Prayer: Give Me or Take Me?


I have had the opportunity to observe Buddhist culture a couple of occasions when I have taught college courses in Thailand. The overtness of Buddhist devotion was something new to me. It was not uncommon to encounter a shrine to Buddha where people were praying, chanting, and offering incense, or rubbing gold leaf onto an … [Click to read more …]

Discipleship and Prayer – Hit the Mark


She seems an unlikely character for this week’s discussion on discipleship and prayer. Throughout her story as recorded in the Gospel of John, prayer is not once mentioned. She is not one of the many who came seeking Jesus for miraculous healing from some incurable illness. As a matter of fact, she didn’t even initially … [Click to read more …]

The Prodigal Son Is In Good and Regular Standing


Whenever the subject of the prodigal son comes up, we picture a young person who has lost his way. We use this story, and rightly so, to show the dangers of a life of aimless, godless living. For many mothers and fathers this story gives hope to the day that their own “prodigal” child returns … [Click to read more …]

02: Discipling Through Metaphor

Hands of Jesus Holding Pearl

Seven miles had never appeared as long as they did that day. Just a few days before, the two friends had expected that their journey home would be joyful and full of good memories. But instead of recounting tales of fellowship and feasts, they were downcast and sad. Unexpected tragedy had replaced all celebration. Now … [Click to read more …]

Filling the Empty Chair

Maybe you’ve experienced something like this: You are talking with someone when suddenly they openly yawn and look at their watch. How did you interpret those actions? Can you remember how you felt at that moment? Were you hurt? insulted? enraged? How did you react? How do you wish you had reacted? What about this: … [Click to read more …]

Discipling or Cloning?

Oct. 4 006

While living in Texas I was taking a Texas history class at a community college. In writing a paper for class, I mentioned a political figure who was assassinated. I contrasted the pomp and circumstance of his funeral with the plain funeral of the man who killed him and was killed shortly after. I pointed … [Click to read more …]

01: Disciples and Scripture

This was more than he bargained for. It started out innocently enough, but now things had taken an unexpected direction. With sincerity he had asked the question to which his mind desperately needed an answer. His question, though sincere, was also a potential trap the religious leaders were hoping to use to justify their malice … [Click to read more …]

Crime and Punishment

Image © Jeff Preston from

When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. Ecclesiastes 8:11 NLT Several years ago I was studying with a family, while the wife’s father had a stroke and was in the hospital. I went to see him and arrived literally moments after he had passed away. The family … [Click to read more …]