Lent and the Gospel of Suffering

by Deacon Lyn Baker In the popular mind, Lent is associated with penitence. There is a tradition of “giving up” something we enjoy. In my case, this is definitely food. On Ash Wednesday this year, I decided that I would fast for the noon meal. This is not heroic, I know. By dinnertime I was ravenous. As I ate the chicken noodle soup, my whole body relaxed in gratitude. I was more grateful than ever for the gift of food….

If We Only Know Scripture as a Text, We Don’t Know it at All

by Dustin+ Messer, All Saints Dallas If we want to be formed in the faith, we’ll need to know Scripture. More to it, we’ll need to know Scripture as Scripture. Because if we only know Scripture as a text—a thing that we read individually, rationalistically and with modern eyes—we actually don’t know it at all. In his book The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies, Michael Legaspi skillfully shows that the Enlightenment attempted to fit the Bible…

31 Bible Reflection Tips

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Psalm 119:18 1. Emphasize: Pause on each word of a verse, emphasizing it as you read it, and unpack it. (“I have stored up your word …”: personally accountable, deliberate, not dependent on others. “I have stored up your word …”: habitually, ongoing.) 2. Pray, Read and Pause: Pray. Then start reading until the Holy Spirit causes you to pause and reflect. 3. Opposites: Consider the opposite…

Focusing on Christ’s Victory During Lent: Helpful Tools

by Jason+ Radcliff There are certain tools I have found to be particularly helpful in focusing on Christ’s victory in my own life during the season of Lent. It is important to start small. For example, denying myself a second cup of coffee in the morning reminds me that it is God who gives me strength, not caffeine! Fasting can be a particularly meaningful way to intentionally remind myself that God provides for me. Whether it be the full Lenten…

Relying on Christ’s Victory in Lent

by Jason+ Radcliff In his classic introduction to the “ascetic” or spiritually disciplined life in his book Way of the Ascetics, Tito Colliander says: “The holy Fathers [and Mothers] say with one voice: The first thing to keep in mind is never in any respect to rely on yourself. The warfare that now lies before you is extraordinarily hard, and your own human powers are altogether insufficient to carry it on. If you rely on them you will immediately be…

Lent Fasting for a Changed Heart

by Ron+ McCrary, All Saints Dallas Lent can be the most spiritually transformative season in the Christian year because of its tight focus on employing powerful spiritual disciplines. Confession, solitude and silence, as well as added devotional practices, are just a few. Fasting has had dramatic effects on my journey of transformation of character into the likeness of Christ. But first, a word of caution:

For You This Christmas

By Mark+ Browne, Rector of Christ Church in Midlothian, Virginia I would like you to think of the person here on earth who is the most precious to you. For me it is my wife, Yolie. Now, if you are an animal lover or pet owner, think of the most precious pet you ever had. I think for me it was our golden Labrador, Ronan. In terms of value, how many Ronans do you think Yolie is worth to me? An…

Stewards of God’s Gifts

By Bishop Sandy Greene, Interim Senior Pastor at Grace Northridge, San Antonio Soon after I joined the staff of Grace Northridge as a volunteer in 2012, I was delighted to experience a team-building retreat led by the Rev. Terry Walling. Though there was discussion about many things, I remember best the way that Terry had each of us take the CliftonStrengthsFinder test. He then proceeded to instruct us as to how we might forge ourselves into a strong gospel ministry…

The Value of Prophetic Ministry

By Dave+ Larlee, Vicar of All Saints Dallas I was recently talking to someone who hadn’t attended church since childhood. After inviting them to attend an Alpha course, their answer gave me pause. “Why would I attend church? I already know what’s wrong with me.” I pivoted, changed my approach and offered to pray for them. As I invited the Spirit of God to bless them, I had a very faint sense that they had a gift to bring beauty…

All In

By Robert+ Cook, Rector of St. Andrew’s Church of Little Rock The other day I was eating lunch with a friend at Big Orange, my favorite burger joint in Little Rock. After finishing our meal, my friend commented that I did not eat all that was on my plate. I then remarked that he did a good job finishing off his hickory-smoked burger topped with onion strings and fries, and he quickly responded by saying, “Robert, you know I’m all…