Archive for the 'Relationships' Category

Several years ago my wife Martie and I had the unique experience of going on a camel safari in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. We rocked back and forth…

I have always been fascinated by stories about the people God has chosen to use in significant ways. Two of my heroes are Charles and John Wesley. Charles penned hundreds of…

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Any thoughts of a diet were out the window when I spotted the steak on the menu. Not just any steak, mind you….

If you had a chance to meet her, you would agree that the name we have affectionately given her really fits. She has a fantastic command of the world around her…

My dad was a pastor, so I got stuck with the label known to every pastor’s kid: PK. But, much to the congregation’s disappointment, the title didn’t stop me from being…

Most of us can blow through three dollars without even thinking twice. It’ll get you a cup of Starbucks, a few snacks for a road trip, or a squeak toy for…

Do you remember how old-time TV shows used to have an applause meter to gauge audience reactions? A big arrow would spin around the dial to show how enthusiastic the crowd…

Three men were stranded on a desert island. A genie appeared and promised to grant each of them just one wish. So the first guy says, “I want to go back…

Jesus’ life and ministry dramatically demonstrated that the word prejudice is not in His vocabulary. In fact, He hates prejudice in any form. He detests racism, classism, and religious snobbery. Why?…

While flying from Europe back to the US, I found myself sitting next to a little girl who never stopped talking from the moment she sat down. She told me the…

Modern counseling and psychology focus a lot of attention on obsessive behaviors—whether it’s an obsession with food, tobacco, alcohol, pornography, drugs, or even work. But perhaps one of the most overlooked…

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell observes that struggling businesses are often turned around by one key decision. Many once-foundering companies are now thriving and successful because of a…

In one of my favorite children’s books Oh, the Places You’ll Go! the great philosopher Dr. Seuss writes about the ups and downs of life. Sometimes, he says, “Hang-ups can happen…

Each year over 3.5 million people visit Yellowstone National Park. The park is loaded with signs that read, “Don’t feed the bears,” but visitors are constantly doing just that. As a…

I’ll never forget the time I bought a new stereo system. I brought the boxes home and carefully unwrapped each piece of equipment. I spread everything out on the floor. There…

Right now it’s summer! When I’m wearing flip-flops to the grocery store and running the air conditioner in my car. It’s hard to remember the frigid days of January, and still…

I can still remember what it was like to take our family on vacation, only to have the kids in the backseat mar the joy of it all by their bickering…

Veruca Salt, one of the not-so-sweet characters in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was notorious for demanding whatever she wanted. Her indulgent parents didn’t know what to do, especially…

For most people I know, fishing is a hobby. Some approach it casually, picking up a pole and dipping a few worms in the lake for fun while they’re at a…

Auguste Bartholdi traveled from France to Egypt in 1856. His artistic mind was stimulated by the grandeur of the pyramids, the magnitude of the mighty Nile, and the beauty of the…

The old Porgy and Bess tune that declares, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy”no doubt was written when life was so much different than what it is now. If you’re like…

No doubt about it, wedding season is in full swing. It’s the time when the words “I do” are heard in churches all over the country and the weight of the promise…

A pastor friend of mine was telling another pastor about the long-awaited vacation that he and his family were preparing for. The other pastor immediately replied, “Vacation? I never take a…

I’m not sure who came up with the idea of driving around in circles on a small track in a tiny machine; nevertheless, riding go-karts is a popular pastime in America. Once…

Over the past several years we’ve seen hurricanes wreak mind-boggling destruction. When a hurricane his, countless homes and lives are washed into the sea, and the things people count on the…

If we’re not careful, we may become like the man who prided himself on being an expert archer. The secret to his success was that after he shot his arrow at…

The Last Supper, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the great Renaissance masterpieces. It took da Vinci 3 years to complete, and during this time in frustration his temper…

It may not always seem like it, but children really do want to please their parents. Just picture the little boy who beams with pleasure when his mom proudly puts the crayon-scribbled…

I’ll never forget an older woman who came to my office and heatedly dumped on me a long list of objections about her husband. I asked how long she had been…

The setting was England’s House of Commons in early June of 1940. Another World War had broken out and the prospects for Britain were uncertain at best. In the face of…

For Americans, the Fourth of July is usually a day of picnics, parties, and parades. Putting aside partisan differences and political perspectives, the people of the nation gather to celebrate Independence…

People love to collect things—from baseball cards to stamps to coins. And while collecting can be a fun hobby, it is sobering to think that once we leave this earth, everything…

I love going to Chicago’s Wrigley Field for a baseball game—sitting in the stands, downing a great hot dog, and cheering the Cubs on to victory! Unfortunately, Christianity has become a…

My friend Craig Phillips was a 27-year-old rising star in Chicago’s corporate world. His natural drive and determination landed him a premium position at a Fortune 500 company in the Loop—Chicago’s business…

I’ll never forget the Sunday morning when I was hanging out in the hall with a bunch of my “cool” junior high friends before Sunday school. Walking toward us was a…

I love Wrigley Field in Chicago. But like most old ballparks, it has the necessary but aggravating problem of support posts that obscure the view of the game. Unfortunately, I got stuck…

In the early hours of the morning, five drug dealers kidnapped Buster Soaries and drove him to a vacant lot. They dragged him out of the car and jammed a shotgun…

Did you ever try to figure out whether or not someone you loved, loved you in return? Who knows when, but a long time ago some romantic had the idea that…

With e-mail and text messages, the joy of letter writing—and, better yet, receiving letters—is almost a lost commodity. I love getting mail, especially from someone I deeply admire and appreciate. My dad used…

Ever had a one-way friendship? You know the drill—people who always need a favor but never give anything in return. Every time they come close, you can almost hear that sucking sound…

Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis has a beautiful, stately auditorium. I’ll never forget the time I preached there. I was taken with the beauty of it all—the chimes of the carillon,…

I’ll never forget my conversation with Erin, who is an accomplished violinist. As we were talking about violins, I asked her whether or not the coveted violins made by Stradivarius were…

Some things are irresistible. For me, it’s bubble-gum machines. I can hardly resist the urge to watch one of those colorful gumballs roll down the tunnel so I can pop it…

Have you ever taken an “open-book” test? At first blush they seem like a piece of cake. You can actually have the book open during the test! No late-night cramming. No last-minute…

I was enjoying the start of my first whitewater rafting experience—until I heard the roar of the rapids up ahead. My emotions were flooded with feelings of uncertainty, fear, and insecurity…

An oft-quoted movie line comes from Napoleon Dynamite. The line closes the film, after Napoleon’s brother, Kip, gets married and rides off on horseback with his new bride. If you’re a closet…

There I was, minding my own business, shopping for an anniversary card for Martie when something on another shelf caught my eye. It was a box with a tantalizing picture of…

All of us who have kids have been guilty of ending an argument about why they should or shouldn’t do something with the conversation stopper: “Because I said so.” The reply…

I can hardly imagine inviting special friends over for dinner and then throwing a few leftovers into the microwave to serve up to them. But if I were to do that,…

A glass of wine or not a glass of wine? To dance or not to dance? To work on Sunday or not to work on Sunday? To play cards or not…