Wayfarer

Wayfarer

By Tom Vander Well
Tom Vander Well is a "wayfaring stranger" on this road of life. Husband, father, CEO, writer, actor, playwright, preacher, and back porch musician, he shares his thoughts, observations, and reflections on the journey. Each weekday he offers reflections on a chapter of the Bible. He then adds longer episodes on various themes of life, relationships, and spirit. Tom's blog, "Wayfarer" (tomvanderwell.com) has been a regular source of thought and inspiration since 2006.
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Breaking a Stiff-Neck
One of the most fascinating things about the story of the early Jesus movement is the transformation in the strong-willed, stiff-necked followers such as Peter, Paul, and John. With each one there was a process involved in the spiritual transformation that included moments of their strong-wills being broken and their spirits humbled. (Chapter-a-Day meditation on Exodus 33; The text version of today's podcast can be found here)
05:46
July 7, 2020
Before "Old Things Pass Away," They Often Lure Me Back
I confess this morning that every time I watched the movie and every time I've read this story before, I have been led to the prescribed audience reaction. I shake my head and whisper a "tsk, tsk" in self-righteous judgment for the weak-minded Hebrews. This morning, however, I'm seeing it in a whole new way. (Chapter-a-Day from Exodus 32; The text version available here)
07:24
July 6, 2020
Sabbath
I'm reminded this morning of observing how the legalism and fundamentalism I experienced early in my spiritual journey created really sad, angry, and bitter people whose lives, and even their worship, appeared to me to be void of anything close to resembling peace, love, or joy.  (Chapter-a-Day from Exodus 31) Text version on the Wayfarer Blog at tomvanderwell.com.
08:07
June 30, 2020
I Smell
Today I find, once again, that the physical bricks-and-mortar (or in this case oil-and-incense) of the Hebrew system matures through Jesus and shifts into a flesh-and-blood understanding of what God is doing. (Chapter-a-Day podcast on Exodus 30). The text version is always available on Tom Vander Well's Wayfarer blog.
07:18
June 29, 2020
Another Choice
The Kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of this world, and it requires the eyes and ears of my heart to see and hear beyond the simplistic choices fed to me by this world. (A chapter-a-day podcast from Exodus 29) https://tomvanderwell.com/2020/06/26/another-choice/
10:24
June 26, 2020
God Friended Me
In my experience, clergy across the various denominations, and even religions, are all lumped together in the minds of most people. Either they aren't sure what to call you, or they simply use whatever word they know from their own experience. And yet, there are major differences in both meaning and role. (A chapter-a-day podcast from Exodus 28) https://tomvanderwell.com/2020/06/25/god-friended-me/
07:15
June 26, 2020
The Church's Blueprint
If there was a blueprint Jesus provided for the design of the church, it would look exactly like me. (A chapter-a-day podcast on Exodus 27)
06:25
June 26, 2020
From Bricks-and-Mortar to Flesh-and-Blood
Today's chapter-a-day post comes from Exodus 26. I believe that we are moving into a time when followers of Jesus are tearing the curtain once more and rediscovering the fullness of what Jesus meant when He told his followers, "I will destroy this temple and raise it in three days."
06:35
June 26, 2020
Tent to Temple to Table
When Jesus came He blew up the childish notion of the God of Creation residing in one place. Jesus matured our understanding of God's very nature and the nature of God's presence. The place of worship transitioned from the Temple to the dining room table.
09:32
June 22, 2020
Called to the Quiet
Over the nearly 40 years I have been a follower of Jesus, I've experienced that my time of quiet with God each morning has an effect on the peace with which I handle the stress of each day.
05:21
June 19, 2020
“Jesus People Very Nice”
When Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, when He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, and when He commanded His followers to take His message to Samaria, He was addressing systemic racial prejudice. Jesus was pointing His own people back to the heart of God that motivated the law repeated twice in yesterday's chapter and today's.
06:16
June 18, 2020
Losing the Truth of Loss
The way of Jesus has always been about letting go, giving up, and leaving behind. The diminishment of self for the gain of others is not an optional path for those followers of Jesus who want an advanced spiritual placement. It's foundational to being a follower at all.
08:29
June 17, 2020
An Accomplice to Change
How do I, as a 21st century follower of Jesus, relate to an ancient Hebrew text that is basically a code of law dealing with specific instances of slavery around 3,500 years ago? How can this possibly relate to my life today? I have a couple of thoughts.
08:47
June 16, 2020
Spiritual Batting Average
Monday mornings are always a mental and spiritual "reset" button for me. As I prepare to enter another work-week I'm thankful for Jesus' reminder that all of the Commandments, rules, and laws in God's Book are summed up in two: Love God with everything you've got. Love others as you love yourself. Now that is a pitch I can hit.
07:16
June 15, 2020
Parental Covenant
What is a parent's relationship like with a toddler? The parent dictates the rules and asks the child to obey. Rules and obligations. Parents graciously extend protection and provision. They expect obedience. While the child can't cognitively understand just how graciously his or her parents are being, they simply understand that when they obey things are okay and when they disobey they get in trouble. At Sinai, I believe that God and humanity are in the toddler stage of relationship.
06:57
June 11, 2020
The One-Person Org Chart
Within any human system, there is a structure of power and responsibility. In some cases, that structure is well-defined and ordered like a community organization with by-laws run by Robert's Rules of Order. Companies have organizational charts to define who answers to whom. My observation is that the more intimate and small the system, the more difficult things can get.
05:25
June 10, 2020
Whining Then and Now
One of my observations along life's journey is that humans have a penchant for whining at every stage of life, it just looks different in adults than it does in childhood. It transforms from emotional tantrums in children to adults wallowing in grumbling, complaining, and lament.
06:57
June 9, 2020
Roughing It…Not
In the quiet this morning I find myself confessing that I never think about my needs because there has never been a day of my life journey that I couldn't take for granted my basic needs would be met. This means that my entire life journey has been spent measuring the "quality" and "success" of life by the relative equation of my wants versus my acquisitions.
07:11
June 8, 2020
Music and the Blues
I believe that God infused music with powerful properties. One of them is the way music ties us emotionally and spiritually to moments of our life journeys.
06:00
June 5, 2020
Into the Water
In today's chapter, I found it so clearly hiding in plain sight. Moses and the escaping Hebrews find themselves stuck at the shore of the Red Sea as the Egyptian army advances on them. In escaping their chains of slavery and oppression the Hebrews looked back at what was and found themselves mired in fear. Moses was focused on standing firm, but that leaves the situation between the proverbial rock and a hard place. God wants them to move forward.
31:26
June 4, 2020
Beginner’s Guide to the Great Story (Part 5)
In episode five of the series we pick up the Great Story at the end of Moses' story and overview the continuation of the story through the "Historical Books" of the Old Testament.
31:26
May 18, 2020
Beginner’s Guide to the Great Story (Part 4)
In our fourth episode of the series we're going to start wading through the major sections of the Great Story. We begin with the ancient and mysterious texts of the first five books, known as "The Books of Moses." In them, we'll discover the problem and the prophetic plan through the promise to a person who will become a people.
1:03:11
April 18, 2020
Beginner’s Guide to the Great Story (Part 3)
In our third episode of the series we're going to talk about some of the "meta-themes" in the Great Story and, since all good stories are a reflection of the Great Story, we'll look at some examples of the meta-themes we find in our favorite movies and epic stories.
42:50
April 5, 2020
Beginner’s Guide to the Great Story (Part 2)
Second episode of the series in which decode some of the basic confusion people often have about the Great Story (aka The Bible) and provide some suggestions and recommendations for diving in to the "shallow end" where you won't drown in discouragement!
34:58
March 25, 2020
Beginner’s Guide to the Great Story (Part 1)
First episode exploring the basics of the Great Story (aka The Bible) for both those who have little or no prior knowledge, and for those who do and simply want a refresher on some of those basics. In episode one we'll explore three foundational themes as we begin this journey: metaphor, context, and mystery.
29:46
March 15, 2020
Time (Part 3: Appointed Time)
The unexpected third part of what was planned as a two-part series contemplating time. How we approach appointed time, the prophetic, and staying in the flow of what God is doing.
40:49
March 5, 2020
Time (Part 2: The End Times)
The second part of a two-part series contemplating time as it relates to eternity, history, the future, end times, and my own earthly journey.
30:56
November 14, 2019
Time (Part 1)
The first part of a two-part series contemplating time as it relates to eternity, history, and my own earthly journey.
32:22
November 4, 2019
My Return from Exile
Wayfarer returns from self-imposed exile, with thoughts and reflections on the theme of exile in God's Message and our current times.
33:20
October 24, 2019
Lent & the Four Levels
Thoughts on "unplugging" from blogging and social media for Lent, and introduction of the concept of The Four Levels.
30:29
April 2, 2019
Salem, Systems, Settle, Spriggs, Spec
How foolish we are as adolescents, how systems influence us and society, how we progress in our respective journeys, and the gift given to me by my Junior High Principal.
30:55
March 6, 2019
Creed, Crash, & Cutting the Chord
This week's podcast brought to you by the letter "C" including Creed, Crash, Costner, Catholic, Cold, and Cutting the Chord.
25:33
February 22, 2019
“Why ‘Wayfarer’?”
Tom Vander Well embarks on his podcasting journey by sharing why his blog and podcast are dubbed "Wayfarer" and how it all began.
22:16
February 13, 2019