Monthly Archives: October 2023



I was recently made aware of a term that was new to me: sitzprobe. For those of us who are not “theater people,” a sitzprobe (from the German for seated rehearsal) is a rehearsal where the singers sing with the orchestra for an upcoming performance, focusing attention on integrating the two groups. It is often the first rehearsal where the orchestra and singers rehearse together. It is a time for the actors and the musicians to become familiar with each other, to gel, to know where they are going next in a particular song or scene.

I find this idea of a sitzprobe interesting in the context of work life. At some point, we, in our jobs, need to know what our fellow coworkers are doing so that we can in the best possible ways work together to meet our goals. In business speak, this is called synergy.

We in the church can quite often be guilty of siloing, working independently of one another without knowing what our fellow followers in the faith are doing. We get a hint of what siloing looks like in ministry when John comes to Jesus and says, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:48).

Jesus does not want his followers to work separately from one another. We wants us to sitzprobe, if you will. Work together. Find ways in which you can harmonize your efforts to make the message of the Gospel dramatically come alive for an audience of unbelievers and doubters and critics. We can do so much more together than separately for the Lord. Start blending your God-given talents today to bring people to their feet in praise of God’s goodness in Jesus.



In biblical times, individuals chosen for special service, such as a priest or king, were often anointed with a mixture of olive oil and choice spices (see Exodus 30:22-25). The titles Christ (in Greek) and Messiah (in Hebrew) both mean “the Anoint­ed.” Jesus is the ultimate Anointed. But we, too, are metaphorically anointed for special services for the Lord. Think of those times when you are at just the right place and time to perform a task that you were not expecting. I think of a time when I was on a mission trip in Belize digging ditches, when the pastor there tapped me on the shoulder and said, “We need someone to write our church’s history.” That tap on the shoulder was God anointing me in that moment to serve by using my writing background for his purpose.

When have you felt “anointed by God,” so to speak? Each of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God for a unique task meant just for us (Psalm 139:14). How can we know what that task is? Look to Scripture for guidance. Romans 12:6-8 says,

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Get a sense of what you are good at, then put the thing you know you are good at to good use for the Lord. You are anointed with love, grace, and blessing from God which are poured out upon you by our God for the living out of your mission for him.

A Tongue Twister

do or don’t

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. —Romans 7:19-20

Whenever this reading from Romans 7 comes up in church or a Bible class, whoever reading it inevitably stumbles over the words and it is often hard to get the do’s and the don’ts out in the proper order to get St. Paul’s intended meaning across. I got to thinking that perhaps St. Paul wrote these verses in a way that is hard to read because he wants to get across to us that the topic of struggling with sin is a very difficult one, and one that can get us all tangled up. Any explanations we may have about the internal wrestling that goes on within us more often than not result in tongue twisters.

That’s the way that Satan likes it. He wants us to be confused and off kilter and discombobulated about our sinful condition. He wants us to feel like it is all out of our control and that there is nothing we can do about it.

But we as Christian know that in the end, there is nothing to be confused about. As Colossians 2:13 says, “When you were dead in your sins …, God made you alive with Christ.” Our sinfulness is overcome by the life of Christ within us, and that’s the only message we need to keep straight. Do listen to Jesus, and don’t let sin win.

A Clean House

clean house

There was a survey from picked up by most major news outlets in September that found that the average person’s house is completely clean only 11 days out of the year. As someone who typically likes to keep a clean house, that number is shockingly low and was low to most commentators who discussed it. But it appears that those who were surveyed were simply being honest.

This makes me wonder about our spiritual house, if you will. Are we keeping our spiritual house clean? Or is it commonly cluttered with guilt, shame or resentment and the grime of unresolved anger and unconfessed sins? How much time do we spend cleansing our spiritual house—asking for forgiveness from God for the filth of our selfishness and bad behavior? How often do we take out the trash of those things that distract us from a healthy relationship with our God in Jesus?

If we are truly honest with ourselves, we don’t clean our spiritual house as often as we should. But we can turn that trend around. Each day is a new day to come to Christ confessing. Take advantage of the mercies of God, which are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). My prayer is that we clean house spiritually far more than 11 times a year! May God grant it for Jesus’ sake.


bored nurse

I have noticed more and more P.O.V. video clips on social media sites these days. In P.O.V. videos, a person impersonates a certain type of individual from that person’s point of view. Oftentimes the individual’s actions are a little exaggerated to bring home a point about that individual’s perceived attitude and approach. These videos can very often ring very true to me (for example, the distracted airline attendant, the careless waitress, or the unenthusiastic nurse).

I wonder what the P.O.V. video for a Christian would be for most people. I imagine many times Christians are perceived as too overbearing, too earnest or too simplistic. But my hope and prayer is that the overwhelming P.O.V. for a Christian matches the characteristics found in Colossians 3:15-16:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Think of this passage the next time you are asked about your faith or you meet a new person or you are called by a friend on Zoom. Ask Christ to help you present peace, gratitude and a deep connection to God’s Word in your attitude and approach. These aspects of your Christianity will go a long way to develop a rapport.

Today Years Old


Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28

There are a lot of posts and videos on social media lately of people revealing that they were “today years old” when they found out something interesting or seemingly basic. Like, is it common knowledge that the back of a hammer can be used to pull up weeds in the backyard? Or, did you know that the lids of McDonald’s cups can be used as base-fitting coasters or that grapes easily come off the vine when bunches are rolled in a dish towel? I have been fascinating by these revelations and these revelations make me all think about all the things that we still don’t know, even in middle or older age.

I say all this to remind myself of what I do know:

I know that I am loved by God.

I know that Jesus died and rose to save me.

I know that Jesus will return one day to take us to heaven to live with him.

These are the truths that matter. The rest I am OK with not knowing everything about.