Thursday of this week, I’ll head up the CA coast on Hwy 1, the classic route through Big Sur, to teach at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and hang with some witty writers. A couple of years ago I did the same route, and must have seen two dozen Mustang convertibles. Rentals, I guess. And no better way to enjoy that stretch than a convertible—unless rain descends. But seeing several Stangs on that clear blue-skied day shocked me—their tops were up and latched, like the one in the pic. Rather than basking in the openness of God’s creation, they chose…Read More
Pain from a broken leg keeps us from doing more damage to the injury. So we limp to see a doc and get it casted to enable healing. We don’t all break our legs, but we do sin. Perhaps, just wondering, but does guilt serve a similar role spiritually for those times?Read More
Some wit once compared the church to Noah’s ark, we couldn’t stand the conditions inside if it weren’t for those outside. That haunts me. Research reveals that over half of self-identified Christians have no connection with a larger group of followers—meaning we may have more Christians outside the church than inside. The church that Jesus died to create.So...Read More
OK, true confession time. I watched “American Idol.” Not recently, mostly in the early years. Some performers caused me to cringe and almost resurrected my desire to be a rock star—almost. Others I grew to appreciate, and enjoy hearing their music on the radio or Pandora. However, the premise of the show stimulated some thoughts. If an idol represents ultimate value, then what is America’s idol? Or, more specifically, might the American church, at times, have an idol we value more than God?Read More
Many may not identify at first with my next statement, but work with me a bit, OK? I missed church the last two weeks. The pic above tells why I physically missed it. Six years ago we rented out our Temecula house and moved to Thousand Oaks for a job, planning on returning to our home of 21 years. Those six years of renters’ neglect transformed a nice house into one needing work. Just one example, the once-green bank became what you see above—barren and dead, except for an 8’ tall weed/tree, along with a broken fence. Interior issues were worse. So, the last two weeks I missed church to get the place ready to move back in. I realize some followers attend worship rarely or sporadically, and “miss” it more than I. But they may not miss it. Get it?
Here’s why I spiritually missed it, and why...Read More
That knife above isn’t much to look at. A bone handle yellowed from age and contact with a fisherman’s hand. A small blade, with much of its essence sacrificed from sharpening. But each time I open the tackle box and see dad’s old knife, I think of him. How he transmitted a love of stream fishing. How he showed me the courage a man should have. How he demonstrated sacrificing for others. How he gave me that knife when emphysema robbed him of the ability to journey to his beloved Sierra Nevada Mountains. Each look keeps those memories fresh, makes me appreciate him more, and restores...Read More
Forget Judge Judy—even though reports claim she’s the highest paid woman on television. Forget Judge Wapner—even though he was the first TV judge on the old “People’s Court.” Why? Put me in a worship service, and my church seat miraculously transforms itself into a judge’s bench. Just replace Judge Judy’s pic above with mine, and you get the idea. Well, skip the best paid and the gender, but you get the picture.
I judge the music—is it loud and strong enough, too loud, or too hymn-like?Read More
Last week’s post attracted a lot of interest, but the topic has another level. Then, we explored why we worship—it’s the best antidote to self-centeredness. Some of my most glorious worship occurs in the mountains. Immersed in the beauty of the world that God created, away from the overpowering touch of man, my ego shrinks as I get lost in God’s transcendence. Those magnificent Sierra vistas shout out the grandeur of God.
But worship exceeds that half hour of singing at church, the hour plus of the “worship service.” Worship is life. Yet here is where we can easily miss a key aspect of worshipRead More