God Is Not An Answering Machine

One of Satan’s darkest schemes involves elevating prayer as the center beam of life, love and mission, but wrapping it in a veneer of duty. When prayer becomes less than love, it becomes just another discipline, or function, that gets in the way of our devotion, instead of enhancing it. Stop for a moment and…

A Beggar, and the beauty of Advent

I was standing in line for coffee, when to my left appeared a homeless man. His stench overwhelmed a normally aromatic space. People fidgeted, and he went straight to the counter, leaned in and spoke with the manager. I overheard him ask for a cup of coffee. The manager shook her head, and the beggar…

“He Sets A Table…”

In the immortal 23rd Psalm, David pens words that comfort believers, warm skeptics, and stop everyone who see’s beauty in poetic muscle. Did these strophes spill from his heart one night while he guarded his sheep? Did he hear the sound of an enemy to his flock, and stare down menacing red eyes in pitch…

The Day I Lost My Son

“I can’t see KJ!” Moments before, we had arrived at the beach and gotten settled. I remember Ginnette saying, “the water looks rough today.” I grunted, not actually listening to her words, only the sound of her voice. I was already on my second page. But now her words lifted my head. She was standing,…

Forty Days, Eighty prayers, One God, At a burning Bush

Discipline in the Christian life is tricky, because the fuel for it can fall on the side of either legalism, or infatuation. Legalism doesn’t end well, because the gas for the journey is our own determination. Infatuation is short lived, too, because it depends on bursts of inspiration, which hardly ever come long enough, or…

An Ember Of A Fire From Another Era

Today students across America got up even earlier than normal, splashed sleep from their eyes, and stood around their school’s flagpole—and prayed. I walked to the high school in our neighborhood, and met my friend, Ms. Rivera, head of discipline there. Her previous job was in a prison. She had invited me to attend See…

Like Two Boys In A Boat

Yesterday, I watched two young boys in a rowboat, Pulling at oars in the stern, Paddling wildly to make progress, Perhaps out for a day of fishing, But fighting hard against the wind To find a place, where the fish might bite. They looked determined, Amidst the choppy water, Unbridled and unconscious strength, Free, Together….

Thirty Years Later…

During our first assignment with Cru, Ginnette and I lived in an apartment over a feed store in a cute little town called Excelsior, MN, a western suburb of Minneapolis. Our weekly date night cost three bucks, and very little shoe leather. (Seven steps to the left of our door—dollar theater, followed by a shared…

The Myterious Power of Secrets

You didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell. “I build relationships through evangelism, rather than for evangelism. Am I saying that I take the first opportunity to share Christ with perfect strangers? Yes, most of the time. Does it feel awkward at first, like I’m about to fall off a cliff? Almost, every time. What…

First Kiss

My first kiss was with Brenda, at Regina Vaccaro’s seventh grade party. Little did I know, my brother JoJo watched us, steaming mad. Even then he was in love with her. He and Brenda were married right out of high school. Four days after that kiss I was a bachelor again. Not only because of…

Dear ‘Jeremiah,’

It didn’t surprise me that you asked my advice during our final meeting. You’re teachable, which I pray you never lose. While I mulled your question, I looked into your eyes. Some call them windows, and if so then God has used a squeegee on yours. I saw nothing but clarity, nothing but expectation and…

A Table Set Only for Two

Spiritual lessons are learned through setbacks, heart breaks and failings; a heavy toll paid to create a conviction, and lived out by the grace of God. Here’s one I can’t get out of my system. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” Jesus invites me to sit down with Him…