When asked, most people I know tell me they observe Lent for two reasons: first, it is socially expected in their circles, and second, it is a chance to give up a bad habit for a maintainable length of time, although if they are anything like me, these habits are almost certainly reintroduced at some point.
The trouble is, God is not only concerned with what we do not do. It is what we do do that also matters. I have not always appreciated this idea, but Ephesians 4:17-32 recently fell into my lap and as I mused on this passage, I came to the realization that giving something up is not why Christians observe Lent. (more…)
It took me 41 days, in the spring of 1996. After working 19 years in my home church in Los Angeles, I needed a reboot. I said goodbye to family and friends, loaded two geriatric Labradors into the back of my Volvo station wagon, and hit the road. It was Monday, sunny and warm; the first day of Holy Week.
My three brothers lived in the Pacific Northwest; I’d stay with one of them until I found work. I felt reborn. I put the car in drive, popped in a cassette, and started singing, the dogs howling in harmony as we left the LA basin.
And then it began to rain. (more…)
“Three million refugees is not just another statistic. It is a searing indictment of our collective failure to end the war in Syria.”
In August 2014, the actress Angelina Jolie made this statement about the crisis in Syria in her role as UNHCR Special Envoy (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). On February 4, 2015, Amnesty International published statistics showing the refugee population to be nearly four million people, with half the refugees being children. The statement made by Jolie found its way into the consciousness of the American public and is now finding its way to us at BelPres. (more…)
40 days has quite the significance in accounts throughout scripture: from 40 days of rain during the flood (Genesis 7:12), the 40 days given to Nineveh to repent (Jonah 3:4), all the way up to when Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness as told in Matthew 4. But there is one particular 40-day period that strikes a chord with me: the 40 days Moses spent on Mt. Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments and the impatience of the Israelites awaiting his return (Exodus 19-32). (more…)