Thursday, May 31, 2007

What is our purpose?

Is it wise to challenge traditional Christian understanding, especially when that understanding has helped to sell over 30 million copies of The Purpose Driven Life, pastor Rick Warren's best-selling book about finding your true calling? Wise or not, a challenge is being waged by Kirk Byron Jones, a professor at Andover Newton Theological School.

In a new book published by Jossey Bass, Holy Play: The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing Your Divine Purpose, Jones suggests that purpose is not something we receive from God but something we create with God. Jones contends that a belief which allows more room for human choice regarding purpose can free up believers to explore various vocational choices over a lifetime without feeling that they are being unfaithful to God. Jones says, “Such vocational mobility is especially necessary in a time of uncertain and unpredictable job security. Believing that God intends for you a set singular purpose is not only theologically limiting but economically dangerous.”

Jones sees the runaway success of Warren's book as an indication of how many people hunger for a definitive spiritual road map. But the purpose driven life notion of a divine plan for every human may not satisfy everyone. Jones says, “Many are either stuck not knowing their true purpose or stifled by a purpose that does not bring them genuine fulfillment because they believe God’s will is something other than their wholesome dreams and aspirations.” Jones offers, “Purpose was never meant to be secretive, mysterious, or drudgery. Your purpose has to do with the wholesome aspirations and dreams God is constantly inspiring in you. We must be less hesitant and afraid about playing those holy inspirations.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


There is no wrong time
to do the right thing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How does Christ do it?

Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion looks out on the world, yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.
-- Teresa of Avila

Monday, May 28, 2007

pity vs. mercy

Jesus, the Blessed Child of God, is merciful. Showing mercy is different from having pity. Pity connotes distance, even looking down upon. When a beggar asks for money and you give him something out of pity, you are not showing mercy. Mercy comes from a compassionate heart; it comes from a desire to be an equal. Jesus didn't want to look down on us. He wanted to become one of us and feel deeply with us.

When Jesus called the only son of the widow of Nain to life, he did so because he felt the deep sorrow of the grieving mother in his own heart (see Luke 7:11-17). Let us look at Jesus when we want to know how to show mercy to our brothers and sisters.

-- Henri Nouwen Society

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Jesus Machine

A new analysis of James Dobson's empire and its influence upon our culture:
THE JESUS MACHINE: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America Are Winning the Culture War, by Dan Gilgoff. 315 pp. St. Martin’s Press. $25.95
For a NY Times review, click here.

night prayer

The angels of God guard us through the night,
and quieten the powers of darkness.

The Spirit of God be our guide
to lead us to peace and to glory.

It is but lost labour that we haste to rise up early,
and so late take rest, and eat the bread of anxiety.
For those beloved of God are given gifts even while they sleep.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.
-- Alan Watts, The Wisdom Of Insecurity

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Is everybody happy?

We're not completely happy here because we're not supposed to be!
Rick Warren

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Change is inevitable,
growth is optional.

-- Samuel Betances

Monday, May 21, 2007

move on with life

Abbot Thomas' thoughts on doing what needs to be done and moving on with life can be found here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Executed man's last request

Pizza for the homeless. read

Closing prayer at St. Matthew's Night Prayer

Go in peace.
Remember the poor, visit the sick, feed the hungry, strive for justice, work for peace,
and above all things else,
love one another.

The Divine Spirit dwells in us!
Thanks be to God!
The peace of the Lord is in you!
And also in you!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

St. Matthew's Night Prayer

More from the typical Night Prayer service at St. Matthew's:
In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer, and Lifegiver:

We join our hands and pray: that each one of us receive Christ's healing touch to drive away all sickness and to give us that victory of life and peace which will make us whole in body, mind and spirit, so as to enable us to praise and serve God both now and forevermore.

May the power of God strengthen us, the love of God dwell in us, the Spirit of God surround us, and protect us, and give us peace, both now and forevermore.

God, our healer, keep us aware of your presence.
Support us with your power, comfort us with your protection, give us strength, and establish in us your peace.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Night Prayer on Mondays at St. Matthew's

I have written before about night prayer at St. Matthew's on Monday nights. Near the end of each service we sing a Welsh lullaby, All Through the Night.
Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping
I my loved ones' watch am keeping,
All through the night

Monday, May 14, 2007


The fear of dying is nothing to be ashamed of. It is the most human of all human fears. Jesus himself entered into that fear. In his anguish "sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood" (Luke 22:44). How must we deal with our fear of dying? Like Jesus we must pray that we may receive special strength to make the great passage to new life. Then we can trust that God will send us an angel to comfort us, as he sent an angel to Jesus.
-- Henri Nouwen Society

Sunday, May 13, 2007

"I am a Christian"

Thank you for sharing this, Norma!
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say.... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!

-- Maya Angelou

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Now is the day!

Luther says the “Gospel is rather like a pelting rain that hurries on from place to place. What it hits it hits; what it misses it misses. But it does not return nor stay in one place; the sun and heat come after it and lick it up. Experience . . . teaches us that in no section of the world has the Gospel remained pure and unadulterated beyond the memory of . . . man.”
We see this is true. The cities where Paul established the first Christian churches – most of them today are Muslim.
The church has been in decline in Europe for years. In the United States, mainline Christian denominations are losing members.
However, in Africa, Christianity is booming.
The same thing happens to people. There may be a time when the heart is receptive to God – but then it hardens. There may be a time when one accepts the message of salvation – but then strays away.
You may be hearing God calling you today – but if you reject him – if your heart hardens – you may not hear him tomorrow.

-- from my message at Beaver Lake Lutheran Church, May 6, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

tranquillity 2

tranquillity 1

To seek tranquillity in an organized group can be helpful,
but to many this method can put up even more barriers between the searcher and tranquillity.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wooly Bully

Message from my daughter:

This was put together by one of our med students from a few years back, a guy named Ross (the little boy in the video is calling him "Wooly Bully"). He went on a trip to Uganda to help in an orphanage there, and these are some clips of his trip. Watch until the end.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007


To change something, first you have to accept it as it is.
-- Anon.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oak Grove Baptist Church

Walmart Is Not
The Only Saving Place

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The One Thing Necessary

The One Thing Necessary is to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to his voice. Read Abbot Thomas' remarks.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

from Odes of Solomon

You have granted me perfect ease;
I have become like Paradise, a garden whose fruit is joy;
and you are sun upon me.
My eyes are radiant with your spirit;
my nostrils fill with your fragrance.
My ears delight in your music, and my face is covered with your dew.
Blessed are the men and women who are planted on your earth in your garden,
who grow as your trees and flowers grow,
who transform darkness to light.
Their roots plunge into darkness;
their faces turn toward the light.
All those who love you are beautiful;
they overflow with your presence so that they can do nothing but good.
There is infinite space in your garden;
all men, all women are welcome here;
all they need do is enter.
-- written in the 1st or 2nd Century A.D.

Friday, May 04, 2007

This Sunday I will be leading both services & preaching at Beaver Lake Lutheran Church in Maplewood, MN.
For service times & directions check Beaver Lake's web site.

My message will be:
Now Is The Day!
2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mission work in Mexico

I met Darwin Jackson and his wife, Mary Ann, while studying at the AFLC Seminary. I remember Darwin as one of the most intense & serious individuals dedicated to spreading the Gospel. Since then Darwin and Mary Ann have been busy in Mexico building churches and doing general mission work under the auspices of the World Mission Prayer League. Check out Darwin's web site and learn about their work.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Le grand silence - a must see film

I have not been successful in posting the YouTube trailer directly on this blog, so click on this link instead. I'm sorry I missed it when it was shown in the Twin Cities, but I'll be watching for the DVD.

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