The room was packed for the preschool Christmas program. I was sitting near the aisle with my camera in hand. My son Joshua was Joseph that year and his friend Claire was Mary. I was prepared to document the entire event.
The procession commenced. As the kids walked in, I spotted Joseph and Mary, holding hands. Totally precious.
I fumbled with my camera, trying to capture the moment. Unable to get the cap off the lens, I reached for my phone to get some video. I was looking down . . . pushing buttons. By the time I was ready, the kids were already up front. I missed the entire entrance.
But there was Joshua, in his Joseph garb. He picked me out of the sea of faces and waved. “Hi, Dad!” He didn't care about the pictures. He just wanted my attention.
At that moment, I made a vow. "I’m going to stop documenting this event and instead simply be at this event." This applies to much of our life, especially in December.
We are obsessed with doing at the expense of being.
Dear Presidents and Governors, Princes and Rulers,
A majority of Americans say that they are unhappy with the choices in this year's presidential election. That seems obvious. But can anything good come from a divisive election cycle?
There's an old saying, "Never waste a good crisis." So what good can we see in a messy political crisis?
I wrote a book.
It was harder than I thought.
I took out a loan to publish it.
I hesitated as I shared honest stories.
I didn't really have time.
I thought about quitting on numerous occasions.
Here's why I finished it.
The Bible can be confusing. Overwhelming. Intimidating. From new Christians to long-time believers, I hear, "How do I read the Bible?"
I have a high view of this text we call the Holy Scriptures. I believe it to be authoritative. Here are some points on how to read the Bible. I didn't make any of them up. They are general guides that Christians have used for generations.
“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage . . .” - C.S. Lewis
I never thought I'd have to censor the 5:00 news. Last week I had a conversation with my oldest son and daughter. They had heard things like, "grab them . . ." "Just start kissing them." "They let you do anything."
What does a parent say to a child when this is the political discourse of the 2016 presidential election?
There is a beginning and an end for everyone.
May I be faithful in the span between.
Not successful or spectacular.
Not popular or wealthy.
There is not enough time to meet all of the demands.
You wonder if this is what burnout is.
We think that the answer to being overwhelmed is better productivity. Find the best "life-hack" blog. But there's a secret weapon that very few are talking about. Instead of being more productive, be less.
Instead of adding things, subtract some.
There's a spiritual discipline formed around this philosophy. Fasting. And it's not just about food. Here are four "fasts" to use when life is overwhelming.
This is a message for fake Christians. Which, by the way, includes you . . . and me.
We put on a face. Pretend to be someone who is not truly us. Conceal what's real in order to appear attractive.
As a Christian, do you ever feel pressure to be someone you're not?
I had just begun my pastoral studies in September of 2001. There were hurried clusters of conversation in the seminary quad. Then students and professors crowded around TV's in the cafeteria.
Later that day, I drove to a juvenile detention center for a 10 week chaplaincy module. I tried to explain evil to teenagers in orange jumpsuits. On the way home, every gas station I passed had lines of cars backed up around the block.
Every American was trying to process impossible images. We all remember where we were, what we were doing, and who we were with.
Where were you on 9/11/01? How were you changed?
For me, a key realization was this: