Excellence

Mediocrity is fast becoming the byword of our times. Every imaginable excuse is now used to make it acceptable, hopefully preferred. Budget cuts, time deadlines, majority opinion, and hard-nosed practicality are outshouting and outrunning excellence. Those forces seem to be winning the race.

Read More

Ethics

We need heroes. I mean genuine heroes, authentic men and women who are admired for their achievements, noble qualities, and courage. Such people aren’t afraid to be different. They risk. They stand a cut above. Yet they are real human beings with flaws and failures like anyone else. But they inspire us to do better. We feel warm inside when we think about this rare breed of humanity.

Read More

For Daily Doubts

He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:27–28) Our Father, encourage us—especially we who often doubt and feel ashamed of our doubt.

Read More

Spiritual Leadership

Leadership is influence. To the extent we influence others, we lead them. If I were asked to name some of the standard qualities or characteristics usually found among natural-born leaders, I would list: Enthusiasm, Optimism, Persistence, Ambition, Competitiveness, Knowledge, Insight, Inquisitiveness, Independence, Friendliness . . .

Read More

Modeling God’s Message

Hosea started a scandal in the parsonage. Why? Hold onto your hat—he married a prostitute. Talk about gossip! His name became a byword for “fool.” Respect for him dropped to zero. His reputation was suddenly null and void. “Small wonder he is listed first among the minor prophets,” some sneer . . . “He must have been some kind of a nut.”

Read More

The Broken Wing

It is quite probable that someone reading my words this moment is fighting an inner battle with a ghost from the past. The skeleton in one of yesterday’s closets is beginning to rattle louder and louder. Putting adhesive tape around the closet and moving the bureau in front of the door does little to muffle the clattering bones. You wonder, possibly, “Who knows?” You think, probably, “I’ve had it . . . can’t win . . . party’s over.”

Read More

Slamming the Door to Lust

SAMSON WAS A HE-MAN WITH A SHE-WEAKNESS. Although he was born of godly parents, set apart from his birth to be a Nazirite, and elevated to the enviable position of judge in Israel, he never won the battle with lust. Instead, lust eventually conquered him. Several things that illustrate his lustful bent may be observed from the record of his life, each one in the book of Judges.

Read More

The Great Surprise

THE FEELINGS ARE FAMILIAR. Mouth open. Eyes like saucers. Chill up the spine. “The flash of a mighty surprise” boggles the mind, leaving us somewhere between stunned and dumb with wonder. “Am I dreaming or is a miracle happening?” So it is with surprises. Surprises start parties and end partnerships. They solve murders, enhance birthdays and anniversaries, embellish friendships.

Read More

A Willingness to Go with God

WHEN GOD CALLS A SERVANT, there is little room for negotiation. The most striking example of this is when God spoke to Abram, lifting him from obscurity and setting him on a course that would change human history. The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous. GENESIS 12:1–2

Read More

An Enduring Mercy

EVEN TOWARD the end of his life, the apostle Paul had not gotten over the great mercy he had received from Christ: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people.

Read More