Showing posts from February, 2020

Mountaintop Moments

Maybe I’ve mentioned it before, but my wife and I lived and worked in South Korea for 18 months. It was a life-changing experience. Though it happened in 2000-2001, some of the moments I experienced remain fresh in my mind. One of my favorite things to do on the weekends was to take day-trips to Buddhist temples. These day-trips combined a couple important things – a unique and deep experience of the culture of the Korean people and an experience of the wonders and beauty of nature. Why the latter? Because temples in Korea and in East Asia in general are most always in the mountains. The monks and nuns training and practicing meditation and quietude need a contemplative and quiet environment. Mountain tops provide that. My favorite Buddhist temple to visit and I visited it a couple times was a temple called Keumsan. It is in the mountain range in the southwest of the peninsula. I remember Keumsan temple most fondly because it hosted one of the most peaceful moments I’ve ever

Live at Apollos'... and Love Your Enemy

  I begin this morning with letting you in on the trade of sermon writing. It is an essential trade of the minister, and each minister does it a little differently. Some read and some work off notes. Some ministers look ahead and have their sermons planned out for the next few weeks. Some feel it better to be more flexible and responsive to present happenings, and don’t plan too far ahead. Some preachers begin writing the sermon or outlining the sermon on Monday. Some wait till later in the week though they are thinking about it throughout the week. Some even wait till Saturday to actually put the sermon down after pondering it the whole week. The minister of my childhood church didn’t write his sermons and hardly used notes, and he’d get up really early Sunday morning, take a prayerful walk, and he’d go through what he wanted to say. In other words, the trade of preaching is extremely diverse. Each preacher is different, and the tricks of their trade is very individual. Wh

Paul, the SBNR OG?

  There is a new label you may have heard. Ministers certainly know the new label. In fact, we deal with the reality the label points to all the time. That label refers to people who are otherwise spiritual but are not actively involved in a church or any religious organization. In fact, they will often rail against organized religion. The label has become so common it has been shortened to an acronym – SBNR. The spiritual but not religious. SBNRs. We all know folks who fit the description. Maybe some of you feel an affinity with such folks or maybe would even accept the label yourself. What’s for sure, SBNR’s are growing in number, far outpacing folks claiming a specific religion or church. Now, there is some credence for the idea of being spiritual but not religious in the scriptures, but with a very specific idea of what it means to be spiritual. What it means to be spiritual according to the scriptures is what I’d like to discuss today. I’d like to b