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Friday December 15th 2017

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‘Relationship’ Archives

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 [...]

This Is My Father’s World

This Is My Father’s World

It seemed to me at the time that I had stumbled upon the Last Homely House. And once I’d arrived there, I never wanted to leave. That is…until I got a look inside. As much as the natural world outside the house seemed like Elrond’s Rivendell, the inside felt more like Gollum’s hellish cave. The current resident kept it very dark. Blankets over windows, few lights, low ceilings. The house reeked with the smell of cigarettes and dog urine. The walls were murky, the tile and [...]

The Last Homely House

The Last Homely House

It seemed to me at the time that I had stumbled upon the Last Homely House. That rainy, misty day, I wandered in my car like Tolkien’s Bilbo on his way to Rivendell. Upward through the North Carolina mountains, around one bend and still another, finally making a slow decent, I found this small stone-wood-built, 50-year-old house above 4,000 feet. The property that day was deep within a rain cloud. Surrounded by close-knit Smoky Mountain peaks, it seemed to float upon a lofty, mystic [...]

Kindness Is Leadership

Kindness Is Leadership

It occurred to me this morning: many of us don't feel like we're called to be leaders and feel a bit insecure when being asked to step up as a leader. However, one area where we're all called to leadership is kindness. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think kindness can be performed without leadership. You can't be passive and be kind. You can't just react to things. You can't just wait for things to happen to you. You certainly can't be kind if you're waiting around for others to be [...]

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 [...]

The Ring Of Truth

The Ring Of Truth

In slumber, I sleep In a stupor, I stoop In the sacred, I soar I recently applied for a part-time administrative job at the local zoo. I love animals. Some tell me I love animals more than people. That probably depends on the animal. Or the person. Because I love animals, I debated whether working at a zoo wouldn’t trouble my conscience. The jury’s still out on this for me, but the argument that these creatures are being raised outside their natural habitat does trouble me. Our [...]

Embrace What Matters – The Book Is Here!

Embrace What Matters – The Book Is Here!

About The Book It's said that as human beings, we spend about a third of our lives asleep. But, too many of us spend the rest of our lives in a type of waking sleep, held captive by the bonds of distraction. The shiny trinkets of entertainment and materialism, the prisons of anxiety and brokenness: these hypnotize our souls into a resigned stupor, where we assume we're living day-to-day, but are never truly alive. The book 365 Devotions To Embrace What Matters Most is less a Bible study [...]

Between Keith And The Nuns

Between Keith And The Nuns

There is a mystery to belonging. I'm usually reminded of this early on Sunday mornings. I bought one of those clock alarms with a CD player so you can wake up to the music of your choice rather than some annoying radio station or a loud buzzer. (more…)

Recreational Vehicles

Recreational Vehicles

Previously, I wrote about our pursuit of the American Dream, its pros and cons, and how most view it as improving yourself economically, owning your own home, building a retirement nest-egg, etc. But, perhaps the most compelling symbol for those who've achieved the American Dream is embodied in just two letters: RV. (more…)

What’s Your Working Relationship?

What’s Your Working Relationship?

The precious possession of a man is diligence. -- Proverbs 12:27 Do you like what you do? According to recent surveys, most Americans don't. Most of us are unhappy and wishing we were somewhere else. Some of us are lazy. Others are unchallenged. Some can't get along with our co-workers. Others have a mean boss or feel under-appreciated for all they do. In truth, understanding our relationship to work is a fundamental life-question, and if we're not happy with what we do, this might be a [...]

Growing Up Again

Growing Up Again

When I was very young and bursting with faith. "There exists in most men a poet who died young, while the man survived." -- Sainte-Beuve It is one of the gifts of life to me that, no matter how old we are, we're never far from the glory and imagery of childhood. We, of course, spend perhaps a quarter of our life as children. Then, sometime soon after becoming adults (and sometimes before) many of us have children of our own and raise them into our middle years (and sometimes beyond). Our [...]

Social Networking & The Golden Rule

Social Networking & The Golden Rule

I've always loved the old Spaghetti Westerns. Clint Eastwood rides into some frontier town covered with dust, mystery, and rawhide testosterone. The Old West town he surveys is riddled with the oddest mix of characters: the snake-oil salesman bellows to anyone within shouting distance that he can cure all their ills; the preacher across the street shouts a solution (more…)

A Bittersweet Season

A Bittersweet Season

Like many, Christmas is by far my favorite time of year. There is a richness of life and color. Houses, trees and city streets seem to stand up a bit straighter as we all do when we put on our best clothes. The world shines a pregnant glow. The air grows cooler, and we imagine the warmth inside all those shops and homes with smoke-filled chimneys. (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…)

Freedom In Relationship

Freedom In Relationship

(Originally written just prior to the 4th of July) Jean Valjean was "a very dangerous man." That was the description written about him on the yellow passport he carried. After nineteen years of horrible imprisonment for the small crime of stealing a loaf of bread, he was set free. But, although now outside the prison walls, he knew he was still a prisoner, and the paper he carried proved that to all he encountered. (more…)