The Other Kind of Mat

Nobody wants to be a doormat.

Who could aspire to such depths? Weak. Passive. Feeble. These aren’t desirable personality traits.

This summer I’m using IF:Equip as my Bible study (join in; it’s free!). We’re slowing inching our way through the Beatitudes with accompanying passages. This week is a deep-dive on Matthew 5:5.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (ESV)

Nobody has ever accused me of being meek. (Though StrengthsFinder does argue that I have a Harmony strength. What??!) I’m opinionated and vocal. Without a strong leader to counter-balance me, I’ll run away with any project, committee or meeting I’m part of. So, these words of Jesus usually cause me to discount myself from being blessed or inheriting the earth. I don’t even want to be meek. But Jesus says the meek are blessed.

So shouldn’t I want to be?

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For His glory

For His gloryIt’s hard for me to imagine the Messiah coming in any other fashion than Jesus’ bodily form.

I think that’s because it’s the only way I’ve ever heard, or known, the story. A baby. In a manger. But when I stop to consider that God put on human flesh, I really can’t imagine that either.

Can you?

Seriously. God. In bodily form. The One Who caused “the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear” (Genesis 1:9) walked upon its very soil. He Who designed our bodies to need nourishment ate meals with family, friends, “sinners” and disciples. Our God — limitless in power — temporarily limited Himself to live in our circumstances and culture. Jesus was willing to release the equality He shared with God (Philippians 2:6) to serve us.  Read More

Tally Marks

“Because I’ve made too many mistakes.”

This was the raw response that fell from my child’s lips earlier this week. Sin had reared its ugly head in our relationship and the requisite consequences followed suit. Tears fell. The whole relational exchange was very normal (perhaps less than desirable, but normal)… up until that point. Listening as my child walked away, I overheard a disconcerting, caustic cluster of negative self-talk.  Read More

Fireworks, Lemonade and Salvation: But Why?

Independence Day: The day we celebrate our liberation from England and rejoice in the freedoms we have as Americans.

I offer sincere thanks to the many who fought for those freedoms (and those who continue to defend them). As a country, we enjoy parades and fireworks, BBQ, brownies and lemonade — and a day off of work. This is truly a national party. It is worthy of celebration. Yet somehow I can’t help thinking that we’ve somewhat missed the point.

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In the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit… and Versace?

I found it scandalizing. And confusing. And sad.

I recently saw a video clip of a woman offering tips on how to make an adult baptism stylish. I struggled to understand why a baptism needed to be stylish and was concerned that the point of baptism — an outward expression of faith in Jesus Christ — had been missed.

I still feel the main purpose behind baptism was lacking in the clip, but I am reticent to judge harshly the faith of a person I ‘know’ only through a 90 second spot. As I reflected further, it occurred to me how often baptism and styles of worship are sources of division in the church. Perhaps that’s because, at least to some degree, we’re all missing the point?   Read More

Sidewalk-chalk Sermon

Children bring to life their surroundings.

I love watching kids ride circles endlessly on their bikes around the cul-de-sac. I’m tickled when our basketball hoop gets lots of attention and I enjoy the late night squeals of kids on a trampoline. Today, I smiled when I saw chalk had decorated a driveway and adjacent sidewalk as I walked down the street. Reluctant to tread on the artistic renditions, I stepped to walk on the side as I passed. Then I slowed and finally stopped to take it in.

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Bearing the Banner

My favorite read from 2011 was the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote the story of Louis Zamperini’s most remarkable life.  I eagerly tuned into the the podcast of his recent visit to a church in the Bay Area.

At 94 years of age, undeterred by a broken leg, this man was intent on sharing his story: God’s story as revealed in his life.  He was, by all accounts, a hooligan in his younger years, then discovered a more productive (and legal) use of his energy: running.  He competed in the Olympics before becoming a bombardier in WWII, only to endure the unthinkable (that word scarcely does it justice; please read the book).  His reflections, shared with those in attendance, bore God’s message of hope, faith, forgiveness and redemption.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
— 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

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