Monday, May 29, 2006


My sons graduated from high school this past weekend. At times, I feared this moment would never come; at others, I feared even more that it would. Now it has arrived, and as they prepare to go on to new adventures, I must learn to disengage when they are determined to go it alone, but be prepared to dive back in if they begin to drown in seas of uncertainty and inexperience. Like many others before me, I feel unequal to this task. I can only pray that we (my sons and I) will act wisely and work together so they may forge futures that will please God and help to make this world a better place.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Faith, hope, and love

Hope keeps us alive. Without hope, faith founders. Without hope, love languishes. Hope sustains and promises a future better than today. Faith, hope, and love form a survival triad for Christians. These three, which appear together in passages like Hebrews 10, Colossians 1, and most famously, 1 Corinthians 13, keep the church and individuals alive - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Hope is the root that springs forth when the seed of God's word is planted in the fertile soil of a receptive mind. Faith grows from hope as the new believer acquires more and more evidence for his hope. Finally, love blossoms from the practice of faith and the sustainment of hope in life, in relationship, in the church, in Christ.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Evidence of the Grace of God

News of the rapidly growing church in the northeast reached the mother church in the south. Some reports disturbed seasoned leaders - suggestions that disciples there had introduced innovations, and that the congregation had achieved a first for the church - a majority of members were from a different ethnic group which had a vastly different cultural background than most Christians.
The older church sent a trusted evangelist to investigate. This preacher would hear preaching. He would observe interaction between the various ethnic groups within the fellowship. He would notice differences - clothing, greetings, diet - that existed among the members of the burgeoning young church.
The Bible records that Barnabas "saw the evidence of the grace of God" at Antioch (Acts 11). He approved, and he stayed to help these young disciples mature in faith. The church in Jerusalem would send other messengers; some would not like what they saw. Ultimately, however, spirit-led leaders like James, Peter, and Paul would join Barnabas in seeing the evidence of the grace of God in Antioch. That church in turn would sponsor the first extensive missionary forays into the Gentile world.
It's easy to criticize when one visits a new congregation. Subtle, and sometimes obvious, differences from home rattle and irritate us. It's harder, but much more exhilarating, to step back, take a deep breath, and probe for evidence of the grace of God.
Jesus and the apostles encouraged deliberate unity. Unity begins with looking for evidence of the grace of God.