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I’m a seasoned pastor, missionary, and writer committed to making what is abstract and conceptual, simple and clear. I also write at– www.word-strong.com

Scripture Prompt

Trust Is the Essence of Faith

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The calligraphy

I read it every time I sat in what I call my worry chair. A former girlfriend of mine was an artist who gave us a scripture written in calligraphy. She hand-painted it and gave it to us as a wedding gift.

The calligraphy was hung on a narrow portion of the wall of our first home next to the front door. It hung directly across from my worry chair but I had to look up a bit to read it.

Not long after we got married, the construction job I had ended, and I remained unemployed for several months…


Mystics can be mindful in a practical way

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I think mystics get a bad rap in Christian circles. Not all the time, but they tend to be seen as on the fringe. Maybe they are, but then again, maybe not.

Most people don’t take mystics seriously, because mystics don’t seem to take life seriously. They seem different and disengaged from the normal pace of life. That’s why we see them as mystics.

But I think mystics are more plugged in than we think.

Mystics can be mindful in a practical way.

Mystics as change agents

As a culture, whether the US or the western world in general, we prize people who are…


Is this true mindfulness or mindlessness?

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

I remember this cover of a Time magazine with a beautiful young blonde woman dressed in white with her eyes closed and a blissful smile on her face. The image, set against a powder blue backdrop, shows her hair blown back by some gentle breeze.

The cover title for this issue was The Mindful Revolution. The article tied to the cover is The Art of Being Mindful.


Christmas

A reminder and reflection

Photo by Burkay Canatar from Pexels

“Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11–12, CSB)

“Jesus is the Reason for the Season”

This saying, printed on a small window banner, was part of our Christmas decor as a young family. After all, this simple expression is an important but too often overlooked statement of truth during the Christmas season.

Over the years, we’ve had variations of this sign declaring why our family celebrates Christmas.


Existential reflections from Ecclesiastes

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Solomon’s existential struggle

How do we not lose hope with so much evil, injustice, and uncertainty in the world around us?

How does a person not become cynical or grow weary of life itself, when surrounded with such caustic and toxic social unrest and divisiveness?

The great King Solomon, once considered the wisest man in the world, struggled with these same questions (1 Kings 4:29–31; 10:6–7 ESV). They seemed to plague him in his later years of life.

Solomon’s life was one of success and excess. It was also a life of foolishness along with wisdom because he didn’t heed all of his…


Real change in the world begins within each one of us

Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

Virtues like honesty and integrity are nice but boring, at least our American pop culture values seem to declare this.

Ever notice how the feel-good stories come at the end of a broadcast? It’s not an afterthought, it’s about priorities.

The news media feed off scandals and scares, as do we who watch it. The simple truth is — good news doesn’t sell. It’s nice to hear but gossip, rumor, and scandal win out over heart-warming stories.

“got milk?”

Remember the “got milk?” commercials and posters? They were part of an ad campaign to sell more milk using clever and humorous approaches…


Some historical perspective for followers of Jesus

Photo by Ronda Darby on Unsplash

Exaggerations and unsubstantiated claims

Foreboding and hysteria continue to take center stage across the news and social media, especially when the president was admitted to the Walter Reed Medical Center.

Each presidential candidate, their running mates, and party surrogates say this is the most important election in American history. But aren’t they all?

It doesn’t matter which political party you side with or which cable news service you prefer, all sorts of exaggerated claims are made.

Most of these exaggerated claims are unsubstantiated or extreme extrapolations of possible outcomes based on either “x” or “y” being elected.

Of course, everyone seems to have their…


Critical thinking and thinking for oneself seem to be lost arts

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Most of my best learning experiences have been by accident rather than intention. I’ve stumbled and struggled my way into some of the most valuable things I’ve learned.

I’m more intuitive than intentional in my learning process. I see learning as a developmental process more than acquiring knowledge or wisdom.

Are you more of an intentional or intuitive learner and thinker?

Do things come easy for you or are you more of a learner-by-doing person?

I guess I envy those who are more intentional thinkers and learners. They seem to understand things easier than me.

I always seem to struggle…


Opportunities bring responsibilities and commitments

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

“You’ll know a good thing when you see it,” goes a common saying. But it’s also true that things are not always as they seem.

As far as good things, another common saying is — If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

I often hear people repeat cliches and platitudes like these as if they carry great significance. They don’t.

When something is spoken over and over again, it begins to lose its original meaning and value.

The same goes for wanting or wishing for something better or more than what we already have. …


And it may not be what you think it is

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a post titled, “Another worship leader loses his faith.”

At first, I dismissed it as another former believer disenchanted with the church or Christianity in general. I’ve seen many similar posts in other places across social media.

But this was posted by a good friend who added a note of encouragement.

So, I took the time to listen and watch a conversation between a former worship leader and a Christian apologist. I’m glad I did.

I’m glad I took the time to listen to the conversation.

The conversation was posted on YouTube…

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