READ: Mark 9.38-50 This past week, a buddy of mine called me and asked me whether I believed it was good or bad to pray in public.
He said he was speaking to someone he respects and trusts as a spiritual leader, but that leader advised him not to pray in public.
And my friend was disturbed about that.
He asked me if I knew of any Scripture that reinforced the opinion of his colleague.
Two scriptures popped into my mind:
One was in Matthew 6, when Jesus tells his disciple
READ: Leviticus 19:9-10 Back when I was living in Harrisburg, I was doing some photojournalism work on the homelessness problem downtown.
If you’ve ever visited the capital city of Pennsylvania — especially at night — you can’t help but notice the throngs of homeless folks plying 2nd Avenue, congregating under the bridges and making their beds in any corridor, parking garage or stairwell that is open through the night.
I set up my tripod, and began clicking open the shutter
READ: Mark 9.30-37 A friend of mine spent a couple of years as a missionary in Africa.
She was much younger then, more idealistic, and maybe a bit more selfish.
She went to Africa because, well, that’s the top of the game as far as the mission field goes.
It’s dangerous, you could get sick, the conditions are abhorrent, and you will see unimaginable poverty that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Like most missionaries to Africa, she spent time ministering to p
READ: Acts 18.1-11 A few years ago, I signed up to take a class in sculpture.
I consider myself semi-artistic — I appreciate art, I am a musician and a writer, and I am a firm believer in the creative mind and creative process.
But as I sat there in the studio around a big wooden work table with six other students and a visiting professor who had just completed an 11-ton, four-story sculpture commissioned by a city i California, I felt a little unsure of myself.
The last t
READ; Wisdom of Solomon 7:26-8:1 James 3:1-12 Sometimes, James can sound downright condescending, can’t he?
The brother of Jesus — the outspoken disciple — minces no words.
One pastor I heard years ago on the radio said the apostle James teaches us by taking us out behind the woodshed…
In our reading today, he does all those things.
He tells us we’re weak, we’re filled with evil and contradiction, and that we need to try much, much harder, if we ever expect to be good Chr
READ: Ephesians 2.2-22 CEB Where is the strangest or most-unexpected place you’ve ever worshipped?
The word Worship has its origin in the Old English word, Worth.
And in our faith, it means gathering to acknowledge God’s worthiness.
Maybe we can just call it praise.
As part of a covenant discipleship group in Washington, DC, where I attended seminary, our group would gather each Wednesday evening after class.
We’d meet at a place called Bolt Burger right downtown on Mas
Psalm 104.10-25 For me, more than anything else, perhaps, pets remind me most of God’s creation.
I love being in creation.
I love where I live here in Bellefonte,
and I love to spend time out in the woods, on the trails, in the mountains and on the water.
And, indeed, I see — and I celebrate — God’s creation that sings all around me each and every day.
And it’s not just our pets — although we are primarily blessing pets today, and not so much livestock or the animals o
READ: Mark 7.31-37 Have you ever tried to talk with someone who doesn’t speak your own language?
Or maybe their English isn’t that good, and you can’t understand them hardly at all?
And even if they do have a slight handle on English, they don’t understand all the colloquialisms and other sayings.
Tell someone new to the English language that they are “cool,” and they might think you’re talking about the their temperature.
And maybe it’s not even if they’re from a differe
READ: 1 Peter 4:1-11 The year was 1939, and the German-born theologian and Lutheran pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, had just escaped the Nazi death camps, arriving safely in the United States.
But there was something bothering the influential leader who left behind his Christian teaching and scores of young scholars in his escape.
Bonhoeffer explained in these words:
“I have made the mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period of our national histo
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