There Will Be Leftovers

Let’s play an image association game. I’ll describe a scene, you tell me the first thing you think of. Ready?

Jesus takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it, then gives it to his disciples.

So what did you think of?

Communion, right? The Lord’s Supper. Of course.

Take a look at Mark 14:22 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.

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An Excellent Idolatry

I haven’t figured out how to say this without sounding uppity, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it – this isn’t bragging. This is confession. I am addicted to excellence. In fact, I have idolized it. I like for things to be done well. Especially things that have to do with Sunday church.

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Death Be Not Proud

What would you like for the preacher to say at your funeral? I think it would be nice for my eulogist to say something like, “We will really miss this special man.” Or maybe, “I can’t believe more people didn’t read his blog.” Better still, “Hey, look! He’s breathing!” I have an old friend who told me once that when she died, she wanted everyone to exclaim, “Oh Lord! Whatever shall we do now?!”

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We are Barabbas

If he had lived in another time and place, Luke, the author of the third gospel and Acts, might have been an Academy award winning screen writer. His characters are vivid, accessible and authentic, a feat few historians achieve. In chapters 22 and 23 of his gospel, he puts us not just in Jerusalem for the final hours before the crucifixion, but in the story itself.

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The Nine Most Important Words

In two weeks, we’ll gather with other believers to celebrate The Resurrection. Between now and then, we do well to reflect on what happened before the stone was rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, before the angel told the women, “He is not here,” before death was swallowed up in victory.

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Favored Too

When someone offers you a breath mint, take it. Maybe they just want to share. That, or your breath smells like a week old tuna sandwich. Either way, take the mint. I applied that same logic when a friend of mine, a Vietnam vet and Green Beret, suggested I meet his personal trainer.

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Better Than You

My friends in the counseling business tell me about a thing called social comparison theory. It’s where we figure out our social standing, competency or worth by comparing ourselves to other people. Depending on how you keep score, you can focus on just about anything; wealth, weight, height, looks, accomplishments, possessions, position .

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They Call It Paradise

In 1843, George Ripley established a community in Massachusetts called Brook Farm. His goal was to balance labor and leisure. Each member of the community got to choose whatever work they wanted to do, the thinking being that if you loved your work, you’d do it enthusiastically. Soon, though, they discovered that some of the work that absolutely had to be done had no one to love it.

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“Daddy, What’s a Viagra?”

On May 9, 1961, Norman Minnow, then chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, addressed the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in what is hailed as one of the top 100 speeches of the 20th century. “When television is good . . . nothing is better,” Minnow said. “But when it is bad, nothing is worse.

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Hope in Ecuador

As I write this week’s post, I have just finished leading a group of about twelve people in a guided reflection on 1 Thessalonians 1:3. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

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In Praise of Peculiar People

A few years ago, a ministry colleague prayed, what was for me, a very convicting prayer. She thanked God for one of our more, shall we say, idiosyncratic members. “God, thank you for entrusting this sweet person to us. Help us to love and care for this precious son/daughter as you would.” If we had sung an invitation song, I would have gone forward after her prayer.

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Because You Say So

A few years ago, our family took a trip to north Georgia to the Chattooga River to go whitewater rafting. We chose the package that included the class 5 rapids because we wanted to make a memory. Class 5 rapids are defined as “extremely difficult, long, and very violent rapids with highly congested routes, which should be scouted from shore.

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Jesus Has Baggage

Three things in life are rare. Behold, four are practically inconceivable. Wealth without work. Wisdom without experience. Knowledge without curiosity. Family without forgiveness. There are some things you just can’t order a la carte. Fitness comes with a side of sweat. If you want success, you can’t substitute shortcuts for sacrifice. And the only way to have old friends is to be friendly – for a very long time.

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Killer Confessions

Last week, we learned that in order to kill vampires – the secret sins that leach life from our souls – we have to drag them into the light. Not only do they hate the light, they can’t survive in it. The preferred method for vanquishing vampires is confession. But we left an important question unanswered: how do you actually confess?

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How To Kill a Vampire

I don’t mean to cause alarm, but you may be host to a parasite – an internal entity that is leaching your life away. I’m not talking about a physical creature like a ten-foot tapeworm (ooh) or a single-celled protozoa. I’m talking about a virtual vampire. A vampire of the soul. A sin you are hiding.

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When You Feel Like Quitting

Some years ago, back when there was such a thing as a local, hard-copy newspaper, two death notices ran back to back in the obituaries. The curious thing about these particular notices was that they both had the same last name. A 77-year-old man and his wife of the same age. They had died on the same day, so one might assume they had been killed in a traffic accident.

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The Last Six Funerals

Our church has buried six members since November. We eulogized one brother between Christmas and New Year’s and another on January 4th.  Few things look more out of season than a funeral home tent in a December cemetery. Except for maybe devoting the first blog post of a new year to the topic of death.

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Merry Christmas

We are all somewhere in the Christmas story. Whether you identify more with the humble, hard-working shepherds, the educated Wise Men, or somewhere below, between or beyond them, may you find Jesus today just as they did, and bring to him your gifts of worship, honor and praise.

Whether you see yourself in Mary, amazed that God might visit you, or find your face in Joseph’s quiet obedience and faithful care, may you discover your place in the story of Jesus and welcome him into your own.

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Christmas Was Not The Beginning

Christmas looms large on our calendars, highlighted in bright red numbers, and even larger in our minds. But Christmas was not the beginning. Before Christmas, there was Christ. John says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

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Christmas Eve 1941

On Christmas Eve, 1941, seventeen days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President and Mrs. Roosevelt hosted a state dinner at the White House. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, along with his staff of 60, was the guest of honor. Presents were exchanged. A group of carolers sang Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.

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