Angry With God?

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 9.49.33 AMI have had the regular privilege of being a guest on “Life Questions with Pastor Michael” a radio show that a friend of mine, Michael Bannon produces.  It is a show where he talks about spiritual questions ordinary folks might have.  I that find interesting.  I want a faith grounded in real life so I like to try to answer questions real people are asking.  A recent question was from a person who asked if it was permissible for a person to be angry with God.  It was an interesting discussion.

Michael asked, “Do we have the right to be angry with God?”  I was not sure that was the question that helped me get at the root of the issue.  I believe that at times we are all angry with God whether we have the right or not.  Continue reading


God in a Box

Do you prefer Jesus to be radical or comfortable?  The Jesus we encounter in the gospels is one who really challenges the status quo.  Folks who were a part of the religious establishment had real issues with Jesus.  When one considers the entire witness of the scriptures, one must conclude that often encountering God disrupts the status quo.  The God present in the scriptures leads us into uncharted territory; He calls us to adventure.  One of Jesus’ most consistent commands is not, “Don’t doubt,” but “Fear not.”  The implication is that when we really hear God, fear might be a natural response. Continue reading

Always Changing–Staying the Same

The old Hymn, “Great is They Faithfulness” begins, “Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 10.03.57 AMThy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.”

In Hebrews we read, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Heb 13:8)

God may be the same, but our lives are full of change. We need to learn to find and experience God in new circumstances.  Certainly Joseph’s encounters with God were different when he received his dream, when he was in prison and then when he was ruling Egypt.  Yet God was the same.  The Apostle Peter must have had a very different experience of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, stepping out of the boat in a storm and finding the forgiveness of Christ after Jesus’ resurrection. Continue reading

Dead Ends

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 9.26.06 AMHow many times has life been confusing for you? One does not need to live very long to have encountered or known someone who has encountered a confusing time in life. The cool weather this week is certainly a bit of a change, but we are talking here about genuine conundrums—those places in life when it seems we are at our wits end and cannot make sense of the circumstances of our lives. Sometimes we call those places ‘dead ends.’ Continue reading

Who do we intend to be?

Today a quote crossed my desk from Max DePree, the former head of Herman Miller Furniture Company.  Max is a recognized leader and a strong Christian.  He said,

“Management has a lot to do with answers. Leadership is a function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is: ‘Who do we intend to be?’ Not ‘What are we going to do?’ but ‘Who do we intend to be?'”

That was a quote I put on the bulletin board over my desk.  I loved Max’s book Leadership is an Art. Continue reading

Whose are you?

On January 26, 2012 the electronic newsletter from Emergent Village featured an article by Richard Foster on stewardship titled, ‘Priorities and Ownership.’  My blog “Our money and our souls” was a result of that article.  But it is still rattling around in my brain.  He wrote:

God’s ownership of everything also changes the kind of question we ask in giving. Rather than ‘How much of my money should I give to God?’ we learn to ask ‘How much of God’s money should I keep for myself?’ The difference between these two questions is of monumental proportions.

Certainly that quote challenges us in terms of what we return to God as our worship and offering.  That is a quote that challenges me in my stewardship, but it also has challenged me in some other areas of my life as well. Continue reading

Thomas’ Legacy

Thomas with Jesus

What is the legacy you and I tend to attach to the name of the disciple we know as Thomas?  In many circles he is known as ‘doubting Thomas.”  That comes from the text in John 20:25 where Thomas, when confronted with the news that Jesus was alive said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”   Thomas doubted the most significant occurrence in Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus! Continue reading

Deep Wounds

A lady in my neighborhood takes in a few children whose parents work.  Some of them go off to school from her home on the bus.  Others are there all day.  Many times in the morning as I leave she is sitting out front with the younger child while the older ones wait for the bus.  Yesterday as I drove past a little boy that I’ll estimate at four years of age was standing in the driveway, distraught and crying over and over again, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy….”  Continue reading

Trash to Treasure

A few weeks ago I had a children’s sermon that focused on God doing things when we were not looking.  I had in my bag a little daffodil bulb and a pot of bulb that had been forced and were in bloom.  The plan was to bring out the bulb first and then the flowers to talk about the bulbs being buried and forgotten; yet God was causing them to grow.  Children’s sermons often go a different direction than intended.  That may be the nature of the beast.  It makes it scary for the minister and entertaining for the congregation.  I pulled the bulb out of my bag and asked, “Does anyone know what this is?”  A four-year-old boy looked at it disdainfully and said, “It’s trash!”  When the laughter subsided I made some kind of recovery and got to my point.  I think it was OK, but this week I’ve been thinking of that sermon—not mine but the four-year-old’s.  I needed that sermon this week.  I’ve been facing a lot of stuff that really feels like trash. Continue reading