Three times Paul, the “follower of Christ” extraordinaire, prayed that God would remove a “thorn from his flesh.” We don’t know exactly what the “thorn” was, but we know it was painful and it was a part of Paul’s being. Three times God responded to Paul’s prayers by not healing him. Instead, God told Paul that He was going to give him the grace to live with the thorn in his flesh.
I don’t know what kind of magical congregation we’re dealing with, but we just went to three services at Living Streams Church. We were a bit nervous about having a couple of full services and one super empty. We thought the middle service would be overcrowded and stressful. All of our worries ended up being a waste of time. Somehow our congregation split themselves equally into our 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30 a.m. services all by themselves.
September 23 was the autumnal equinox. For us Phoenicians, the change from summer to fall usually feels like summer to more summer. September is supposed to bring a change in the weather, but usually the weather change is only felt by those who are awake at 3:00 a.m..
Last Sunday was my birthday. I completed my 42nd trip around the sun and began my 43rd. Woohoo. After 42 years my overall feeling is one of contentment and peace; but at the same time I can never shake an undercurrent of heaviness and sobriety about what the future holds.
August tricked us. We were in summer mode, having time and space to fill with adventure, opportunities and boredom. Then, August 1st our kids started school. All of our time and space filled quickly, but we weren’t ready for summer to end. Without intending to we tried to do summer mode and school mode at the same time. It was exhausting.
The sensation is somewhere toward the top of my brain. It is more of a dull, shallow pain, as opposed to the deep, sharp pain of a headache. I imagine it would be the same feeling that an engine straining at high rpm’s would feel, if an engine could feel.
Woohoo! Men’s Retreat was amazing once again. Raw authenticity, relentless encouragement, biblical authenticity, and genuine friendship all over the place. It was also fun to get shot with arrows, skid on the top of water after zip-lining down a mountain, and playing basketball at midnight! (I guess you had to be there.)
With society’s rhetoric getting more extreme and divisive, it is easy to simply agree with the loudest voice. But the truth is - there are no easy answers. But just because there are no easy answers, doesn’t mean there are no answers.
As many of you know, this weekend David kicked off the new sermon series called Generational Blessing. We dove into the desire to hear wisdom from scripture about the blessing and wisdom that generations can pass down.
In 1 Corinthians 12, a preeminent framer of the Christian Church wrote about something called the manifestations of God’s Spirit. Most people refer to these manifestations of God’s Spirit as spiritual gifts.
The dictionary defines the word shrewd as “having sharp powers of judgment.” In the Greek language, which is what the New Testament was written in, the word is phronimōs. This Greek word translates into English as “wise.”
In my early years, when I would try to describe what faith in Jesus is, I would fumble over vague, ethereal-feeling words. I would say things like, “You just feel it,” or “It’s like hoping or trusting in something,” or even “Faith is believing in something.” The responses this would invoke were usually a wrinkled forehead, raised eyebrows, and confused eyes. If the listener was really nice, they would…
Oh no! It's time for us to teach on sexuality! Why in the world did we pick sexuality as a topic for our “Other Hours” sermon series? Does anyone reading this want to take my place this Sunday and preach on Sexuality? I know that we are sexual beings. I know that…
Last night I was in a nice back yard, on a nice, warm evening, standing with a bunch of nice people by a nice swimming pool. My wife, Brittany Stockton stood up in front of all the people and explained to us that there were thirteen kids in her 3rd through 5th grade youth group that wanted to be baptized.
In society, we hear a lot about the damning effects of an absentee dad on his children. In Christian circles, we talk about the importance of “the father’s blessing” in his children’s lives. Sociological studies show us that a child without a good, strong father figure in their life will have a decreased self-concept, feel more insecurities, and be more prone to truancy.
Well, sometimes your job requires you to go pray for the governor. So this morning, I woke up, reached deep into the back recesses of my closet and grabbed my once-every-couple-of-years suit. I brushed some of the dust off and it looked pretty good.
The Notre Dame cathedral in France has been on everyone’s mind this week. It took lots of money and loads of work hours for almost 200 years to erect a building to point people to God and commemorate the mother of Jesus.
I was driving near our church today when I saw a coyote running across Central Avenue. A few hours before that, I had been driving down Glendale Avenue when I saw a peacock run across the street. Seriously.