Let’s call on “Pain & Distress” this time

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I wear a ring I bought back in high school (1970’s, just to be clear) that bears the ichthus (fish) symbol of the first century Christians.  One time, someone pointed out my ring and asked if I were a Pisces. 

Sigh.

Obviously, I’m not an astrological kind of person.  As a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom, I certainly don’t believe that being born under any kind of sign or pronouncement necessitates my destiny. 

So I like really like this little piece about a Continue reading “Let’s call on “Pain & Distress” this time”

Cramped quarters

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280The story of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah, is an intriguing one, and is not without a mild undercurrent of a Providential sense of humor.  Not to poke fun at Jonah’s dire straits, but he did, after all, open himself wide to at least some form of discipline.  Interestingly, as the story unfolds, Jonah never denies that he worships the God of the Hebrew people; he just persistently argues with Him, at least concerning God’s intended task for His wayward prophet.  I have to wonder what brought the man to this extreme—maybe someone from Nineveh had harmed his family somehow, causing a hatred so intense that it created a prejudice toward the whole town (along the lines of the comment about Jesus: “can anything good come out of Nazareth”.)  Maybe Jonah considered God to be unjust in His patient treatment of anyone “not Jewish”. 

Or maybe he was just having a bad day…?

Regardless, a massive storm blows up to buffet the ship carrying Continue reading “Cramped quarters”

Beware of fly-by’s

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280One thing that can’t be disputed about relationship with God in the Old Testament times—it was messy.  A lot of blood was involved: bulls, goats, pigeons,…prophets.

In one of the most historically and spiritually significant Old Testament sacrifices, Abram (not yet having his name changed to Abraham) slices in half several specimens of the animal kingdom in preparation for a special covenant with this Most High God whom very few people are even aware of any more, much less worship.  This is going to be unlike any other offering Abram has participated in, and I suspect Continue reading “Beware of fly-by’s”

Not the life of the party

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Jeremiah was probably not invited to many parties, but his demeanor had more to do with reality than a serotonin imbalance…much more.  God’s people had been repeatedly warned about their idolatrous and otherwise unfaithful choices.  Even as segments of their society were intermittently carried off—warning shots across the bow, if you will—they still hardened their hearts to stubbornly go against what God wanted them to do, and this after God had so Continue reading “Not the life of the party”

Pass the duct tape

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Boy, how I wish I had purchased stock in duct tape!  Not only do they now have this universally revered product in a seemingly infinite array of colors and patterns, but have you seen the bandaids with the same kind of fiber embedded in them?  They’re the BEST!  (And, as a school nurse, I am, after all, a connoisseur of fine bandaids.) Do they even use it for ducts anymore?  I wonder if they took a roll of it into space during the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission; I seem to remember Tom Hanks and his crew using it…

I have discovered, however, a weakness in our beloved Continue reading “Pass the duct tape”

Put on notice.

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280There is a distinct difference between a whistle-blower and horn-blower.  A whistle-blower, as current events has shown all too poignantly, has more to do with drawing attention to others, usually carrying with it negative connotations.  A horn-blower has to do with promoting one’s self, also with ironically negative connotations, at least with one’s peers. 

Except that there are a few finer nuances with blowing one’s own horn (ask me how I know this).  One category, in fact, has to do with a type self-promotion in the eyes of others that can be done in ways so subtle as to even disguise itself from the one actually doing it!  Another Continue reading “Put on notice.”

Chocolate: a little something for everyone, (HO! Yeah…)

Get out the chocolate Easter eggs!  Anyone remember this little slogan from Hershey’s chocolate?

I’m fascinated how the Bible has something for everyone.  For the artists, the adventurers, those who love the ancient equivalent of chick-flicks, and (gulp!) yes, even horror stories! This is a tome that communicates both in the concrete and the abstract, through definite laws and regulations, as well as metaphor and poetry and song.  

So here’s a nugget for those of us who are treasure hunters, looking for veins of gold in the pages that most of us are tempted to just skim over.  For me, one of those Continue reading “Chocolate: a little something for everyone, (HO! Yeah…)”

Some assembly required

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’m saving for a new kitchen.  They say the first rooms of any old house that should be remodeled are the bathrooms and the kitchen; okay, now that we’re 25-years into this already old house, it’s probably time.  So I’m saving my dollars as I am hoping for a visit from the contractor in the months to come.  (Bob, honey, take note.)

This past Christmas, our oldest granddaughter received a “new kitchen” from her father’s parents.  I have rarely seen such an elaborate and beautiful play thing, and I’m thinking of writing them to request they send me one, only on a bigger adult scale!  It’s magnificent! 

The challenge is that it Continue reading “Some assembly required”

God’s “love language*”

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280In the part of the Christian pool that I tend to swim in, corporate and private worship takes on many different forms.  Personally, I not one to dance, but I don’t begrudge those who find that particular expression of worship fulfilling.  I do like singing, as well as “dinging, shaking, and otherwise banging” on various instruments.  And generally, those swimming around with me don’t begrudge me that, either.

I was very, very blessed to grow up in a deeply authentic denominational church with a L-O-N-G history of evangelical mission-oriented Continue reading “God’s “love language*””

You mean it’s not about me? (Again?)

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Recently, I read that the average length of a pastorate is four years; I don’t know if that means they leave the professional ministry, or they just move around a lot (or both).  Years ago, I saw that the average stay for a youth pastor is even less than that.  So much for continuity and relationship-building. 

And this is certainly not a criticism of those decisions to move or leave.  To be sure, there can be a plethora of reasons for this sad statistic in the American church, (not the least of which is the sheep-fold’s obstinacy toward the shepherd…)

Here’s a good example of another shepherd who Continue reading “You mean it’s not about me? (Again?)”