Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

The Grateful Dad

GSU BrochureLittle did I know how a lunch at Dreamland BBQ would set off a series of moments that would significantly alter the life of our son. It simply started as two friends enjoying some pulled pork and ended with….well, it hasn’t ended.

Jim Barber, of M3 Companies, was the tenant representative for our insurance firm. He had brokered a great deal for our lease, and thereafter I often called on him to assist with reviewing charges from the landlord and other tenant surprises that made their way to my desk. Jim and I developed a friendship that extended beyond business. Our friendship led to occasional lunch meetings at Dreamland where we shared business, faith, family and college football; It didn’t matter he favored “War Eagle” and I, “Roll Tide.”

On this particular day as we were sharing updates on our family, I casually mentioned how my son appeared to be losing his zeal for school. As a sophomore at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta, Seth had recently conveyed he was having a difficult time staying motivated in his pursuit of a major in Hospitality. He wasn’t getting much direction, wasn’t sure what classes he needed to take and was feeling lost. I “happened” to share Seth’s frustration with Jim. Who surprised me by saying, “I’ll mention it to Diana.” Diana was Jim’s wife and, unbeknown to me, “happened” to be a full-time Senior Lecturer at the School of Hospitality Administration at GSU. College—life!–would never be the same for Seth.

The Tipping Point

I remember the excitement in Seth’s voice as he phoned to tell me about his conversation with Dr. Barber. Suddenly he had a renewed interest in school and was excited about Hospitality. Dr. Barber explained which courses he needed and how to get the best out of his time at GSU. Continue reading

Why Persistent Prayer Is So Difficult

Most of my blog posts are a personal reflection of something I am learning, experiencing or with which I am struggling. The latter fits this post. I’ve recently admitted to myself, and God, that my prayer life is nearing extinction. I pray throughout the day, but the fervor and the dedicated times of prayer have waned. I’ve found myself needing to go back to training camp for a refresher on the basics of living a life that honors God. Prayer, persistent prayer, is one of these basics.

sharkThe Shark Who Gave Up

There was a study I remember from my psychology class in college that left an indelible impression upon me. A shark was put into one side of a tank which was divided by a clear glass panel. On the other side of the tank was a school of smaller fish—a perfect dinner for the shark. The shark would dart toward the fish, but each time it would ram its nose into the glass barrier. The shark tried and tried again. Each time it scurried toward a fish it would abruptly hit the glass. Finally, the shark gave up and quit darting toward the smaller fish. What happened next in the study is truly fascinating. Continue reading

A Selfish Prayer?

On my way to work this morning I asked myself a perplexing question.  It was a question anyone else would think stupid, not perplexing. The only thing you would find perplexing is that I found it perplexing. The answer is so abundantly obvious, why would anyone bother asking it. It was along the lines of, “Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?”  Duh!  But I asked it anyway.

Because my car radio was dead, I had some additional time during my commute to think…and pray. The last few days I had been convicted of my lack of prayer for my children and, therefore, I was busy catching up on prayer along Pleasant Hill Road. Then came the question: Is it selfish to pray for MY kids?  Wait! Let me explain the question.

Is it selfish to pray for MY kids?

There are billions of children around the world. Therefore, should I care more about MY four kids than any of these other children?  Just because they are MY kids, should I Continue reading

Does the Bible Downplay Physical Exercise?

BodyBuilderShould Christians put much effort into physical exercise? The question is prompted by a perplexing phrase in the Bible.

The church our family attended when I was young used the Old English translation of the Bible known as the King James Version, (KJV).  The KJV translated the phrase this way, “For bodily exercise profiteth little.”* Therefore, we could conclude the Bible downplays the value of physical exercise. But does it?

If the Bible deemphasizes physical exercise then many of us have a problem.

I am a proponent of physical exercise. As a member of the Metro-Atlanta YMCA, I regularly engage in “bodily exercise”—and my current level of Platinum, earned by workout points, evidences my commitment. I also have a drawer overflowing with t-shirts earned from running races. And hanging on a wall are medals that were gently placed around my neck after crossing the finish lines of marathons. My passion for wellness is further evidenced by my Raving Wellness Blog and periodic presentations on corporate wellness.  I believe in physical exercise. Yet, is there a conflict for me and others who profess an adherence to the Bible and who are also committed to physical exercise? Continue reading

I’ve Got the Power

PowerManIt wasn’t that it was written in some magnificent prose. Nor was it some new revelation for me. I know this stuff. At least I say I know it. I’ve even taught it. But there was something about reading it this time that nailed my conscience.

For the last couple of days I have been reading through Alicia Britt Chole’s Anonymous. It had been recommended by Kevin Myers at 12Stone, a church that warmly welcomed us on our August Sunday morning visit.

Chole writes about those seasons in our lives where we are out of the limelight and our purpose appears to be nil. She calls it the “hidden years” and likens it to the years leading up to Jesus emerging on the scene and coming to John the Baptist to be baptized. Jesus’ life had been “hidden” for nearly two decades. No messages. No miracles.  No visible example of how to live.

Using these silent years of Jesus as a springboard, Chole aims to show the purpose and value in these hidden seasons and how to respond in the midst of the dark days of apparent insignificance. This is what she writes: Continue reading

Faith as Therapy?

Why would I as an evangelical Christian who professes the uniqueness of Christ agree with Dan Buettner when he writes, “It doesn’t matter if you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindi.”

For those who know me, hearing that I concur with a statement such as this would be shocking. Some would think I had lost my faith. Yet, I do agree with Buettner on this statement because of the context in which he writes it.

Dan Buettner is the author of The Blue Zones, a New York Times Bestseller. The Blue Zones is a book providing “lessons for living longer from the people who’ve lived the longest.” The research is conducted among four groups of the people who have a significantly higher percentage of inhabitants living to be centenarians, (100 years of age or older). The four Blue Zone communities are found in the Barbagia region of Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, Continue reading

When Worship and Praise is Shelved

Can Christians be honest in admitting that praise is absent?

Chris Tomlin sings a song that has grabbed the core of my heart. While the lyrics of “I Lift My Hands” speak of God’s love, mercy, & faithfulness, it is a repeated refrain within the song that seizes me. It’s not the talk of God as our strength or refuge or healer—which can be found in the song—but this:

I lift my hands to believe again.

What? Believe again? Could it possibly mean that we once believed and now –DOUBT? Did we once lift our hands in worship and glorious praise only to now stand with wilted head and dangling hands in our pain, doubt and disbelief? Continue reading