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Chenal This Week

Posted 1 week 22 hours ago
I have always liked this quote from Ronald Rolheiser's book, The Holy Longing. "It is not that we have anything against God, depth, and spirit. We would like these. It is just that we are habitually too preoccupied to have many of these show up on our radar screens. We are (often) more busy than bad, more distracted than non-spiritual, and more interested in the movie theater, the sports stadium, and the shopping mall and the fantasy life they produce in us than we are in church. Pathological busyness, distraction, and restlessness are major blocks today with our spiritual lives." 
Posted 2 weeks 22 hours ago

     Lives that desire ongoing transformation require regular examination. On Sunday we studied the spiritual discipline called the Prayer of Examen. The idea behind this exercise is that we practice regular times of reflection to weigh what is important in our day, our week, and our life. For the next week, try to set aside 10 minutes at lunch or before you go to bed to practice this exercise.

Posted 3 weeks 22 hours ago
The book of Jonah has always been connected to a whale and rightfully so. The whale is certainly an interesting element to this classic Old Testament story. In the second chapter, the main character is swallowed into the belly of a large fish in connection with his rejection of God's command to go to Nineveh. This is where I used to end my interpretation of the book of Jonah; if one rejects God's command, bad things will happen to them. Although that is a lesson that can be taken from the book, it is certainly not the overall intent.
Posted 4 weeks 22 hours ago
In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth describes having a conversation with Dan Chambliss. He is a sociologist who spent 6 years studying world-class, Olympic swimmers. He put together a landmark study on expertise, and among his findings, talent played a part, of course, along with lots of thoughtful practice.
Posted 1 month 5 days ago
Many of us have heard a marvelous piece of music played on the piano (or some other instrument) and thought to ourselves, "I wish I could play that." But the reality is we don't. Not really. What we wish is that we could play the instrument without ever practicing the instrument. If we wanted to play, the first step and the ongoing steps are to practice. We can't just try in the moment. We have to train.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
As the gulf coast and Caribbean region deal with the devastation following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, I can't help but think of Paul's reminder from Romans 8. Here Paul informs us that all creation is groaning under the curse of sin, eagerly awaiting God's redemption and new creation. Sadly, while acts of nature continue to prove incredibly destructive, scripture and history remind us that it is human nature that consistently proves to be our greatest threat. We can be our own worst enemy. We know what it's like to long "to be released from sin and suffering" (Rom. 8:29).
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago
In Mark 2 we are exposed to a beautiful story of friendship. The story begins with Jesus visiting a home and starting to preach. As the crowds increase the crowds overflow out of the house into the street. If one wanted a way to see Jesus, they would have to find another entry point. As Jesus was preaching, debris started to fall from the roof eventually opening enough to see man being lowered down by four men. These men have carried this man on a mat because he is paralyzed and there is hope for healing. But these men are not strangers.
Posted 1 month 3 weeks ago
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes (Psalm 118:22-23). Psalm 118 is a celebration of the salvation and deliverance of God. The enemies of the psalmist see him as little more than garbage. The image in v. 22 is of stonemasons searching for stones to build a grand building. Each stone is unique in its own way. The masons come across one they think is worthless, so they reject it. But God, as he so often does, takes the humble and exalts them. God takes the sinful and redeems them.
Posted 2 months 3 days ago
There has been a lot of heartbreaking, blood boiling bigotry, hatred, and racism in our country, and this kind of sin has been a tragic part of our history from the beginning. Racism has never gone away. It evolves and changes. Sometimes it's shouted in public. Sometimes it moves in the shadows and is whispered in polite company, but the impact is still there.
Posted 2 months 1 week ago
As a nation, and indeed our world, we celebrate and venerate the stories of the self-made, rags to riches rise from humble beginnings to fortune and fame. In sports we like the story of the walk-on in college who becomes a starter. We like the Tom Brady types who are overlooked, drafted in late rounds, or undrafted, only to go on to great success. In entertainment, we enjoy hearing about the singer who was discovered while singing at the mall, or the famous actor who was first discovered while working at the fast food joint.