The Dead Seriousness of Careless Words

A technician for an airline neglected to check the logs from previous flights and therefore failed to take action on a control problem that had recurred multiple times over the past days. His carelessness was one of the factors that led to the plane crashing on a subsequent flight. An engineer failed to set the brakes on parked tanker cars which soon begin to roll of their own accord until, out of control, they skipped the tracks and exploded. His …

The Joy of Forgetting What You Need To Remember

If I have my timing right, the last conference I spoke at was the 2020 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors. It was early February and we were just beginning to hear unfamiliar words like “COVID” and “coronavirus.” (A search through my inbox shows that the first mention of it was from an old Adam Ford newsletter in which he speculated that the outbreak in China was far worse than anyone was letting on.) I didn’t think much about the virus as …

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We Are Very Anxious About Our Character

Earlier in the week I posted an article about being willing to suffer wrong in the face of those who wish to do us harm. After sharing it I came across a wonderful quote from F.B. Meyer that is at least parenthetically related. He counsels us on what to do when others attack our character and seek to harm our name. In short: wait on the Lord. We are very anxious about our character, but if we live close to …

Her Weakness Is Her Strength

Have you ever known a family who has learned that it will soon welcome a child with special needs? It could be that prenatal testing has shown a developmental abnormality or it could be that they have deliberately chosen to adopt a child with disabilities. But either way, the family will necessarily undergo a time of preparation as they ready themselves for the inevitable special challenges to come. They will prepare their home, they will prepare their community, they will …

It’s Better To Suffer Wrong

It’s a verse every Christian believes in until he suffers some great wrong. It’s a verse every Christian affirms until he is called to implement it in his own life. And it’s just then that the words seem to transform from clear to opaque, the application from simple to obscure. In 1 Corinthians 6:7 Paul speaks of lawsuits between believers and says “Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?” It’s better to suffer injustice within the church, …

Our Hearts and Minds Turned Outward

Every coin has a head behind a tail, every die a 6 behind a 1, every stamp a sticker behind a face. And in much the same way, every technology has a virtue behind a vice, a benefit behind a drawback, something beneficial behind something sorely detrimental. The television that supplies important news also promotes vile entertainment, the engine that provides propulsion also produces pollution, the nuclear fission that powers a city also risks destroying that city. Such is life …

You Just Can’t Have It All

Charles Spurgeon said it. Billy Graham said it. And even though it’s not really all that funny anymore, most of us have probably said it as well. It goes something like this: “Don’t bother looking for the perfect church since, the moment you join it, it won’t be perfect anymore.” Zing! There’s truth behind the quote, of course. It would be impractical and, frankly, ridiculous to expect that a bunch of sinful people could join together to create a sinless …

Thank You, God, That I Am Not Like Other Men

Comparison comes as naturally to us as eating, breathing, laughing, weeping. From our youngest days we begin to compare ourselves to others and quickly find the old adage to be true: Comparison is the enemy of joy. Though we so readily compare ourselves with others, we discover that this fosters a deep unhappiness. What promises joy actually delivers misery. The reason is that comparison is intrinsically competitive, so that we don’t really want to be merely pretty, but prettier than …

Success Beyond What We Can Handle

I know many who long to make a mark in their field. I know writers who long to get that first contract and publish that first great novel. I know musicians who yearn to get noticed and get signed and get recorded. I know speakers who are convinced they could make their mark if only they could be invited to that first conference, deliver that first keynote, inspire that first audience. I know and admire many such people and often …

Have You Tasted Heaven?

A touching story from long ago tells of a young boy who lived in the distant reaches of the vast Canadian prairies. His family was impoverished, and parents and children alike had to labor day and night to prove their homestead claim. There was little time for anything beyond work, little money for anything beyond the barest essentials. They lived a harsh, rugged, hand-to-mouth existence. A day came when that boy’s father dispatched him to town to fetch supplies, so …