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Satisfying the Hunger... is a blog written by the ministry staff of Evangelism & Church Growth

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June 8, 2012

Anxiety Swaddled Within Hubris

I, like many, have based much of my self-worth and peace of mind on what I have done, am doing and hope to do.  Personal possessions are almost meaningless to me.  I would say I own a dog, but the wonderful truth is that she really owns me!

I have hoped that I would be a parent who could help his sons grow to be morally strong men, a husband that could be trusted to be supportive and loving, a man who would choose to respect and protect others simply because they’re the right things to do, a person who sees the pain and wrong in this world and chooses to see and act, and someone who shows up every day intending that the work I do will actually make a meaningful difference for someone.

By now we all know I was fooling myself into thinking I could control much of anything.  My sons are great guys and as they’ve matured they are naturally starting to choose their own way and at times paths from which I’d do anything to protect them.  I’ve become less necessary to the very people in whom I’ve staked my self-worth.  Mostly what I know to share either isn’t what’s needed or I’m usually at a complete loss to know how to help in ways that will be welcome.  I tend to relive the glory days of my time with the Marines, even though I’m reminded daily that despite my well-intended service, the human race continues to embrace war as an acceptable option for settling differences.  The anxiety caused by seemingly never ending budget cuts, program eliminations and staff reductions are the new normal for most people.

How is it possible to live with such good intentions and yet remain so self-absorbed and unaware of how little I can actually control?  How could I have lived this long with soul crushing insecurity based on an overwhelming sense of a need to be self-reliant?  Was it simple Ignorance?   No, not really, it was simply hubris.

I can easily relate to the story when Jesus was in the boat with the disciples, a storm came, and all the disciples feared for their lives.  Jesus was right there with them resting peacefully.  I can’t help but think even I might have relaxed with him right there in the same boat, but who knows, my track record is not all that great.  Remember what happened next?  With a word Jesus calmed the storm and gave the disciples a gentle scolding for having so little faith.  I once heard that Jesus came to point the way to faith in God, but the disciples seem to have spent much of their time staring at his finger.

That ancient story is so relevant for me.  As long as things are running smoothly, I can enjoy the illusion that I’m in control, but just as soon as the storm picks up and it starts to get rough and I’m overwhelmed by circumstances, I deign to remember that God is right here in the boat with me but I’m still wondering why he’s not doing more.  Soon enough though, and yet again I might add, it occurs to me that the only truly fair question is “why in the first place did I once again fail to make room for God in my life?”

Trusting absolutely in God rather than what we hope he will do for us allows for us to discard our self-absorbed belief that there’s a need to fear for much of anything.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40: 28-31.  NIV

May 29, 2012


I was sitting enjoying lunch on an outdoor sidewalk cafe the other day when I heard a voice: "Does anyone here need rescuing?"  I reeled around to see where the voice was coming from, and it was a police officer sitting in his air conditioned cruiser.  Befuddled and not sure I'd actually heard what I thought I'd heard, I responded with a less-than-intelligent, "What???"  "Does anyone here need rescuing? I just got a 911 call that came from here and I need to know if someone needs rescuing?"  "I'm not aware of a problem, but that doesn't mean there isn't …

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May 11, 2012

Are you a big, fat liar?

This month I wrote an article for Branching Out, the Presbyterian College Chaplains Association periodical, entitled, “That’s Not My Job.” It was an encouragement for the chaplains at our PCUSA-related institutions to help the church realize that Presbyterian student ministry on a Presbyterian-related campus is not the chaplain’s job.

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May 1, 2012

What Have We Seen

“… what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life …”  1 John 1:1 Last week, during an annual youth ministry conference, I attended a lecture and then a class designed to be a follow-up seminar to the lecture.  The topic of both of these activities was the Saint John’s Bible.  An artistic, calligraphic rendering of the Bible.  A ten year effort, created and collaborated on lovingly by a group of ecumenical artists from around the world.  I think it’s fair to say …

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April 24, 2012

Connecting in sips

There was a very interesting article in the Sunday New York times recently (“The Flight from Conversation” by Sherry Turkle, who is a psychologist and professor at M.I.T. and the author, most recently, of “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.”).  Here is a quote I found compelling:   We are tempted to think that our little “sips” of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all of these have their places — in politics, commerce, romance and friendship. But no matter how valuable, …

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