Symbols of Sonship

As a teenager, I spent Saturdays working on a family vegetable farm—cutting lettuce, wrapping radishes, digging potatoes. There was always a morning tea break. Everyone headed down to the farmhouse and the farmer’s wife served tea . . . and, sometimes, amazing chocolate digestive biscuits! (You should try them.) Sometimes the farmer fell asleep for […]

Keys for Revival

Luke chapter fifteen contains a set of three parables about rejoicing. The first two have three important elements: something lost, a loser, and a celebration when the loser finds the lost. Jesus asks the men and women listening to imagine that they have each lost a sheep or a coin. When they find it they […]

Blocked Goals

How do you respond to setbacks or blocked goals? For me, it depends on the situation. But if my project meets resistance, or a successful ministry appears to be in decline, I start to hear a little voice. It nags me about personal inadequacy or failure. It makes me mad. I understand anger as a […]

Failures

I wanted to call this piece, “The Failures of Jesus”, but you probably would not have read it. Jesus was not a failure. But when we consider some of the results of Jesus’ ministry encounters I think you will agree with me that they were not exactly successes. More important, if we put ourselves into […]

Anger and Violence

What do you think? Are anger and violence expressions of power or of weakness? Moses explosive outburst against an Egyptian slave-driver was about as fruitful as an expensive firework. The loss of a taskmaster didn’t weaken pharaoh. The Hebrews sneered. Moses ran for his life. How counterproductive our self-efforts can be! Now it came about […]

Clearing Cluttered Hearts

Few of us have much understanding of farming conditions in Israel. In many countries, we see vast fields surrounded by tidy fences or hedges. Crops grow in an almost sterile environment with hardly a weed visible. Rarely does the plough encounter a stone larger than a potato. One summer I worked on a typical farm […]

Ears to Hear

Whenever I go to a doctor I expect a diagnosis before any treatment. I dislike taking medicine just to alleviate symptoms. Treat the underlying condition and the symptoms will vanish. Similarly, it is important to understand the roots of spiritual deafness and blindness so that full health can be restored. One of the main reasons […]

The Parable of Parables

Story time was over. The keel of the fishing boat ground into the gravel along the shore and the men stopped rowing. Jesus climbed over the side and paddled to the beach. As He and the disciples gathered their gear and prepared to go back to the house to rest, one of the disciples raised […]

Wild Butterflies

I have often wondered why there is confusion in the Christian life between what God does for us and our own continuous struggle. Paul’s words to the Philippians capture the tension well: Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to […]