The shopping mall is a dangerous place. You know that, right? And I'm not just talking about the potential thief in the parking lot or the danger of having someone steal your credit card information. I'm talking about something much worse. I'm talking about danger for our souls.
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a word in the English language that is more overused and a concept that is more underused than "love."
Those of us who consider ourselves conservatives need to understand that conservatism to the Republican hierarchy is defined differently than we define it. And those who consider themselves Republicans because they still believe the party represents what it did at its inception or what it did under President Reagan must understand that's no longer the case.
What are you standing on?
When's the last time you've felt excited about giving an offering at church - I mean really excited? If you've been reading this column for the past month, you might remember that when I was in Nigeria, I wrote about how excited the Nigerians got about "offering time!" with the dancing and music accompanying the bringing of their gifts, spending at least an hour of their service giving their monetary offerings.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End," (Rev 22:13).
OK, I admit it. At my worst, I'm a people pleaser. I know, I know, I'm not supposed to worry about what other people think. The funny thing is that worrying becomes such a habit that I don't even know that I'm doing it. I'm surprised when my stomach gurgles, my neck stiffens or my palms sweat.
Lately I have had this sinking feeling. It comes every night at 7 p.m. when I listen to the national news - unemployment is up, the stock market is down, and I surmise that my retirement account has shrunk, again. It feels like I'm on a boat out in deep water, miles from the shore, a storm has come up, the waves are breaking over the bow, and the boat is starting to sink. Any of you feel this way too?
One of the common arguments raised against the Christian religion is the age old question, "What about the innocent native who has never heard of Christ? What happens to them when they die?"
A crimson leaf swirls gently to my feet. Autumn is here. Whenever I have climbed into my own rut and started taking things for granted, God awakens me with a magnificent view.
"He drew a circle to shut us out. Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout; but love and I had the wit to win; we drew a circle that took him in." - Edwin Markham, American Poet
"May all the kings of the earth praise you, O Lord, when they hear the words of your mouth. May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great." (Psalm 138:4-5, NIV).
"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the 'gods' I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted" (Psalm 138:1-3, NIV).
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Then Jesus called a little child to him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. …Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Whoever causes ...
Recently, my pastor challenged the congregation to go 24 hours without complaining. When he made that request, I thought, "OK, I'll take that challenge." By three o'clock, I fell off the wagon and wondered how the rest of the church faired.