Showing posts from 2013

The Character of God in Genesis

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps. 103:8). The love of God is universal, persistent, ever present, and fiercely determined to set things right.

I have read carefully through the entire Bible again and again, looking for all the relevant passages on the universal love of God. The survey you are about to read contains almost every place in the Bible on the love, kindness, pity, and compassion of God. I was especially interested in those passages in which God’s concern for all people is emphasized. I did not include many passages in which people are calling out to God to be gracious or merciful, although even those show an expectation, grounded in God’s experienced character, that God will, in fact, be so. We begin our survey with Genesis.

I. The Old Testament
A. Genesis

Genesis 1-11
The Bible begins with the familiar words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (1:1, TNIV) . It begins with God’s bringing into being a…

1 Corinthians 13 as if it were about God's love for us

A Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 As If It Were about God’s Love for Us 1 The love of God is more important than the Bible, spiritual talk, and theology.2 It is more important than planning, prophecy, meditation, and miracles.3 It is even more important than social justice and humanitarian service. All these things may be good, but if there is no God who loves us and all people, then they are just so much human noise.4 God’s love is patient, it is kind, and it is not jealous of our other loves (like our families, baseball, and chocolate). God isn’t worried about how important God is or whether he always gets the credit he deserves.5 God is someone you’d like to have coffee with, and he doesn’t wear a watch. He isn’t always telling you his stories, but takes the time to listen to yours, and doesn’t interrupt, except maybe to laugh. And you can’t make him mad, even if you aren’t always nice to him or forget his birthday. He doesn’t hold a grudge or even remember your screw-ups.6 God’s …


A few years ago the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities held a conference on Whidbey Island, Washington for its campus ministers. Part of the discussion centered around what kind of relationship the campus pastors would, ideally, like to have with the faculty and what they hoped for in their relationship with faculty. They developed the following wish-list.Campus Ministers’ Twenty Wishes for Faculty:That faculty would fully realize how much they influence students.That someone would help prepare faculty for their spiritual formation role on campus.That faculty would not see spiritual formation as the responsibility of campus ministry alone.That faculty would have more confidence in their spiritual formation role with students.That faculty would recognize their pastoral role and be more open to being coached in it.That faculty had more time for mentoring students.That faculty would seek to reach students at more than just an intellectual level.That faculty would be more in…

Tom's Journal of Our May 2013 Trip to Turkey

May 12-13 (Sunday-Monday). All travel. Michele and I picked up Dick and Arnelle Hall (friends from our church) and drove to their friends’ house on 200th St. in Des Moines, WA, near the airport. They are keeping our car for the two weeks. Alki’s (that’s the tour company) van picked us up there at 3:40 pm. We met Sandy and Gail who were also going on the tour. Turns out Sandy grew up in Detroit and is a Tiger fan. We arrived at SeaTac and met the rest of our group of 30, led by Tyson Verse. We had gone to Vietnam with him in November of 2011. We were about 30 minutes late leaving Seattle on KLM, about 7:00pm. It was a 9+ hour flight to Amsterdam. I got a little sleep, not much. There was a long 7-hour layover in Amsterdam. We decided not to go in for the day as some of the group did. We toured the airport, ate lunch, and slept in lounge chairs. The next flight was 3.5 hours to Istanbul. We got in after midnight and got to bed at 2:30 am local time on May 14th at the Avant Garde Hotel. …