Pastoral Series

Prayer: Frequent and Brief

Prayer: Frequent and Brief The disciples saw how Jesus prayed, and, wanting in on a good thing, asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).  An unusual aspect of Jesus’ prayer is that instead of using a long list of reverent, dignified titles for God, he simply spoke to God as Abba, Father, or…

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Prayer: To whom?

Prayer: To whom? Last Thursday, we reflected on God as Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  An interesting question then is:  to which one do we pray? or all three? Of course, God welcomes any and all prayer.  Talk to God the Father, or to Jesus, or to the Holy Spirit; they are all listening. …

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Prayer: Trinity

Prayer: Trinity On the Christian calendar, this Sunday is Trinity Sunday.  It’s hard to get our logical minds wrapped around the idea that God could somehow be three instead of just one.  It’s not illogical, but maybe just too expansive, too marvelous for logic. The Bible doesn’t spin out a rational explanation of God as…

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Prayer: The Fruit of the Spirit

Prayer: The Fruit of the Spirit One reason I write books is very self-focused:  the process of gathering up thoughts, and studying the wisdom of scholars and other fascinating people – I just learn so much.  When I was mostly done with my book, The Will of God, I’d interviewed many pastor/theologians to probe their…

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Prayer: Pentecost

Prayer:  Pentecost    On the Christian calendar, this coming Sunday is Pentecost – marking the day (reported in Acts 2) the Holy Spirit rushed on, ignited, and inspired the church to be… the church.  Such a marvelous, miraculous, yet mysterious event, and ongoing presence, has not surprisingly created a fair amount of confusion. People say…

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Prayer: Memorial Day

Prayer: Memorial Day Wendell Berry, in his marvelous novel, Jayber Crow, imagined how Jayber reflected on the death of his friend Forrest in World War II:  “I imagine that soldiers who are killed in war just disappear from the places where they are killed. Their deaths may be remembered by the comrades who saw them…

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Prayer: Ascension

Prayer:  Ascension If you count from Easter (April 16), Jesus’ forty days as a resurrected person on earth end today – so we call this Ascension Day.  For the past 5 days, we pilgrims in Israel have viewed that top of the Mt. of Olives where Jesus ascended into heaven.  Scientifically, the story makes no…

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Prayer: Heart Strangely Warmed

Prayer: Heart Strangely Warmed This Wednesday will mark the 279th anniversary of John Wesley’s “Aldersgate experience,” a pivotal moment in the life of the founder of Methodism.  In his Journal, he reported that “I felt my heart strangely warmed.”  We would probably all love for this to happen at some moment in the spiritual life……

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Prayer: Let it be to me

Prayer: Let it be to me (archaeologist’s depiction of Nazareth in the time of Jesus) My group of pilgrims is in Israel right now.  Today we visit Nazareth – where two things happened that tell us a lot about how to pray, and then live as prayerful people.  It was in Nazareth, of course, where…

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Prayer: What you are saved for

Prayer: What you are saved for Oswald Chambers, in his installment for today in the devotional classic, My Utmost for His Highest, says “Remember what you are saved for – that the Son of God might be manifested in your mortal flesh.”  I love that: the kind of thing we forget, as we think I’m…

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