Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward with your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1, CSB)

Narcissism, the self-absorbed craving for admiration, derives from Greek mythology. Narcissus is so handsome he dies gazing at his own reflection in a pool, completely ignoring his need for food or sleep. Today’s digital world of filtered selfies tempts anyone with such tendencies to engage in righteous deeds out of false motives.


But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men.”
(Acts 5:29, NKJV)

Whether churches exist to please God or men is a settled matter in the Bible, yet some church leaders today view churches as businesses and members as customers, a notion flawed in two very important ways.

First, the Bible never uses the language of commerce when it speaks of the church. Rather, it mentions the more relational terms of a bride, a body, and a family. A member who leaves one church for another is not a lost customer, but is more like the son or daughter who lives with an aunt or grandparent while they attend college. Since our churches are members of one family, we are not in competition for customers like rival businesses. We all have One Customer and we can never lose Him.



Show me your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths.
(Psalm 25:4, NKJV)

Looking back, it seems like a dream, or perhaps a nightmare. For eight consecutive Sunday mornings in the Spring of 2020, our church family did not personally congregate out of a desire to cooperate with public health guidelines, reduce the spread of the pandemic, and “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 outbreak. Such a suspension of onsite worship was unprecedented in the history of our congregation. It was surreal.

calm body of water during golden hour


The second verse of the Bible plants two cogent seeds in the fertile soil of creation’s mystery. First is the notion that existence was not quite in order yet, nebulous and murky, unformed and imprecise, dark and cloudy. Second is the antithetical notion that God’s Holy Spirit was moving, floating, soaring over everything and bringing definition, clarity, brightness, and certainty.


Throughout scripture, Jesus revealed masculine traits like boldness, courage, strength, and initiative. Yet toward the end of his earthly ministry, after pronouncing seven woes upon the religious leaders, Jesus described His love for the children of Israel as that of a mother hen. He wanted them all in the nest—together, sheltered, protected, nurtured, and safe. How striking of Jesus to evoke a maternal image!


In the Christmas comedy Elf, Will Ferrell’s character, Buddy, passes a restaurant advertising the “world’s best cup of coffee.” In his naïveté, Buddy assumes that they have truly earned the best coffee award and offers them effusive praise for a job well done! Imagine being of such good cheer simply because you found the world’s greatest coffee! We who have found faith in Christ have even more reason to be cheerful!

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