I’m going to start a new fad to replace an old fad. The old fad is the bracelet WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). That phrase, What Would Jesus Do?, actually comes from a novel written in 1896 by Kansas minister, Charles Sheldon. The title of the novel was In His Steps: What would Jesus do? In it, a town is revolutionized when Christians “pledge themselves, earnestly and honestly for an entire year, not to do anything without first asking the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’”.… Almost 100 years later, in 1989, a youth leader in Holland, Michigan, read the book with her youth group. The youth leader, Janie Tinklenberg, hired a local printing couple to make 300 “friendship bracelets” with the letters WWJD on them. She asked members of her youth group to give them away and wear them for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days more bracelets were needed. Then, someone much more cunning then Janie, saw the bracelets, made their own versions, and marketed them nationally, making lots of money. By the time Ms. Tinklenberg tried to register WWJD as her trademark, it was too late. Ironic, isn’t it? I don’t think stealing someone’s idea and making money on it is something Jesus would do.
My idea, and I guess I need to get started on the trademark, is to make another bracelet, but this time, instead of WWJD on it, have WWJP—What would Jesus pray? It’s an interesting question, and one the disciples asked. Think about that for a moment. Out of all the things Jesus said and did, and out of all the questions His disciples could have asked, the one question they did ask was, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). It’s an interesting question because Jesus’ first disciples were Jewish. They had been brought up in the synagogue, and in the synagogue schools. They knew their Old Testament. They had been praying their entire life. They knew the words to say. They knew the ritual of prayer. But they knew there was something different about Jesus’ prayers and how He prayed and what He prayed, and so they asked, “Teach us how to pray and what to pray.” Continue reading
It’s always harder to do right and easier to do wrong. But what is really difficult is choosing the better over the good. In other words, often, we can get stuck doing what is good and miss out on what is better. This is a difficult lesson to learn!
For example: Ice cream is good, but yogurt is better for you. Eating steak and potatoes is good, but it would be better to eat more vegetables and a salad…every once in a while. Not acting out on your anger is good, but reaching out to the other person in love, and performing an act of kindness, is even better. Staying busy is good, but using your time wisely is better.
You get the idea. Continue reading
Five days a week, from 1963 until August 31, 2001, Mr. Fred Rogers (an ordained Presbyterian minister), entered living rooms across the United States through a trolley for a thirty-minute television program entitled, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. For more than three decades, Mr. Rogers talked to preschool children (and their parents) about competition, divorce, war, peace, anger, loneliness, and even the death of a pet goldfish. Weekly, he would look straight into the camera and say to children, “I like you just the way you are.” You probably don’t remember anything I have ever said, but I bet most of you, right now, have the image in your mind of Mr. Roger’s walking into his house, hanging up his suit coat, and putting on his cardigan sweater, while singing, “Won’t you be my neighbor.” Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I had an interesting and inspiring talk with a guy who has been in a maximum security prison, locked up 23 hours a day for a violent crime. He has been at this particular prison for over 20 years. He told me about his faith in God, and then he showed me something he had written years ago. It was his statement of faith, based on filing a court document. I asked him if I could share this with you, and so he copied it (by hand) and gave me a copy the next time I saw him. I think it is great, and worth sharing. So, please share this with as many people as possible. Also, if you don’t mind, write this guy a word of encouragement in the comments. I told him I would share with him the comments that people make after reading this.
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My friend from a maximum security prison, Ryiee, gave me another poem. Please keep Ryiee in your prayers as he struggles to grow in his faith.
The title of the poem is “God’s Grace Sets the Pace.”
It’s so easy to let this life beat us down
I speak from miseries I’ve sown into the ground
I’ve reaped so much strife I thought I’d drown
From these agonies that I’ve known, this I’ve found Continue reading
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, studying, reading, teaching, and writing about the Church lately. In fact, I am working on a book about the Church. I hope to have it completed by the end of the year. I don’t have a publisher yet, so, if you are interested in helping me with that, let me know.
In addition to thinking about the Church, my mind has also been on the state of our country during this presidential election year. So, what I am writing about in this post is me thinking out loud about something. I have not reached a definitive conclusion about it yet, but I am close. I would really appreciate your input. Am I on the right track or have I gone completely off the rails? Continue reading