Friday, February 28, 2014


For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin -- real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

-- Fr. Alfred D'Souza


Monday, February 24, 2014


To make my mind a home for Jesus, I deliberately fill my mind with the kinds of things God says are important.  Paul puts it like this: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

We often want to be able to hear guidance from God about important decisions such as whom to marry or what job to take.  But we also want to reserve the right to feed our minds on whatever junk comes along.  Whatever repeatedly enters the mind occupies the mind, eventually shapes the mind, and will ultimately express itself in what you do and who you become.  The events we attend, the material we read (or don't), the music we listen to, the images we watch, the conversations we hold, the daydreams we entertain -- these are shaping our minds.  And ultimately they make our minds receptive or deaf toward the still small voice of God.

-- John Ortberg in God Is Closer Than You Think


Friday, February 21, 2014


It was a cold winter's day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the church. As I got closer I saw a man leaning up against the wall outside the church. He was almost laying down as if he was asleep.  He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head, pulled down so you could not see his face.  He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet with holes all over them, his toes stuck out. I assumed this man was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the church.  We all fellowshipped for a few minutes, and someone brought up the man laying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me. A few moments later church began.

We all waited for the preacher to take his place and to give us the Word, when the doors to the church opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head down. People gasped and whispered and made faces.  He made his way down the aisle and up onto the pulpit where he took off his hat and coat. My heart sank.

There stood our pastor... he was the "homeless man." No one said a word. The preacher took his Bible and laid it on the stand. "Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today." Then he started singing the words to this song. "If I can help somebody as I pass along.  If I can cheer somebody with a word or song…"

-- Unknown


Wednesday, February 19, 2014


A spiritual pathway has to do with the way we most naturally sense God's presence and experience spiritual growth.  We all have at least one pathway that comes most easily to us.  We also have one or two that are the most unnatural and require a lot of stretching for us to pursue.

There is enormous freedom in identifying and embracing your spiritual pathway.  It is a little like realizing that if you're an introvert, you don't have to work as a salesman; you could get a job in a library.  You don't have to beat yourself up or feel guilty because of what is not your pathway.  You can focus on relating to God in that way for which you were made, while at the same time recognizing your need to stretch in certain areas that don't come as naturally.

-- John Ortberg in God Is Closer Than You Think


Tuesday, February 18, 2014


There is no ideal community.  Community is made up of people with all their richness, but also with their weakness and poverty, of people who accept and forgive each other, who are vulnerable with each other.  Humility and trust are more at the foundation of community than perfection.

-- Jean Vanier in Community and Growth


Monday, February 17, 2014


"And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."  (Jesus, in Matthew 5:40-42 NIV)

[Jesus] looks today, as He has ever looked, not for crowds drifting aimlessly in His track, but for individual men and women whose undying allegiance will spring from their having recognized that [Christ] wants those who are prepared to follow the path of self-renunciation which He trod before them.

-- H. A. Evan Hopkin


Friday, February 14, 2014


The earliest generations of Christians were known as a community that practiced sacrificial love. In a letter to the emperor Hadrian, a Christian named Aristides described the community this way:

"They love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the Spirit and in God." (Translated by D. M. Kay,

At its best, the church continues to do these things today. Thousands of churches feed the poor, welcome strangers, and help those suffering from natural disasters.

Yet the church is composed of human beings who are sinners. We are all too familiar with the many ways we fall short of truly embodying God's love. Nevertheless, loving and acting on that love remain the church's purpose and calling from God.

-- Scott J. Jones in The Wesleyan Way: A Faith That Matters