Fasting has never been a spiritual discipline I’ve been very good at practicing. The times I have fasted haven’t been without meaning but haven’t moved me as much spiritually as I would have expected. Honestly, one of the biggest takeaways I’ve had after each time of fasting has been the amount of time I think about food. I don’t think I’m obsessed with food, (or perhaps I am and don’t realize it) but I did realize I think about what I’m going to eat, want to eat, should eat, shouldn’t eat, what kind of snack I want while I sit at my desk, etc. a lot.
The ashes are a tangible reminder of our mortality. A physical reminder of how short our time is in this life. We are but a mist that appears for a short time and disappears (James 4:14). The ashes remind us to mourn for our sins and of our need for confession and repentance. I believe there is life in the ashes.
Lent. The Latin version (Quadragesima) means forty, as in the number of days Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting before beginning his public ministry. The English version (Lent) initially meant “spring” and also conveys the idea of long, as in the days getting longer in the Spring. Whether you find yourself “giving something up” or “taking something on” for Lent, it is a season which holds the potential for significant spiritual renewal and growth.
I’ve always dreamt about being fluent in Spanish. Unfortunately, I’m not. Not even close. I know enough to survive but that’s about it. My M.Div. work forced me to spend time with Greek and Hebrew. Those are different things altogether. So basically I’m left with my native tongue of English and the struggles that come along with it.
Happy New Year! I know it’s a few days late but I feel like my new year just “officially” started yesterday. It was the first day back in my office after: a hybrid paternity leave for the birth of our third child Cecil, the Advent season, and holiday busyness/fun with family. I’m excited to see what’s in store for 2015 and thought I’d share some of those things as well as a few of my goals for the new year and “word” for the year.
Effective preaching is both an art and a skill and we’ve all heard (and some of us delivered) sermons that seemed to lack both. They are not interesting, lack substance, seem to go on forever (when in reality only last <15mins), and leave us feeling disconnected. While engaging one’s audience is the goal of all public speaking, here are 4 ways to make preaching more engaging…
I had the chance to attend the first ever New Room Conference put on by Seedbed this past week in Franklin, TN. Disclaimer: I write for Seedbed and did my M.Div. work at Asbury Theological Seminary so I recognize the bias I may have. With that being said, the very reason I write for Seedbed and found the New Room Conference to be so meaningful are the ways in which Wesleyan theology is embraced and articulated. It is not so much that the information is entirely new or those who shared are new to the Wesleyan movement, the newness comes through an awakening of understanding what it means to be a Wesleyan Christian. If you weren’t able to attend this year, be sure to put September 16-18, 2015 on your calendar and enjoy some of the takeaways I had from the conference.
If you haven’t been by to visit the site The Art of Manliness, you should. It’s entertaining, informative, and portrays some of the very misconceptions we have of what it means “to be a man.” We just recently honored dads by celebrating Father’s Day, a day of saying ‘thanks’ as well as highlighting what it means to be manly.
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” (Luke 24)
The saying goes, “expect the unexpected.” This is a statement about planning, preparation, or maybe even the inability to do so in certain situations where the outcome is so uncertain. It’s like trying to plan for the very thing that is not able to be planned for. This is what we say when we’re not sure what will happen, but what about the times when we could reasonably expect, or even should expect something to happen?