Gratitude at Golgotha, Part III

Christians concerned with preserving the gospel have resisted the moral fandom that Jesus attracts. To admire Jesus’ compassion or gentleness without submitting to him as Master and Redeemer, the argument goes, is to miss the point of his message entirely. This is true, and because it is true, we place

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Gratitude at Golgotha, Part II

Thanks to the “Washer Fluid Low” situation I keep ignoring, a few sundry splotches have accumulated on the windshield of our vehicle. Driving with these new additions to my field of vision has alerted me to the importance of looking through–not at–the windshield when one is driving. When I focus

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Heroes of Persevering Faith

More than any other book in the New Testament, Hebrews makes its point through biography. The preacher illustrates warnings about drifting away from God’s promises through the exodus generation of Israelites who–at the doorstep of the Promise Land–refused to believe God’s promises and died in the wilderness. He explains the

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Nurturing a Practice of Eulogy

One of the unique and solemn privileges of being a pastor is sitting down with the family of a deceased loved one to take in a concentrated dose of eulogy–“good word”–about the recently departed. In these times the family reviews commonly known features of the person’s character and unearths rare

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Our Wealthy Family

What is wealth? What is poverty? Where do we land on that spectrum? Let me share two experiences I had this week that are reshaping my understanding of these questions. The first was a half-day event called the “Mayor’s Faith Forum on Homelessness and Domestic Violence.” A number of key

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Loving Like Jesus

Jesus’ prime commandment was love. Only hours before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion, he told his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.” He not only made the command but modeled it: “just as I have loved you, you also are to love one

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Created for Intimacy

Five months ago I wrote about Escape, our borrowed buck, and lessons I learned from his presence in our goat herd. Now, five months later (the gestation period for goats, not coincidentally), Escape is gone and we have five amazing female kids spreading their adorable hilarity in our backyard and

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Church and Prohibition

This week I have been watching Ken Burns’ documentary, Prohibition, which spends 5.5 hours chronicling the train wreck that was the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While this was a culture war of another era, the story gives us much to ponder for the battles we face today. The prohibition

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A Decade of Providence

I cannot recall what she wore that day, but I will never forget her eyes. The replay in my mind runs in slow motion as they widened, an involuntary reflex from Rachael’s realization that the person whose name she mentioned in a conversation 30 seconds earlier was now walking toward

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Listening at the Manger

Christmas is a difficult season for listening. Every commercial, every wish list, every TV special, and every gathering shouts a different message regarding what the season is “about.” Typically the white noise amounts to a nondescript, heavily commercialized sentimentality that drowns out the gospel narrative we hold dear. So in

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