My hangover was terrible, but I could survive that. The nausea was palpable, but I knew it would pass. The discipline was severe, but I deserved it. What I couldn’t bear was the guilt. Our family tree is marked by a blight of alcoholism. My dad made it clear: alcohol abuse leads to trouble and that trouble leads to misery. More than once I promised that I would never get drunk. Then why did I? Why did I, at the age of 16, get so ragingly inebriated that I could not drive? Why did I drive anyway? Why did I … Read More


Several years ago I received an urgent call to visit a dying man in the hospital. I didn’t know Peter well, but well enough to know that he was paying a high price for his hard living. Years of drugs and alcohol had pilfered his system. Though he’d made peace with God through Christ, his liver was at conflict with his body. When his ex-wife phoned, she was standing at his bedside. Peter, she explained, was knocking at death’s door. Though I hurried, he entered it seconds before I arrived. The hospital room atmosphere had a …just happened… feel to … Read More


When Denalyn and I travel together, she wants to drive. It’s not that she loves the steering wheel, it’s just that she loves to stay on track. My mind tends to wander. My thoughts tend to stray. I may be on a highway, but mentally, I’m in a distant land. Consequently, I miss exits, forget to turn, or stray off course. More than once she has dozed off only to awaken in a strange location. The ensuing conversation goes like this: “Where are we?” “I don’t know.” “What happened?” “I think I messed up.” “Max, we will never get there … Read More


Last week’s blog struck a nerve. I wrote a piece entitled “Decency for President.” The premise was a simple one. Shouldn’t a presidential candidate who claims to be Christian talk like one? When a candidate waves a Bible in one speech and calls a reporter “bimbo” in the next, isn’t something awry? Specifically, when Donald Trump insists that he is a Christian (“a good Christian” to use his descriptor) and then blasts, belittles, and denigrates everyone from Barbara Bush to John McCain to Megyn Kelly, shouldn’t we speak up? If the candidate is not a Christian, then I have no … Read More


Everyone is looking for joy. Marketing companies know this. Every commercial promises the same product: joy. Want some joy? Buy our hand cream. Want some joy? Sleep on this mattress. Want some joy? Eat at this restaurant, drive this car, wear this dress. Every commercial portrays the image of a joy-filled person. Even Preparation H. Before using the product, the guy frowns and squirms in his chair. Afterwards, he is the image of joy. Joy. Everyone wants it. Everyone promises it. But can anyone deliver it? It might surprise you to know that joy is a big topic in the … Read More


I chalk it up to an interruption. God tapped humanity on the shoulder, and interrupted the earth in the form of a baby. Christmas. Think about it…Christianity was born in one big heavenly interruption.  Just ask the Bethlehem shepherds. I’m sure they wanted a calm night. A silent night. But they didn’t get it. You know, just because you want a calm life, don’t bank on having one. The financial aid office says “no.” A doctor says “pregnant.” The auto mechanic says “totaled.” And our typical response is the same as the shepherds. Fear. Funny that we often assume the … Read More


As Christmas draws near, it often seems the world is anything but peaceful. Lengthy travel. Tight budgets. Family feuds. Not too unlike the first Christmas two-thousand years ago. And yet, God broke through the chaos with a bold proclamation: peace! Peace on earth. Good will to men. The Christmas story reminds us that in the midst of noise, interruptions, lengthy travel, and family reunions, God gives us peace. When your world is at war… peace. When the stock market crashes… peace. When a promise is broken… peace. Are your nights not-so-silent? Then I encourage you to remember the angel’s words … Read More


Santa Claus. Over the centuries, he’s become the culmination of what we need in a hero. A friend who cares enough to travel far to bring us gifts. A sage who rewards the good and overlooks the bad. A father who lets you sit on his lap and share your deepest hopes.  And, I might add…a betrayal of our meager expectations. What? You say. Let me explain.. You see, Santa can’t provide what we really need.  He’s only around once a year. When January winds chill our souls, he’s history. When April demands taxes or May brings final exams, Santa … Read More


Holiday time is highway time. Since Joseph and Mary packed their bags for Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus has caused people to hit the road.  After all, we love to be with the ones we love! May I remind you? So does God. How else do you explain what he did? Between him and us there was a great distance–a great span. And he couldn’t bear it. So he did something about it.  He travelled far. He was born to be a man and became like a servant. He took on our face, our disfigurement. He became like us. Just … Read More