Monthly Archives

July 2019

My Journal Jottings

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Last week I spent a day and night in a small house on the Blue Ridge Parkway, an annual overnight retreat for some younger friends, all in ministry.

Turns out all of them are dealing with father issues – one whose father recently died, another whose dad has had a series of strokes, the father of the third recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

We have shared joys in ministry and family together; this time we shared losses. And the following words I read reaffirmed the need for spiritual friendships.


When life is hard, what I most need is not always what I want. What I want is for life to be easy. What I want is for someone or something to come along and make it all go away. But I need tenderness. What I need is to be loved. What I need is a companion for the journey. – Br. James Koester, Society of Saint John the Evangelist


Redeeming Time

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I have been thinking a lot about the apostle Paul’s phrase  this last week or two. What do you think of when you hear the phrase “redeem the time”?
I think perhaps in our American culture, what first comes to mind is “Get busy. Don’t waste time.”
But my friend Lonnie Allison asked a group of us,  “What do you think is the number one value of American Christian leaders?”
He answered his own question .”Frenzied busyness” Why?  “Because,” he said, “when we get together in conferences, that’s what we talk about all the time, how busy we are. So if that’s what we talk about all the time, that must be a number one value.”
I hate to think it’s so, but he has a point.  So perhaps the way we redeem time first is to stop, be quiet, listen and, as Paul admonishes, know what the will of the Lord is and then start doing it.

Sent Back or Drawn On?

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It’s rarely that I comment on politics, especially of the partisan kind.  But sometimes the Scripture I read seems to be so pertinent in offering another way to view an event – a Christ-centered perspective – that I just have to pick it up.
That’s what happened this morning when I read these words from Paul, about another way of viewing things than a human point of view. In this case another view of a recent event very much in the news.

This morning, I listened to these words read from Saint Paul.

“For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died …  From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.” (2 Corinthians 5:14, 16).

As I listened, I thought back to tthe rally here in North Carolina some days ago, where the president spoke, and the crowd roared repeatedly about a woman politician, “Send her back, send her back.”

I wondered, if I were there, would the love of Christ urge me on? Would I listen to the words of the president from a human and political point of view? Would I hear the crowds shouting from a human, political point of view?

Or, as Paul said, would I hear both, think of both in view off the love of Christ for them, and for me?

And would I be praying, remembering Jesus dying on the cross for me and for them, “Don’t send us back. Draw us on to you.”


On this Saturday Morning …

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On this Saturday morning, I’m still mulling over what Saint Paul wrote about “redeeming time”. My friend Eric got me thinking earlier this week whether time is broken and how God is redeeming time.

Here are some various translations of Paul’s words.

NIV Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish , but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Philips. Make the best use of your time, despite all of the difficulties of these days. Don’t be vague, but firmly grasp what you now to be the will of God.

The Message. Make the most of every chance you get. There are desperate times.  Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

Good News. Make good use of every opportunity you get because these are bad days. Don’t be fools, then, but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do.


All intriguing.  But what does it mean to me on a quiet Saturday morning to redeem the time?


My Journal Jottings

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I am sitting in the back porch early with my coffee and my dog Buddy beside me. And suddenly I imagine that my old doggie Wrangler, who went under my car years ago, came trotting around the back of the house to sit by us as he used to. A pang came to my heart, for I still miss him. Then the words of C.S. Lewis came to mind. what if nothing in this world fully satisfies, or truly lasts, then it must be we were made for another world. And yet this morning I am also grateful for what is present.

My Journal Jottings

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Yesterday I saw The Biggest Little Farm, amazing story of a young couple who took a run down infested farm in California, and in seven years saw it turn into a virtual (almost) paradise. See it and you may never read Psalm 104 about God’s greatness in creation – from grass to springs to cattle to plants – to the food we eat today – in the same way again.

Join Our Launch Team!

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The Christian life is a life of listening. In his new memoir A Life of Listening, lifelong minister of the gospel Leighton Ford tells his story as a personal history of listening for God’s voice. Would you consider joining the launch team? Members receive a free digital advanced copy of A Life of Listening, a free ebook of Ford’s Bible study Meeting Jesus, and the chance to win a free IVP title of your choice. 

A Life of Listening is not just an account of a long and faithful life of Christian service, but a picture of the Christian life―the life of listening. What will it sound like when God speaks to you?

Pre-order A Life of Listening and apply to join at:

My Journal Jottings

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We often think that God only acts in grand, majestic ways, but the reality is that God first acts amidst the ordinary, routine events of our lives. Unless we are watching, we miss encounters with angels; unless we are watching, we miss the ways in which God is changing our lives; unless we are watching, we miss the ways in which God is changing the world.

-Br. James Koester, Society of Saint John the Evangelist