Monthly Archives: October 2015
It seems to me that of all the attributes that make up a friendship, a sense of humor is right at the top. It’s challenging to get close to someone who laughs at, what seems to you, something that is not funny. The only thing worse is when they stare wondering what you’re laughing at. Now that’s awkward.
I’ve noticed over the years that there are people who have passed on whose greatest asset was their sense of humor. Oh, I didn’t notice it at first. At the moment, their passing was a tragic loss. But as time went on, it was their sense of humor I missed the most.
In a letter dated May 19, 1959, C. S. Lewis expressed condolences to someone who had lost a friend. His sympathies prompted this remembrance, Continue reading
Religion, like politics, can be a verbal contact sport. It doesn’t have to be this way. Both topics can be discussed reasonably with both sides learning from the other. But they can also get ugly in a hurry. It doesn’t take long for people to start name-calling, insinuating, criticizing.
What’s frustrating is when the critic has nothing positive to offer. He is simply a critic. It’s not uncommon to read criticisms of people’s beliefs. But one can finish an article without a word of what the author believes. It leaves one thinking the devotee is wrong and there is no right.
In a correspondence dated January 26, 1959, C. S. Lewis tells of a time he was criticized for his beliefs by the early “process theologian” and Anglican priest, William Norman Pittenger (1905-1997). His response is insightful, Continue reading
It was one of those difficult times when I wasn’t sure how I would get by. My family and I moved south for me to attend school but things did not go quite as planned. In the words of the contemporary English Version, “Give up trying so hard to get rich. Your money flies away before you know it, just like an eagle suddenly taking off” (Proverbs 23:4–5). But instead of an eagle, it was more like the wings of a hummingbird.
One evening a couple asked if they could come over. They were fellow students. It wasn’t long before they told us what was behind the visit. Handing me a check one of them said, “We know you’re up against it. This isn’t a lot but we are both working and making enough to get by. We want you to have this.” Continue reading
While I can’t speak for other pastors, I find conducting funerals draining. It’s not that I don’t like doing them, or wish I didn’t have to do them, not at all. They are beautiful opportunities to encourage the fainthearted and help the weak (1 Thessalonians 5:14). I’m only saying that I’m exhausted following a funeral.
To enter into the grief of another person is costly. At times you want to grieve with them but you realize they are looking to you for stability and encouragement. And when the situation is unique—death of a close friend or family member or that of a young child or baby—it’s all you can do to get through it. Continue reading
Is there any phrase more beautiful and useful than “Love to, but . . .”? “I would love to lend you the money, but,” “I would love to help you, but,” “I would love to have you live with us, but.”
I can’t imagine any three words that convey Yes and No so beautifully at the same time. It’s a win-win. I show myself to be a kind, loving, and accepting individual while not technically having to be kind, loving, or accepting of anything. Sweet!
In a letter dated January 14, 1958, C. S. Lewis shares that he heard that phrase plenty of times himself. The context was one most of us can relate to, Continue reading
Bible college students, like all college students, wonder about paying tuition. But unlike other college students, it’s not uncommon for Bible college students to share their concerns and have the professor and other students open class by praying for them. I know.
One incident that stands out was a fellow student sharing some rather desperate straits. His family were missionaries in another country with their own challenges and he was over here doing his best to work and go to school full time. The deadline for tuition was closing in and so he asked if the class could pray for wisdom. He needed to know what to do. Continue reading
It’s only one word in Greek, tetelestai, but it carries a tremendous amount of meaning. In English it has to be translated by three words, “it is finished.” It’s the word John uses in his gospel at 19:30, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
In his Daily Bible Study commentary on that passage, William Barclay makes this observation, Continue reading
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it moves us to tears. We hear about someone marrying an individual who is severely handicapped or dying. All the typical, and at times silly, principles we apply to marriage such as “It requires a little give-and-take” or “It’s a 50/50 proposition” don’t apply. From the perspective of the outsider, serving only goes in one direction; from the healthy to the handicapped. But that’s only the perspective of the outsider.
Speak to the people in the relationship and things are very different. They don’t think in terms of percentages or of who is doing the most. All they talk about is love. She loves him, he loves her. It’s just that simple. Continue reading