Day 3 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast — ‘Rejoice, for you are closer to God in His mercy than a baby to its mother’s heart.’ (423) Our father is the perfect parent; He combines and surpasses the best virtues of both mother and father. Just as natural parents complement each other in creating children and loving them well, so does the Father’s Mercy involve two intertwining dimensions that bear fruit in us: one masculine, the other feminine. Understanding these two expressions of
Please join us from October 15th –Nov. 23rd for a 40-day fast centering on the power of Mercy. Drawing upon the inspiration of a young Polish nun who received a vision and much wisdom about Jesus’ heart of mercy for an unfaithful world, we shall seek Him daily as we cry out for all broken ones to welcome Him. Together we will prayerfully represent sin-weary humanity before the Father, asking the Source of Mercy to open our hearts to His merciful cure. In particular, we will l
‘He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.’ (Mk 16:6) Resurrection is reunion: Jesus, torn from His Father, now returns to Him. Evil demanded payment: crucifixion, the vast distance between God and God.
Love crossed over that gap, conquering sin and death. Resurrection is the ultimate Father/Son reunion. Every Easter, God extends to us a fresh invitation to reenter that reunion.
Jesus descended into hell to get us out of there.
He rose again into perf
‘But I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why, O Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?
I have suffered your terrors and am in despair. Your wrath has swept over me;
Your terrors have destroyed me. All day long they surround me like a flood;
They have completely engulfed me.
You have taken my companions from me; the darkness is my closest friend.’
PS 88:13-18 Jesus’ rejection, abuse, and murder at the hands of men were not His
We might receive foot-washing and communion and yet still not grasp the cross. Perhaps our need for that cross is not yet clear. We may still believe in our own capacity to follow Him, the self-inspired power of allegiance to Jesus. Peter the ‘Rock,’ full of bluster and unrefined zeal, helps us here. He believed himself to be among the most radical followers of Jesus. Pride came before his fall on the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion. Until the midnight hour, Peter continued to be s
Maundy Thursday makes one thing perfectly clear. It is God’s faithfulness that makes us faithful. On this night of foot-washing and communion, we behold the full extent of God’s love toward us. Mercy takes on new meaning as Jesus grants us tokens of the cross that awaits Him. He washes away our filth; He feeds us with bread from heaven. Foreseeing our departure from Him, He grants us powerful assistance for our return. In His faithful love, we see our unfaithfulness. Here we
In His mercy, Jesus redeems our suffering. Some of the sorrow we submit to Him is not of particularly noble origins—it may be, as we have seen, the bad fruit of our sin, or the normal wounds and losses we sustain this side of Heaven. He loves us to the extent that He will take every opportunity to invite us to surrender our sins and wounds. He grants us ‘cross-time’: an opportunity to receive and extend mercy. He makes us that much more fruitful in love. But suffering for wha
During Holy Week, we pause to consider Jesus’ cross and the smaller one He asks us to carry. The goal? To know Him more. Perhaps He will invite you in these days to ‘keep watch with Him’ in His suffering. We take another step toward Calvary by considering the ways we have been sinned against. He has not suffered only for our sins and foolishness; His cross-walk had as much to do with the gaps and gashes we bear due to others’ sins. Isaiah 53:4, 5 says it best: ‘Surely He bore
A tendency of most Christians is to want to enter into relationship with Christ through His cross but to want to avoid that same cross in our own lives. No-where is this more apparent than in how we deal with our personal sin. We will go to great lengths to deny our sin, and the suffering that we cause ourselves and others due to our sin. It offends us. We are in good company. I love how Peter, whom Jesus had just named as the Rock of the Church, refused the truth of the cros
On Palm Sunday, Lent becomes Holy Week—the seven days leading to the cross. Perhaps the parallel between Jesus’ 40-days in the desert and His commitment to crucifixion is becoming clear. Jesus sanctified the desert for us. He made a way in our wilderness. Instead of a place of temptation unto despair, He transformed ‘the desert of loneliness into a garden of solitude’ (Leanne Payne). His reliance upon the Father there grants us grace to encounter Him in the harsh realities of
Through our four children, mercy breaks like waves upon Annette and me. They delight us. All in their twenties now, each possess unique gifts and strengths—Greg’s kindness, Nick’s astute analysis, Kate’s perseverance and lack of pretense, Sam’s integrity. All four remind us daily of the gift God gave us in each one, each the fruit of our marital love. For us, the family is all ‘gift’, each child a sign and a wonder. In each, we marvel at the mercy of God towards us. Our child
At the core of my same-sex attraction was the struggle to find a father, and so discover my own masculine power and purpose. I had a father alright, and a pretty good one: Thomas Augustus Comiskey. But for most of my life I could not apprehend that goodness, much less take it on as my own. In a language familiar to any desert creature in need of living water, I detached from him early on in my life. My own rebellion, coupled with his relational faults, inspired a wall. Behind
Since our transition to Kansas City, God has provided two men who have stood with me in prayerful friendship: Mike and Morgan. I am not sure I could have stayed true to the Lord without them. When I have been discouraged, they speak God’s truth to me; when unsure, they speak wisdom. They have helped me close the gap between things we aspire to in faith and the uneven ground our feet trod on this earth. Most practically, we help each other to love our wives and kids well. We h
While en route to a Living Waters Leadership gathering in Europe, I was moved deeply by God’s heart for His European bride. The church there has played such a foundational role in western culture; from her has come our art, our music, our philosophy, and our ethics. In spite of her many faults and divisions, she continues to bear fruit that remains. She is the apple of God’s eye. I thought of our small band of wounded healers gathered in Holland from all over Europe—faithfull
After Massachusetts adopted ‘gay marriage’, we as a ministry sought to understand and pray for what was at stake for a nation that elevated the status of homosexual unions to those of heterosexuals. We prayed for mercy, not judgment, for this ultimate expression of idolatry—the creature shaking its fist at the Creator and declaring that (s)he would image herself anyway (s)he wanted. Yet we had a small emerging hope: we as a nation could turn back before it was too late. God m
At the dawn of the new millennium, I noticed a growing darkness in the area of gender and sexuality. Powerless to overcome perversion, western culture used its power to justify all manner of sexual expression. Around that time, I had a dream about a group of young people who were confused and seeking answers to their sexual identity questions. They were on a secular college campus. Older gay mentors began to confirm them as bona-fide gays and lesbians; as they laid hands on t
While doing a conference in Denver many years ago, a vigorous young man introduced himself to me as Christopher West; he was then the ‘marriage and family’ guy for the Archdiocese of Denver. He loved our emphases on healing through the cross and community. And he wanted me to have a copy of John Paul II’s book: The Theology of the Body, the late great pope’s sweeping take on human sexuality. Wow. What a meal. For the next couple of years I slowly ate what I now regard as perh
‘Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’ (John 12:23) Among the most bittersweet realities of ‘Living Waters’ around the world is the surrender of one’s leadership when his/her part has been played. That surrender may be for many reasons—a moral failure, a call to another type of ministry, or handing over the task to one better suited to take it the next step. Regardless of the reason, the leade
I hate idolatry. The worship of false gods turns humans into animals. While worship of the one true God humbles and exalts what is best in humanity, idolatry enslaves us. No-where is this more evident to me than in Thailand–the first nation I served that had no Judeo-Christian foundation. Through the veneer of Thai women dressed as dainty goddesses and orange-clad monks bending incessantly to Buddha, sexual immorality reaches new lows. The devotion to myriad gods and goddesse
I met Benjie Cruz at the onset of our first trip to the Philippines. Virmi, our gracious host, had arranged for him to be our liaison as we prepared for our first conference in Manila. Like our advances in any new country, particularly those lands where ‘religion’ tends to be very popular, I knew that the church establishment would applaud our efforts. From a distance. Most church leaders would encourage obviously ‘broken ones’ to attend but would steer clear of our gathering