Woman's hands on black background

“If this man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John 9:33).

The Bible has its share of comical scenes.  Here’s one.  A man born blind can now see.  But because Jesus “broke the rules” by healing him on the Sabbath, in the minds of the Pharisees, this was impossible.

Moses?  He was righteous.  He gave us the law.

Jesus?  He broke the “law,” and had to be a sinner.

But there’s this pesky issue of, “once I was blind… now I can see.”  And now here’s Mr. Newsight offering a little theological insight to the no-sight clan:  “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” [click to continue…]

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Anticipation

It’s in the white space between the verses.  If it were captured on video, a la NFL Films, they’d replay it in slow motion with a tense musical score leading up to the climactic moment.  It often takes place in a matter of seconds and is hardly ever discussed. But we’ve all read about it. And chances are, we’ve lived it on some level.

The “it” that I’m referring to is that split-second gap between motion and miracle. When the world for just a second goes quiet and you’re breathless with anticipation.

It’s that Breathless Pause, where you’re waiting, anticipating something amazing. [click to continue…]

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It was a funny exercise. The memory-making type of thing that happens randomly when you spend time hanging out with kids. Or in my case, grandkids.

Laura Kate and Shepherd (#1 and #3 of 9 if you’re keeping score) were in the back seat and we were headed home from a VBS family night. With everybody’s schedule crossways on this particular night, I got to be the “family.” We’d had the program, topped off by some awesome brain-freezing shaved ice. They had played in the bounce houses some, and now we had escaped the Alabama humidity and were back in the truck headed to their house.

We got to talking about different sounds that animals make, and I was asking them if they could imitate them. Then, on a whim, I asked, “Can you imitate Fischer?”

Fischer is their four-year-old little brother.

Laura Kate popped up: “Mama, Shepuhd and Sistuh huht my feewings.”

You just had to be there… It was dead-on and hysterically funny.

We went from that to others, like their parents, but the first one was the hit of the night.

Who doesn’t love a good impression – especially a funny one?  And it’s true, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – even to an 8-year-old.

It’s also a raw demonstration of leadership at a very fundamental level. [click to continue…]

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Hey.  Bible scholar.

Yes, you.

I have a thought question for you.

Remember David?  King… giant slayer… and that other nickname he is famous for?

Yeah, that one – a “man after God’s own heart.”

God Himself used the phrase first and it is repeated throughout scripture. Samuel said to Saul, “But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart…” (1 Samuel 13:14). And He found that in David.

And He repeated that over and over again, not just during David’s lifetime, but throughout the Bible.  Something about this man, who obviously had some pretty serious personal flaws (liar, adulterer, and murderer for starters) was so unique that God used His version of neon lights and pointed to this man again and again.

Why? [click to continue…]

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(Life in the Public Eye Edition)

I’ve been listening to a lot of professional communicators lately. I’ve also been seeing a lot of people in the public eye, for better or worse.  Politicians. Preachers. Entertainers. Protesters. Prophets of doom. Leaders, or leader wannabes.  Victims or those pretending to be victims.

I’ve had some thoughts about all that.  Wildly accurate thoughts, of course, because hey, they were mine.  But rather than blather on about my forgettable opinions, I thought I would share some real wisdom.

As I have mentioned in previous posts like this one, I get a front row seat to some amazing writing, all sent like these with the hopes of earning an A on a paper or discussion forum.

(I get plenty of bad writing too, but I’m saving that for another day.)

So I’ve been keeping a file of my favorite student quotations for quite some time now, and today I would like to share a powerful collection with you. All of these are about something to do with living in the public eye, either as a leader or as a public servant or communicator.  Sooner or later this could be you in your 15 minutes of you-know-what.

Read on (it’s a quick read) and brace for impact. You will be impressed and blessed by these insights. [click to continue…]

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Alabaster Jar

Suppertime.  And it’s quite a little dinner party there in Bethany.  All twelve disciples of Jesus are there, as is Jesus Himself, for whom the dinner was made.

Curiously enough, Lazarus – the friend of Jesus who never uttered a recorded word – is there, too.  And this is after his four-day journey to the pit.

Martha is there, of course, being Martha, and making things happen.

And in comes Mary.  She’s carrying an alabaster box.  With all the movement and conversation as people recline at a Middle Eastern dinner table, I doubt very many people notice her at first.  But that’s OK.  Mary wasn’t interested in being noticed.  She was interested in something – and Someone – much greater.

That said, no one could escape the fragrance that filled the room.  It penetrated everything, everyone, everywhere.

Is that nard?

Nard it is.

That’s expensive stuff.  To say nothing of the now-broken box that carried it.

Where is that coming from? [click to continue…]

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Row American Flags Half Mast Washington DC USA

Here we go again.

Another day.

Another crisis.

Another call for leadership.

Another round of half-mast flags…

Another set of news-bite wags…

A fresh supply of new #hashtags…

And another call for leadership.

More outrage at this

More outrage at your outrage at that,

Another mad rush of the gun shop owners to the bank…

And another call for leadership.

What do we mourn when we bemoan the lack of leadership?

Do we really know what are we calling for? [click to continue…]

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Gazing

Hold.

Such an ordinary, blue-collar word.

Industrial strength, geared for protection and defense, holding commands attention – not by rising to dizzying new heights of adventure or romance, but by remaining ruthlessly still…

Safe…

Steady.

Boring? Only when, in your desperation for a change, any change will do.

Oppressive? Only when you think the grass is greener somewhere else and you can’t get there.

Holding is a sign that somewhere there is someone or something that is stronger than you are – at least for the moment. You may be held back by your fears. Or held safely by that seat belt and airbag. Or held in the arms of someone who can comfort your heart.

But sooner or later fears subside. Belts are unbuckled. And people, however well-meaning, let go.

But there are everlasting arms and an all-powerful Strength that promises to hold you in love and peace long after all other sources are exhausted or used up.  [click to continue…]

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mobbing

Have you ever fantasized about growing wings and flying away to escape the unending stress or tension?

Have you found yourself wishing recently that you could manage to make it through one day without hearing a barrage of angry or critical words or feeling like you must be the only one in the crowd who just doesn’t “get it” (whatever “it” is)?

Have you been avoiding trips to the doctor under the guise that no news is good news, even though you know you’re not as energetic as you used to be?

What’s your latest reminder that the next time the bell tolls – even randomly – your number may be up?

Have you been channel surfing lately for “I Love Lucy” or “Andy Griffith” reruns, just so your TV can remember what it’s like not to hear about another reason to be afraid or another example of urban violence?

Oh, and what’s the latest on the scandal? You know… the same ol’ same ol’ about the latest hero or public figure headed to court or the hall of public shame because they just weren’t who we thought they were?

Are you tired of being lied to by your so-called leaders and oppressed by those in charge?

Are you still reeling from the betrayal of a friend or bitter because someone you trusted and needed abused that trust?

Are you angry enough to hurt somebody yourself?  Do people keep asking you what’s the matter and you keep pretending you’re just tired or something stupid like that?

What if I were to tell you that everything I just described didn’t come from CNN or Fox News, but from an ancient poem – a psalm from the Bible?  (Well, there are no “I Love Lucy” or “Andy Griffith” reruns or TVs in the Bible, but pretty much everything else is there.) [click to continue…]

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Sisyphus

(A Conversation)

You know I didn’t make that up.

Yeah, but you sure nailed me with it.

Only because I know what it feels like.

Yeah, I know you do.

So… back to the metaphor… you feel like you’re pushing a 2,000-pound rock up a hill by yourself.

That about sums it up.

Well give me back my rock!

Dude, you can have it.

Just kidding. You can keep it. It looks really nice rolling over you.

Wow, with friends like you…

Yeah, yeah.  I do have one question about this picture, though.

Okay.

You have the hill, the boulder, and you.

Uh huh. [click to continue…]

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