Personal Boundaries and Jesus

While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed. Simon and those with him went looking for him. They found him and said, “Everybody’s looking for you.” – Mark 1:35-36 Jesus finally has time to slip away. He called his disciples. Cast out a…

The Gift of Enemies

The first prayer-proper in the Psalms (Ps. 3) is a not a praise or thanksgiving. It’s a cry for help, “O Lord, how many are my foes!” In the Psalms–the prayer book of God’s people–enemies are everywhere. Out of 150 chapters, there are only 7 confession or penitential psalms. There are upwards of 68 psalms…

When God Burns Down Your House

Tragedy is a part of living in a broken world. More than a part, it’s inevitable. When tragedy strikes, our first question is, Why? Whether or not we get an answer, we quickly must ask a second, and perhaps even more important question, How do I deal with this? Think of a tragedy in your life recently. How…

Reading the Bible in 2016: Knowing How to Read

As 2016 gets underway, many of us are starting a new Bible reading plan (and you can even start today though it’s January 7!). What is essential to making your Bible reading worthwhile this year? There’s a lot we could say, but let me boil it down to three things we must do: we must read successively, thoughtfully, and prayerfully….

Psalm 88: A Paraphrase

This Sunday I’m preaching from Psalm 88. Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrase of that chapter inspired me to take a deeper look and draw out some of the obscurities of this ancient Hebrew song. Here is my best Petersonian effort at my own paraphrase. Psalm 88 O Yahweh, you are my savior;    All day and night I’m praying…

Making the Most of the Mealtime Prayer

In our home, spiritual formation and instruction happens “along the way.” We have a three-and-a-half year old and a 20-month old. Our oldest is not quite old enough for a formal “family worship” time. Yet she is old enough to comprehend some spiritual disciplines, particularly prayer. Our youngest even sometimes has the awareness to stop what she is doing…