Showing posts from August, 2013


4 Ambulance attendants, 8 police officers and a sucker punch to my head. How was your day?

Last night I drove downtown to meet someone from the church  for coffee. After we parked the car near McDonald's, we noticed a young man speaking wildly to an older gentleman. Clearly the younger was harassing and threatening the older guy.

My friend and I instinctively moved in closer to see if the situation could be de-escalated. The younger one turned to us and was diverted away. We spoke calmly to him and he momentarily chilled. But then he began to tell us that he was with CIA. Then it was FBI. He started uttering death threats and saying he could shoot us. He told each of us that he was going to kill us.

I had taken my eyeglasses off and had them in my hand. He grabbed them and took off running down the line of cars in the drive-thru lane. He harassed people at their windows and hopped into an older woman's vehicle for  a few seconds.

My friend and I chased after him to retrieve my gla…


There is something that smokers may have difficulty comprehending. There is a smell that clings to your house, car, clothes, hair and skin. The smoke puts a stale smell on everything it touches.
When I worked at the halfway house and smoking was allowed indoors, I would get headaches from being around the smoke for extended periods of time.
On occasion various smokers will visit me in my office. If they have that stale smoke aroma, it lingers in the room. I have a can of Febreze that I use after they leave. I am polite and do not show disdain for the aroma. I have a fairly good tolerance for all kinds of smelly people.
If a smoker keeps their habit away from the house and car, brushes their teeth, gums and tongue and washes their clothes they probably do not carry the smell.
This is why people staying in hotels have the option of staying in a non-smoking room. I find that many smokers are oblivious to how they smell. When people quit smoking, they often become aware of that unpleasant …


God does not have a shifting baseline. We can turn to God and find that the Creator is still in the business of creating.  From the earthly perspective, we find that opinions about God shift in a spectrum from atheism to polytheism.

Most of our diversity in understanding God has to do with our lack of vision. In the story of Jesus, we find that God sent Jesus in our midst to clarify the vision of who God is. In the small, ancient nation of Israel, a man named Jesus was born who claimed to be sent from Heaven to show us the Father’s love.

Jesus recognized the shifting baseline of religion in his day. Religious diversity and opinion was just as widespread then as it is now. Everyone had his or her own party view of God. The seers (see-ers) and prophets helped people catch a few ideas about the Almighty. Jesus’ own people, the Jews were hanging on to ancient promises that God would send someone to restore the world back to its original design and potential.

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus arrived …


In 1990 my wife and were on vacation in Florida with some family members. I had previously snorkelled at John Pennekamp State Park and couldn’t wait to bring everyone back to a truly spectacular diving experience. We were not disappointed.

I remember vividly the moment when I tapped my brother-in-law on the shoulder and pointed beneath the surface to a spotted eagle ray with a four-meter wingspan gliding gracefully through the water. In that moment, time stood still.
A couple of years ago, Marsha I and took our young adult children on a Caribbean cruise. In Belize we decided to take a snorkelling expedition to what was being touted as some of the best in the country. After an hour in the water, I was disappointed by the experience. I had an experience previously that was so much better. Instead of seeing hundreds of colourful sea creatures, I saw handfuls of much blander looking fish and dull coral.
Bryan Walsh, the senior editor at Time wrote about a snorkelling expedition that he took …


“Beware of the leaven of Herod.”
Elsewhere Jesus calls Herod a fox. He presents a political face and an interest in the miracles of Jesus, but is actually hostile to the Messiah. Luke 23:8 records Jesus standing before Herod who was delighted to see Jesus and immediately wants him to perform a sign. When Jesus does not comply, Herod mocks Jesus and has him executed.
The yeast in Herod’s soul was that of ‘sign seeking’ with no real interest in spiritual change. The disciples needed to be warned—they witnessed many, many signs but were struggling with hardened hearts. It is an attitude that says you cannot really know anything for sure. Everything is dubious so remain restless in your doubts.
The leaven of Herod infects us when we listen to our critics too much. We see that they have a point and let their hostility become our own. Only love can shield us from infection.
Janine Economides, an Orthodox writer put it this way:
I realized when I was quite young that a sort of nihilism is capable…


“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.”
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had a sinful effect on the community. What was the yeast of these who were influencing religious thought and practice?

Luke 12:1Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Jesus clearly states that the sinful influence is hypocrisy.
In Luke’s story, Jesus and the disciples are experiencing ‘Bieberesque crowd mania’. People were trampling on one another to get close. In this situation, we are reminded of the ‘loaves and fish’ miracles where the disciples witnessed and shared in feeding thousands in a miraculous way. When the disciples were worried about a lack of bread (Mark 8), Jesus reminded them that he always provided generously for them, even if required a miracle to do so. Had they so easily forgotten his care for them?
The hypo…