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Archive for the ‘Upbuilding’ Category

Introduction:

Whenever I drive to Fuller Seminary, I take the Lake Ave exit.  And there is always this homeless man standing there on the corner with a sign asking for change.  Now if you want to understand the meaning of prayer, then you should remember this beggar because he illustrates five different aspects of prayer which I want to share with you tonight.  He shows:  1) its essence; 2) its presupposition; 3) its attitude; 4) its look; and 5) its object. (more…)

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Why do quiet time?

The desire to pray and read the Bible is already there. The popularity of The Blair Witch Project, The Sixth Sense, David Blane’s Street Magic, John Edward’s Crossing Over, the growing book section on speculation, and fascination with UFO sightings, even among Christians, proves man’s profound hunger for the holy. And doing quiet time is experiencing the holy.

So why do people turn to these alternatives to quiet times? Because the God of contemporary Christianity is no longer holy. God has become reduced to a mere object of study; no longer the subject that inspires. Thus quiet time has lost the stillness of the graveyard. And so people must satisfy their craving for the holy elsewhere. (more…)

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Spiritual Connections

Orangewood Children’s Home

         A few weeks ago I and about four others went to the local Red Cross near Euclid and Bastanchury and donated blood. Afterwards I shared with my fellow donors that the experience of lying there with blood slowly being drained from me gave me a greater appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me. They responded that they wished they had made that correlation while they were donating their blood because it would’ve made the experience much more meaningful and spiritually significant for them. From their response, I realized that Christians do not naturally make a connection between merciful acts and spiritual acts of worship. That is, many Christians can make connections between singing a praise song and imagining Christ’s sacrifice, but they are not used to correlating their reflections on spiritual matters with things they have actually experienced in physical reality. For that reason, I wanted to share some spiritual connections I’ve experienced at Orangewood Children’s Home to encourage others not only to go, but to be on the look out for them as well to make the most of the experience. (more…)

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Solitude

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

Introduction

         We hear a lot about the importance of Christian community, accountability and fellowship. These activities are important. However, there is a place for solitude in the Christian’s life and this is what I want to address through the following three questions.

1. What is solitude? 2. Why do we not experience solitude? 3. Why must we experience solitude? (more…)

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The Beach

“Life is short. Play hard.”

        Alcohol in and of itself is not bad. But among alcoholics, there is no such thing as a harmless drink. Likewise there is nothing wrong with fun in and of itself. But among fun addicts abstinence from games may be the only solution.

Living sober is so hard because reality is so frightening and depressing. We have spirits that yearn for immortality encased in bodies that regularly excrete the stench of our approaching death. We have imaginations that assure our divinity while catastrophes and failures loom to remind us of our impotence.

So we escape to alternate realities through avenues like alcohol, to help us completely forget our creatureliness, or through games which can provide what the real world cannot, namely, a clear sense of purpose, control, and security. (more…)

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“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24

         By definition, refugees flee persecution, poverty, uncertainty, and pain. But there is another kind of refugee. They are called heroes. A hero by definition is one who escapes from comfort, certainty, and safety. A fireman goes up a burning building. A soldier runs towards comrades under fire. A peace corp worker lives among the HIV infected. If you visit a safe and comfortable place, you will meet kind and successful people but you will find no heroes there.

Mature Christians are heroes. And there are very few mature Christians in America today. This essay will explain why this is so and why we desperately need heroes more than ever. (more…)

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 “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

         On a terribly turbulent flight, I took great solace in observing a young child. As my arms pulled a pillow tightly to my chest and my eyes winced with each violent swerve, this little girl was calmly reading a picture book without a care in the world. I have never forgotten that experience and I have always wondered why I found such great comfort in merely watching this little child being oblivious to the perils and precariousness of the situation. Then I came upon Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and found my answer. He wrote: (more…)

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