Love Trumps?

Playing Whist for an hour a day for five years while riding the school bus taught me (and won me) a trick or two. One lesson was about the importance of trumps. In Whist, every player wants cards of the trump suit in their hand. Trumps, as the name implies, triumph over other cards and […]

Kites without Strings

The Kite Festival at Lincoln City on the Oregon coast is worth a visit. Hundreds of multi-colored kites in an unbelievable range of designs swoop and swirl between blue sky and golden sand. The simple ones tug on a single string. Skilled flyers maneuver the larger and more complex models using two or more strong […]

A Sigh at Sunrise

Nothing can stop the Lord answering those who cry out to Him sincerely. Psalm 130 begins with an anguished cry for the Lord to meet some deep request; it ends with unswerving hope. Sin might separate us for a while but repentance breaks the power of iniquity (straying from or twisting the abundant life that […]

My Identity Box

I like my box. It contains my life, defines who I am, gives me identity. There is nothing fancy about it. It has some flaws, dents and scratches, but it feels cozy and secure inside. It’s bigger than some of your boxes. And, yes, smaller than others (but we won’t talk about that). I’m working […]

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 […]


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 […]