Sep 20, 2014

What Does the Bible Say About Performance...

Proverbs 27:17
My wife and I have had the same stainless steel kitchen knives since we got married in 1995. When the blades grow dull, I enjoy grabbing the sharpening steel and scraping metal against metal until everything is nice and sharp again. The sound makes my son crazy. “Like fingernails on...Read more +
Sep 19, 2014

How Does God Lift Up the Poor and Needy?

Psalm 113:1-9
Psalm 113 celebrates the greatness of God. It calls us to praise the Lord because he is “high above the nations” (113:4). Yet, though he is “enthroned on high,” God “stoops to look down on heaven and on earth” (113:6). He not only looks, but also acts: “He lifts the...Read more +
Sep 18, 2014

How Can I Know God’s Will for My Life?

Ephesians 5:17
As a pastor, I have often been asked, “How can I know God’s will for my life?” This question was presented to me dozens of times when I was a parish pastor. I still hear it from my “flock,” often in the form of emails from folks who receive these...Read more +
Sep 17, 2014

Don’t Be Foolish!

Ephesians 5:17
When I read Ephesians 5:17, I hear echoes from my past. “Mark, don’t be foolish,” my mom would say. Or, perhaps she’d declare: “Mark, use your head.” I’d hear these exhortations when I was tempted to do something silly, to do something I knew I shouldn’t do. Perhaps I was...Read more +
Sep 16, 2014

The Time That Is Given to Us

Ephesians 5:15-16
I cannot leave Ephesians 5:15-16 without sharing a bit of Gandalfian wisdom (or, if you prefer, wisdom from J. R. R. Tolkien, spoken by his character, Gandalf). It comes early in The Lord of the Rings series (though somewhat later in the movie). Gandalf, the wise wizard, was visiting the...Read more +
Sep 15, 2014

Ransoming Time

Ephesians 5:15-16
In last Thursday’s reflection , we investigated the meaning of the phrase “the days are evil” in Ephesians 5:16. We saw that it’s not so much that literal spans of time are evil as that they are in the clutches of evil. The days in which we live are dominated...Read more +
Sep 14, 2014

Is It a Sin to Judge Others?

Matthew 7:1-6
This year, I sat on the grand jury in my small hometown. Once a month for six months, we convened to review half of the criminal cases to decide whether to indict the accused and go to trial or to throw the case out. Grand Juries exist, the judge told...Read more +
Sep 13, 2014

When It Feels Risky to Talk About God

Isaiah 6: 1-13
All week long at The High Calling, we have been talking about storytelling in the workplace. At the beginning of the week, we looked at Jesus’ explanation of parables . On the surface, it appears Jesus told stories so people wouldn’t understand. Instead, scholars point out Jesus told stories knowing...Read more +
Sep 12, 2014

A Pollyanna-ish Psalm?

Psalm 112:1-10
When we refer to someone as a Pollyanna, we don’t usually mean it as a compliment. Pollyanna-ish people always look on the bright side, so much so that they seem to ignore the genuine pain and unhappiness of life. In fact, our words “Pollyanna” and “Pollyanna-ish” are based on a...Read more +
Sep 11, 2014

How Are the Days Evil?

Ephesians 5:15-16
As I sat down at my computer to write today’s reflection, I began by typing in the date: “9/11 …” Before my fingers touched the keys for the year, 2014, I felt a sinking feeling in my soul. “9/11” – Oh! Even though wonderful things have happened on 9/11—births, weddings,...Read more +

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