Monthly Archives: November 2011

Journey in the Word: Psalm 19–God’s Self-Revelation

Week 11 Read:  Psalm 19:1, 7 Revelation is necessary and primary.  Our eyes are a symbol of this in the physical world.  When we go outside on land or sea and look as far as we can, it is only … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: A Determined Heart

Continuing our look at “the heart of the shepherd,” the place where a devoted heart and a discouraged heart come together for me is in the word determination.  To have a “determined heart” is to consciously order your life in … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

Journey in the Word: Psalm 1–the Righteous and the Wicked

Week 11 Read:  Psalm 1:6 Christianity shares with other religions in the belief that there are “two ways” to live—one generates life, the other results in death. It is not too much to say that we move through life and … Continue reading

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Desert Wisdom: Humility

We move into Book Fifteen of The Desert Fathers, exploring for the next several weeks the theme of humility. Evagrius said, To go against self is the beginning of salvation (15:15). Humility is rooted in the surrender of the “self” … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Journey in the Word: The Song of Songs

Week 10 Read:  Song of Songs 2:16 In a culture which grossly misunderstands and misrepresents sexuality, the Song of Songs may be one of the most-important books in the Bible.  It is the single-best book which describes love on God’s … Continue reading

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Connections: Brennan Manning

This past week,  I completed my reading of Brennan Manning’s memoir, All is Grace.  Not surprisingly, I found it to be a blessing—another “from the heart,” honest book from one of God’s servants. If you already know about Manning, I … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Listenings: Attachment

We continue looking at Underhill’s quotation which I printed last week.  We turn this week to the idea of “attachment.”  You can go back and re-read it, if you need to. When we are awakened to God’s vision, Underhill is … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: November 27, 2011 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 13:24-37 Meditation:  “Between Advents” Except for the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, every year since has been between the first and second advents.  Since we do not know the day or the hour when the second advent will … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Site Update: Fall Break

Just a reminder that I will not be posting the regular thematic posts this week, or the two “In-Sight” commentaries. You will find “The Holy Gospel” meditation on Saturday, November 26th. Regular posting will resume on Monday, November 28th.

Posted in Site Updates

Journey in the Word: Proverbs—The Sluggard

Week 10 Read:  Proverbs 26:14 I am asserting that “fool” is the primary category from which Solomon works to develop other sub-categories which flow from foolishness.  The sluggard is the next one Stott deals with. Honestly, I do not know … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: November 20, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 25:31-46 Meditation:  “Judgment As Consequence” It’s easy to read this story and conclude that it’s about judgment.  But a closer reading shows that it’s about compassion—or, the lack of it. This is not to minimize the judgment motif, … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Journey in the Word: Proverbs—The Mocker

Week 10 Read:  Proverbs 21:24 In turning to the word “mocker,” Stott is not setting it up as a second type of person as much as he is highlighting one way foolishness expresses itself. The “fool” may keep his/her views … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Communal Accountability

Chapter 43 of The Rule sets forth a most-interesting understanding of life together. No one is to presume to live “out of step” and “out of time” with the rest of the community.  To do so is just another form … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Proverbs—The Fool

Week 10 Read:  Proverbs 1:7 Whenever we find the word “fool” or “foolish” used in the Bible, we know we are being confronted with something extremely important.  Jesus taught that we should refrain from calling anyone a fool (Matthew 5:22), … Continue reading

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In-Sight: God’s Mountain Peaks

I did not grow up in a “high church” atmosphere, where liturgy and sacraments were emphasized.  I have had to learn my way into an understanding of these things, and as I do so, I increasingly recognize and respect the … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 1 Comment

Let Us Pray: Where Everything Begins

Read:  Genesis 12:7-8 Wherever Abram went, his first act was to build an altar.  This is the Bible’s way of teaching that the foundation for everything else is prayer. We tend to make it the capstone—the act in which we … Continue reading

Posted in Let Us Pray

Journey in the Word: Job and God

Week 10 Read Job 40:3-5 Yesterday, I proposed that the larger message of Job is how to deal with Mystery, not simply suffering.  How do we live with anything we cannot understand, or even sometimes accept. Stott actually gets at … Continue reading

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Editorial: Whence America’s “Soul” ?

Believe it or not, I am not writing this post as a political blog, but squarely one within the framework of spiritual formation. A recent statement by a leader in the Tea Party movement sent chills through me.  He wrote, … Continue reading

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Connections: Women in Ministry

I do not know anyone who deals with the subject of “women in ministry” any better than Carolyn James.  Her latest book, Half the Church, is one that no one who has an interest in this topic should miss.

Posted in Connections

Shepherd’s Care: Heart of the Shepherd (2)

In addition to the devoted heart of today’s clergy, many of us also know what it feels like to have a discouraged heart. Despite our fervent prayers and best efforts, mainline Protestantism is losing members at an alarming rate.  I … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Job’s Comforters

Week 10 Read:  Job 42:7 Job may be the oldest book in the Bible.  It is also one of the most difficult to interpret and apply.  There are many good lessons to be taken from it, and Stott helps us … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Take A Closer Look

Not long ago, I was in a discussion with some seminary students.  One asked, “Why don’t the Roman Catholics have altar calls?” Happily, I had already talked about this with my friend, John Michael Talbot.  When I raised a similar … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Desert Wisdom: The Monk’s Service

Hyperichius said, “The monk’s service is obedience.  He who has this shall have his prayers answered, and shall stand by the Crucified in confident faith.  For that was how the Lord went to his cross, being made obedient even unto … Continue reading

Posted in Desert Wisdom

Journey in the Word: The Book of Ecclesiastes

Week 10: The Wisdom Literature—a major section of the Old Testament contains books we call the “wisdom” books—books which help us discover and enact the meaning of life.  Stott spend the tenth and eleventh weeks of our journey on these … Continue reading

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Connections: Discipleship Library

I’ve just found an amazing resource:  Discipleship Library (www.discipleshiplibrary.com). It’s a new feature of The Navigators, and simply put, it’s a collection of hundreds of audio presentations by a mind-boggling array of speakers, who have ministered at Navigator conferences for … Continue reading

Posted in Connections

Listenings: Awakening

I want to stay with the quotation from Underhill that I posted last week.  It is a valuable summary of the Christian spiritual life.  I’ll reprint it here, and we will spend the next three weeks exploring it… The very … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Journey in the Word: The Fall of Jerusalem

Week 9 Read:  Lamentations 1:1 When people’s sinning goes unchecked, nothing is sacred; no place is safe.  The fall of Jerusalem is both literal and symbolic—a sign of the complete collapse of what had been implied in the phrase “the … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: November 13, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 25:14-30 Meditation:  “God’s Mathematics” Growing up in a world of addition and subtraction, we naturally think that “more is more” and “less is less.”  In a world of numbers, 5 is more than 2, and 2 is more … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Journey in the Word: The Church and State in Judah

Week 9 Read:  2 Kings 19:6 Stott intrigues us with his assertion that it is when Church and State are in a cooperative relationship that both prosper as God intends.  As he notes, the Church does not try to be … Continue reading

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Connections: Small Groups

If you don’t already know about it, the site http://www.smallgroups.com is an excellent place to receive instruction and learn about new resources for small groups.  You can subscribe to a free e-letter and keep track of additions to the website.

Posted in Connections

Benedict’s Rule: Ending the Day Well

We often hear the counsel to “begin the day with God.”  And that is good advice.  But Benedict knew that “ending the day with God” is equally important.  In Chapter 42, he described ways for doing that. Some of the … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: The Message of Hosea

Week 9 Read:  Hosea 6:6 My friend, Dr. Ken Collins, says the gospel can be summed up in two words:  Holy Love. If Amos is the messenger of God’s expectation of holiness, Hosea is the messenger of God’s offer of … Continue reading

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In-Sight: A “Cosmological Constant”

The Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to Dr. Adam Riess, for his recent discoveries about the cosmos.  All this is way over my head, but I do want to write about it as much as I am able. … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Let Us Pray: Back to Basics

Even though the Fall is not reversed—even though sin remains and its consequences continue to wreak havoc on the earth—there is a noticeable return to prayer as conversation with God, like Adam and Eve had with God in the garden. … Continue reading

Posted in Let Us Pray | 2 Comments

Journey in the Word: The Message of Amos

Week 9 Read:  Amos 5:24 Amos “pulled a fast one” on Judah.  He began with a six-nation denouncement of evil which surely brought shouts of “Amen, brother!” as he predicted God’s pending judgement on them all. And then….he turned the … Continue reading

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Editorial: Two Messages, But Not Mixed

Within the last 24 hours, I have received two “messages” that I believe go a long way in showing where we are relative to the place of Christianity, and religion in general, in The United States. The first message came … Continue reading

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Shepherd’s Care: Heart of the Shepherd

We’ve spent a lot of time in the Bible, seeking to lay a good foundation for ministry.  I’m sure we will return to Scripture down the road.  But for a while, I want to look at the spiritual formation of … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: The Northern Kingdom

Week 9 Read:  1 Kings 12:7 The history of Israel goes from bad to worse in a downward spiral of details that, to this day, I cannot keep straight.  Untold hours can be spent examining the events which transpired over … Continue reading

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In-Sight: The Simple Will of God

Today, I want to connect two ideas:  simplicity and the will of God. I am not doing so to “dumb down” either concept, but rather to share some emerging thoughts I’ve been having. I am increasingly convinced that “the will … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 1 Comment

Desert Wisdom: Two Guides

The hermits used to say, “God demands this of Christians: to obey the inspired Scriptures, which contain the pattern of what they must say and do, and agree with the teaching of the orthodox bishops and teachers” (14:13). The best … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: King Solomon

Week 9 Read:  1 Kings 4: 29, 31 I suppose we can take some small comfort that God was willing to use kings who were a mixture of righteousness and unrighteousness.  But when you stop to think about it, that’s … Continue reading

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Editorial: Living Souls

I intentionally shy away from making political comments on this blog.  I recognize the diversity of opinions which swirl around almost every issue, and I don’t want this blog to be viewed as politically slanted, and certainly not politically oriented. … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

Listenings: God Is Not Silent

We may create spiritualities which are “silent” before the reality of evil and suffering, but God is not silent. God speaks.  And as Underhill points out, God speaks in the form of a question, “Who will go for us” (p. … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

Journey in the Word: King David

Week 9—We cover a five hundred-year period in the next seven days:  from the rise of David to the fall of Jerusalem.  Along the way, we’ll intersect with the prophets.  Once again, it’s a lot to cover, but as with … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: November 6, 2011 (Year A)

Read:  Matthew 25:1-13 Meditation:  Restoring the Supply No matter how brightly our lives may be burning for Christ at the moment, none of us has enough “oil” to make it all the way to the end of the line. That’s … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Journey in the Word: Saul’s Later Unfaithfulness

Week 8 Read:  1 Chronicles 10:13 Unfaithfulness was the cause of Saul’s downfall.  Ultimately, it was his unfaithfulness to God.  But it was also infidelity to his own position as king.  A few days ago, we saw that the king … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Proper Nourishment

Chapters 39-41 in the Rule deal with the eating habits of the monks. The life of the monastery revolves around prayer and work.  Both require energy and health.  The energy comes from eating and drinking proper amounts.  Health comes from … Continue reading

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Journey in the Word: Saul’s Early Promise

Week 8 Read:  1 Samuel 10:24 Saul is Israel’s first king, and he personifies the “mixed bag” that Israel will experience throughout the reign of the Kings.  The readings today and tomorrow are highly symbolic.  Saul has a good beginning, … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Recommendations

After ministering for more than 45 years as a pastor and professor, I have recommended many things over the years.  Once in a while, someone will come to me with a book in his or her hand and usually they … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Let Us Pray: Where Prayer Begins

When you’re studying prayer, you may find that some commentators place the beginning of prayer at Genesis 4:26, where it is written that people began to call on the name of the Lord. But as we have seen, people were … Continue reading

Posted in Let Us Pray