Sunday, May 30, 2010

On Vacation

Thank you, Lord, for that magnificent orange sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.

I’m afraid that I was equally interested in the yachts and multimillion dollar homes.

It’s so enticing to picture having everything you desire materially. I don’t give nearly enough attention to gaining everything I might need spiritually.

Yet, when I consider the problems I face at home or at work, it’s not material resources I need. The solutions are spiritual!

Saint Peter speaks to me:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

Dear God, give me an effective, productive knowledge of my Lord, Jesus Christ. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.

Photo: sunset at Sanibel Island, FL

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Global Strategy

Thank you, Lord, for this day...for it’s rich blessings and for your presence in its difficulties.

We’re told in 2nd Chronicles 16:9…
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

And it’s plainly said in Acts 4:12 of Jesus Christ…
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

All of which brings me to the topic of globalization, not the present-day trend, but the global strategy you commenced 2000 years ago.

It is called “the blood of the new covenant.”

Not a very catchy phrase, but deeply profound nonetheless. Forgiveness, unconditional love, service, humility, mutuality, justice. Compelling product attributes that satisfy the cravings of humanity.

How strange…
That Jesus’ contemporaries missed the product launch. Hard hearts, culture and politics got in their way.

How disappointing…
That we’re no different.

Use me, Lord,
To promote your brand strategy.
To act locally, to pray globally,
For the coming of your Kingdom,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

In the name of the one who shed his blood
To establish the New Covenant,
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Big Picture

We sang the marvelous “Hymn of Promise” on Sunday:

In the bulb there is a flower…
In the cold of winter there’s a spring that waits to be…
There’s a dawn to every darkness…
Something God alone can see.

We just can’t seem to grasp the “big picture.” Our hope and trust wanes. We’re inclined to focus on the hurricanes, and we forget our wonderful times at the beach.

I’m always asking
why? Why this? Why that? Why me?

...when I should be praying
what? What would you have me do? What would you teach me? What’s our next move?

who? Who will I encounter today on your behalf?

You are so extravagant with us. We’re often too uptight to recognize it. I pray that your Holy Spirit will fill my heart with gratitude and inspiration. Enroll me in your “big picture,” and put me to work for your Kingdom.

Photo: rainbow after storm on Maui, Hawaii
Hymn of Promise, UMC Hymnal #707

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Atonement - in real time

Lord, I’ve been reading Leviticus. Well, you know full well I’ve been skimming it. All those rules and regs are pretty tedious.

But then we come to chapter sixteen, the Day of Atonement, when - once a year - the priest would enter the Holy of Holies...seeking forgiveness for the annual opportunity to wipe the slate clean.

Thank you, Lord, that in Jesus Christ we can enter your presence at any time...that we are restored daily (if not hourly)...that you have wiped the slate clean.

The ancient Hebrews spilled animal blood in their atonement ritual. Your blood was spilled for me. May I honor that
with humble obedience, thankful trust and wholehearted devotion and service.*

This I ask in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

* Jonathan Lamb, Langham Partnership/UK, writing for Scripture Union
Photo credit:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Revolutionary Subordination

lux - u - ry (luhg-zhuh-ree) noun [from Latin, luxus and its derivative luxuria, excess, indulgence] The habitual enjoyment of or indulgence in the best and most costly things.

~ ~ ~ ~

Lord Christ, you call us to "revolutionary subordination" as reported in Mark 9:35…

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

Lord, that runs counter to my preference for orchestra seats, heated leather seats or box seats at the ballgame. That runs counter to my ambition and need for affirmation.

Jesus, you refused to claim your rights or exercise your power. You rejected hierarchy, lived simply and spent much of your time with society’s outcasts.

Holy Spirit, help me to live that self-denying, cross-bearing life. Mold me into a "servant of all."


Revolutionary Subordination - John Howard Yoder, Politics of Jesus, Scripture Union, 2006;
Luxury - Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY