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Blessings Taken for Granted

Blessings Taken for Granted

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us” Ps 67:1 Last month, while on our youth pilgrimage to New York, the two adult chaperones talked about their own experiences going on mission trips.  Both leaders had previously gone on trips to work with partner ministries of our congregation. One of the leaders shared a story about the use of water. The exact details of the trip escape me, but she talked about…

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She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Mt 15:27 This winter we went to the Humane Society to pick up a dog. The first time we fed him, we discovered his love for eating. He vacuumed the food down in milliseconds. It forced us to purchase a maze-like dish designed to slow down the consumption of food. When we brought him to the vet, she said, “Wow, your dog is…

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“…so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy.” Romans 11: 31 “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to win.” This frequently expressed line from reality tv feels like our president’s motto. He is doing very little to win friends, but that may have been his point from the start. Regardless, the constant bickering and name calling are spiritually exhausting. I feel like the girl in…

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Where’s the Good and Pleasant?

Where’s the Good and Pleasant?

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 On the way to a meeting last night, a journalist on the radio reported a protest march taking place in downtown Minneapolis. An unidentified group of people had gathered outside GOP headquarters and were moving down Riverside Avenue shadowed by police. Since it was close to where my daughter lives, I texted her to see if she was marching. She knew about it and wanted…

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The Bug in the Room

The Bug in the Room

“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!” Gen. 45:4 Coming home to our apartment in Brooklyn, NY, was always a creepy experience. As soon as the door opened and lights were turned on, we could hear things scatter for cover. At first, it was just a feeling, but then we developed an ability to listen to the sound of the critters crawling. It wasn’t that hard to do. We thought these were cockroaches until we discovered…

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“And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.” Mt. 14:23a The Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota is over 1 million acres of protected wilderness along the Canadian border. Almost 20% of the area is water. A vast network of glacial lakes and streams ideal for canoeing. Since it is a protected area, no motors are allowed into the forest. So when you canoe the BWCA, it is truly a total…

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God is Near

God is Near

“The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart.” Romans 10:8 On our recent pilgrimage to New York City, we visited Times Square on the first day. I forgot about the sensory overload it would create on people not familiar with the city. It might have been better to have delayed this encounter until our group had a chance to adjust. The mass of people, combined with towering buildings and bright lights really overwhelmed. It unsettled the…

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“Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually.” Psalm 105:4 Stephen Dupont, a critically acclaimed photographer, is one of the subjects in an Netflix documentary series titled, Tales by Light.  A self-taught photographer, Dupont developed a reputation for covering fragile cultures and marginalized people. It was gift he first discovered while on assignment in Africa in 1993. In his first trip to Africa, he was asked to cover the genocide taking place in Rwanda. Dupont was shocked at…

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What Will Come of Dreams?

What Will Come of Dreams?

“Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” Gen. 37:20b Nelson Mandela was given the name, Rolihlahla, at birth. It was a tribal name meaning, “troublemaker.” It wasn’t until he attended school that a teacher named him, Nelson. Why this name was chosen, Mandela had no idea. However, today, we remember him as both. Mandela was a troublemaker because he had a dream. If it weren’t for his dream, he probably would have remained nameless to the rest of the…

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The Unceasing Anguish of Rejection

The Unceasing Anguish of Rejection

“I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.” Romans 9: 2 My wife, Peggy, and I used to take visiting church leaders on tours of New York City. These tours included the typical tourist attractions – Times Square, Central Park, Wall Street, etc… However, they also included the hidden places not found on tourists maps. Places which captured the complexity of the city. One of those places was an alternative school for runaway youth. The school had been…

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