How to move out of the crowd and get near to God – Our Identity: In God, Part 5

Remember the parable of the princess who hid her identity, and never spent time with her father, the king? There’s more to the story.  The princess was an adopted child of the king with all the rights, benefits and privileges of being in his royal family. But she did not actually spend time to getContinue reading “How to move out of the crowd and get near to God – Our Identity: In God, Part 5”

How teens and adults can respond to peer pressure – Characters: Daniel, Part 3

How do you handle societal pressure? Whether you are a teenager facing peer pressure at school, perhaps to try drugs and alcohol, or whether you are an adult tempted to misreport your taxes, there are multitudes of pressures in life, pressures to turn away from living in a way that is honorable to Jesus. WillContinue reading “How teens and adults can respond to peer pressure – Characters: Daniel, Part 3”

How to have victory over envy and jealousy – Second Sunday of Advent, Part 5

Throughout Advent this year, we are examining our longings. During this second week, we have been studying Psalm 73, learning what to do with envy and jealousy. If this is the first post you are reading in this series of five, I urge you to go back and start at the beginning, as the psalmist,Continue reading “How to have victory over envy and jealousy – Second Sunday of Advent, Part 5”

The antidote to envy – Second Sunday of Advent, Part 3

Is there any hope to rid ourselves of envy and jealousy? What are we to do with our dark longings? We can feel powerless to combat them. We hate the way they make us feel. Dissatisfied and grumpy. Convinced that the next iPhone, the next TV show, the next vacation, the next date, the debtContinue reading “The antidote to envy – Second Sunday of Advent, Part 3”

Religion/Ritual bad, Relationship good? [False ideas Christians believe about…God’s desires for Christians. Part 2]

Is religion automatically bad?  Some Christians are very anti-religion because they feel it goes against the concept of relationship.  But does it?  Read James 1:26-27, and you’ll see James suggest that religion is not only a viable way to view our connection with God, but that God approves of religion that has a heart forContinue reading “Religion/Ritual bad, Relationship good? [False ideas Christians believe about…God’s desires for Christians. Part 2]”

What can satisfy the soul? part 3 (can your phone?)

Our smartphones promise so much.  Can they satisfy the soul?  Take note today how often you use yours, and lift up your eyes and observe how often other people are on their phones.  The first iPhone came out in June 2007, and in 12 years smartphones have swept the globe, with about one-third of everyContinue reading “What can satisfy the soul? part 3 (can your phone?)”

What can satisfy the soul? part 2

You are what you worship.  Agree?  Disagree?  If I had said, “You are what you eat,” that would be a bit easier to agree with.  Food goes in, metabolizes, fuels and shapes the body.  You actually are what you eat.  But what about worship?  Does worship have the same affect on us as food?  AllContinue reading “What can satisfy the soul? part 2”

When I visited other churches (What I Learned on Sabbatical, Part 4)

One of the most frequent questions I got before going on sabbatical was, “Where will you go to church?” When I asked people what they thought I should do about church, they had many responses.  Some people suggested I take a break, which is essentially the definition of sabbatical.  I seriously considered not going toContinue reading “When I visited other churches (What I Learned on Sabbatical, Part 4)”

What is a song of ascent? (the next U2 album?)

For years the rock band U2 has been hinting that they are going to release an album called Songs of Ascent. What might “Songs of Ascent” refer to?  Why would U2 think of that title? As the years went by, U2 changed directions a bit, first releasing an album called Songs of Innocence, and justContinue reading “What is a song of ascent? (the next U2 album?)”

The time our church was accused with the words: “That’s not worship!”

“That’s not worship.” The person speaking the words was really frustrated at our church. They were talking about a change we made to our worship service.  In that person’s view, the change had turned our worship service into something that was not worship. What change could we make that would take a worship service andContinue reading “The time our church was accused with the words: “That’s not worship!””