One post can’t do justice to even a small slice of my spiritual journey. But here are some points I’ve been pondering that might encourage you as you look toward the new year.

PRAYER. It seems to be a fair, if anecdotal, assessment that Brazilians are more interested in prayer than Bible study, and Americans are more interested in Bible study than prayer. I’ve tried to learn more for, and practice better, my prayer life. Continue reading

Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit.  If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.

This text appeared on a panel for a devotional thought. It suggests evaluating the last several months in one’s activities to see where fruit has been produced and focusing more on those areas. The exercise may not be as simple as it sounds, but is a worthy effort. The idea is to go where the results are. Continue reading

A few times people have asked me how I manage to do all the things I do.

Having all the kids gone from home helps, of course. And I have a devoted wife who picks up a lot of the slack and allows me time to write and work. But there’s more.

We live simply, with fewer of life’s distractions. We could do better here, but we’re working on it. Continue reading

Some theology professors make “theology” the way to know God. Some preachers make “ministry” the nearly exclusive word for full-time work in God’s kingdom. Even among us, a tendency exists to exalt some individuals above others. This is fully against the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not even in the Old Testament was anyone considered a notch above the others. Continue reading

Book of RevelationChapter 11 of the book of Revelation begins and ends with the temple of God. In v. 1 it seems to represent the church in its service to God, but in v. 19, the heavenly habitation of God.

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
Revelation 11.19 ESV Continue reading

Have been going up to the office more this week, and today I stayed from 9 to 6. No Internet there, so you don’t hear much out of me when I’m there. I’ve experimented with the 1000 words per day goal. Have made it the last three days, today just over 1K. But there would be days I’d miss. Sundays will be hard. But it’s possible.

• Went out for a movie last night with The Missus and The Maiden. One mall had a kilometer-long line, so we went to another. We usually rent movies, but once in a blue moon we hit the theater. Continue reading

The Church offers itself as the human space of fraternity in which every believer can and must experience that union among men and women and with God which is a gift from on high. The Acts of the Apostles is a splendid example of this dimension of the Church: there we find described a community of believers profoundly marked by fraternal union, by the sharing of material and spiritual goods, by kindness and sentiments (Acts 2, 42-48), to the point of being of “one heart and soul” (Acts 4, 32).

If every vocation in the Church is a gift to be lived for others, as a service of charity in freedom, then it is also a gift to be lived with others. Therefore it is discovered only living in fraternity. via New Vocations for a new Europe

I might tweak that quote by saying that it is God who offers the church as this human space, but obviously she offers herself if the Lord does. Sometimes we’re ready to live for others, but not with others. Our gifts can be employed only as we do both. So I agree with the sentiments expressed here, in spite of its source.

Each day a different opportunityEach person ought to do what he can, but nothing less than this. Each moment calls forth a different talent, and he who has today the main role, tomorrow will provide support. One day for the preacher, another for the bricklayer, to adapt an old Brazilian saying.

Then the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied concerning the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak began to rebuild the temple of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
Ezra 5:1-2 NET

The prophets prophesied one moment, and another helped to rebuild the temple. We don’t know how they helped. Do you suppose they laid bricks, or used their gifts of the word to encourage others? However they may have helped, they did what they could so that the work progressed as quickly as possible. They didn’t rest in the shade after their prophecy was done.

There is a place for all gifts, at all times. There is something we all can do, every day.

God of Israel, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, make me useful in your kingdom every day of my life on earth.

• The body cries for rest, tired from the day’s fullness (of blessing). It reaches that stage more quickly than in years past, most certainly from the increasing demonstrations of God’s goodness. Age has nothing to do with it. And with the body’s tired state, the mind gets more pensive.

• Two posts of mine today on The Fellowship Room about Catholicism on the move (or maybe, digging in) and my new favorite Corinthian Bible verse.

• Boo on hootsuite (social web app) for going to a paid service and yanking away free stuff I was using. Nambu (for Mac) now taking over most of my needs, after spending some precious time finding a replacement.

• Vicki and I travel out of state next Sunday for me to teach 1 Cor. and Hebrews at a preacher training school, over a week’s time. I’m racing to get it all done. Invite came suddenly, in short time frame, because of a situation there. They’re paying our airfare. Continue reading