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Thursday April 19th 2018

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‘Meaning’ Archives

Hope Tempered With Tears

Hope Tempered With Tears

Back when I was being trained for pastoral counseling, the spirit of this verse was often emphasized: “Like vinegar poured on a wound, so is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” (Proverbs 25:20) In counseling, you’re taught a lot about listening, about empathy, but as much as anything, you’re taught not to tell a person in the pit of suffering: “The sun will come out tomorrow!” Most of the time, that’s not what they need to hear. They mostly need you to join them in their [...]

8 Questions: Why Spiritual Self-Examination Matters (sermon audio)

8 Questions: Why Spiritual Self-Examination Matters (sermon audio)

Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Jesus once said that his disciples would know the truth, and that the truth would set them free. This sermon asserts that the truth we’re encouraged to know isn’t just the truth about God, but also the truth about ourselves. With as much honesty as we can muster, we must ask: Who am I? Why am I here? What do I want? Is there a difference between what I say I want and how I’m living my life? What does [...]

In Defense of Feel-Good Movies, Cheesy Melodramas, and Happy Endings

In Defense of Feel-Good Movies, Cheesy Melodramas, and Happy Endings

I recently completed another viewing of the television show, Downton Abbey. Lasting six seasons, it’s a melodrama about British high-society and servant life set in the early 1900s. I’ve watched it a few times and am always pleasantly flummoxed by how the show ends. It’s not just a happy ending, but one of the happiest of endings. Every couple in the story is either married off or at least forecast to be married. Virtually every loose end is tied and every conflict resolved. What [...]

My Head Is Bowed

My Head Is Bowed

My head is bowed. Not because I’m praying, but because I don’t want to trip over an unseen rock or protruding root. However, I don’t want to miss the larger view either. I want to look up as much as down. Which, is a good thing. I like this trail. It has natural variation in its straight paths and uphill grades. It moves from the deep embrace of forest to expansive views of the lake. It has a variety of flowers, plants, and trees. It’s long enough to challenge me and short enough [...]

Engage

Engage

It’s 28 degrees, but I’m not feeling it. Ok, I’m bundled up with my winter coat and knit cap, but I’m sitting when I should be moving and am still unaffected by the cold. My dog is at my feet, content to watch meandering cars go by. We’re stationary this morning on a sidewalk of brick, surrounded by quilting and chocolate shops, stores selling crafts and scrumptious food and drink. The light poles are wrapped with Christmas pine, ribbons, lights, and ornaments. Just beyond the [...]

Stop in the Name of Love!

Stop in the Name of Love!

We so often look for God's will on where we should go with our lives. But what about the times we need to stop? My sermon examines Acts 16:6-12 when God told Paul to stop. It reflects on how this account might apply to our own approach to sharing the Gospel with others and to our lives in general. *************************** About John Michalak An author, speaker, musician, and minister, John Michalak has spent more than 20 years equipping others in the areas of life-change and [...]

Minding Your Ps…

Minding Your Ps…

No need to tell you where I was, but it was wonderful. It was high summer and I was on vacation, visiting a location I had been many times before. The sun was setting, I was alone, standing on a quiet country road at the head of an expansive bean field. The crop was low and plush, and you could see all the way to the end. The fading sunlight had been replaced by (more…)

Life Is Relationship

Life Is Relationship

Have you ever heard of Viktor Frankl? He was an author and psychotherapist who died about 9 years ago at the age of 92. Among his other accomplishments, he wrote a great book called Man's Search For Meaning. This book begins by showing the way Dr. Frankl would start out his therapy (more…)