December 20, 2015

A New Look for a Christmas Pageant

The annual Trinity Church Christmas Pageant was always eagerly anticipated by the congregation and the children who were involved. Mrs. Andrews, the director for thirty years, knew precisely how the Pageant must be performed for it to be perfect.  

That’s why she suspected that an angel descending on a wire from the church balcony when the shepherds appeared on stage was not a good plan, but the idea was promoted by the pastor, and she couldn’t say no. 

A few days before the performance, the pastor tested his idea, and when he discovered the angel moved too slowly down the wire, he put several  hymnals inside the hollow cherub for extra weight. Unfortunately, he never took the time to test the heavier angel, and the night of the performance, it charged down the wire so fast, it nearly decapitated poor Joseph.

Then the time came for Mrs. Andrews to retire, and Sarah, young drama student from the local college took her place.

On the night of the Trinity Christmas Pageant under the new director, when Mary placed the baby Jesus in the manger, she was smiling from ear to ear, a look that replaced the pensive and sedate appearance Mrs Andrews had required for her Marys. Some people in the audience were surprised by Mary’s smile until they realized the mother of the Christ Child was displaying her genuine delight over her new born baby.

Then when the shepherds appeared, the children dressed as sheep who accompanied them wandered all over the sanctuary. Where were the disciplined sheep who followed Mrs. Andrews’ shepherds?

Some people in the congregation that night thought the Christmas Pageant was spoiled. Others thought Sarah’s new approach to the Christmas Story was perfect. Maybe it was even better than perfect. It was real.

December 9, 2015

What Happened to the Wise Men?

Christmas Eve will soon be here and on this holiest of nights on the Christian calendar, millions of people will attend church to welcome the arrival of God on Earth. Many of them will not return until Easter Sunday to worship the Risen Christ.

One of the most memorable Christmas Eve meditations I ever heard was delivered to a huge crowd of worshippers many of whom were not regulars. Some call them “Chreasters" because they only attend church on Christmas Eve and Easter.

Facing such a crowd on Christmas Eve, the pastor could have used the moment to preach a grand inspirational sermon that may have motivated some people to return in the weeks that followed.

Instead, the pastor waded in with an unforgettable message that was, in essence, a reprimand of the Chreasters present.

The sermon that night was about the wise men who came to worship Jesus after his birth and brought with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Their journey was long and arduous, but they were determined to find and honor the Messiah.

"And then," said the pastor, "They were never heard from again." As I recall he paused to let those words sink in, and as people squirmed in their pews,  some were undoubtedly thinking, "Is he talking to me?" and clearly the answer was, "Yes." 

I’ll never know the result of the pastor’s message that Christmas Eve, but I am certain that many people who came that night to be uplifted went away feeling they were scolded. But the pastor knew in his heart it was message that needed to be shared . . .  just as I believe it should be repeated here.




December 1, 2015

Jesus and a Flock of Canada Geese

Each fall and spring Canada Geese fly low over our house near Keuka Lake in Upstate New York. In the fall they fly south to Georgia and and Florida, and in the spring they fly back to Canada.

Recently, we watched a large flock of geese flying south when a few birds broke off and headed southwest. Then another small group left the main flock and headed east. Finally, one more small flock broke away and flew north.

By the time they passed out of view, what was one large flock of Canada Geese became four smaller groups flying in four different directions. Each group of snowbirds thought their leader knew best how to get to their winter habitat

Christians are taught to follow Jesus, trusting always in his message of love, compassion and forgiveness. But Satan, who Peter says is always nearby ready to devour us like a roaring lion, relentlessly tempts us to follow a different path.

Bolstered by our own arrogance and self pride, we strike out on our own, and the love, compassion and peace we knew as followers of Christ turns to discontent, envy, hate and self pity.

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” But beware! Satan is a powerful adversary who is unwavering in his quest to guide us in another direction.

November 5, 2015

God's Prompt

I served under Dr. G Wayne Glick when I was the Director of Admission at Franklin and Marshall College, and he was the Dean. When Wayne was called to be the President of Keuka College in Upstate New York, I served under him again as the Director of Communication and later, the Director of Admission.

Wayne Glick was a man of deep faith who prior to his career in college administration taught History of Religion and other courses on Theology. Wayne was also an exceptional teacher, administrator and public speaker.

Wayne loved baseball, and at one time, he was the baseball coach at Bridgewater College in Virginia. He was a Chicago Cubs fan since 1931, and like most Cubs fans, he never gave up on his team which hasn’t won a World Series since 1908. Wayne died on October 27, shortly after the Cubs lost the National League Championship to the New York Mets. I believe he hung on to life to see how far the Cubs would go.

When the Cubs were winning, I thought about calling Wayne to tell him how pleased I was for him. I didn’t. Then when the Cubs lost, I thought about calling him to express my condolences.  I didn’t. The next time I thought of Wayne it was when I was told that he had died.

In his book, The Ten Second Rule, Clare De Graaf suggests that when we are nudged by God to perform a kind deed, we should act on his prompt immediately before other voices begin to suggest all the reasons for delay.

I removed my “Ten Second Rule bracelet” sometime ago. Because of my missed opportunity to speak to an old friend and colleague, I am wearing it again.

October 28, 2015

Trusting in God

Joel was an active member of a small country church where members of his family worshipped for decades. His sweetheart, Stephanie, was a member of the same church, and after they were married, they worshipped together, taught Sunday School and served in various leadership roles.  They considered themselves good Christians, and members of their congregation agreed.

Shortly after their first child was born, Joel was diagnosed with cancer, and within a few months, he died. Despite the loss of her husband, Stephanie continued to attend church where she received the love and support of Pastor Julie and the entire congregation.

Then tragedy struck again, and the young mother was also diagnosed with cancer. When Pastor Julie heard the news, she immediately went to visit Stephanie who asked why God allowed such suffering in one family. “I don’t blame God for my distress, but why doesn’t he help me?” said Stephanie.

“We cannot know the ways of God,” said Pastor Julie. “We cannot understand why the Creator of the universe accepts Satan’s work without interfering, but I am confident your suffering is not the result of some sin you may have committed. Jesus paid for your sins on the cross.”

“Please don’t turn your back on God now,” implored Pastor Julie. “Now is the time to grow closer to God for in Him you will find the strength to endure your pain and your trials.  Through your suffering, God will reveal himself more profoundly than ever before in your life.”

“You have heard me speak often about God,” said Pastor Julie. “Go to Him now in your time of adversity, and you will come to know God,” she concluded. 
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”
Job 42: 5

October 14, 2015

Do You Have Anger Issues?

Recently, Pastor Judy of the Bluff Point United Methodist Church, had a message for the children that was totally appropriate for everyone regardless of age.

Pastor Judy invited the children to gather around her as she showed them a tube of toothpaste that was about two thirds used. Holding a small tub, she invited the children to take turns squeezing the tube of toothpaste until it was empty.

“Well done, children,” said Judy. “Now put the toothpaste back into the tube!”

Pastor Judy then suggested that like toothpaste out of the tube, words spoken in anger can never be recovered and may always be remembered.

I have had anger issues all of my life, and my outbursts have led to some of my most embarrassing moments. Though I have apologized many times and asked for forgiveness, my words may never be forgotten by those whom I offended, by the loved ones who heard my outburst and by me.

Because Nancy and I have been married more than sixty years, we are often asked for advice on how to maintain a happy relationship. Nancy always suggests that married couples should never go to bed angry.

Nancy is in good company. In a letter to the Church at Ephesus nearly two thousand years ago, Paul wrote:
“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”




September 28, 2015

Observations on Pope Francis’ Visit to the U. S.

One of Pope Francis’ eight titles is Vicar of Jesus Christ designating him as a representative, deputy or agent of Christ. He is the principal spokesman for Christ in the Catholic Church, and without a doubt one of the most admired Christians in the  world.

During his epic visit to the United States, the Pope was seen in person or on television by millions around the world. His message of love, forgiveness, mercy and service touched the hearts of people of all faiths. It may have even touched some atheists.

The Spirit of God is clearly evident in this son of an Italian immigrant who became the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. He is a charismatic and eloquent spokesman for Jesus Christ and his thoughts about goodness, truth and beauty were plain-spoken and unambiguous.

Pope Francis’ primary purpose for coming to the United States was to participate in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. With warmth and conviction, he challenged families to share little gestures of love and to be models of tenderness, affection and compassion.  He also referred to the family as, “the most beautiful thing God made.” 

Despite a rigorous schedule, the Pope always appeared to have a look of serenity and joy. He often spoke with great passion especially when he veered off his script. He addressed huge crowds, but he also found time to greet and embrace individuals, especially children and those who were physically or mentally challenged.

I am just one of the millions of people who were touched and moved by Pope Francis, his demeanor, his words and his love for Christ. At a time when our world is so fractured with war, idealogical differences and disagreements, Papa Francisco brought us together speaking as the Vicar of Jesus Christ.




September 5, 2015

A Life in the Presence of God

Long ago when I was a college admissions officer, I interviewed a student who proudly told me she wrote poetry. When I invited her to recite one of her poems for me, she responded with a verse about death which ended, “And when you are dead, you are stone cold dead.”

Recently, a  friend of ours for many years lost her mother at age 91. As followers of Christ, both our friend and her mother met the angel of death with stout hearts, believing in Jesus’ promise as recorded in the Gospel of John:
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
Both our friend and her mother were convinced that beyond this life there lies a heavenly kingdom and a life of beauty and peace and love; a life of reunion with loved ones; a life without sorrow, tears or pain; a life to be lived in the presence of God.

When she lived among us, our friend’s mother was surrounded by the wonders of God’s natural world which she loved and celebrated in poetry and song. Sadly, everything she admired and loved in this world is perishable. Now her eternal home is in a place where all life and everything beautiful is immortal. 

How do people who have no faith in the promises of Jesus endure the experience of losing a loved one? Without hope and faith, the depth of despair must be overwhelming.  For them, death is a cold space into which we are launched, and we are simply, “stone cold dead.”

Clearly, that’s not what our friend and her mother believed.


August 22, 2015

Comments on Our “Thought Life”

Our son, Doug, takes time every weekday to publish a meaningful quote which he forwards to friends, family and business associates.

A recent quote was written by Ralph Marston who has a website titled The Daily Motivator. The link is: http://greatday.com/nmot/ralph.html :
“Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something.”
Marston’s quote inspires us to concentrate on that which is satisfying and good in our lives. Although the writer  claims The Daily Motivator is not intended to be a religious publication, his quote reminds me of a passage in Paul’s letter to the church at Phillipi:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
In a world filled with conflict, negativity and discord, it is often difficult to follow Paul’s wise counsel, but thanks to people like Marston, we are reminded that one secret to happiness and joy is a “thought life”  that focuses on that which is pure, noble, worthy and optimistic.
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
                                                                   Anne Frank




August 6, 2015

Do you Need an Attitude Adjustment?

The American Psychological Association defines anger as, “An emotional antagonism toward someone or something you feel done you wrong.” In my case fits of rage have focused on things that won’t do what I expect them to do . . . like the weed eater that I hurled into the woods when it wouldn’t start or the radio I launched from the deck because it wouldn’t play.

I maintain that I have inherited what the family calls the Houck Temper gene which is a reference to my Grandpa Houck who was known to get angry with both people and things.

Franciscan Friar and ecumenical teacher, Richard Rohr tells a story about a monk with anger issues who lived in a monastery in the desert. Assuming that complete isolation and constant contemplation would enable him to conquer his ill temper, the monk moved to a cave to live in complete isolation.

One day he filled his earthen jug with water, and when he put it down, it fell over. He filled it again and it fell over again. After one more fill and fall, he picked up the jug and in a rage he threw it to the ground where it broke in many pieces.

Realizing that his anger problem had nothing to do with where he lived, he returned to the monastery and announced that his experiment with isolation failed. In his report to the monks, he might have used the words of Pogo who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

The only difference between someone who keeps his cool and someone who loses it is the loser settles for less than he can be.

From Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus, we read this passage about controlling our temper:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."
                     

                                                               Ephesians 4:31-32

July 27, 2015

Responding to Jesus’ Command

After Nancy retired as a teacher in the Penn Yan Central Schools, we bought a 23- foot trailer, hooked it up to our Explorer and visited much of the country each fall for several years. Everywhere we travelled, we looked for a church to attend on Sunday morning regardless of the denomination.

We had many good experiences, but we also visited several churches where we were ignored. We were not greeted or introduced. No one made us feel welcome.  We do remember one church in Williamsburg, Virginia where we were greeted by one person. He was another visitor.

In a recent Parable titled Faith and Courage, I quoted Pastor James McDonald from Walking World Ministries who reported that 4,000 churches close their doors every year and 3,500 people leave the church every day. 

Jesus final instructions to us, as recorded in Matthew, were: 
go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey  everything I have commanded you.”  
Congregations dwindle, in part, because they have ignored Jesus’ command  to make more disciples They disregard strangers, they fail to reach out to their lost sheep, and they no longer speak for Christ in their communities and around the world. 

July 13, 2015

Faith and Courage

I recently heard a young priest deliver a homily about courage. He began with a question, "Why did the turtle cross the road?" the answer was, “To get to the Shell Station." The priest suggested, “That took courage.”

The scripture that morning was from Mark and it referred to the evangelists Christ sent out in pairs to preach repentance, cast out evil spirits and heal the sick. They were instructed to take no money, no extra clothing or anything of value, only a staff and sandals. That took courage!

The priest spoke with obvious faith and passion, challenging the  congregation to find the courage to live a Christian life especially by reaching out to others in need around the world.

About 75 percent of Americans claim to believe in God, and many demonstrate their faith by reaching out to those in need by sharing their time, talents and resources.  Americans are consistently among the most generous people in the world. 

At the same time, the percent of Americans who demonstrate their faith by worshipping in religious services is rapidly declining.  Pastor James McDonald from Walking World Ministries recently reported that 4,000 churches close their doors every year and 3,500 people leave the church every day!

If you believe in God but you have developed a casual attitude about your faith, I urge you to demonstrate your conviction and your courage by reconnecting with a congregation of fellow disciples. 

June 30, 2015

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

2014 study by the Pew Research Center, reports, “. . . Americans are more ideologically polarized today than they have been in at least two decades.”

Based on my own experience, I believe Americans are definitely more polarized than we were fifty years ago, and unfortunately, dissenting views have often resulted in derision, contempt, disdain and even violence.

“Why can’t we all just get along?” Those are the words of Rodney King, who became well known after he was beaten by Los Angeles police in 1992.  

Psychologists suggest it is because we are emotional creatures, and we often respond to differences of opinion impulsively, imprudently and irrationally.

Jesus gave us a commandment we should follow when speaking with those whose views are at odds with ours. He said we must love one another as he loved us. Jesus’ commandment requires that we treat those with opposing views in a spirit of good will, kindness, respect.   

The Bluff Point United Methodist Church where Nancy and I worship is an example of a place where people with diverse views come together in a spirit of love and respect for each other.

If you haven’t discovered a place like Bluff Point, keep looking. There are churches like it all over the world.

June 22, 2015

Tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina


President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to the Japanese attack on PearlHarbor on December 7, 1941, as “A day that will live in infamy.” It is an appropriate  description of Dylann Roof’s murder of nine innocent people on June 17, 2015 at Charleston, South Carolina’s historic Emanuel AME Church.

And once again, we ask ourselves, “If God is so good, if God wants the best for us, if God’s loving hand is at work in the world, how could this happen?”

Clearly, it happened because children of God have free will and personal liberty. We are not puppets, and our individual freedom of choice allows us to pursue good in our lives and the lives of others or align ourselves with evil.

How shall we respond to the demonic act of one deranged individual? The members of the Charleston church provide an answer for those of us who are grieving. At the hearing for Roof, they offered words of forgiveness, and the following Sunday the worship service began with prayer and songs and a message of love, recovery and healing.

Love, recovery and healing . . . what a magnificent tribute, what a remarkable eulogy for those who lost their lives to ruthless evil!

In response to the Charleston tragedy, Christians will logically turn to scripture for solace . . . scripture such as Psalm 34, verse 18 which reads, “The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Millions of people have found comfort in a simple country song by Brooks and Dunn which speaks to the power of faith. Here is a link to a video of the song titled, Believe. Skip the ad.    Believe video by Brooks and Dunn

June 13, 2015

Kefir, Savasana and a Life with No Regrets

“Knowledge is the continuing discovery of one’s own ignorance.” Every day I surf the internet, I learn the truth of that statement.

I never heard of kefir until last month when our daughter introduced us to this powerful probiotic we probably should have been drinking most of our lives. A quick check on the internet, and I was overwhelmed with information about this yogurt on steroids called kefir.

Recently, we were introduced to an unfamiliar Yoga pose called Savasana. It requires lying on the back with arms and legs spread at about forty-five degrees.

On the internet, I read about a Yoga class where pupils were lying in Savasana when the teacher advised that it was a dress rehearsal for the day they die! That prompted reflection on what they might regret when that day comes:
I regret that I didn’t work longer and harder.
I regret that I didn’t have the nicest lawn in the neighborhood.
I regret that I didn’t save more money for this day.
I regret that I never saw Venice.
It’s doubtful that any one of us would have such thoughts. More than likely, we will feel remorse that we didn’t love enough.

Jesus knew that loving others would lead to a life with no regrets. It was his commandment, but it was also a wise counsel for living a gratifying and fulfilling life with no regrets.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35

June 8, 2015

It’s a Miracle!

The Global Positioning System, or GPS as we refer to it, is a satellite based navigational system made up of at least 24 satellites that continuously transmit their current time and position. A GPS receiver monitors complicated technical signals from the satellites and solves complex equations to deliver the exact position of the receiver.

The Global Positioning System is a technological miracle and a ubiquitous feature of modern life. 

But wait a minute! There is a bug that weighs less than an ounce that has an internal GPS with similar ability, and it doesn’t use satellites. The monarch butterfly migrates from Canada over landscapes it has never seen before to a predetermined destination 3,000 or more miles away in Mexico. 

The monarchs fly approximately fifty miles each day, and regardless of where they begin their journey, millions arrive in Mexico between October 31 and November 2.

What is more amazing is that each monarch makes the trip only once leaving the journey back to North America in the spring to four generations of descendants.


If the GPS is considered a man-made miracle, the monarch’s ability to navigate in unfamiliar territory deserves that designation as well. It’s a miracle!

Prominent American author Betty J. Eadie said this on the subject of miracles:
“Sometimes God will give us a miracle just to remind us that He can.”


June 1, 2015

Five Reasons We Are Still in Love

On Saturday, May 30, 2015, Nancy and I celebrated sixty-two years of marriage. At dinner that evening, we talked about how our relationship has stood the test of time.

First, from the time we fell in love in the spring of 1948, we have enjoyed being together. On the senior picture Nancy gave to me, she wrote, “I’m always happiest when I’m with you.” That sentiment was true for both of us in 1949, and it’s still true today. We are still happiest when we are together.

Second, we have always treated each other with respect and courtesy. We say, “Please” and “Thank you” often, and communicate honestly and straightforwardly with each other. We kiss a lot, hug often and hold hands regularly. Each touch is a reminder of our love and affection for each other.  

Third, we love to adventure together. When Nancy retired we pulled a trailer all over the country, always without an agenda, and where possible on blue highways only.  But simply eating at a new restaurant or trying a new dish at a familiar restaurant can constitute an adventure for us.

Fourth, we don’t  allow Satan to deprive us of our mutual joy. We easily and quickly forgive each other and those who have done us a disservice, and we sincerely believe the words of Abraham Lincoln, who said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Fifth, we have worshipped together ever since we began dating regularly in Gettysburg in 1948. Throughout married life, regardless of where we have lived, we have been in church on Sunday morning and often, on weekdays as well. It is where we learned to forgive and to love others as Christ loved us.

May 23, 2015

Baby Footprints

Two baby footprints, colored in blue and pressed against white paper to give the appearance of a heart ____ that was Nancy's Mother's Day gift from our five-months-old great-grandson, Oliver.

Oliver's heels point back to his ancestors, branches on his family tree from Russia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, England and other nations throughout the world. From those who preceded him, he has inherited DNA which will help fashion his personality. 

From his mother, Lindsey, and his father, Alex, and the rest of his living family, he will receive love and support throughout his life.

Oliver's tiny toes point forward to what he will become ____ an artist, explorer, engineer, poet, entertainer or a teacher like other family members before him. As a citizen of the United States, he has unlimited potential and opportunity to make of himself whatever he wants to be.

The print of Oliver's feet is shaped like a heart, the purest part of him within which lies the spark of Divine Creation, placed there by a Creator who will love him and walk beside him throughout his life.
"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and hope."
Jeremiah 29:11

May 10, 2015

Do you Need an Attitude Adjustment?

The American Psychological Association defines anger as, “An emotional antagonism toward someone or something you feel done you wrong.” In my case fits of rage have focused on things that won’t do what I expect them to do . . . like the weed eater that I hurled into the woods when it wouldn’t start or the radio I launched from the deck because it wouldn’t play.

I maintain that I have inherited what the family calls the Houck Temper gene which is a reference to my Grandpa Houck who was known to get angry with both people and things.

Franciscan Friar and ecumenical teacher, Richard Rohr tells a story about a monk with anger issues who lived in a monastery in the desert. Assuming that complete isolation and constant contemplation would enable him to conquer his ill temper, the monk moved to a cave to live in complete isolation.

One day he filled his earthen jug with water, and when he put it down, it fell over. He filled it again and it fell over again. After one more fill and fall, he picked up the jug and in a rage he threw it to the ground where it broke in many pieces.

Realizing that his anger problem had nothing to do with where he lived, he returned to the monastery and announced that his experiment with isolation failed. In his report to the monks, he might have used the words of Pogo who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

The only difference between someone who keeps his cool and someone who loses it is the loser settles for less than he can be.

From Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus, we read this passage about controlling our temper:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.         
Ephesians 4:31-32

April 30, 2015

Jesus:Our Internal Witness

I was probably eight year old when I learned a song with these lyrics in the chorus: 
Since Jesus came into my heart,
Since Jesus came into my heart,
Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll,
Since Jesus came into my heart.
It wasn’t until many years later that I understood the significance of that simple children’s song that celebrates the Spirit of God that lives within each of us.

It was the Apostle Paul who understood that Jesus left us that Spirit as a permanent gift, a gift that Franciscan Friar Richard Rohr refers to as our “Internal Witness.”  The Spirit of Christ is “not out there” someplace. The Spirit is “within us.”

It has been suggested that, “The truth is what God says about a thing.” I believe that truth is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit that lives within us. I also believe that Spirit speaks to us and guides us through life. Some people listen to the voice and act accordingly. Some listen to a different voice. Some don’t listen.

A hymn titled I Serve the Risen Savior celebrates the Internal Witness that dwells within us. This is the chorus:
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
 He lives within my heart. 
”The Spirit joins with our spirit to bear common witness that we                                          are children   of God.”  
Romans 8:16




April 20, 2015

Miracles Inspired by a Loving God

Eric Metaxas is an American author, speaker and TV host who has written a new book entitled Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life Forever. 

Obviously, the definition of a miracle is subjective, but Webster’s dictionary defines it as “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.”

Metaxas finds miracles in things most people take for granted, for example, Planet Earth which he maintains is exactly the right size to sustain life as we know it. If it were slightly larger or slightly smaller, a stable environment conducive to life would not be possible. 

If our moon were slightly larger or slightly smaller or closer or farther away from Earth, life  would not be possible. In each case, the writer supports his testimony with undisputed scientific evidence.

Metaxas notes that “the number of fine tuned characteristics necessary for life is currently determined to be 150.”  The odds of a planet having those 150 characteristics are less than one in ten to the fiftieth power . . . that’s one followed by fifty zeros! The writer maintains that the chance of our Earth beating those odds is  “an incomprehensible miracle.”

Did God design the Universe? The Big Bang created hundreds of millions of galaxies each containing hundreds of millions of stars and planets. Metaxas calls that  “an explosion that was so extremely and precisely controlled that we cannot really fathom it.” Again, Metaxas goes into detail with the scientific evidence that validates his claim.

Miracles will prompt skeptics and atheists alike to take a fresh look at phenomena beyond their understanding including the miracles of the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection and other wonders inspired by a loving God and recorded in Holy Scripture.

Reading Miracles is a thought provoking, inspiring experience, and as I read his book, more than once I found myself following Metaxas suggestion, “Feel free to gulp!”