Little Seeds that Split Great Rocks

In the warmth of a Canadian summer, in the reaches of a distant forest, a maple seed falls from the sky. This seed, called a samara, is a masterpiece of design that looks and behaves much like the blades of a tiny helicopter. As it falls through the air it spins, and this spinning action generates lift, and this lift keeps it aloft long enough to fall far from the smothering shade of its parent tree. As that seed helicopters …

Homesick

My thoughts these days turn often to heaven. In those moments when I hover between asleep and awake, in those moments when I bow my head to pray, in those moments when I lift my voice to sing, my mind turns often to that place and to its people. My father made the journey there not too long ago and my son trailed close behind him. The two key men in my life—the one in whose footsteps I followed and …

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There Is Only Ever Today

My family moved a number of times when I was a child. The first home I remember was near the center of Toronto, a little house that has long since been torn down and replaced by a modern monster. From there we moved to one of the city’s up-and-coming eastern suburbs where we had an older home on a larger property, then to one of its established western suburbs where we had a very normal home on a very normal …

Thy Word Is Not a MagLite

I always felt safer in the dark when carrying a MagLite. There was something about its size, about its heft, about its sheer brightness that made me feel better, that made me feel safer, when I would walk through the lonely woods at night. The MagLite was the flashlight of brave police officers, of well-trained soldiers, of courageous first responders, so surely it ought to be the flashlight of a terrified young boy who had to make his way from …

Waiting with Faith

Have you ever bitten into a green tomato? Have you ever sunk your teeth into a fall apple during the heat of summer or into a summer strawberry during the cool of spring? Have you ever listened to a choir’s first rehearsal, read a book’s first draft, gazed at an artist’s initial sketches? Have you ever tasted a chef’s half-baked dish, watched a choreographer’s first dance, listened to a song’s initial lyrics? If you’ve eaten that apple or read that …

Should Young Pastors Prefer a Large or Small Church?

Suppose a young, ambitious, seminary-trained, godly pastor was given the choice between a large church and a small church as his first charge. Which should he prefer? Which should he prioritize? Theodore Cuyler took on this question in his book How To Be a Pastor which was written in the early twentieth century. His answer is straightforward, his reasoning compelling. It is worth considering today. “I answer unhesitatingly, the small church.” He minces no words there, does he? He offers …

Pornographic Detachment

The past couple of decades have seen an unprecedented rise in the use of pornography and an associated decline in the social stigma that accompanies it. Pornography has been downgraded from scandalous to humorous, from aberrant to mundane. Rare today is the young man (or young woman) who has not at least dabbled in it. For an increasing number of people, it has become ubiquitous, habitual, often the first and primary means through which they explore and express their sexuality. …

The Only Tears In Heaven

How many tears do we shed over the course of a lifetime? From the days of infancy when we cry out from hunger and discomfort, to the days of old age when we weep from the agony of physical pain and the sorrow of compounding loss, we are creatures who cry, creatures who express inward trauma with outward weeping. The path that leads from birth to Beulah is a path stained by tears. It is little wonder, then, that many …

Learn the Lesson of Aaron’s Oily Beard

The Bible is a book of many metaphors. Almost all of its most precious truths are taught through vivid word pictures. Even a brief look through its pages will turn up hundreds of them—God as shepherd, his people as sheep; Jesus as head, the church as his body; the Bible as nourishment, its words as honey and water. On and on it goes. One metaphor that has always intrigued me is at the center of one of the shortest psalms—Psalm …

One Of The Ugliest Sights In The World

One of the ugliest sights in the world is that of a child who rules over his parents. We have all seen it, I’m sure. We have seen parents who tiptoe around their child’s cries, their child’s demands, their child’s outbursts of anger. They will do whatever he dictates, give whatever he commands. We look on with horror, knowing they have set their child on a path to destruction. Children are born foolish. They desire the things that will ruin …