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    Choosing Bible Study Curriculum

    Popular teacher . . . Best selling . . . Easy homework . . . Recommended. I’ve chosen Bible study curriculum for all these reasons, but none of them is foolproof, and they often won’t meet the needs of your group or fulfill your purpose for Bible study. The popular teacher won’t necessarily reflect good theology or teach women how to think biblically for themselves. Her greatest asset may be her humor or her stories, which are great, but they may not help the women learn the Bible, which is essential to personal discipleship. Best-selling doesn’t always involve depth or even truth. Easy homework by definition fails to wrestle much…

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    Troublemaker or Truth-teller?

    I tend to see the big picture when presented with ideas. I can usually anticipate potential problems and possible reactions. I envision what it would take to develop an organization to put an idea in place. I consider the feelings and concerns of various groups involved. So when someone presents me with a done deal decision, my reaction is to bring up possible ramifications or problems. It’s part of my processing the news, but it does serve to push back when the issues have been ignored.   What I see as thinking wisely, however, others see as troublemaking. Several years back I was shocked to hear that I had been…

  • In the Lingering Light
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    In The Lingering Light–A Book Encouraging Caregivers

    I interviewed my friend Cynthia Fantasia about her new book In the Lingering Light: Courage and Hope for the Alzheimer's Caregiver. For you caregivers, Cynthia's honestly and vulnerablity about her personal journey is truly a gift. I've already given books to two friends, knowing that it will encourage them and provide wisdom as they care for their husbands. For me, the book was a great help in understanding more of what it means to be a caregiver to those with memory loss. I believe it's a must read for ministers, as well as famly and friends of caregivers.  One of the things that I loved about In the Lingering Light…

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    Give Lots of Hugs

    I just returned home from the funeral of a friend who passed away within days of going into the hospital for surgery. Although it was a serious surgery, nothing like this was expected. Sadly, this isn’t our only funeral this week. On June 30th a private plane carrying two couples and a family of four crashed, and my husband knew two of the men on it. He attended one couple’s funeral today and will go to that of the family of four on Saturday.  So please give your friends and family a hug when you see them—and make it a point to be with them soon if possible. God doesn’t…

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    Baby Steps toward Racial Reconciliation

    Racial injustice. Color blindness. White privilege. Reparations. Christian unity. Woke up. Systemic racism.  A few years ago these were terms that I as a white woman knew little about and rarely even considered, much less understood. I grew up in the Jim Crow South surrounded by people who looked just like me. Although Brown vs. The Board of Education had demanded an end to school segregation years before, the reality was that my schools were as segregated as ever until high school. My parents were strong Christians who had been taught that white people were superior. But I noticed the inconsistency of their faith and actions and wondered. After the…

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    The Greatest Lover

    Even in the best of earthly relationships or the closest marriage, we don’t always feel loved. We long for a perfect love from one who knows us intimately and loves us sacrificially and unconditionally, but only God can give us perfect love. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s a great time to ponder a few of God's words of love. I hope you read them as a Valentine to you today. For this is the way God loved the world: he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).    In this is love: not that…

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    Advent: Hope in the Darkness

    “Advent” means arrival. This season looks ahead to Christmas, the miracle of God’s entrance into our world. We anticipate the baby born to die to redeem us from our sin. Although Jesus arrived in a broken world marked by rebellion, division, and sorrow, the Jews found hope in a wealth of prophecies that the promised Messiah was indeed coming to deliver them from the darkness. The gloom will be dispelled for those who were anxious. In earlier times he humiliated the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali; but now he brings honor to the way of the sea, the region beyond the Jordan, and Galilee of the nations.…

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    Savoring the Moment

    "I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man." Ecclesiastes 3:9-10 As I prepared to teach Ecclesiastes this week, I thought of this post that I wrote in 2010. What a wonderful trip our entire family took this month! Although we saw great sights and enjoyed good food, the highlight was being with those I love most. Perhaps revisiting some places I had seen previously made it easier to live in the moment, or maybe realizing that such…

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    What is Truth?

    Pilate’s famous question to Jesus “What is truth?” suggests that truth can’t be known or doesn’t matter.   His attitude contrasted with the words Jesus had just spoken: “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37). Jesus’s followers are to be of the truth—yes, truth about him, but also truth about everything.  Paul’s well-known passage defining love says it “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). We should rejoice in investigations to uncover the truth and wrongdoing—even when we…

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    God’s Big Story

    I cannot start watching a movie, reading a book, or hearing a news story from the middle or end. I’m confused about who the people are and what’s going on. It’s impossible to grasp the meaning of the climax with zero information about the beginning and middle.  The Bible is the same way. Knowing the story of Jesus doesn’t make nearly as much sense without understanding the bigger story. I have been taught to begin sharing the gospel with the fact that all are sinners—but how did that happen? And how does Jesus’s life and death help us understand the horrendous evil and darkness in the world?  In Joshua Chatraw's article…