Submitted by Gail Seidel on Wed, 09/04/2019 - 17:24
In an ever-changing culture that seems anchorless and chaotic with no moral compass, this rootless tree on Highway #290 en route to our town, grabs my attention.
In its rootlessness is a metaphor that speaks of the end result of living without the soul nourishing awareness of God and His Presence. With no anchor or guidance cultural impact is very disconcerting, scary depressing and hopeless, especially if you only focus on the dead tree.
Submitted by Sue Bohlin on Wed, 09/04/2019 - 09:10
My husband Ray knew something was wrong as soon as he got out of bed.
His lower back, where he'd had back surgery six weeks before, was wet. His t-shirt was wet. The sheet was wet. His fingers glistening with a strange wetness from reaching back to investigate, he asked me to check what was going on. I saw a rivulet of fluid pouring out of the top of his surgical incision. Something was really, really wrong.
Submitted by Amy Leigh Bamberg on Fri, 08/30/2019 - 11:37
“I’m such a people-pleaser,” she muttered, swatting another tear from her cheek like it was some pesky insect. Throughout our conversation she’d quoted from the plethora of materials that rail against “the sin of people-pleasing.” With a tone of indignation thinly-veiling her self-loathing, she now cited Paul: “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal 1.10).
I listened as this precious woman questioned her loyalty to Christ, convinced that a true follower would never desire something so base as pleasing people. I empathized, then unplugged my grenade...Tick…Tick…Tick…and hurled my question into the air:
Submitted by Sandra Glahn on Tue, 08/27/2019 - 01:00
Often when the subject of young adults as a demographic arises, we hear negative descriptors like “snowflakes” and “pampered” and “religiously indifferent.” But are these actually true of most young people in the US today? Researchers Tim Clydesdale and Kathleen Garces-Foley in their new book The Twentysomething Soul: Understanding the Religious and Secular Lives of American Young Adults (Oxford University Press) say no. And they provide hard data to back up their assertion.
Submitted by Christen Jacobs on Mon, 08/26/2019 - 23:30
“I have a relationship with the Lord, I’m still a Christian I just don’t do CHURCH anymore.” This is the frequent cry of the wandering diaspora of detached believers. There are typically two things that contribute to the lone soldier syndrome in the Christian faith: intense cultural individuality, and what many people call “church hurt.” While both are genuinely felt by many yet neither are biblical excuses to neglect “meeting together.” (Hebrew 10:24-25)
Submitted by Lael Arrington on Mon, 08/26/2019 - 21:06
We all have them. That short stack of books that have profoundly impacted our lives. Changed not only our understanding but the way we live. To my short stack I’m adding Rosaria Butterfield’s The Gospel Comes with a House Key.
I’ve read several books on “hospitality.” But none have reached as deeply into the way I think about and practice hospitality as her discussion of it as the overflow of table fellowship and caregiving. Rosaria and her husband’s daily schedule radically incorporates preparing extra food, engaging with neighbors, and filling their guest room as a way to make “strangers into neighbors, and neighbors into the family of God.” In today’s culture that is so profoundly fractured by our great divide in beliefs and values, this is God’s way to bridge the divide. And she speaks directly to the saving grace of hospitality in our postmodern culture.
Submitted by Melanie Newton on Fri, 08/23/2019 - 01:00
Do you feel sometimes that you are just spinning like a top and nothing will stop the spinning? Life is going well. You’re doing your job faithfully, whatever it is. Then you get blindsided. The world starts spinning. It doesn’t seem like it will ever stop. Where do you go to find security when life hits like that? Where do you get the courage to keep going?
The Bible teaches that we can face life’s realities with courage and peace by entrusting ourselves and our loved ones to a God who loves us dearly. I believe that you and I can learn to do just that. How do we learn it? We can learn it by watching and listening to Jesus.
Submitted by Sue Bohlin on Wed, 08/21/2019 - 00:00
After seeing God bring about major transformation of emotional healing in a number of broken people, I asked Him what was happening when He healed people's hearts. I wanted to understand the process. His answer was simple and profound, but never easy: "grieving and forgiving."
Both of these emotional disciplines are necessary to move from the place of sustaining a wound to the soul, to the place where that wound no longer controls and diminishes us—because it has been transformed into a healed scar.
Submitted by Sandra Glahn on Tue, 08/13/2019 - 01:00
One of my students, Corinne Samuelson, has spent the summer investigating what’s happening with “widows” in 1 Timothy 5. At first glance, one might think Paul was simply instructing Timothy about how to handle the many hungry older women in the Ephesian church (1:3). But on closer exploration we see a description of what might look like an office. That's a challenging question.
Submitted by Karla Zazueta on Mon, 08/12/2019 - 14:38
A recent leadership conference I attended focused on gratitude. The Chief Executive Officer of the company thought correction in how some members were running their businesses was needed, and therefore spent at least twenty to thirty minutes discussing:
Submitted by Melanie Newton on Fri, 08/09/2019 - 01:00
During a recent Bible Study, I listened as a woman shared about her Christian friend whose godly mother had recently died. This sorrowing woman was grieving and needing comfort. To help with her grief, she drew from something she had heard in the culture—that her mother had now become an angel and was present with her, communicating with her. As we talked about this, looking into what was true or not and how to help someone grieving like that, our discussion encompassed three different issues.
1. Do Christians become angels when they die?
2. Can our loved ones in heaven see what is happening in our lives on earth and communicate with us?
3. When grieving, how do we turn to Jesus for our comfort rather than traditions that make us feel good but draw us away from Him?
Submitted by Amy Leigh Bamberg on Fri, 08/09/2019 - 00:00
Have you seen a cutting horse at work? The masterful way she sorts out a single cow and then maneuvers, step-by-step, to keep it away from the herd? With surpassing wit she leads a spectacular dance of wills.
Submitted by Beth Barron on Wed, 08/07/2019 - 14:00
Some days the world feels aflame.
Saturday, August 3rd, 2019, the news gripped me. People fled out of a mall where I worked during college summers. Police surrounded the area less than one mile from my childhood home where I played hide and seek and marbles. Blood puddled at a store built where I used to trudge through the desert catching lizards and finding rocks. And the gunman—he hailed from the area where I now live. So, this terror feels more personal. And when I hear his actions flowed from racism and anti-immigrant anger, I shake my head at the lies and brokenness behind this horror.
We are embodied souls. Our souls live in a body that touches, tastes, sees, hears, feels, and thinks. Our soul and our flesh are not separate entities. They are intertwined. When someone is at the end of life, we take care of the physical body; however, the soul needs care as well.
Submitted by Sue Bohlin on Tue, 08/06/2019 - 01:00
The 14-year-old daughter of a friend recently responded to her mother's correction with, "Don't judge me, Mom." The same week, a friend of mine asked my opinion on something, and as I was mentally running it through the grid of "what does God say about this in His word," she said, "Now, don't you go judging me!"
Submitted by Lael Arrington on Mon, 08/05/2019 - 22:50
And holds profound lessons for 2020
During these dog days of summer, HBO is offering one week free access—just enough to watch the blockbuster 5-part series (if you didn't see it in May) on the 1986 nuclear plant disaster that spread radiation all across Europe. Extremely well-written, terrific acting and an uncanny replication of 1986 Soviet Union, according to my husband who has taught theology there many times. And, It. Is. Riveting.
The series begins with Valery Legasov, First Deputy Director of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy, recording tapes he will secretly pass on to his fellow scientists. As the lead scientist on the committee to investigate the disaster, he vents his frustration with the core values of Soviet socialism:
“What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, we no longer recognize the truth at all. What happens then? All we can do is abandon the truth and content ourselves instead with stories.”
But at Chernobyl, all the socialist State stories hit the wall of reality.
Submitted by Sandra Glahn on Tue, 07/30/2019 - 01:00
What should I know about feminism?
Many evangelicals think of feminism only as a movement in which women are elevated over men. But such is the case in only in a handful of cases. More broadly, a feminist is someone who opposes sexism of any kind, especially under the law.
Often evangelicals understand the general culture’s reference to “equality” as suggesting a unisex interchangeability of men and women—but, feminists usually do acknowledge (many even celebrate) the differences between men and women. They just say those differences don’t translate to a hierarchy in which men have more innate power.
Submitted by Sue Bohlin on Wed, 07/24/2019 - 00:15
Recently, in the same week, I watched two strikingly polar opposite events unfold on my Facebook feed. One was the long-awaited, long-prayed-for birth of a precious baby girl whose daddy had left homosexuality and repented of a gay identity as he pursued intimacy with Christ. After several years of sexual sobriety and spiritual growth, he was actually quite surprised to find himself starting to be attracted to girls.