What was Good about Good Friday?

I often wonder what it was like for followers of Jesus on the day he was killed. They saw nothing good about that Friday. They went from great hope to complete despair. To their eyes everything they had put their faith in died on a cruel Cross. No doubt they were scared, confused, and hopeless. They did not know on that dark day that the hope of this season was all about Sunday. Tony Campolo writes about a life changing sermon he heard in his book It’s Friday but Sunday’s Comin’. (Note to spiritual cyber hall monitors…I know Mr.Campolo is controversial. Just enjoy this illustration, take a deep breath, and move away from the keyboard). Campolo writes about hearing a wise African-American pastor preach about the events of Easter week. For an hour and a half he preached one line over and over again…”It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’!” He started his sermon real softly by saying, “It was Friday; it was Friday and my
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One Word I Hate

I am trying to limit my use of the word hate. I don’t say that I hate those who oppose my faith. I don’t hate those who have opposite political views. I don’t even hate the Pittsburgh Steelers even though that will get my Browns Backers pass revoked. I do, however, have a few things for which I will use the word hate. One thing I hate is legalism in Christianity. Legalism is answering to the wrong source of authority. My faith journey began in a legalistic church and I will probably always walk with a bit of a spiritual limp. Legalism takes the sweet Gospel of Jesus Christ and mixes in some “churchified” version of the law. Church by-laws often occupy equal footing with God’s Word. Righteousness is no longer about Christ but about right behavior as only they define it. Legalism cherry picks verses that support behavioral control while conveniently ignoring dozens of verses about grace, forgiveness, kindness, love, gentleness and forbearance. Focusing on
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Life Happens

The goal of my book Waking Up Slowly was to examine actions and attitudes that cause us to be less connected to God and one another. One of the things you can be sure of when you write or teach about your faith is that you will get a pop quiz on your own material. John Lennon famously wrote that “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”. I think we can all relate to that. You have expectations for a day or project that are derailed by unseen events. Schedules don’t line up. People let you down. The daily rhythms of life can be frustrating. At times if feels like the universe is conspiring against you. But I believe there is joy to be found and sacred moments to discover in the most frustrating situations. My lovely wife calls these moments “postcards from God”. Satan relentlessly reminds us of how bad our situation is and that we
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Hope Springs Eternal on Opening Day

This week marks my thirty-seventh Opening Day as a television director for Texas Rangers broadcasts. I must have started when I was twelve. Someone asked me at church if I ever grow tired of Opening Day. The answer is a resounding no! When I do it will be time to move to a rocking chair at the old director’s home. I feel like I am just behind Lou Gehrig as the “luckiest man on the face of the earth” to have been able to do this year after year. In my mind there is no more special day in sports than Opening Day in baseball. It is an annual rite of Spring to post this article on the magic of Opening Day. The smell of freshly cut emerald green grass delights the senses. The base lines painstakingly and perfectly defined by a grounds crew that is committed to perfection on this day. Red, white, and blue bunting give the ball
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The Cost of Worry

“Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” That old proverb came to mind as I read a study about the link between increased worry and stroke risk. After adjusting for other behaviors they discovered that those participants with the highest level of anxiety factors had a thirty-three percent higher risk of strokes than those in the lowest range of anxiety. The study was sobering on a personal level. My Dad was a chronic worrier. He died from complications of a stroke. Worry steals joy and peace from its victims. I saw it with my Dad. I see it all around me. As I get older I experience more and more how practical Scripture is for daily living. In the teaching of my youth the Bible was a book of lofty and seemingly impossible demands to behave in a way that would please God. Now I see that the Bible
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Friends Who Are Good For Your Soul

An article titled “Friends Who are Good for Your Brain” caught my attention this week. The BBC post postured that we can only process so many things so we develop shortcuts to help us cope. The downside is that approach limits creativity and growth. One of their solutions was one I wholeheartedly agree with and have written about in these musings. Spend time with people who look and think differently than you. “When people are exposed to a more diverse group of people, their brains are forced to process complex and unexpected information. The more people do this, the better they become at producing complex and unexpected information themselves. This trains us to look more readily look beyond the obvious – precisely the hallmark of creative thinking.” Philip Yancey points out that getting out of your comfort zone is really important for followers of Jesus. “As I study the Pharisees, and Jesus’ strong words against them in Luke 11 and
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