Monthly Archives: September 2010

Ponderings: Too Much Sovereignty?

It almost sounds like heresy to say there can be “too much” sovereignty.  And I hope you won’t stop reading here and miss the point I am trying to make.  On the whole, I would agree with anyone who says … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Vigil

Paul begins our focal verse (Acts 20:28) with the words, “keep watch.”  Christian self-care is rooted in the idea of vigil.  The image is that of the watchman on the wall, who scans the horizon for any approaching enemies.  The watchman’s … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Great Temptation

Three quotes have held me fast when I have been tempted to become frenetic in my spirituality… Oswald Chambers: “The greatest temptation of devotion to Jesus Christ is service for him.” Thomas Merton: “Activism is a form of violence.” Richard … Continue reading

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Listenings: Patient

We will leave our concentration upon spiritual growth for a while, but not without one final word: patient.  This is a word which follows from the previous ideas of growth being natural and incremental.  But for me, the idea of “patient” … Continue reading

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Connections: Oswald Chambers

For many of you, this will not be a new connection.  But I don’t want to assume that everyone reading this blog is familiar with Oswald Chambers.  I only want to encourage you to become familiar with him. Born in … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: September 26, 2010 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 16:19-31 Meditation:  “Naming the Rich Man” We cannot keep from noticing that the poor man is named, but the rich man is not.  This is Jesus’ way of saying that we are the rich man.  Jesus says, “Write … Continue reading

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Ponderings: Not Certainty, but Hope

A few weeks ago, I watched a fascinating interview with Christopher Hitchens on The Atlantic Monthly website.  Hitchens is dying of cancer—that’s what he says himself.  The interview was in relation to that fact.  As one who has become well-known among the … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Stepping Into the Stream

The last words of a person are considered especially important.  Books have been published containing the “famous last words” of people.  For some weeks to come, we are going to focus on Acts 20:28, which are part of Paul’s last … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Value of Tradition

In his book, A Diary of Private Prayer, John Baille wrote, “I thank Thee that this Christian way whereon I walk is no untried or uncharted road, but a road beaten hard by the footsteps of saints, apostles, prophets, and … Continue reading

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Listenings: Incremental Growth

As I grew up, my Dad devised a way to measure my progress.  He would have me stand up against a door facing, and he would make an indentation into it with his fingernail.  I would step away, turn around and look … Continue reading

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Connections: Dennis Kinlaw

(I will not be posting this Friday and Saturday, so this category comes to you a little earlier than usual) Many of my mentors have been men and women I’ve never met.  But “doubly blessed” is anyone who has mentors … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: September 19, 2010 (Year C)

(I will not be posting this Friday and Saturday, so this category is presented a bit early this week) Reading;  Luke 16:1-13 Meditation:  “Behind the Scenes” After using the manager’s actions to illustrate ingenuity, Jesus turns to expose the thing … Continue reading

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Ponderings: Our Central Act

If you ask the saints to name the central act of the Christian life, they will respond with one word:  worship.  Prior to any other act of belief or practice, we are called to worship.  Underlying every thought, word, and … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Survival, Not Selfishness

I was conducting a pastors’ retreat, and I was talking about self-care.  One pastor spoke up genuinely concerned that I was advocating “selfishness.”  In communicating his concern, he quoted the old statement I’d heard before:  “I’d rather burn out for … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Accountability

In his sermon “Salvation By Faith, ” John Wesley wrote, “Our commission is to ‘Go and preach the gospel to every creature.’  If anyone twists it, or any part of it, [he does so] to his destruction.” I am grateful … Continue reading

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Listenings: Natural Growth

We are continuing our look at spiritual growth.  Last week we said it is unhurried.  Today, we add to that the fact that it is natural. Thomas Merton wrote about this in New Seeds of Contemplation, “A tree glorifies God … Continue reading

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Connections: Francois Fenelon

Today I want to “connect” you with an older resource for your spiritual formation:  Francois Fenelon.  I want to do it for two reasons:  (1) to know him and his classic work, Christian Perfection…and…(2) to bring you in contact with … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: September 12, 2010 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 15:1-10 Meditation:  “What About the ‘Found’?” Within this week’s grand story of redemption and the related joy it brings (on earth and in heaven) is an important message for the people Jesus says “need no repentance.”  There is a … Continue reading

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Ponderings: Spirituality Is Reality

We can never fully define the spiritual life, much less try to capture it in single-sentence descriptions.  But there are sentences which serve as “windows” through which we see into the life God has in mind for us.  One of … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: A Crisis of Spirit

I was conducting a seminar at a Pastors’ School.  As we left the room for a break, one of the participants headed in my direction.  I recognized him as one of my former students.  I could tell by the look … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Right Place

Years ago, Charlie Shedd spoke a powerful word into my life in his book, Time for All Things, “I am where I should be. I have been called to this place at this time for this work.” We waste an … Continue reading

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Listenings: Unhurried Formation

With the likely exception of Adam and Eve, the rest of us come into this world as babies.  Even that single fact ought to tell us that God is not in a hurry.  God seems quite content for us to … Continue reading

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Connections: Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

Today I want to connect you with a person whom I have come to know largely through my wife, Jeannie’s, experience:  Mrs. Charles E. Cowman (as she liked to be called).  Lettie and her husband were pioneer missionaries in Japan and … Continue reading

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Editorials: Introduction

The spiritual life is not only deep, it is broad.  It covers all of life.  This category captures my reflections on a wide variety of subjects.  In it, I offer you my thoughts on a range of topics and happenings, … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: September 5, 2010 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 14:25-33 Meditation:  “Thinning the Crowd” When we live with a “more is better” philosophy of life, we may equate crowds with success.  Jesus didn’t do so.  When he saw the large crowds following him, he turned to them … Continue reading

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Ponderings: Into Wonder

I turn 63 next month.  When I mention that to folks, they often say, “That’s not old.  You’re just getting started.”  While I appreciate their kind remarks, I know in one sense, it’s not true.  Looking down the path, there’s … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Introduction

For more than 20 years, Jeannie and I have been involved in “ministry to ministers.”  For a season, we actually ran a ministry called “Shepherd’s Care.”  But even when that ministry ended, we have continued to feel God’s call to … Continue reading

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