Tag Archives: Grace

A Taste of Grace

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here Denmark has never been considered a center for global cinema. Only a handful of Danish movies, in fact, have ever received an Academy Award.  But the first one to accomplish that – Babette’s Feast, winner of the 1987 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (based on a story by Danish writer… Read more »

Extra Grace Required

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here Some of the most celebrated names in spiritual history are martyrs – men and women who surrendered their lives instead of surrendering their faith. Church tradition suggests that 11 of the original 12 apostles met violent ends.  Courageous martyrs also figure prominently in the stories of Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. In the Middle… Read more »

God’s Exchange Policy

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here In the summer of 1995, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed solo hiked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT traverses some of America’s most daunting wilderness areas.  Cheryl strode from the Mohave Desert through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest. Her adventures are documented in her best-selling memoir Wild:… Read more »

The Power of Free

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here. In the world of economics, one word is more powerful than any other. That word is free. In his book Predictably Irrational, economist Dan Ariely points out that “zero is not just another price.” Getting something for nothing is a source of irrational excitement.  Things that we would never say we actually need become irresistible because… Read more »

Now, That’s Creepy

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here. What profession creeps people out more than any other? We don’t need a scientific study to confirm what we already suspect: People are seriously creeped out by clowns. According to the digital news source Vox, more Americans are afraid of clowns than of climate change, terrorism, and even death.  A few years ago, Dr. Frank McAndrew,… Read more »

A Day of Grace

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here. Every day of the year is special. Take today, for instance.  May 8, for no apparent reason, is National Have a Coke Day.  And National Student Nurse Day.  And National Give Someone a Cupcake Cake.  And National No Socks Day.  And National Report Government Contractor Fraud Day (yikes).  And National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day,… Read more »

From Yes-But to Yes-And

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here. What comes to mind when you picture turning toward God?  Psychologist Patrick Carnes suggests it all comes down to what kind of God we think we’re actually dealing with.  There are four basic options. First, we may have in mind a Non-Existent God.  In other words, no God at all.  We… Read more »

A New Start

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here. A New Start Bible stories don’t have official names.  Even though traditional names have become attached to certain texts over the centuries, there’s still plenty of room for discussion.  Many would suggest, for instance, that The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 should actually be known as The Parable of the… Read more »

In Christ

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Throughout the month of August, we’re taking a close look at 23 verses of the New Testament.  They comprise Ephesians chapter one, which paints one of the Bible’s most comprehensive pictures of what it means for ordinary people to be “in Christ.”   About a decade ago, on my way to a national gathering of pastors, my connecting flight took me through… Read more »

God’s Grace-Challenged Children

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When author and pastor Rob Bell was a teenager, he and his family attended a church service in a town they were visiting. At the end of the service, they experienced a drama that is played out in a number of conservative congregations.  The pastor invited those present to make a first-time commitment to Christ. He announced that if people repeated the… Read more »