Seeing Clearly

How we see or perceive things can vary tremendously depending on circumstances. For example, my wife and I just returned from a camping trip. The outhouse was just a few hundred feet from where we pitched our tent. During the day it was easy to see how to walk from our camp to the outhouse. But at night, everything was different. The outhouse itself blended so well into the background that it was difficult to see it from just a few feet away. It was easy to miss the path back to our tent. What had changed? Nothing, really. The outhouse was still in the same location. Our tent hadn’t moved.

The Light of the Gospel

(Written to go with a sermon based on Matthew 4:12-17)

Have you ever experienced total darkness? During one of our vacations, our family toured a cave. While we were in one of the galleries, the tour guide turned off the lights. No matter how you strained your eyes, you could see nothing. It seemed like the entire universe contracted to just yourself. The sense of isolation was eerie. Not to mention the real danger of injuring yourself by running into something or stepping into a hole because you couldn’t see.

Wandering

(Prepared to go with a sermon on James 5:19-20)

A couple of weeks ago our family had a reunion in honor my father’s 93rd birthday. I think that all of were a little astonished to realize that out of the five of us children, three of us are planning to travel out of the country this October.

Breaking the Cycle of Hate

In many ways, we are very blessed to live at the time we do. We have a higher standard of living and more opportunities than people at any other time of history. Among the many blessings we enjoy is the privilege of being heard. The Internet allows us ordinary people to voice our opinions to a world-wide audience. I’ve personally benefited from the new technologies because they’ve made it possible for me to write and publish books even though I don’t have the credentials a traditional publisher would require.

True Religion

(Prepared for a sermon on James 1:26-27)

If asked to describe a religion, most people would probably talk about the rituals the people practice who belong to that religion. To put it another way, we define religions in terms of what the people do. However, the rituals, and ceremonies are not supposed to be ends in themselves. They are supposed to be expressions of, or a visual representation of, what the people who participate in them believe.

Remember With Gratitude

A few days ago I had a very humbling experience. I was at a conference in the Netherlands. One of my fellow participants asked what I planned to do on our day off. I replied that I intended to visit one of the World War II battlefields which was nearby. His response took me totally by surprise. “Thank you for what you did for our freedom.” The words were all the more amazing because I hadn’t even been born, let alone taken part in the liberation of Europe. Further, the man who thanked me was from Austria. As you know, during World War II his country was on the other side.

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