Showing posts from 2009

Refocusing prayer

Eternal Father of my soul,
let my first thought today be of You,
let my first impulse be to worship You,
let my first speech be Your name,
let my first action be to kneel before You in prayer.

For Your perfect wisdom and perfect goodness:
For the love with which You love mankind:
For the love with which You love me:
For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life:
For the indwelling of your Spirit in my heart:
For the sevenfold gifts of your Spirit:
I praise and worship You, O Lord.

Yet let me not, when this morning prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of You. Rather from these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day; John Baillie (1886-1960)

Reaching for the Invisible God

Someday I hope to meet Philip Yancey. Not just shake his hand and get his autograph in one of his books, but to sit down and get to know him, for we are kindred spirits. He puts into words so many of the things that I think about and wonder about.

I've started reading his book, Reaching for the Invisible God (2000), and I've been enjoying it just as I've enjoyed so many of his other titles (What's So Amazing About Grace, The Jesus I Never Knew, and Disappointment With God being my 3 favorites).
The book is an attempt to explain what it really means to have a "relationship" with an invisible being. As an evangelical Christian I have heard the phrase "personal relationship with God" so many times, and used it so many times myself, that it can be easy to stop thinking about what exactly it means.

Yancey starts out by talking about how for his entire life he has struggled to "just believe", and that his experiences with Christians have made him …

Trials of Ted Haggard (part 3 - his kids)

I was really interested to hear the response of Ted's adult children to the revelations about their father. It was a bit uncomfortable to even listen to them describe how they felt hearing about their father's sexual struggles. But the big thing that his daughter said was that she felt...relief.

Relief?? Yes, relief. She shared how growing up as the daughter of this iconic person who always seemed to be so perfect in every way was a real burden to her. Thus, hearing that her father had fallen from that pedestal brought her a feeling of relief from feeling like she had to live up to that standard of perfection. In some strange way, learning that her father had made some incredible mistakes actually helped her to feel like she could actually have a real relationship with him.

And all the time, Ted Haggard had lived his life feeling like if he ever shared his struggles honestly with people he would not have been accepted. So he put a big false persona around who he really wa…

The Trials of Ted Haggard (part 2)

How should the church that Ted Haggard pastored for 20 years have handled the shocking revelations about their pastor? It is really difficult to imagine the personal pain that those men must have been feeling as they sorted through the myriad issues. But I think they got it wrong.

On the Oprah show it was explained that as part of Haggard's severance package he had to agree to move out of the state of Colorado and to never preach again. Although I think I can understand why they may have put those stipulations in the agreement, again, I think they got it wrong. To force him to leave his entire support network seems cruel. He may have decided he wanted to leave the area just to try and make a new start, but to require it of him? I know they were working through a process of helping him see counselors and helping his family get their counseling needs met, but how was he to be held up by his friends if he needed to be a state away?

More importantly, I think they really blew it when the…

The Trials of Ted Haggard (part 1)

A couple of nights ago Ted Haggard was on Oprah. Yes I watch Oprah sometimes.

You may remember Ted Haggard as the disgraced pastor of a mega church in Colorado Springs who was "outed" by a male escort for purchasing meth and for his involvement in homosexual behavior.

Here's the intro to the show from

New Life Church leader Ted Haggard was once one of America's most charismatic and powerful evangelical leaders, with an audience of more than 30 million people. Ted began counseling foreign dignitaries and consulting on a weekly basis with President George W. Bush. By 2005, Time magazine named him one of the most influential evangelicals in America.But no one—not even his devoted wife, five children and his Colorado Springs, Colorado-based congregation—suspected that Ted was paying an admitted male escort for crystal meth. In November 2006, Mike Jones publicly alleged he'd engaged in a three-year sexual relationship with the pastor, which Ted immediately …