Showing posts from November, 2010

All of Christianity in the blink of an eye

This morning I preached on the conversion of Saul in Acts 9. It is one of the great human cataclysms of all time -- a man who Luke basically portrays as Church Enemy #1 realizing in a flash (literally) that this "Lord" who manifested himself in overwhelming glory was none other than Jesus. There has never been a bigger "Oh crud" moment in the history of humankind. There has never been a more instantaneous turnaround. In the blink of an eye (literally), the most vehement foe of the cause of Christ becomes the most tireless worker for the cause of Christ.

I like the way William Barclay sums up Saul's fateful encounter with Jesus. It is worth quoting a paragraph from Barclay's commentary on Acts:
There is all of Christianity in what the Risen Christ said to Paul, ‘Go into the city, and you will be told what to do.’ Up to this moment Paul had been doing what he liked, what he thought best, what his will dictated. From this time forward he would be told what to do…

National Day of Listening

When someone says, "Listening is an act of love," my ears perk up. I have long believed listening is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of a loving relationship. Listening is usually overlooked in favor of doing something for the other person. But think about it. When we feel we are not being listened to, we lose all motivation to be around someone. When we are upset or even when we are just sharing our day with someone, we feel valued when they listen. When we listen to someone, we are investing our energy in them. We are humbling ourselves before them. When we really listen -- when we allow their words, perspective, and feelings to affect us -- then we have formed the basis for acting with true compassion toward that person. Listening is indeed an act of love.

Today I found out that the day after Thanksgiving is the National Day of Listening. The holiday was founded in 2008 by StoryCorps, an organization promoting listening and the sharing of stories. "Listening…

God weaves people together -- a Thanksgiving reminder

I have heard the story of Squanto and the earliest Thanksgiving, but I have never appreciated the miraculous nature of Squanto's role in the lives of the pilgrims. I was surfing around on Justin Taylor's blog Between Two Worlds and ran across a post about Thanksgiving. Taylor posts a CNN interview with Eric Metaxas, who wrote a children's book, Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, in 1999.

Metaxas looks at the Squanto story through the eyes of faith, and his account is powerful. Here is the point that grabbed my attention the most. Metaxas observes how after his village was wiped out by smallpox, Squanto was emotionally broken and was living in the woods by himself. In the settlement, the pilgrims were struggling for survival, half of them having died over the course of a brutal winter. They too were completely broken. Squanto appears out of the woods and helps them survive. Metaxas observes that in this story, God takes broken people and weaves them together, creating…

A request for prayer for Haiti

This is a special message -- actually a special request for prayer. As most of you know, I am involved with Child Hope International, a ministry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti that combines an orphanage, feeding program, medical clinic, and school. Lately we have received requests from Haiti for prayer for two main needs. On top of the ongoing aftermath of the January 12 earthquake, Haiti is suffering with two other afflictions:
1. There is a cholera epidemic sweeping through Haiti. So far none of the children of Child Hope's orphanage have contracted cholera, but Markenson, a graduate of the program and employee at the orphanage, lost a younger brother just a couple of weeks ago. Some 4700 have gotten the disease, 337 of which have died. Cholera is caused by contaminants in water. Please pray for the people of Haiti regarding their water supply.
2. On top of the cholera epidemic, tropical storm Tomas is headed toward Haiti. Thankfully, the storm has been downgraded from a hurricane. Howe…

Politics and the church

Tomorrow is election day, and my friend Tim Morey has written an excellent article on approaching politics with understanding and decorum. The post is called "Towards a Loving, Respectful, Bi-Partisan Christianity." Check it out here.

A scary Halloween story

Yesterday was Halloween, and we decided to go ahead and talk about scary things at the Sanctuary church service. Today I thought I would post the "scary Halloween story" I read in church. Here's the background...

The point of the scary story is to clarify what is scary and what is not. In Acts 6-7, Stephen is put on trial and brutally killed by an angry mob. There are forces that oppose the cause of Christ, and those forces are very powerful. But we are not scared of those forces. Do the apostles seem scared of the world? No. Does Stephen seem scared, even when he knows he is about to lose his life? Miraculously, the closer he gets to death, the more full of peace he seems to become.

God leads the church and each of us into places that are uncomfortable. But we need not be scared of God. He is the supreme good, and anything he asks of us will only be for the betterment of us and our broken world.

The world is not scary, and neither is God. You know what is scary? When we…