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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

torn to pieces

Come, let us return to the Lord.  He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.  After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.” (Hosea 6:1-2)

There is a tearing to pieces that comes from love and results in healing and restoration.  It is a tender but severe tearing, a stripping away of all that binds and hinders and enslaves.  It is a tearing that feels like death, but is really life, because it involves the stripping away of all that is false, in order to leave only what is true and beautiful.  That’s the kind of tearing and injuring God does when we are courageous enough to return to him.  It is a tearing and an injuring that helps us become all that he dreamt us to be.  So when you find yourself in his crosshairs, do not be afraid.  What is happening to you might feel like death, but it is really life.  Ultimately, it is both good and beautiful.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

which one is lost

Jesus loved finding lost things, be it sheep or coins or even sons. (Luke 15:1-32) He always had a soft spot in his heart for those who had gotten a little turned around in their lives, which is a beautiful thing since all of us find ourselves in that position from time to time.  The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to identify the ones who are actually lost.  Oh, maybe not in terms of sheep and coins, those are fairly obvious, but when it comes to sons it’s an altogether different story.  In fact, the hardest ones to find are the ones who don’t think they are lost at all.

The younger son ventures off into a foreign land with his pockets full of inheritance money and his heart set on squandering it all on wild living.  But eventually it all catches up with him and he comes to his senses, finding his way back to the father’s house where he is greeted with hugs and kisses, as well as shoes and a ring and a feast.  Yet he is not the lost son; he is actually the found one.  There’s another son in the story who is in desperate need of being found, only he doesn’t know it.

The lost son is the one who is still in his father’s house, yet still so far from away from experiencing his father’s love and affection.  Just listen to what he says: “Look!  All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.”  Does that sound like someone who knows he is loved, or like someone who is trying desperately to earn something he’s always had?  To me it sounds like someone who is working his ass off to try and win the approval and affection of a father who knows him better and loves him more fully than he could ever ask or imagine.

The younger brother returns home and is able to experience that love firsthand, but what about the older one?  He has been at home all along, but has somehow missed the unconditional love and affection the father was continually offering him.  What would it look like for him to return to the father? 

We are not really told how the story ends for the older brother, which is probably intentional.  It is an open invitation.  Each of us is invited into the story to make that decision for ourselves.  What does returning to the Father look like for you today?  Will you return to him? 

Saturday, March 11, 2023


there is an emptying
that comes from God

a profound deepening
meant to hollow out
space within you
that only he can fill

so do not be hasty to
grasp at the first thing
that comes along
in an effort to fill the void
lest you miss the gift
he is trying to give

that void might actually
be there for a reason

*Can't take full credit for this one.  It was inspired by some words my friend, Will, shared with me.  I really just put them on paper.  I pray that you have community like the incredible men God has given me to do life with.  They make me better each day.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

pass through

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Weeping, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength until each appears before God in Zion.” (Psalm 84:5-7)

You can stay there, in the Valley of Weeping, if you want to, but it is only as you pass through the valley that you make it a place of springs.  Eventually you have to work your way through it, or you will be stuck in the Valley of Weeping forever.  It’s really up to you.  Avoiding or denying or refusing only assures that you will never pass through it and come out the other side.

This life is a pilgrimage; you must keep going in order to arrive at your glorious destination.  At some point you must leave the Valley of Weeping behind and press on to the land of promise.  So, pass through, don’t pitch your tent.  Don’t take up residence in such a miserable place.  Don’t set up shop; pass through.  The place of springs is only possible if you are willing to pass through.  Don’t let the Valley of Weeping hold you hostage; pass through.

O Lord, this life is such a pilgrimage, help me to always keep moving toward you no matter what.  Give me the strength and wisdom and perseverance, when I get stuck, to keep on walking, to keep pressing on toward you.  Give me faith when I need to believe, grace when I need to forgive, and courage when I need to let go.  Help me to go from strength to strength until I appear before you in Zion.  Amen. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023


“Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

The key to a fruitful life and ministry is not activism but abiding.  It is not incessant activity but prayer.  Unless we move from autonomy to obedience, from independence to dependence, and from control to surrender we can never hope to bear the fruit that Jesus designed us to bear—that only comes by abiding. 

And abiding is not as much about trying, as it is about joining.  It is being joined to the very life of God in a profoundly intimate way.  It is allowing the life of God to flow in and then through us.  Thus, it is not something we can produce or manufacture, but something that must be grown organically.

Lord Jesus, you are the vine, and we are the branches, never let us forget that.  Forgive us when we try to manufacture and produce what can only be grown by abiding in you.  Help us to learn how to do that.  Amen.