know. I have to remind myself constantly that the things of this world are not the kingdom. Let us all continually remind each other of who we are and whose we are, and of the glory that will be revealed in us when the King finally comes to sett all things right.

Fear not, because your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.        

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

I'm back from my trip to California to meet our newest grandson. Jan is staying until a week from today. The Friday before we left, we were able to see our son, his wife, and our first grandson for a couple of ours. So, it was a good week and a half. This week, it was a bit hard getting back into some sort of routine, especially since I am working more hours now. It's beautiful here in the sunny South, with what seems like a touch of fall in the air. I'm sure summer is not finished with us yet, but I'm looking forward to cooler weather.

On to the links:

Did any of you see any of this during the eclipse?
I've heard that a fruitcake can last forever.
People are tearing down all kinds of statues these days.
Looks like a good time was had by all.
Inspirational posters. Or not.

Eclipse myths.
Skinny jeans.
Smartphone problems.
Have you been tricked?
Arms race.

Eclipse theories.
Salvation insurance.
Yeah, sometimes we do.
Seems the Babylonians knew their math.
THIS IS SATIRE!

Reputation.
The ghost in the machine.
Good post from Chaplain Mike.
Pharisee spotting.

Have a blessed week!





Sunday, August 13, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings will be away for the next two weekends. We're heading out to the Left Coast to meet our new grandchild, who is expected next Thursday. So I'll be otherwise occupied. In the meantime enjoy the links for this week:

If you are an alternative sports aficionado, you should go here.
This month, pick a holiday or two and celebrate.
Here is a new option.
Just in case you like hummingbirds.
Are you looking for an interesting job?

When you just gotta have oysters!
Wes Anderson investigates Donald Trump.
Something new to fill out when you see the doctor.
Matt Johnson on rules.
More on Rich Mullins.

Do you feel God is silent?
Story.
A closer walk.
Zack Hunt disagrees with Robert Jeffress.
Listen, look, linger.

Keith Giles on reading Scripture.
Forgiveness and reconciliation.
Five dynamics of prayer.
You can't always trust the brochure.
Tired of being right.

Have a blessed week!



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Right Wing, Left Wing, Or...

A few years ago the eminent political philosopher Pat Paulsen said, "I'm not right wing or left wing. I'm more middle of the bird. If you have only one wing you tend to fly in concentric circles."

As much as folks laughed at Paulsen's statement, I think he was closer to the truth than many would think. For the past few years the government has seemed to flip from one wing to the other, and the country is dizzy from flying around in concentric circles. Signs of this dizziness are abundant. Congress is divided into two hostile camps and they all seem to be more interested in promoting their side's agenda than in what is best for the country. The rhetoric from the politicians and their mouthpieces in the media is getting more divisive and hateful, filtering down to ordinary folks. If you can handle it, scroll through social media and see the garbage that passes for discourse these days. There are some who believe the system is about to implode. They may be right.

Hopefully, we will see some leaders arise who are willing to come to the table with those who disagree with them, who are willing to look for common ground and spend more time doing the hard work of governing than standing in front of the cameras vilifying the other side. Hopefully enough folks will realize that a lot of emperors are strutting about without a stitch of clothing. I believe that the country can not go much longer down the path we are traveling. Hopefully we will wake up and start flying with both wings.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Summer is slipping away here in the sunny South. Not temperature wise, as it still remains hot and humid. The calendar n the wall says that it's almost time for school to begin for another term. After three years away from a school setting, I can say with confidence that I really like what I am doing now. The news from Washington keeps getting curioser and curioser. It's beginning to look like a DC version of The Apprentice. That's all I'm going to say about that.

On to the good stuff:

Good idea.
Life goals.
Big or small? Check this out.
Interesting.
Forest bathing. Really.

More enemies.
Funny post.
This could have all sorts of implications.
This is not good.
Excellent article by Bruce Hillman.

For all the dads out there.
Deep waters and parking lots.
Encouragement from Bob Edwards.
The George Option.
Good post from Keith Giles.

Some things to remember.
Remembering Rich Mullins.
This is pretty cool.
I'm not so sure I would want to do this.

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Some Things I Don't Understand

A young teenage girl died this week. She left behind family and friends who loved her dearly. I know all the things that are true. She lived far longer than expected. She is no longer in pain. God is good and kind and he is in control. I know all that and I believe all that. Still, there are some things I don't understand.

Last night some of us sat with two friends of the young lady. Most of that time was spent in silence. We grieved with them. At this time, it's the only thing we could do. I spent some time wondering about the brokenness of this world and the pain that we humans have to endure. Jan and I have lost both of our parents in the last few years. That kind of thing is more normal. Children are "supposed" to outlive their parents.

This is different. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. Teenagers are not supposed to spend evenings grieving for other teenagers. People are not supposed to die that young. This world is not supposed to be the way it is. Even though I know the creation is broken and groaning because of sin, I still don't understand why it sometimes works out the way it does. Even though I know God is good and compassionate, I still don't understand why this compassion sometimes plays out the way it does.

I know and believe that my Father is loving. I know and believe that his love extends to the young lady and the family and friends she left behind. Having said that, I still have to admit that I don't understand. The only thing I can do is try to trust my Father's heart. I have to trust that Romans 8 is right, that God works in everything for the good of those who love him. I have to believe, not only for me, but in some way for my friends who lost a loved one. 

I  have to trust my Father because I can't trust my own understanding.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Our little town here in the sunny South is filled with folks from various countries around the world. We are hosting the BMX World Championships. There was a kickoff celebration downtown last night and our artists group opened a show with a bike theme. Fun times. In other news, our grandson is one month old and growing like a weed. I'll leave the unimportant stuff like politics to those of you who like that sort of thing.

Here are the links:

A theology of play.
Funny wildlife photos.
Good story.
How do you say it?
What not to play at a wedding.

100 greatest movie props.
Not sure this is a good thing.
The path of the cross.
Perfect love.
In case you were wondering.

R.I.P Mike Erich.
Good question.
Good post from Keith Giles.
Greatness.
Good post on Eugene Peterson.

Partnering with uncertainty.
Christian ghosting.
Is there an optimal church size?
Pastor/poets.
Fairy tale travel.

Have a blessed week!




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

I hope you enjoyed your Fourth of July. Mine was good. I worked on Monday and then went with Jan to a celebration that our fair city holds every year. We got rained on, but still were able to see fireworks. On Tuesday our neighborhood had a parade and then a picnic. In the evening we went to a friend's farm where we celebrated our freedom to eat, drink, and watch rockets shoot into the air and blow up. On Wednesday Jan and I celebrated our thirty-seventh anniversary. Now that the holiday is over, life has settled down a bit. Our new grandson is at home and his parents are settling into life with a newborn.

On to the good stuff:

Key to future jobs?
Looking to have a diverse church?
Searching for safety.
Are you fueling extremism?
Hated? Make sure it's for the right reasons.

Just in case you need a sermon in a hurry.
Are you one of the elite? I hope not.
The ultimate 4th of July menu.
Are therapy animals really good?
Lies!

CJ Green on love.
Excellent article. I hope she's successful.
Len on vision.
Good post on identity.
Peter principles.

Good post from John Frye.
Chaplain Mike on civil religion.
Next exit.
A success story.
Good article from Plough Magazine.

Have a blessed week!










Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

I wasn't able to post any links last weekend because we were I Georgia with our son and daughter-in-law, who were waiting for the child they are adopting to be born. After some frustration and a bit of worrying, a beautiful baby boy was born. He was a few weeks early, so he is having to spend some time in the NICU. His new parents hope to be able to take him home in a week or so. We are so grateful for the ways we have seen God work in this whole thing, and we are excited to be grandparents. One down, one to go!

Here are the links:

The United States of Xanax.
Good question.
Good story.
Do you have to be happy?
Are you a liturgical snob?

Some vegetarians are not to be messed with.
Finally, a good definition of fake news.
Maybe this self esteem thing has gone a bit too far?
A history of church pews.
Defensive giving.

A story for losers.
God knows.
Good post from Keith Giles.
Spiritual gardens.
The myth of autonomy.

Spelling is important.
Chaplain Mike has some pictures that bring back some good memories for me.
Creepy abandoned cities.
A long strange trip.

Have a blessed week!







Sunday, June 11, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

It's heating up a bit here in the sunny South. The last couple of days we've been going around our county and the county directly south of us to visit different farms and see some art and crafts. It's called the Ag & Art Tour and this year it has been expanded to eleven counties throughout the month of June. Today, I ate some peach ice cream in a waffle cone, so summer is officially here. We hope to do a little bit of traveling this summer, and see some friends that we haven't seen in a while.

Here are the links for the week, specially curated for your reading pleasure:

Erring and admitting it
Another Dust Bowl?
Beware the fearmonger.
Moving in with  prophet.
Once in a lifetime.

Keith Giles on love.
I don't think I'm brave enough to ride one of these.
Jared C. Wilson on dying.
Senate Intelligence Committee and Hamlet.
Help for social media users.

Now for some fake news!
Prayer and grace.
Good questions.
Good post from Chaplain Mike.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Another week has slid by. The NBA Finals have started and it is a little reminiscent of the Lakers / Celtics rivalry back in the day. It looks like it may go seven games and should be a lot of fun to watch. The political scene continues to be interesting. I might have some commentary on that in the not too distant future. For now, here are the links:

Is the internet broken?
This is a problem.
Good article.
I think this could be called overreach.
Millennials get accused of all sorts of things.

Cool pictures.
One of my favorite authors has a new book out!
Then there's this.
Isn't technology wonderful?
A free drink.

Some good words from Brennan Manning.
Honest words from a former student.
Sin spanx?
Scot McKnight on the Bible.
The gospel according to Gandalf.

Too much to ask?
Good words from Bob Edwards.
One human being.
Part 1 of what looks to be an interesting series from Chaplain Mike.
Good post from Keith Giles.

Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

So, What's Been Going On?

Last week I mentioned that a lot had been going on in my life. It's true. There have been a fair amount of changes around here. All of these changes are good and will hopefully bring further good as time passes.

The first thing that came our way was the news that our daughter and her husband are expecting. They will become parents toward the middle to end of August. Not too very long afterward came the news that our son and daughter-in-law are going to be parents as well! They are adopting a baby boy who is slated to be born sometime between the middle of July and the beginning of August. So, all of a sudden we have gone from having no grandchildren to expecting​ two! God has answered a lot of prayers.

In the midst of all this wonderful news, I began a new career as a legal assistant for a good friend of ours. This was an answer to prayers that have been going up for the last two years, so needless to say, I am very grateful and happy. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but so far I think I'm learning a lot of new tricks. I'm looking forward to going in to work on Mondays for the first time in quite a while. It definitely has been an adjustment and is much more challenging than anything I've done in a while, but it's certainly not boring.

Hopefully, I can be forgiven for not posting as much lately. If not, that's okay too. Sometimes certain things have to take a back seat to life. I'm going to try to be more regular in my writing, but I'm not going to make any promises. Life is good, and it marches on. I hope all of you faithful readers have good things happen to you as you continue on your journey.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Poem: Home Again

I wrote this one a couple weeks ago.

HOME AGAIN
It’s been said that you can’t go home again
I decided to see for myself, so I went back

Back to the places that shaped me
The places that for so long defined my life

They were still there, still the same
Yet somehow different, somehow changed

The house I grew up in seemed smaller
The tree in the front gone, the shed in the back dilapidated

The elementary school still stands, but it too has shrunk
So have the baseball fields where I used to play

The junior high is now a community center
The posts with dirt on top replaced by benches

My old high school has been torn down
Replaced by a new one that looks like a prison

The small town has grown into a sprawl of suburbia
Where it takes forever to drive anywhere

The chicken house has no chickens or eggs
The “giant” hogs are gone from the pen

The path up the hill through the pasture is overgrown
Just a few cows still wander the hillside

The old house has hot water now
You don’t have to heat water on a wood stove for a bath

Cell phones have replaced the old crank wall phone
Where you listen in on other folks’ conversations

The old mules are no longer around
And the smell of Paw’s pipe is long gone

The old wooden church we used to visit is gone
Replaced by a larger brick building

Family names still dot the old graveyards
New ones have been added

They say you can’t go home again
You can, but it’s not home





Sunday, May 21, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

It's been a while since I've posted a links post. A lot has been going on in the world, and a lot has been going on in my own life (that's for another post). Without further Ado, let's get to the good stuff.

This is cool.
This is sad.
This is strange.
This looks like a cool place to visit.
A list of the best commencement speeches ever.

This is a shame, but I think it's much more common than it was when I was coaching.
Good question.
Progressive political theology.
Interesting fashion sense.
This is terrible.

Wow. Just wow.
A good reason to not complain.
Good article about transhumanism.
Who's a good boy?
Want more self control? You may want to rethink that.

Life milestones. Some of them are good.
Subversive supper.
I agree with this post.
Moral grandstanding.
Bottling the tears.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Little Bit of Poetry

Here is a poem I wrote last month and read at a local poetry reading:

A Sunny Day, Three Teen Boys, and a Fishbowl. What Could Go Wrong?

It was a beautiful sunny day,
But the crawfish had long since ceased to be.
The teacher said, “You and your friends take that out!”
“Go to the creek to clean that nasty fishbowl.”
So, off they went, three teen boys headed down to the creek,
On a sunny day, with a fishbowl.
What could go wrong?

The cleanup was surprisingly quick,
Considering there were three teenage boys down at the creek.
After a minimum of horseplay, it was time to go.
Back to class, to finish the day.
So, off they trekked.
On a sunny day, with a fishbowl.
What could go wrong?

Nearing the building, they came across a gym class.
A girls’ gym class, playing softball.
So being teenage boys, on a sunny day,
They decided to stop and watch for a while.
 After all, it was such a nice day.
Who wants to be stuck inside?
What could go wrong?

Where to sit?
There were only posts, with dirt
Where the bench used to be.
The young man had new pants on, so that wouldn’t work.
“I know,” he thought,
“I’ll turn the fishbowl on its side and sit!”
What could go…

Crack!
Oops!
Something had gone wrong, terribly wrong.
The fishbowl had splintered into jagged shards of glass,
Some of which were now embedded
Deep in the young man’s thigh.

Since they now couldn’t stay,
The three teen boys began the trek
Up two flights of stairs.
After the ambulance ride to the hospital,
The young man tried to explain to his mother
Why he thought sitting on a fishbowl was a good idea.
What could go wrong?

‘Tis strange but true,
This little story,
About a sunny day, three teen boys and a fishbowl.
After his brush with death
The young man recovered and
Lived to tell the tale.

Boy, I miss that fishbowl.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A New Morning

It was quite definitely early morning now, not late night.

"I'm so cold," said Lucy.

"So am I," said Susan. "Let's walk about a bit."

They walked to the eastern ridge of the hill and looked down. The one big star had almost disappeared. The country all looked dark gray, but beyond, at the very end of the world, the sea showed pale. The sky began to turn red. They walked to and fro more times than they could count between the dead Aslan and the eastern ridge, trying to keep warm, and oh, how tired their legs felt. Then at last, as they stood for a moment looking out toward the sea and Cair Paravel (which they could just now make out) the red turned to gold along the line where the sea and the sky met and very slowly up came the edge of the sun. At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise--a great cracking, deafening noise as if a giant had cracked a giant's plate.

"What's that?" said Lucy, clutching Susan's arm.

"I--I feel afraid to turn round," said Susan; "something awful is happening."

"They're doing something worse to Him," said Lucy, "Come on!" And she turned, pulling Susan round with her.

The rising of the sun made everything look so different--all colors and shadows were changed--that for a moment they didn't see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end, and there was no Aslan.

"Oh, oh, oh!" cried the two girls, rushing back to the Table.

"Oh, it's too bad," sobbed Lucy; "they might have left the body alone."

"Who's done it?" cried Susan. "What does it mean? Is it more magic?"

"Yes!" said a great voice behind their backs. "It is more magic." They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.

"Oh, Aslan!" cried both the children, staring up at him, almost as much frightened as they were glad.

"Aren't you dead then, dear Aslan?" said Lucy.

"Not now," said Aslan.

"You're not--not a--?" asked Susan in a shaky voice. She couldn't bring herself to say the word ghost. Aslan stooped his golden head and licked her forehead. The warmth of his breath and a rich sort of smell that seemed to hang about his hair came all over her.

"Do I look it?" he said.

"Oh, you're real, you're real! Oh Aslan!" cried Lucy, and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.

"But what does it all mean?" asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.

"It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward."


C.S. Lewis: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


Christ is risen!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Waiting

This was first posted on April 19, 2014.

"How could this happen? How could we have been so wrong?"

"We believed the kingdom was going to be restored and those pagan dogs sent back to Rome where they belong. But this 'messiah' turned out to be just like all the others."

"Now here we are hiding from the priests and the Romans."

"Why didn't we fight back? What kind of wimps are we?"

"Fight back? Did you see how many men they had? Besides, Peter tried and he told him to put the sword away!"

"Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but as soon as all this mess dies down, I'm going back up to  Galilee."

"Me too. Back to the old life. When the only thing we had to worry about was catching fish and fixing nets."

"Yeah. It's been an interesting three years, but I'm through with messiahs and kingdoms. Just give me my boat out on the water. As soon as I can, I'm getting out of here."

And so, they waited.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Blast From the Past: Good Friday

This was first posted on April 18, 2014.

"Muzzle him!" said the Witch. And even now, as they worked about his face putting on the muzzle, one bite from his jaws would have cost two or three of them their hands. But he never moved. And this seemed to enrage all that rabble. Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find their courage, and for a few minutes the two girls could not even see him--so thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.
At last the rabble had had enough of this. They began to drag the bound and muzzled Lion to the Stone Table, some pulling and some pushing. He was so huge that even when they got him there it took all their efforts to hoist him onto the surface of it. Then there was more tying and tightening of cords.
"The cowards! The cowards!" sobbed Susan. "Are they still afraid of him, even now?"
When once Aslan had been tied (and tied so that he was really a mass of cords) on the flat stone, a hush fell on the crowd. Four Hags, holding four torches, stood at the corners of the Table. The Witch bared her arms as she had bared them the previous night when it had been Edmund instead of Aslan. Then she began to whet her knife. It looked to the children, when the gleam of the torchlight fell on it, as if the knife were made of stone, not of steel, and it was of a strange and evil shape.
At last she drew near. She stood by Aslan's head. Her face was working and twitching with passion, but his looked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid, but a little sad. Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice,
"And now, who has won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor? Now I will kill you instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased. But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well? And who will take him out my hand then? Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die."
The children did not see the actual moment of the killing. They couldn't bear to look and had covered their eyes.
While the two girls still crouched in the bushes with their hands over their faces, they heard the voice of the Witch calling out,
"Now! Follow me all and we will set about what remains of this war! It will not take us long to crush the human vermin and the traitors now that the great Fool, the great Cat, lies dead."

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

College basketball season is over. Baseball season has begun. This week, Christians around the world remember the days leading up to the death of our Savior. Next Sunday we celebrate the resurrection and remember that we too shall be raised.

Here is the good stuff:

How is the travel ban affecting American universities?
Remembering Michael Spencer.
One view on the of bombing of Syria.
Funny post.
Adulting can be hard.

When love hurts.
Church hunters.
I, alone.
Beautiful!
Now, that's cold.

You don't see this very often.
No conspiracy needed
Finishing the race.
Jared C. Wilson on Proverbs 29:18.
 This is promising.

Have a blessed week!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Well, we've survived another April Fools' day. The college basketball season is almost over. The weather is getting spring-like here in the sunny South. With the warmer weather comes the pollen, and the resulting sneezing and sniffling.

On to the good stuff:

Working​ ourselves to death?
On a related note. Would you like some coffee?
Interesting story.
Interesting question.
Now that's a dog!

April Fools' day pranks.
Tell me about it!
Why some folks eat fish on Friday.
What can happen when you optimize your life.
Kosher pizza war? Evidently.

Cracks and light.
A different take on the treasure in the field.
Sometimes it feels like more.
Good post from Chaplain Mike.
Good post from Bob Edwards.

So now there's a Fitch Option?
Good post from Keith Giles.
Thought provoking post.
The bramble king.

Have a blessed week!









Thursday, March 23, 2017

Church Signs: "The Best Thing We Can Give Someone​...

...Is Our Prayers."

Usually my church signs posts are about the disagreements I have with the message on a particular sign. This time I agree with the message, to a point.

We are encouraged and commanded to give our requests to our Father, whether those requests are for ourselves or for others. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us that we are to ask God to change a person's heart when anything we might say to them would be like giving pearls to pigs. Prayer is important and it is a perfect way to show others that we care.

Unfortunately, it's far too easy for us to use prayer as an excuse to avoid doing things for people. We'll say that we will pray for someone when we have the ability to help them out ourselves. Sometimes we simply forget to even pray for them. That is not a good thing. James tells us that if we say, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," it does no good. In the same way, if we say, "I'll pray for you," but don't help when we can, it does no good.

The criticism that Christians are more interested in a person's soul than their physical needs has some validation if the only thing we do is pray. At the same time, prayer is not a last resort when nothing else is working. We need to do both. We are to pray for the kingdom to come and for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, and sometimes we are the means through which that happens.

The best thing we can give others is prayer, and our help, and our love.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Well, it's that time again. Seems to come around fairly quickly. It doesn't seem as if it's been a week. The second weekend of the big basketball tournament is almost in the books, and bracket sheets lie crumpled and abandoned all across the land. I figured mine would be wrecked after the first round so I didn't do one this year. I'm happy that most of the schools that I like are still in, with my Xavier Musketeers going to the Sweet Sixteen again. In other news, it's getting closer to spring and it is starting to get warmer, again.

On to the good stuff:

Don't settle.
Promise or performance?
Anti-self help books are evidently a thing now.
The Zacchaeus Option.
Intersectionality.

It sure looks black to me.
How dare they!
Beautiful photos!
A little Fitbit news.
Good article.

I want to see this some day.
Good for them!
Ten views on love.
David Brooks on the Benedict Option.
About that Oxford Comma.

So it turns out you can be too clean.
The healthiest hearts in the world.
One-two punch.
Bringing a knife to a gunfight.
Seems like there are a lot of options. Here is another one.

Have a blessed week!



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Well, the groundhog said it would be six more weeks until winter would be over. He just neglected to tell us it would all happen at the end. The forecast here in the sunny South is for a chance of snow or freezing rain. The peach growers are hoping the temperatures don't drop too low. The best part of the year for college basketball fans is upon us. I'm hoping my Xavier Musketeers make a deep run this year. Who are you hoping does well?

On to the links:

Hope of the world?  Or idol?
Freedom for a wimpy ox.
Logan as Christian fable.
Job and identity.
Leaving the comfort zone.

Fashion tips for the pastor.
Bearing witness.
Historic craft beers.
A different look at Machiavelli.
Poetic justice?

Planting trees. A lot of trees.
Interesting article.
Suburbia and the suburban church.
Parenting.
Classic post from Michael Spencer.

Good post from Evan Welcher.
Pilgrimage.
Dangerous gospel.
The timing of grace.
What God asks of us.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Following Jesus: Part 3-Loving Others

The second of the two commandments Jesus said summed up the Law and the Prophets is love your neighbor as yourself. This is another way we follow Jesus. In John 15, Jesus gave a new command. He said we were to love our brothers and sisters as he loved us.
The love that Jesus commands us to practice is a love that puts others first. It is a love that sacrifices for others, even to the point of laying down our lives. It is a love that does the same for others that Jesus did for us.

One of the primary reasons the early church turned the world upside down was their love, for each other and for their neighbors. The first Christians were well known for the way they cared for their brothers and sisters and the way they looked past social, racial, and other differences to form a family with God as their Father. They were also known for caring for their neighbors, often  putting themselves at risk. No matter what else was said about the early followers of Jesus, it was obvious that they loved others in a way far different from the culture around them.

It seems as if those who of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus are known more for what we are against and our fighting than for our love for others. We seem to be quite willing to forget the command to lay down our lives in exchange for what we think is power and influence. At times our worship seems to be more about ourselves than about the One who gave his life for us. The things that capture our imaginations are many times antithetical to the Kingdom and are self-centered instead of others-centered.

Loving others as Jesus loved us means giving up our "rights," our interests, our wants, for the good of others. While we may be willing to step in front of a bullet for someone, how willing are we to give up our time, comfort, or possessions? How willing are we to essentially become nothing so that Christ might be glorified and others benefited?

Following Jesus can be distilled into two commands. We love God with every fiber of our being, and we love others. Everything thing else flows from that. It is not an easy thing to do. In fact, it is impossible if we try to do it in our own strength. If we belong to Jesus, we have his Spirit in us giving us the ability to love as we are called to love.

May we again be known for our love.
Part 1
Part 2 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

It's March. That means wind, possible hard freezes, and a certain basketball tournament. Here in the sunny South, we are dealing with an early influx of pollen and the resulting allergies. This was a good weekend to get out and work in the yard.

Enough small talk. On to the real reason you're here.

No strings attached.
Facts, schmacts.
This is, uh, interesting.
Crying heresy.
Here's a funny article.

Carnival around the world.
Interesting.
Magical thinking.
Saving Christianity?
Lent around the world.

The RV bandit.
Here are some excellent photographs.
This is just a bit odd.
Any excuse for a party.
Fixing the world?

Good post from Bob Edwards.
Lent sermon.
Keith Giles responds to critics.
Lent with Neil Young.
Scot McKnight on angels.

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Well, the groundhog said we were going to have six more weeks of winter. The daffodils in our yard say, "Winter? What winter?" The temperatures are ranging from the mid 50s to around 70. Of course, March may change all that. Some folks are having some pretty bad weather issues right now and I hope things calm down soon.

On to the good stuff:

Shades of Jurassic Park?
Dominick Santore on forgiveness.
Searching for immortality.
This is bound to work!
Alternative faith.

Looks like a cool place to visit.
Decline narrative.
Good post from Daniel Jepsen.
Disease of being busy.
I didn't know this was a thing.

Good post from Frank Viola.
Walking around money.
Good post from Mike Erich.
Scot McKnight asks a question.
Good post from Keith Giles.

Have a blessed week!

Third Week of Advent: Anticipation

This was first published on December 12, 2012. Jesus, as Israel waited in anticipation for you to come, so we wait. We anticipate your ret...