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Tag: trust

Don’t Answer the Phone

Don’t Answer the Phone

“Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God,” 2 Cor. 3:5 In the church I served in Pennsylvania, the pastor’s office was in the parsonage. To help distinguish between work calls and personal calls, we installed a separate phone line for family use only.  One day, while playing with our children, I decided to use their voices to record the message on the church’s answering machine. They were in…

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Competing Thoughts on Heaven

Competing Thoughts on Heaven

“He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.” Mk 12:27 Yesterday was an interesting spiritual journey for me. One, I’m only beginning to process as I reflect on this scripture passage. In today’s reading, Jesus is questioned about heaven by some Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead. The dialogue matches the flow of my day. My morning began by leading a celebration of life service for a wonderful…

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Need a Prison Break?

Need a Prison Break?

“Then he brought them outside and said,“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30 Today’s reading is a violent story. Paul casts out the spirit of a fortune teller because she irritates him. Once the spirit is removed from the woman, her employers have Paul and Silas arrested, beaten, chained and jailed. Some people choose not to read violent stories, opting instead for more comforting ones. Something about this approach fails to address my very real wounds. Other…

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Baptized into What?

Baptized into What?

“Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” Acts 19:3 Peggy and I never realized how deep the spiritual differences were between our families until we baptized our children.  My family was a classic Norwegian Lutheran family. We believed in infant baptism because it expressed the purity of receiving the faith. We receive Christ not on our own merits or actions, but as a free gift from God. My wife’s family, who were German Mennonites disguised as Presbyterians, held…

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Your Brain on Prayer

Your Brain on Prayer

 “The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him.” Mk 8: 11 Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, has been studying the effects of prayer on the brain for quite some time. He has been a key contributor in developing a new field of research called, neurotheology. In 2009, news outlets reported on a research project conducted by Dr. Newberg. He studied people who were extremely devote…

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Why Are You Afraid?

Why Are You Afraid?

“He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” Mark 4:40 Our family once took a canoe trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota. At the time, our children were really young for a trip of this nature. We needed to think carefully about weight distribution and make allowances for their limited ability to paddle. The morning we packed the canoes to head home, it became very windy. The winds were the front…

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Prayer Rescues the Trapped Soul

Prayer Rescues the Trapped Soul

“Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him…” Hebrew 7:25 In October of 1987, Jessica McClure fell into a well shaft while playing in her own backyard. The opening to the well was only 8 inches in diameter and it didn’t appear to be a threat to anyone’s safety. Still, Jessica, an 18 month old baby, found a way to fall into that hole and become trapped 22 feet below the surface. It…

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Expecting The Fulfillment of Joy

Expecting The Fulfillment of Joy

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord. Lk 1:45 In today’s reading, two women bound together by blood, condition and heavenly purpose greet each other in a Judean town. Their greeting is full of joy. A child leaps in a womb. The Holy Spirit fills the room and blessings are shared amongst relatives. It’s a vivid image for anyone who has ever been around an expecting…

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Why Me?

Why Me?

“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Lk 1:38 Take a moment to close your eyes and ponder these things. How would you respond if the angel Gabriel came and visited you? Where would you imagine this encounter to happen? What would he sound like and how would he look? When Gabriel first speaks, what would be going through your head at that moment? I do consider these type of…

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Hope Beyond Human Understanding

Hope Beyond Human Understanding

Zachariah said to the angel, “Do you expect me to believe this? ” Luke 1:18 The results of the election this year has placed great emphasis on expectation and hope. Unfortunately, the expectation feels like vindictiveness and the proclamation of hope is about its rapid departure. If you are struggling with these, I want to remind you of Joseph Kennedy, Sr. No single person was more responsible for the Stock Market Crash of 1929 than Joseph Kennedy, Sr. He and…

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