Let others help you
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You know how the script is supposed to go: How are you doing? Fine. How was your day? Good. What’s up? Nothing. Lie. Lie. Lie. We all know the world is hard, so why do we spend so much time pretending it’s not? Part of God’s plan was to place all sorts of people around us to help us get through all the sadness and pain that will inevitably hit. He then tells us, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in... Read More
Generosity is joy
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Do you love paying taxes? I didn’t think so. Tax time is no fun for me either. I put it off as long as I can. I dread the tedious chore of filling out all the ever-changing forms. I dread not having had enough wages withheld and finding out that there will be no refund because I owe a lot more. I dread getting the official IRS letter informing me that my paperwork had mistakes and that I owe still... Read More
Jesus ain't no killjoy
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The Bible doesn’t report Jesus having fun. But he must have. He was true man. He was one of us. He had the full-on human experience. And he was true God. So he must have had some really good clean fun. He certainly enjoyed himself at that wedding before the wine ran out. He hung out with close friends at dinner parties. Fishing is always fun until a storm kicks up. I don’t think he told jokes, but he must... Read More
Everybody knows your name
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Everybody feels a need to belong somewhere. That’s what made the Cheers tavern so much fun. Remember the theme song? A place where everybody knows your name? As soon as you walked in you knew it was a warm and enjoyable place to be. “Hey—it’s Norm! Wouldn’t it be awesome if every church had that kind of people magnetism? A place to belong . . . a place where you were accepted unconditionally . . . a place where you... Read More
Hope I die before I get old
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In a dog-eat-dog world, the older dogs get pushed around and shoved to the back of the line. Who wants to be old? One of my favorite TV channels plays a lot of old reruns, and almost all the commercials are geared to older people. There clearly is a market for their stuff. But honestly, who wants to be a person who needs those products? Who aspires to the world of step-in bathtubs, catheters, walkers, funeral insurance, and chair hoists... Read More
God-devised mysteries
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  “God . . . devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him” (2 Samuel 14:14). God works in mysterious ways. You hear that so often you might start to think it’s an actual Bible passage, right? It’s not. Though there is truth to it. God doesn’t think the way we think. God doesn’t do things the way we do things. The ways he has devised to end our banishment from him seem mysterious too.... Read More
Holy huddle
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It is human nature to prefer the company of people just like you. Your tribe is a powerful organizing force. Much of the time this isn’t a bad thing—professional associations, moms’ playgroups, and sports activities thrive on people’s similar needs and abilities. It becomes a problem, however, when congregations are so homogeneous that outsiders can’t break in and when the “club” members in the holy huddle don’t know how to appeal to outsiders. Worse—maybe they don’t even want to. Social... Read More
Use power carefully
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Don’t you hate getting jerked around by small-minded government officials who seem to enjoy making you jump through hoops? Do you hate to wait? Don’t you hate getting “put in your place” when people in power make you feel small and powerless? Power corrupts, as Lord Acton said. But it’s not only the super rich who can take advantage of the poor. Plenty of middle-class and even working-class people have opportunities to take advantage of those in society who are... Read More
The last Boomer standing
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Those of us born between 1946 and 1964 face a daunting challenge. After dominating the landscape, it is our turn to step out of the way. Our legacy is uncertain. We can be associated with civil rights, voting rights, fair housing, gender equity, environmentalism, free love, the abortion holocaust, and the epidemic of drug abuse. We gave peace a chance and fought wars we couldn’t win. Our religion and politics could be explosive. Private wealth and the national debt grew... Read More
I am so broke
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Billie Holiday got it cold: “Money, you’ve got lots of friends they’re crowding around your door; but when you’re gone and spending ends they don’t come no more.” Do you know the fear, the shame, the panic of being broke, or worse, of being over your head in debt? Have you ever encountered the repo man, a collection agency, bankruptcy, foreclosure, eviction? God has a special place in his heart for the small and poor of the earth. Ironically, in... Read More