July 18th, 2021
Often difficult events in life can turn into uplifting, even funny moments. I look at the Book of James and the author's command to use "troubles" as a reason to find "great joy." I use a situation where a graduate student from France accused me of hating French people as a stepping stone toward examining this passage from James.
July 13th, 2021
I had a very short Boy Scout career - because I used dynamite to blow up a hillside at a Scout jamboree. I use this story to talk about how a Christian should use their spiritual ears to listen to God. We don't have the benefit that the Old Testament Prophets had: we do not hear an audible voice from God. But if we take our time and use a disciplined approach to praying, we can hear God's voice through our spiritual ears.
July 8th, 2021
When my father's mother, who was a Portuguese speaker, was near the end of her life, she gave me her prized possession, her childhood ceramic-and-leather, hand-painted doll. I use it as a vehicle to talk about giving.
July 3rd, 2021
The New Testament does not tell us how Paul died. It also does not answer one of the biggest mysteries of the Bible: Did Paul, as he had hoped, ever make it to Spain, to the edge of their known civilized world? I discuss the evidence surrounding this question, and I relate this question to the corrupt world in which we live. In particular, I talk about my life in the world of arrogant, pompous academics.
June 28th, 2021
In a second story about my time picking citrus as a kid, I use the generosity of the migrant workers I picked with to talk about generosity as a core characteristic of a true Christian. Using a brief tale about my mother, I also discuss the need we all have for our fellow people to acknowledge our kindness.
June 25th, 2021
Jesus taught us to protect those in need, those who are suffering, those who are in danger. God also sometimes will send someone into our lives to rescue us. I use a story about my time as a boy picking citrus with Mexican migrant workers to illustrate this lesson.
June 21st, 2021
I use a story about my mother and her efforts to make sure that I treated all people the same as a way of illustrating that back in ancient times, in biblical times, people were fighting the same moral battles we fight today. In fact, the Bible is certainly no less relevant today than it was thousands of years ago.
June 17th, 2021
I recently met with a man who had a severe form of cerebral palsy. He was ignored and unloved and uncared-for as a child, but he met a woman who deeply loved him. Then, she died. He was confronted with the task of dealing with her death. One of his biggest concerns was that he would not be able to visit her grave, given his disability. I helped him find a solution that would honor her.
June 10th, 2021
There is a story in the Bible where Jesus cures a disabled man. He does it so that the man will never become a victim again. I relate this story to a very elderly man who, very long ago, advised me to remember that I should allow myself to become a victim.
June 7th, 2021
I talked to a man who was dying of cancer. He had had a horrible childhood, filled with deprivation, insecurity and fear. But he had learned to truly trust God. He turned out to be the deepest and truest believer I have ever met.