Archives For Spiritual Life & Discipleship

It’s alright to be human

January 17, 2017 — 10 Comments

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One problem with many teachers and preachers of religion is that they make it seem like it’s not alright to be human. Or at least they come across that way sometimes. Like it’s not alright to have human feelings, to think human thoughts, or to make human mistakes, and that it must all be glossed over with “faith” or some type of behavior modification in order to find favor with God.

But I agree wholeheartedly with Walter Brueggeman: “All theology that is pre-pain must be treated with suspicion.” Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: @superamit Flickr via Compfight cc

“Community” is something of a buzzword these days; different people use it to describe different things. Overall, though, most people who use the word envision deeper, more intimate relationships between themselves and other people.

Christianity community centers around the person, work, and teaching of Jesus, but the core concept remains the same: Community means sharing life with each other. Church leaders, ministers, pastors, small group practitioners, and workers of all sorts are engaged with this question of how to form, create, build, or otherwise enjoy a deeper experience of community. Continue Reading…

Photo Credit: silaaa via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: silaaa via Compfight cc

As a writer, I know the challenge of the blank page.

The blank page stands witness to all this is not and all that could be. It invites the writer to express his innermost thoughts and to form them into an offering worthy to present to the world.

For this very reason, the blank page intimidates, as well. For there it sits–an invitation, yes–but quite possibly an invitation to failure. What if the words don’t come out right? What if they fall on deaf ears? What if nobody cares?

These are the kind of thoughts I normally center upon when, as a writer, I consider the blank page.  Continue Reading…

Photo Credit: Patxi Arsa via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Patxi Arsa via Compfight cc

The most significant discovery of my life has been the indwelling presence of Christ. I see that my entire calling in life is simply to enjoy this Presence and walk in its Light, to cultivate fellowship with God just as the Master did with His Father, until everything I do or do not do springs directly from this inner well.

Did you know that this is your entire life’s calling, too?

I’ve written a number of posts over the years dealing with our walk in the Spirit, though at best I consider myself an infant-in-arms at the practice of God’s presence. Continue Reading…

What is patience?

December 3, 2015 — 2 Comments
Photo Credit: Rense Haveman via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Rense Haveman via Compfight cc

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” — Galatians 5:22-23

Last Sunday, I was invited to speak to a group of Christians who have been going through a series on the fruit of the Spirit, exploring what it means for Christ to live in us.

On tap this week was “patience, kindness, and goodness” (Galatians 5:22), so I opted to talk about Christ as our patience. All spiritual fruit, after all, is only a manifestation of the character of Christ. He Himself is the sum of all spiritual things.  Continue Reading…

Broken homes & holidays

November 27, 2015 — Leave a comment
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Photo Credit: Eneritz Burgoa via Compfight cc

These are the unfiltered musings of my heart, nothing more and nothing less.

Holidays are both wonderful and terrible. Wonderful for the past memories we hold and the potential we have to make new ones. Terrible for the very same reasons.

Holidays are full of joy and full of hurt. Honestly, I wonder which way the scales tip when all of humanity is taken into account. I have my suspicions, but I can’t be sure.  Continue Reading…

Remember the Sabbath

October 12, 2015 — Leave a comment
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Photo Credit: kutruvis nick via Compfight cc

In our consumer-driven society, the concept of Sabbath is radical.

On the seventh day, just stop. No working, no regular schedule–just spend time alone, with family, at rest, at play.

The Jewish year of Jubilee is even more radical (Leviticus 25:8-13). Every 50th year the people were told to let the land rest, to set their slaves free, and to return property to anyone who had lost theirs over the previous 49 years. It was a divine interruption of the systems of man that bind, oppress, and drive people to the brink of insanity.  Continue Reading…

Photo Credit: quinn.anya via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: quinn.anya via Compfight cc

You are probably familiar with Jesus’ teaching on the vine. Here is the passage from John’s gospel:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. (John 15:1-6)

Last week, as I was pruning a peach tree in my backyard, this passage came to mind. I always enjoy pruning a tree or shrub, and I find that meditating on Jesus’ words while doing so provides deeper insight into their meaning. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: Ostrosky Photos via Compfight cc

Did you know that Jesus claimed to be “real” food and drink, and that those who follow Him would be able to eat and drink of Him?

Eating and drinking of Christ in the Spirit–that is the subject of this week’s podcast. Though this episode is over a full hour long, I feel like I only began to touch on a few important elements of the spiritual life. Therefore, please get back to me with any comments or feedback; depending on the response I may do a follow-up post next week. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: JuneToSeptember via Compfight cc

A little while back I wrote about the different kinds of fuel that Christians use to try to live the Christian life. I meant to immediately follow that post with an article about eating and drinking Christ, but other topics have called for my attention since then and obviously I haven’t gotten to it yet. Apologies.

Instead of an article I think I will devote an entire podcast episode to this matter. Look for it next week. In the meantime, here is a collection of old posts I’ve written about the spiritual life of the believer. Take some time to go through them and you’ll get a good primer on a few of the issues I’ll be talking about in the podcast.  Continue Reading…