Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I’m Just a Volunteer

Heard this said today. Hear it a lot. Hate it. I am not sure why people say it.


Is it because they feel unworthy to do God's work? They aren't.


God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Genesis 1:28a (NIV)


Is it because they think only the ordained do anything worthwhile?


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)


Is it because they have been asked (and accept) work that does not suit their gifts and talents?


There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  1 Corinthians 12:4-5 (NIV)


Is it because they don't want to accept responsibility?


For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV)


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)


We are not volunteers, we are ministers.


Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV)


How are you keeping your place in Christ's Body, the Church? Do you have a place? Have you let others take your place or do your part?


May you know the life that only service in your God-given "sweet spot" can bring.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I met Julian the other day. He had no teeth but he did have a bicycle. He told me exactly what the lunch he wanted would cost at the restaurant (I was waiting for a friend) nearby. He said he had exactly $1.62 and asked me for the balance. I told him that my name was Jim, gave him the balance and said I hoped his say went well. The thanked me and was off.


While a man of obviously marginally means, I like Julian. He was open and honest about his need. He was bold in asking it be met. And he asked for only what was needed (a modest sum.) Julian displayed a confidence I seldom see in the people I normally hang out with. Heck, even me.


Julian seemed to understand something Jesus tried to get across to his dense disciples (including me.) God wants to care for your needs. God wants you to be confident in asking. Trust God to come through (although God does not always do it in an orthodox way, meeting our timeline.)


I think I want to be more like Julian.


"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

 "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.  Matthew 6:27-34 (The Message)

At Your Service

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death -
even death on a cross!" - Philippians 2:4-8 (NIV)

"It's my right!" is claimed every day. Unless I am in a restaurant or store, I seldom here, "How may I serve you" said.  If it is said, chances are, it is to get a tip, or to serve the "bottom line."
Even God is obedient to self-sacrificing service. Why do I think I am immune? I worry about getting my due. God's concern is us getting our due. He asks that our concern be about others getting their due through us. God entrusts us with the care of all creation, most especially our neighbors. Yet most neighbors of ours are caricatures, either unknown people for whom we guess an identity or people we disagree with, who we paint in the most unflattering terms or people just like us. This "due-giving" is on our terms and for our comfort.
May you meet each person, public or private, known or unknown, On TV or on the street with a servant's heart.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow!

Rabbi Marc Gellman, quoted in a N Y Times Magazine article Click said, "But really, when you come right down to it, there are only four basic prayers. Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow!... Wow! are prayers of praise and wonder at the creation. Oops! is asking for forgiveness. Gimme! is a request or a petition. Thanks! is expressing gratitude. That's the entire Judeo-Christian doxology. That's what we teach our kids in religious school."


I notice that Gimme! and Oops! predominate in the prayers of those who surround me as well as myself. In both cases, I want something.


Thanks! and Wow! prayers are scarce. Those are ones that require me to see beyond myself to Another.


Catch yourself today. Assuming you pray, what predominates in your dialogue with Christ? A "To do" list for him? A "Pick up the check, please" request? Is there room for a heart-felt "Thank you" for the goodness of or life (even if it is not going perfectly?) Can you picture yourself just mooning over Christ as you did when you had your first love when you were younger?


May I Thank! and Wow! with the regularity and enthusiasm of my Gimme! and Oops!


 "This, then, is how you should pray:
   " 'Our Father in heaven,
   hallowed be your name,
 your kingdom come,
   your will be done
      on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us today our daily bread.
 Forgive us our debts,
      as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation,
   but deliver us from the evil one.'     Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

Be Still

Rabbi Marc Gellman, quoted in a N Y Times Magazine article click here  said, "…when you have a large percentage at a religious service who aren't actually praying, it dilutes the quality of the entire experience." In other words, "people gathered" do not necessarily equal "people worshiping." The rabbi had noted how many "social" worshipers there were. People who come to socialize with each other but not necessarily with God.  Worship suffers when the body of people is not entering into a relationship with the living God.


As a priest, I often wonder how well I bring people into a relationship with God as opposed to "getting them to church." Church, when it seems to be an option among many, tends to be more a social encounter rather than a time to interact with God. Church does seem pretty optional.


Maybe I have not done the work of a pastor, introducing people to God and encouraging their relationship with God.


Is church social to you? Is it one option among many? Do you encounter God on Sundays when you are in church? Do you try? Do you need help?


I don't know about you but I have enough places I am expected to be on any given day. I don't need any more. But I do need a God of love in my life. That need never goes away.


"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

How Do I Rate?

I hate to shop in stores so I love to shop online. After most transactions, I am asked to "rate" the seller. I usually don't unless I am in a really evil mood after being burned. Then, I torch the seller! (I fell much better now, thank you.)

The other day, I ran into a church rating website (www.churchrater.com.)  Obviously, being the self-centered person that I am, I checked to see if St. Andrew's was on it. It wasn't (whew!) I searched some of the ratings. They are what you might expect. Either a church was praised (above God, to be sure) or was slammed (even Satan didn't bother with the church since the church was doing such a great job, a la Screwtape Letters, in institutionalizing spiritual torpor in worship.)

We love to judge. Maybe judging customer service, even worship, might have some benefit. But, mostly, we judge ourselves (do I measure up?) and others (do you measure up?) Judgment is a dead end when applied to our constant rating of ourselves and others. It is not God's work. Who will you judge today? What judgments of you will you embrace?


For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2 (NIV)


As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. John 12:47 (NIV)


For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.

Romans 14:9-10 (NIV)


I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.

1 Corinthians 4:3 (NIV)


If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?  

James 2:3-4 (NIV)


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Imma Let You Finish

Just when you think people could not get any ruder, Kanye West bursts into Taylor Swift's award acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Basically, he said someone else should have won. Kanye felt it was okay to burst in since he did say, "Imma let you finish." He did, but who cares? Fortunately, Beyonce showed class by turning over her award time to Taylor to let Taylor have her moment.

Seeing rudeness in others is not hard for us unless, maybe, the rudeness is directed at someone (say a politician) we don't like. But, more basically, any time we interrupt, we devalue the other person. I cannot count the times I am forming my (stellar, in my mind) rebuttal while someone is talking. Listeners are a rarity in an era where the zeitgeist is mouthy, stridently pressed opinions.

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.      James 3:5-6, 9 (NIV)

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry       James 1:19 (NIV)

Will I listen today? Really listen. Can I let my opinion go for the sake of another? Will I set another person's life ablaze because I had to speak. May I honor those I encounter today by listening a lot and speaking a little. May I do more than, "Imma let you finish."

Just Get By

I have noticed a growing population of people who have a life strategy of "just get by" (JGB.) This is the phenomenon of putting the absolute least amount of energy into any project, big or small. In other words, doing just enough to get by. What got me reflecting was coffee. While making coffee at church the other day, I noticed plastic bags in the refrigerator (they multiply faster than rabbits,) vestiges of snacks gone by. Then I noticed the coffee cups. A sleeve was open on the counter. Someone had gotten their one cup and left me the sleeve to set up and discard the wrapper. Later in the day, toilet paper – nice brown tube on holder-new roll still on the tank. Also, trash on the floor, right below the cavernous opening of the trash can. Still later, I heard of "winging it" in a church classroom – preparation to teach was too hard. Now, I am sure all of these people are very nice people. And I know Jesus died for them. But I wonder if we have come to diminish life by JGB.


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men  Colossians 3:23 (NIV)


What we have done, knowingly or unknowingly (it does not matter,) is to become people who do things only for ourselves. Not thinking of Jesus or even fellow travelers on the Way.


What, big and small, will you do today? Will every move be done the best it can be done, regardless of its seeming import? Will what you do at home, work and play be for Jesus?


We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.   From The General Thanksgiving in the Prayer Book

Monday, September 21, 2009

Class Jerk

"If after three weeks of class you don't know who the class jerk is, then it's you."


This statement is quoted by Tony Dungy in Uncommon and attributed to a classmate. Jesus might have said this.


Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Luke 6:41-42 (NIV)


It is so easy to see the faults of others and miss our own. It is so easy to turn purple excoriating a "wrong" person when we bask in our "rightness." How easy is it, in the name of "help," to correct another all the will resisting any correction (or learning) on our part? It is easy to keep the cottage industry of hypocrisy going in our eye, especially when there are others to fix. This phenomenon is standard issue to all siblings – "He/she did it!"


God must grow weary listening to people point out the vileness, stupidity, orneriness, vapidity and bad motives of others all the while missing that they, themselves, are quite competent at this as well.


We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6 (NIV)


I think the reason I am the consummate hypocrite is that I do not love God as much as I think I do. Yes, God gets routine "tip o' the hat" from me. But does my heart burn, melt (Tim Heller) for God in love? Is Christ very personal and who I yearn to "hang out" with and sit at his feet? True friends, real lovers never have to compete with the other items on a To Do list. Am I in love?

Thursday, September 17, 2009


The search engine, Google, does what we love to do. It searches for answers to our questions. As "can do" people, we love nice tidy answers. We are embarrassed if we don't have answers, right answer. We hesitate to say anything unless we have the right answer. We test to younger members of our society to give back the right answers. It is not surprising that, when we go to church, we get sermons and classes that sum up all of eternity in 3 or 4 bullet points.


Jesus wasn't much into bullet points. Maybe this was because he knew life was richer and more complicated that reading USA Today. Jesus love to tell stories and he love to be Eastern in his mind – being a "both/and" person rather than an "either/or." "Both/and?" The Kingdom of Heaven is now AND later. Jesus is human AND divine. We are combinations of Good AND Evil. God unleashes justice AND mercy.


Part of this Godly line of though or heart is this. Good questions are every bit as valuable and good answers. In fact, good questions may be better. Answers often involve memory but little heart. A good question can only come from the heart, a heart that grasps the enormity, the breadth, of the situation. Rabbis loved the student who engaged in questions.


Am I happy having all the answers? Am I ashamed that I don't have more answers? Do I question my assumptions? Am I happy to pass on the "answers" of others without questioning them myself? Have I explored my convictions and asked them questions? May you have a troubling day.


"A lot of times with the fame and the money here, you can get your wires crossed a little bit on who you are and adapt to the environment instead of staying with what you know and how you got here and what you do,"


"At some point you're going to struggle. No matter who you are, you're going to struggle. Same way with life. You go through life and have those years where everything seems to go right, and you have those years where you have to battle through."


These words were from Roy Oswalt, the Astros pitcher. He was speaking about baseball but he could have been talking about life.


In a consumer culture ripe with choices, a culture where we measure our worth by the stuff we have, it is easy to get lost. On the good days, we might get through life running on fumes but when the bad days come – and they will – we will vapor-lock, and no amount of status or stuff will restart us. We need to go home and star over. In order to do this, we need to know where "home" is.


Using Roy's thoughts, "home" is

  • What you know
  • How you got here
  • What you do


If I may take a bit of liberty…

  • What you know – That I am loved and have a mission that reaches out to me from eternity
  • How you got here – My history, especially the moments God seemed oh-so-close
  • What you do – my core, unique identity – at birth and from my baptism – given by God


Today, am I so in love with God that I know his love? Do I know my life-giving mission in life, my purpose?  Have I looked back on the highlights (especially the hard ones) and saw where God was active? Am I secure in my identity, relying on God and not my environment to validate me?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I'm officially a dork. I kinda knew it but the new issue of Wired magazine confirmed it. For those of you that don't know, Wired is a cultural commentary with a decidedly post-modern, high tech cynicism (my description.) I read it to know what's going on in culture and what may lie in the future.

Wired ran an article on "New Rules for Digital Gentlemen." The rules were answers to how to handle yourself in a cell phone, Twitter, Facebook video game world. Here is where I learn of my ungentlemanly dorkiness. Cordless drill holsters are cool. Cell phone holsters are not. I was relieved to know that talking on a cell phone while in the men's room is uncool (but texting was okay.) and that my highly unflattering picture on Facebook was preferred to a studio, airbrushed one.

I often feel awkward and just weird at times. I never know just how to "fit in" or even if I do. At church, I hand out with people closer to my daughters' ages. Why is it that, just when you think you have the world figured out, it changes and awkwardness sets in?

For a follower of Christ, the awkwardness (tension) of not fitting in should not go away. Followers, in fact, are promised that they will not fit in.

Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Luke 9:58 (NIV)

This passage comes right after the pivot point in Luke where Jesus sets of (resolutely) towards this destiny and death in Jerusalem.  Elsewhere, Peter says,

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
1 Peter 2:11 (NIV)

And John says

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
John 1:10 (NIV)

So, am I weird for weirdness sake or for God's sake? I am I a resident alien because I am a follower and Jesus seems quirky, out-of-step, with the spirit of the age? Would anyone recognize me as "other" because I am a follower or do I camouflage my faith well? Today, I want to be decidedly alien, for God's sake. I will follow and followers are weird.


You hang around the church much; you hear a lot of complaining or critiquing.  These do not come from malcontents. Usually, they come from well-meaning people. It is not wonder that this phenomenon is common. We Americans are "fix it" people more than we are "plan ahead" people. We are always fixin' to get around to important preventative things but we attack with vigor things which are broke or seem broke or seem to need improving.


Jesus tells a story about weeds. Basically, he says this. "You can pull weeds all you want but you might take up some good plants as well. Concentrate on nurturing the plants. Let their growth crowd out the weeds." Another way of say this is this. "If you concentrate on the bad stuff, the devil wins. He sets your agenda. What the devil hates is for you to stick with the good. He loses."


The more we point out what's wrong (and sometimes it is and sometimes we must do this,) the more we are taken away from immersing ourselves in goodness. Jesus is found in the good. Complaining and critiquing can be on a slippery slope to self-righteousness. Darkness only needs a smidgen of light to no longer be dark.


What if I pursued the good in the face of an avalanche of evil? Turned the other cheek, as Jesus puts it. What if, today, I devoted my energy to being alight and refusing to engage darkness in its own turf? What if, for goodness' sake, I eschewed complaining and critiquing and set my mouth on a course of edifying every inch of my day? That would be revolutionary. Then again, so was Jesus.


Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

 "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'

 " 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
      "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'

 " 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "                                   Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Human Doings

I notice a phenomenon for which bothers me. I see attendance at worship diminish all the while volunteership increases. Yes, I could blame me for not doing something right. That may be true. I am pretty quick to blame me for many ills. I think it may have to do with love, however. This phenomenon of declining worship and increasing ministry mirror our world. We love the status of our achievements and busyness but withdraw from the messy work of relationships. Tasks are so much more manageable than people. Worshiping God is about loving God. That is a major investment.

I fall prey to this line of thought myself. Churches should look active and have quality (read "better than the next church") ministries. We don't want our church "voted of the island." Besides, we look churchy when occupied with so many "churchy" things. We have come to believe that "busy" shows we are true Christians, living a high moral life of service. In life, that gets no traction.

But let's back up. God created us for love. Loving God and loving each other. Tasks and projects and stuff were all created to advance love and not take the place of it. We feel validates as human "doings" but are harder pressed to be lovers - our primary occupation.

I don't know if God gets lonely or his feelings hurt. I think God does. When, in the name of his Sin, God sees all sorts of stuff going on, I bet he says under his breath, "Hey, what about me? I'm lovable and I love you and want to love you into a life beyond your imagination, beyond your limiting circumstances."

I gotta rethink my leadership on this. I have to look at myself. The importance of Worship and Loving God is where it's at and everything else will take care of itself.  Ministry is a fruit of that love but cannot become a substitute. I'll let you know what I discover.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

He Spoke

The President spoke to school kids. Some opted out. Most heard. Sounded like something a parent would say. Not much controversial.


Previous to the speech, a lot was said. Much very negative, speculative and, often, disrespectful. Claims were made that the President was going to "indoctrinate" children. Much was fabricated about the content and, while the exact content was not made known prior to the speech (why have one if the speech is pre-released,) our President was not given much of the benefit of the doubt. A north Texas school district that opted out of the President's speech will go here the previous President speech later this month at Texas Stadium. Kids hear congress persons and local officials all the time.


No one needs to agree or even like the President but he, like all people, deserve respect. Respect means truly listening when it  the turn of others, just as much as we want to be listen to when it is our turn. Respect and civility seem to be evaporating in our society. Beyond that, we seem to play out our disagreements using children, among other groups, as go-betweens.


On the occasion of baptism, we claim or promise to convey to our children, two things among many as part of our Covenant with God. First, we respect the dignity of every human being – black, white, Sunday School teacher, felon, Muslim, or Christian. Second, we seek and serve Christ in all persons, remembering that the "all" includes some people we really do not get along with or have strong opinions about.


Today, have I become so angry with life that I need to write off anyone, including the President (past and present, lest I think this is only a problem today,) with speculative cynicism? If I am so angry, have I laid my anger before God? Cultivated-prolonged anger needs to be healed. Can I find good in others and avoid labeling them as if they were cartoon characters? Who do I write off with a label? Can I give a person I disagree with, the benefit of the doubt? Is Christ resident in my neighbor?


I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Safe Mode

Michael Shermer, in a Scientific American article on the link of vaccines and autism, wrote this. "...thinking anecdotally comes naturally, whereas thinking scientifically does not."   In other words, we let our personal experiences color how we believe the world works, even if it is to our detriment. I might write "thinking anecdotally comes naturally, whereas thinking Biblically does not." To press this further, a Biblical worldview gives life whereas a life built strictly on reservoir of anecdotal knowledge, is a dead end no matter how "right" it feels to me.

Martin Luther thought similarly. Our default position in life is to be selfish. When we awake in the morning, we do so as a person with a choice - autopilot (and sooner or later crash) or turn to God in the most intimate and dependent way. It is like our computer. Knowing a virus is likely, we start in "Safe Mode" rather than starting as if we were not in danger. We are in danger.

Each morning, I "reboot" Jim. As tempting (and "expedient" to quote Pilate) as it is to burst on the scene under my own steam, I am dead if I don't start in safe mode. Safe mode is not rote prayer or handing God a laundry list of "to do" items. Safe mode is an ongoing, loving relationship with Christ where I hang on his every word.

I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
                                                                                                           John 3:3 (NIV)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Head Trips

I admit it. I can live in my head.  That is, I can "think it" and falsely believe that I have "embraced it." In example, I played a terrific "air guitar" in high school and imagined myself as a sought after (read "by girls") rock star. Truth is - can't play - can't sing.

We all know God loves us. For most, this stays as "head knowledge." A great fact but of little comfort. In order to know the love of Jesus, we have to know him. In an intimate, friend-we-get-in-trouble-with, fight-and-make-up-with, totally-like-us-yet-constantly-surprising, share-your-secrets-with, tree-house-building, do-each-other's-hair, friend.

The hardest, longest part of the Christian journey comes when we move off of the safe (but not as Godly as we think) ground of being an upright, moral person. Truth is, we mostly do this without God's help and in order to curry God's favor when we need help. If I try really hard to be moral (I do,) I kind of expect God to do his part when life takes a turn for the worse. Funny, he did not do that for Jesus, why would he do it for me? What Jesus did have, however, and was all he needed to be alive (even in death,) was an on-going, developing, wildly-in-love relationship with the Father.

Today, will I head down the safe path of self-salvation by being a moral person who expects God to notice? Or will I be a broken, but trying to do my best, person who really wants to know God and will settle for nothing less than to look him in the face with what little I do have? I pray I opt for love.


Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)