Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Lord Christ,

We have your example: forty days in the wilderness to confront evil, to resist temptation. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Do not put the Lord your God to the test.

I’m trying to spend some time in the wilderness during Lent. To confront me - the blind spots, enticements and distractions, flaws and failings. It’s a time for confession, and I must first confess that I don’t relish that time in the wilderness.

Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Jesus, you spent six weeks - fasting and praying - in the wilderness. Tempted with secular power and material splendor. Tempted to take a worldly course. You resisted and choose a path of humility, obedience and sacrifice.

Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

You were attended by angels according to the Bible story.
May your Holy Spirit do the same for we confront evil, resist temptation and follow your path. Amen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

INTENTIONAL acts of kindness

This is RAK Week. A week to celebrate and perform random acts of kindness. (It pairs well with Valentine’s Day!) It's promoted by The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

I have no problem with random acts of kindness, but I propose we work harder at intentional acts of kindness. I’ve done the math. It has tremendous potential!

Loving & Gracious God,

We fret over our status as a post-Christian nation, but I’m not sure the problem is multiculturalism or globalization.

Could it be churchgoers like me? Have we dropped the ball? Are we half-hearted, Sunday-only Christians?

I did some research: 3.5 million adults attend church regularly here in North Carolina. 3.5 million Christians imbedded in neighborhoods, stuck in traffic, waiting in line, toiling away at work, tending to their families. 3.5 million Christians. That's a big number.

Shouldn’t things be better? We need to walk the talk? Not just on Sunday. Every day.

Your standard, Lord Christ: Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! (Luke 6:31, The Message)

What if 3.5 million Christians committed three intentional acts of kindness per day? On your behalf, that would be 10.5 million encounters in a day, 73.5 million in a week. That’s God's math!

Holy Spirit, inspire me for multiple…intentional…acts of kindness today. Amen.

Graphic credit
Gallup survey on church attendance

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Saboteurs & Undercover Christians

I recently read an encouraging, hopeful book about the new generation of Christians and how they live out their faith in today’s culture. They aren’t offended. They aren’t scolds. Their faith provokes secular engagement rather than withdrawal. Their intent is restoration. From The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons:

This restoration mind-set guided Jesus’ entire ministry. He was driven to be present in the darkest and most corrupt places of his culture, to extend his own holiness, love, grace, peace and purity to others in creative, redemptive and ultimately self-sacrificial ways. This is why God became a man in Jesus Christ. God’s holiness did not prevent him from entering our messy depravity; it provoked him to show up.

The next Christians…

…don’t fear exposure to culture’s ideas, products and marketing campaigns. They learn to discern good from bad, truth from falsehood.

They are driven by the belief that Jesus himself was more concerned with engagement than condemnation.

Provoked Christians resist judging non-Christians…the next Christians engage the world through a lens of grace.

It’s apparent to me that I need new glasses!


I am requesting a discharge from the culture wars. Have the combatants read St. Paul?

To the Colossians: Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
(Col 3:12)

Could that be the antidote to corruption in our world…and in our hearts? It’s undercover work, “a great campaign of sabotage” against evil, as C.S. Lewis described it.

I have a need to be heard; help me to listen. I have a need to be right; help me with humility.

I can choose collaboration over rivalry. I can err on the side of forgiveness rather than judgment.

I’m a comfort seeker; help me seek opportunities to serve.

Transform me into a saboteur…an undercover operative for Jesus! By the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.

From The Next Christians, Part II, The Restorers, pages 213-221
C.S. Lewis reference from Mere Christianity