Happiness, Lesson 2

Where is your happy place? Would you be happy to spend the next year of your life sitting in your happy place, be it on the shore or in the mountains, doing absolutely nothing for that entire year? When life has gotten way too busy, it’s easy to imagine that a year like that would indeed make you very happy. But nothing could be further from the truth. Paul found his happy place in a cold Roman prison cell. How can this be? “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance [...]

By |2024-04-19T13:52:46-04:00April 18, 2024|

Happiness, Lesson 1

The Grinch was a loner. His cat-like face matched his propensity to slink off by himself the way cats like to do. The Grinch’s only friend was a pet dog, but the dog-like disposition of his little buddy actually served to illustrate just how miserable the Grinch was. The dog gave the Grinch an outlet for his anger. He was the whipping boy. But except for the moments when the pot-bellied green guy was lashing out at him, the dog was a happy little fella, and thus provided a stark contrast to the bitter Grinch. They were quite a pair, [...]

By |2024-04-19T13:50:10-04:00April 11, 2024|

The Happiness Hour

On his radio show, Dennis Prager devotes an hour a week to the subject of happiness. The subject has proven important enough to fill the hour week after week, year after year. Prager has a lot of good things to say about the subject, perhaps the most important of which is that being a happy person is a moral responsibility. To walk around as grumpy as Eeyore is to have a draining effect on others, which is a profoundly unloving thing to do. Plus, it is an affront to the God who made us for joy.  But of what [...]

By |2024-04-19T13:46:18-04:00April 3, 2024|

Maturity Is Suffering Well

This morning I sat across the table from a charismatic faith healer. He excitedly told a story of encountering a paraplegic in a park. As his story goes, back then, he was not yet mature in his belief that "it is always God's will to heal; healing in this life is promised in the atonement; we just need to grow in faith to be able to receive it." So, when he saw the man in the wheelchair, he couldn't muster the courage to approach. However, after passing the man several times as he strolled his laps around the park, [...]

By |2021-03-22T11:56:11-04:00March 18, 2021|

Thankful in 2020

The human frame was not made to live in constant crisis mode. Adrenaline can give a needed boost in the event of a crisis, but adrenaline is a toxin in the system if it pulses there for too long. Living in perpetual crisis mode is sure to produce anxiety problems and may even result in emotional or physical breakdown.  Somehow I suspect the media isn’t worried about our wellbeing. They have news to sell, and nothing sells like a crisis. In 2020, they had four major ones for sale. Let’s consider these in a better light. Let’s ditch crisis [...]

By |2021-02-18T15:08:29-05:00November 30, 2020|

Something is Stirring

Between the colonnades by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, the waters of the pool of Bethesda were quiet most of the time. Five roofs kept any rain from disturbing the water and walls kept the wind at bay. But from time to time, something stirred the water. Was there an angel sent by God to stir the water and heal the first person who entered the pool? Or was the stirring caused by some unknown but natural source? Was the hope of healing nothing more than superstition? We are not told. What we do know is that the pool of Bethesda had [...]

By |2019-02-07T14:05:34-05:00February 7, 2019|

The Meat of Our Gospel

I took a class on evangelism in Seminary in which the Professor—Dr. Doug Cecil—used a helpful analogy to describe the gospel that we are to preach. He likened the gospel to a hamburger, which, he said, has 3 essential elements. According to the analogy, the bottom bun of the gospel is sin, because unless people come to know their problem of sin, they cannot know their need for the Savior. Says Dr. Cecil, you cannot preach the gospel without the bottom bun of sin. The top bun is faith, because that is what justifies. The gospel brings people to repentant [...]

By |2018-03-22T16:37:20-04:00November 23, 2016|

We Plead The Blood

In a law court, the accused stands in danger of punishment. Facing accusation, the defendant might well plead guilty and accept the punishment. Or the defendant could plead innocent and fight the charges. In the course of a trial, sometimes, rather than testify, a person will plead the fifth and exercise their right to remain silent. We hear all these pleadings in a court of law. In evangelical circles, it is not uncommon to hear another plea. It usually occurs in prayer. The evangelical will plead the blood of the Lamb. It could be a parent praying for their young [...]

By |2018-03-22T16:37:21-04:00October 22, 2016|

What Then Shall They Eat?

Andy Stanley just passed Bill Hybels for third largest church in the nation. Ed Young, whose church is the second largest in America in average weekly attendance, is a mere 1102 people ahead of Stanley, sure to be gobbled up in a matter of months. Joel Osteen, with a staggering 43,500 attenders per week, maintains a healthy 20,000 person lead over second best. Stanley is no threat to him…yet. In my way of thinking, there’s nothing wrong with church growth. Would that every American attended church on Sunday mornings. But even if sports arenas across the country were converted to [...]

By |2018-03-22T16:37:21-04:00October 4, 2016|