Ah Consequences Again

I heard this mother yelling at her children, “If you don’t get in here this instant I will spank you!” The children kept playing. She yelled, “I mean it!” The children kept playing. And low and behold those children never did get a spanking.Whatever your views are on spanking, you can probably see that threatening any consequence without follow through is futile. It trains the exact opposite of what you are attempting. And imposed consequences are necessary for training. Continue reading

Worst Case Scenario

What is the worst thing you can imagine? Try this one: you have been gone from your city for quite some time. When you return you hear the sound of a battle taking place. Smoke lingers in the air and buildings lie in ruins. This is where your family and friends live and apparently they are under attack by some random army. Continue reading

Wrong Image

What if someone wrote a biography about you and got it all wrong? And I’m not talking about a biography written long after you are dead. Nope! You are still alive and almost everything in the biography is false. It doesn’t represent you at all. Continue reading

Remembering Rest

A small group of believers decided that they wanted to build an edifice dedicated to the worship of God. They worked hard at raising the necessary money. They worked hard at construction to keep the cost down. They worked for three years. When it was all done, they had a beautiful building. But somewhere in the process they forgot the why. They had built a monument; a work of art really. Continue reading

Not Everyday

Every holiday season (Thanksgiving and Christmas) my wife makes this wonderful peanut butter pie. Now this pie is not an everyday pie. It is not even an every holiday pie. We don’t eat it on birthdays; it’s not for Easter consumption; the Fourth of July is right out. If we had this pie every day or even every holiday, it would become less special. We would stop anticipating the pie every year. It would become mundane; you know, everyday. Continue reading

Sea of Washing

The ancient rabbis taught that when you hold the word of God in your hands, your hands should feel filthy. I wonder if that even makes sense to us. Do we have a sense of the terrible holiness of God? Can we grasp our complete lack of purity without crumbling in ourselves? Can the holiness and purity of God still char our conscience? Continue reading

Cover Tax

Years ago there was a preacher who worked with a congregation in a small Midwestern city. Now, one of the members of this congregation was a wealthy woman who regularly contributed a large sum to the church; more than anyone else. This, she thought, gave her the right to tell the preacher what his topics should be. Continue reading

Ritual

What are your thoughts concerning ritual? If we claim that something has become ritualistic, we usually mean that the act is being done superficially, devoid of original intent or substance. Right? We say things like, “That’s just ritual” or “That group is so ritualistic”. And if something is deemed “ritual” it is understood to be an observance sans substance. And if a group is “ritualistic” they are shallow in their approach to Yahweh. Continue reading

Grabbed by the Presence

When I was in college and taking Greek – just for fun – my teacher told us that we would have to work on our studies every day. We started out as a class of nine. Apparently, not many people find Greek to be fun. Go figure. We ended up with three. And we ended up with three because six people neglected to take the teacher’s advice seriously. Continue reading

Holier

Surely the people who enter into the very presence of God are holier than say those who don’t. Surely they are smarter or wiser or more knowledgeable in the ways of Yahweh. There is a danger lurking here. We, as God’s people can begin to believe we are God’s people because, well, we understand what there is to understand about God. Continue reading