What Does Resurrection Mean on a “Monday”?

Flower Cross

So frequently, we miss the context. It shouldn’t surprise us, because it was a different time and a different place. We just need to be mindful of it.

We know that Jesus wasn’t buried for three full days and three full nights. By Hebrew reckoning, a part of a day counted as a day. Jesus was hung on a cross and crucified on what we know to be “Good Friday.” We talk about it cheerfully now, but it took a long time for Christians to celebrate the cross, as we do today. This was a most shameful and violent way to die! Continue reading

On Feasting and Friending

Harry Potter Great Feast

Feast or famine.

That was a common refrain when I was on staff with InterVarsity. It was critical for any new staff member to focus on making friends locally and to get involved with a church. Any ministry demands personal support, but itinerant college work can be especially demanding.

No matter how much effort we put into it, we had a special kind of fellowship as staff. Most of us did not live near each other. We saw each other extensively a few times each year for student retreats and staff meetings. For the long stretches between, we fasted. Those days and nights we could be together, we were an intimate family. Even when we came together from completely different regions, we knew we were “related” in a special way. Continue reading

So Now What?

Lamp Path

The challenge in attributing reasons behind big decisions is this: when circumstances change, you are pressed to re-evaluate what you are doing and why. In my last post, I mentioned that Steve Hayner was a big reason for me applying to work at Columbia Theological Seminary. It’s quite easy to ask myself, “So now what?”

I believe it was Steve who told a story about Paul Little at a staff gathering in New York. Paul was a well known leader in InterVarsity who wrote a well-known booklet for InterVarsity Press called Affirming the Will of God. Paul was offered a huge opportunity to work for another organization and was torn between staying with InterVarsity and going on to something new. One morning, he walked into the office of Dr. John Alexander, the president of InterVarsity at that time. He was clearly frustrated, Continue reading

He Wasn’t Finished Yet!

Steve Hayner Board

This week, I received a voicemail from a former InterVarsity supervisor who knew that it’s been a tough season for me. I made it no secret, almost three years ago, that a major reason I wanted to work at Columbia Theological Seminary was for the opportunity to work under Steve Hayner’s leadership again. As a writer and editor, it was a special privilege to support someone whose voice I knew so well and resonated deeply within me.

Steve was the epitome of what I call a “quiet charismatic.” In a single meeting, he had the ability to connect with people in a way that stuck with them indefinitely in a profoundly personal way. Steve valued change leadership, but never in a way that emphasized his role as leader. He brought diverse people together to accomplish great things. And as is well know to anyone who knows anything about him, he exemplified joy!

A few weeks ago, Continue reading

Looking Past the Stuffed Dog

Stuffed Dog

Long before he was known as the host of “Deal or No Deal,” Howie Mandel was “Bobby” utilizing his best toddler voice. One of Mandel’s most enduring lines in my memory comes at the end of his “12 Days of Christmas” routine (see the second half of this clip) where the “partridge in a pear tree” becomes “one of those blue little fuzzy things.” Without giving away the entire sequence, he wraps up with a passionate and tearful child-like reflection:

“I looked yonder…Yonder was my stuffed dog, and he was in front of the dresser…So I looked OVER yonder…”

One of my fondest memories as a child involves a large stuffed dog owned by my aunt. Through child eyes, it was the most obvious thing in the room to pet, to tackle, and even to sleep beside. As an adult, I’m much more likely to keep my important items on top of or inside the drawer of a dresser somewhere in the house. A similar shift in vision is needed for the important questions being asked in “the public square.”

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Improvising With Life

Me and Caleb

Last year, my oldest son Caleb created his own blog based on his experience as a viola player. On his site devoted to helping other musicians, one of my favorite posts so far is about “Improvisation.”

It struck me as a great set of tips, not just for music, but for life in general. He is himself at a stage where he will soon leave the teen years behind. So I decided to write a response which, while inspired by his thoughts, will hopefully further inspire him as he faces new decisions ahead. Listed below are each of his musical tips followed by my own reflections on life. Continue reading

Ministry From the Back Row

Sharing Under a Tree
I was a bit late walking into the service, so I thought it best to go up to the balcony. After spotting a friend from South Africa come in behind me, she made her way over to greet me and sit nearby. With her was a strikingly beautiful woman who was hesitant to introduce herself. She even showed some disdain at the prospect of sitting next to me, but at my friend’s urging she did.

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