Community Works

Years ago, my brother-in-law was walking between two parked cars in a parking lot. A dog lurched at him from one of the cars and tore up his forearm. The dog’s owner, thankfully unsuccessfully, tried to accuse him of taunting the dog. Continue reading

Enforced Consequences

What are your thoughts concerning punishment? Our society doesn’t seem to like the word. There is this thought out there that if you punish a person, you will only succeed in making them sneakier. In other words, they will continue to perform the negative behavior, but they will do so in a way that avoids detection. Maybe. But if there is no punishment, they will continue the behavior openly. Awhile back, my wife was struck by a student while she was working in a school. This young man faced no punishment. Continue reading

Altars of Dirt

In the movie “Indian Jones and the Last Crusade” Indiana is searching for the holy grail; the cup that Jesus took up at the Last Supper. Drinking from this cup is said to heal all wounds and provide, if not eternal, then prolonged, life. I know that the physical cup can do nothing. It is Jesus who heals all wounds and gives life. You know, just in case you were unsure of my understanding the difference between Bible and Indiana Jones. Continue reading

Loving People Well

The other day, I watched the movie “Mommie Dearest” on TV. This movie claims to be an accurate account of the actress Joan Crawford. If the movie is accurate, Joan did not love well. She was completely self absorbed; everything orbited around her and her career. For reasons unknown she adopted a little girl named Christina. Christina could do nothing right. In one of many intense scenes, after Crawford was dropped by a movie studio, she comes unglued because Christina hung her dresses on metal hangers. Continue reading

Loving God Well

Love has rules. It is something we can gage. We can look into the life of a person and say, “That person loves well,” or “That person flopped in love.” Love is not happenstance; a luck of the draw; a chance meeting in a crowded room. God loves you. He did not fall in love with you. He sees all of you and decides to love you. And he asks that you love him right back. And he is kind of persnickety (a word that in this context means particular); he wants you to love him well. He has even laid down rules for loving him. Continue reading

Awesome Awesomeness

I know that I have asked the question already in this series of articles, but sometimes repetition is necessary for our health, so here we go again; How do you view God? Is he like George Burns, a little old man smoking on a cigar and cracking jokes? Is he more like Morgan Freeman, a ultra calm and cool God who relinquishes his power over to a human to teach him what it means to be God? Is God awesome? Continue reading

Preparations For Holiness

What if someone showed up to their wedding all filthy and gross? Picture their clothes all muddy and tattered. Picture hair in disarray and unkempt. Picture grime caked in on skin, clothes, hair and teeth. What if this couple had nice clothes; what if they had a washing machine and a shower; what if they owned a tooth brush complete with toothpaste? What if they simply could not be inconvenienced by all that washing and preparing? What would you think about their commitment to marriage? Continue reading

Covenant Relationship Anyone

Some babies are born into families where the relationship never rises above mere parental obligation. Though it is rarely verbally communicated, they hear clearly the message, “I will feed, clothe and house you because that is what society demands of a parent. Don’t expect anything else from this relationship. I’ll do what I must to keep you alive; let that be enough.” Believe me, these babies are luckier than some, but still, there is something lacking here; something that punches holes in the soul. Continue reading

Saving Delegation

What does leadership look like to you? Do you want someone who makes unilateral decisions for the whole group? I have never wanted to be that guy. Not in my family and not in my ministry. I kind of like it when I can defer to someone else; when I can say, “you need to talk to this person.” “Go ask your mother” can be an effective leadership move. Now, it could also be simple deflection of responsibility, but that is not our topic today. Continue reading