If you say nice things about my preaching — or my writing, or my shoes — I have to admit, I’ll be pleased. I’ll remember what you said. Pay me a compliment, and it may even change the course of my day. That’s the power of praise when it’s directed at another human being. For a moment, it makes us feel like we’re the object of admiration and even love.
It’s a happy day when an engaged couple comes to the rectory to plan their church wedding. The conversation is almost always upbeat and full of hope. Bride-to-be and groom-to-be are eager to talk about their future together — their dreams about children, about a house and maybe even a picket fence.
We are — whether or not we choose to admit it — a fighting people, and we’ve been at war for many of the years we’ve been a nation.
I'd love to read the Gospels in Greek. I'd love to read the Prophets in Hebrew. So why don't I? Because I don't like to suffer, and I would need to suffer a bit in order to read these languages with any fluency.
It can actually be pleasant to drive in the city early on a Sunday morning. The epic traffic that makes us famous is mostly at home in bed.
“They are Israelites, and to them belong … the promises” (Romans 9:4).
After Saint Peter’s in Rome, the most famous church in the world is the ancient Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. People often — mistakenly — think that the church is dedicated to a woman named Saint Sophia. It’s not. Hagia Sophia is simply Greek for “Holy Wisdom.”
I want to be cool like Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" movies. I’ve tried to grow a beard, though, and it never turns out as well for me as it did for him.
In our last column we talked about how the early Christians looked fearless to unbelievers. Modern Christians can appear the same way — and the world marvels today at the courage of those men killed as martyrs recently in Libya and Ethiopia.
The martyrs weren’t made in a day. They didn’t learn fearlessness in five easy lessons. They learned it by meditating regularly on the life and teachings of Jesus. They gained it by sharing habitually in the life of Jesus. They got it by grace, but they kept it through practice.
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