May 14, 2014

Make Your Words Count

Ephesians 5:3-4
"Words matter. So make your words count." This is a Twitter-sized version of a major theme in Ephesians. We see this theme in Ephesians 5:4, which focuses on language we should avoid: "obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking." Why? In part, because words matter. We find this same assumption elsewhere...Read more +
May 13, 2014

Should Christians Ever Joke Around?

Ephesians 5:3-4
During my tenure at Irvine Presbyterian Church, the men of the church went on an annual retreat. Yes, there was plenty of time for singing, prayer, and Bible teaching. But one of the most distinctive elements of our men's retreat was humor. We told jokes and stories. We did silly...Read more +
May 12, 2014

Finding a Deeper Freedom

Ephesians 5:3-4
I grew up in a culture that frowned upon swearing. In my family, I wasn't even supposed to say things like "Shut up," not to mention off-color words or taking the Lord's name in vain. As far as I can remember, I heard my father and mother swear a grand...Read more +
May 11, 2014

When Anxiety Strikes

Matthew 11:28
I didn't know what to do. My heart was beating faster than I could catch my breath. I laid for hours on my bed, sleepless. If I dozed, my body got jolted awake by a pounding heart and a lump in my throat I couldn't swallow down. At the cusp...Read more +
May 10, 2014

Don’t Deny the Whole Grand Story

Matthew 26:34-35
Although I have heard the story of Easter every single year I have been alive, the grace of God still seems so mysterious in its sacrifice and unconditional reach. But, in all the curiosity of the cross, sometimes I forget to talk to others about the power of the resurrection...Read more +
May 9, 2014

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Psalm 103:1-22
I cannot read Psalm 103 without thinking of Bill Cody. Bill was the Director of Laity Lodge , the retreat center associated with The High Calling , from 1965 through 1979. As you may recall, I was a director of Laity Lodge from 2007 through 2011. Bill Cody left a...Read more +
May 8, 2014

And That Goes for Cussin' Too

Ephesians 5:3-4
As we saw in yesterday's reflection , Ephesians 5:3 insists that sexuality immorality must not even be named among God's holy people. We who have been set apart by God for relationship with him and for participation in his work must avoid sexual activity that is contrary to God's intentions...Read more +
May 7, 2014

Don't Even THINK of Parking Here!

Ephesians 5:1-3
One of my favorite traffic signs appears in particularly busy sections of New York City. It reads: "Don't Even THINK of Parking Here." Not only does such a sign dissuade one from parking in the wrong spot, but also it proves that the New York City Department of Transportation has...Read more +
May 6, 2014

Love and Sex in Light of the Cross

Ephesians 5:1-3
In yesterday's reflection , I noted that the transition in Ephesians 5:1-3 from love in the cross of Christ to the prohibition of sexual immorality can seem like thematic whiplash. What connection can there be between God's love, seen supremely in Christ's death on the cross, and sexual activity? I...Read more +
May 5, 2014

Why Are Christians So Preoccupied With Sex?

Ephesians 5:1-3
The transition from Ephesians 5:2 to Ephesians 5:3 can feel like whiplash. One moment, we're asked to imitate God's love, remembering Christ's sacrifice that shows us what love is all about. The next moment, we're confronted by a call to avoid sexual immorality. The Greek original accentuates the whiplash because...Read more +