LIVING IN HARMONY – The world is spinning seemingly out of control. Divergence not diversity is the theme. Lies trump truth. Pain and hurt, shame and guilt abound. Vile comments, pictures, and behaviors sear our souls. Violence and human misery cause our hearts to despair. How can we live in these times? What can we do to share the mind of Christ in 2018? The word that floated into my mind as I pondered how to live faithfully in today’s world is HARMONY. Watch for this series of posts beginning in January, 2018 for ideas on how to live in harmony in 2018.
LIVING THE SERENITY PRAYER – The Serenity Pyer has a long and mysterious history. The first three lines were made popular by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 -1971), as part of a 1834 lecture. The modern prayer is several lines longer. In 1941 the prayer was noticed and later adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous. Over the past 60 years the prayer has gone far beyond AA boundaries. It is especially instructive for anyone longing to be an apprentice of Jesus. For eight Sundays, (November 6 -Sunday, December 24), this blog will feature one phrase or cluster of phrases from this beautiful prayer per week. I hope this series will create motivation and direction in the new year.
THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE – During the Vietnam War, peace activist A. J. Muste (1885-1967) stood in front of the White House night after night with a candle – sometimes alone. A reporter interviewed him one evening as he stood there in the rain. “Mr. Muste,” the reporter said, “do you really think you are going to change the policies of this country by standing out here alone at night with a candle?” A.J. responded, “Oh, I don’t do this to change the country, I do this so the country won’t change me.” And with Muste’s example in our hearts, we have begun a new series of occasional posts (both mine and guest bloggers) on how we can light a candle of hope in 2017.
EVERY FAMILY’S STORY (Luke 15) – The story of “the man with two sons” is the essence of the gospel. It is a simple story, really, replayed throughout history and replicated every day in urban centers, small towns, and rural areas. A father is raising two sons. The elder son is responsible, obedient, and hardworking. The younger son longs long to leave home and explore the freedom in the world “out there.” The father loves both sons, even though they sorely try his patience.
This story is often called the story of the “prodigal” son, but as Tim Keller has famously shown us in the book The Prodigal God, it is really the story of a prodigal father – a man whose love is big enough to encompass the failings of both sons. How does this story affect my life and yours in 2017?
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL FORMATION? If you are interested in the general topic of Spiritual Formation, you might want to check out 14 entries I have written for the Daily Devotional booklet, Words of Hope (from February 1, 2016 to February 14. You can find them online on the Words of Hope website (If the link is broken, here is the address: woh.org/word/devotionals/) As usual, these are my very personal reflections about how a belief system needs to be supported by a personal, intimate relationship with God and training to become more like Jesus. Perhaps they will be helpful to you.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS – Current statistics: The livingasapprentices blog has been viewed over 40,000 times by viewers in 144 countries around the world. If you have been blessed by this blog, please recommend it to your friends: www.livingasapprentices.com
Visit THE BEST OF LIVING AS APPRENTICES page on the menu line on the home page of the blog. Since this blog is now home to more than 700 posts, it’s time to regularly bring back some of the best posts from the past. The term “best” is not determined by vote or views; I’m the judge and executioner. My goal is to list what I think are the most significant posts that represent the concept of living as apprentices of Jesus.