- January: Refuge
Three years ago I was faced with the trauma of dealing with a crisis on the high seas when my wife became paralyzed from the waist down after we boarded the a cruise ship. I vividly remember the crisis and how God spoke to me about letting go ... He whispered these words to me "You cannot project manage your way out of this. You need to flow with Me in this and give up control". Taking refuge in God always involves releasing control of your life ... release is the doorway to God's refuge.
- February: On Rabbis, Monsignors & Pastors
We evangelical flavored Christians seem to not understand why the more liturgical traditions address their ministers as “Father” and yet are very comfortable addressing our ministers as Pastor (with a capital ‘P’).
- March: Control
I find it interesting that so much of my life has been spent trying to control that which is not meant to be controlled – namely my life. As I have said before in other places life is about living from the heart and not managing with the head. Faith is of the heart.
- April: The Weekend that Changed My Life
On a Sunday in August 1975 Ellen capitulated to Marvale’s invitation to come to church ... after all I had to work that day and couldn't go ... and went to church with her and her family. The pastor did something different that morning ... before he gave his sermon he asked if anyone would like to invite Jesus into their heart ...Ellen’s hand shot up ... she was the only one and the pastor decided to speak to her after the service. He proceeded to give his sermon and asked people to turn to a bible passage ... as Marvale opened her bible Ellen looked down and pointed to the scrpture ... she saw the words of the scripture ... and could read the very small print ... she could not believe what had happened ... she could now see out of her left eye ... simply miraculous!
- May: Christian Flame Throwers
I wonder what it is in us that causes us to rush to judgment ... even if it involves death by fire from heaven. It is interesting to note that these folks believed they were in the right ... they believed that a village was worthy of fire just because they did not welcome their leader. Jesus seems to get to the heart of the issue when He rebukes the disciples and confronts the issue on a spiritual level. He says that they are in the dark about the kind of spirit they were operating out of. In some sense this kind of judgment gets it's power from a revengeful murderous spirit ... it is pretty scary.
- June: Dancing with God
I feel that most of my life has been driven by this sense of pleasing God by doing spiritual things ... interesting how subtle this form of performance based spirituality is ... we want to dance for Him when He wants to dance with us. Relationships are all about how we dance ... sad that some of us feel we need to do a tap dance solo rather than a jitterbug or waltz.
- July: Bibliolatry
My internet buddy Danny Sims puts it this way "The Point Of The Bible Is Not To Know The Bible" ... the point of the bible is to know God. I think that we can get to a place where we place the bible as the fourth member of the Trinity ... we can know it but not know God ... worship it and not worship God.
- August: Freedom from Bitterness
About 20 years ago I had been having problems with my boss, Carol, for about six months. I could hardly stand to be in the same room as Carol ... I considered her to be the cause of my angst. As I prayed about this one day God spoke to me and told me that I had bitterness in my heart towards Carol. I was devastated - the issue was mine and not hers.
- September: Step Into Your Pain
I think that when Jesus says "take up his cross" He is speaking about stepping into painful areas of our lives. He is talking about believing in the midst of difficult circumstances - trusting and remaining in Him when everything in you is screaming run. Pain won't let you stay who you are - it will change you ... it will make you bitter or better.
- October: Our Debt
I told them that the debt is love. We were created to love both God and man - it is our debt to our Creator and to each other. For many in that jail, and I imagine many of you, love is a difficult topic. When you think about your childhood you do not think about an environment of love. Your childhood may have been a difficult one where you did not experience love from your parents or your siblings. You know, love has always been an issue. Even at the dawn of humanity the issue of love came to bear.
- November: Hypocrisy
I am still challenged to live a life true to who I really am and to not reject my heart and cowtow to the image of the Christian leader that others might want me to be. It is sometimes a difficult journey because I don't like to be rejected and when you live from your heart rejection often comes - even if it is only in your mind :)
- December: Teenage Pain
As I entered His presence He brought me back to that painful teenage experience where I was shamed by my pastor for making a mistake that cost the church about $35. As I flashed back the Lord spoke to me and said that my pastor sinned against me. Words cannot express how free I felt when He spoke those words to me. His words set me free to speak words of forgiveness for that pastor. As I did I felt a release from the pain of the memory. It amazes me because I had gone back to that memory many times and couldn't experience freedom until the Lord spoke truth to me.
2006 in Review
Excerpts from my personal favorites, month by month: