Archive for November 2010

A House of Prayer or Den of Robbers?

November 27, 2010

“Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, “”My house will be a house of prayer’;” but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”

As I reflected on this verse during my time in the prayer tent this morning, I yearned for my body, mind and spirit to be a “house of prayer.” It’s clear that this is what God wants, too. All too often, though, this house of mine is a “den of robbers.” What are the things that “rob” me of my prayerful attention to God? What do I need to do to keep these robbers at bay? (more…)

Didn’t You Know?

November 26, 2010

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

So here’s the deal. As usual, people have been flocking to the Prayer Tent. Well, almost. It’s Friday morning and there’s only one hour left to be filled (3 AM on Sunday – prime time as far as I’m concerned). Some people have told me that they are already missing it. I think a lot of us are assuming that we can’t experience that almost palpable sense of the presence of God, of the sacred, of peace and safety, until the tent goes up again. Not true. (more…)

Umm…Could God Be Jewish?

November 4, 2010

I loved reading this quote from Matt Woodley in “The Folly of Prayer.” (Makes me wonder if I have some Jewish blood flowing in my veins.) I think it contains some important, even crucial insights into how our prayers can become more real (and constant).

Shortly after I moved from Minnesota to Long Island, I met David, a Jewish follower of Jesus who constantly challenged me to view the Bible through Jewish eyes. David’s also a passionate, brilliant, full-blooded New Yorker. For the first two years of my ministry on Long Island, David would often approach me after a worship service and begin with something like, “Hey, nice sermon, I liked that third point a lot, but I think you also missed something crucial in that passage. Let me tell you how I would see this through Jewish eyes.” (more…)

Christians and Halloween

November 2, 2010

One of our members asked me a couple of days ago what my thoughts were about Halloween. Let me say first of all that I don’t have any definite thoughts about whether Christians should participate in Halloween activities. I sense that this may be an area where each of us needs to discern from the Holy Spirit what is best for us and our family. I see somewhat of a parallel between this issue and one that the apostle Paul addressed in his day – whether Christians should eat meat from an animal that had been sacrificed to the Greek and Roman gods. Such meat was often sold in the marketplace after the sacrifice had been made. Paul’s basic advice is not to worry about it unless the action brings offense to other sisters and brothers, confuses a pagan with whom you may be sharing a meal, or brings up stuff from your own past. He discourages people from eating the meat if they are plagued by doubts: “Whatever is not from faith is sin.”

I think the following article offers some good advice about Christians and Halloween, at least food for thought. It’s interesting to me that the article was published in Christianity Today, a fairly conservative evangelical magazine, and was written by Anderson M. Rearick III, assistant professor of English at Mount Vernon Nazarene College in Ohio, a denomination that has tended towards the legalistic side of things: (more…)

Making Sense of God’s Wrath

November 2, 2010

“The whole earth will be consumed by his fiery wrath.”

I spent some time reflecting on the “wrath” of God this morning, as maybe some of you did as well, considering the fact that it was referred to, in one way or another, in all three lectionary readings. Like I said on Sunday, we must be careful not to quickly take offense at ideas and passages in the Bible that trouble us, but instead listen to what Jesus is trying to teach us. (more…)