• Engage

    This Is Not What I Ordered!

    I read a story a few weeks ago about a couple who went to a fancy restaurant that served their dinner on plates covered with shiny domes. When the covers were lifted, the exact dinners they had ordered were revealed. The author went on to say what we get on our plates of life may be different than what we ordered and maybe something we didn’t want![1] I thought some examples of perceived wrong orders could arrive as difficult relationships with family/friends/work, challenges in health, struggles with finances, changes in locations, or places of service.      The story prompted me to ponder what my plate of life looks like that God…

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    Blessed: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

    Ever since I studied the life of Mary of Nazareth, Jesus’s mother, and wrote a 31-day devotional study, I choose my words with care around the concept of blessing. I think twice now before using the phrase “I am blessed” or the hashtag “blessed.” In the western world, blessings typically refer to our good fortune or whatever makes our lives comfortable. We feel blessed when a new countertop graces our cabinetry, the trip goes without delay, our children make us look good, or the Wi-Fi is strong. However, problems arise when we equate material blessing with God’s favor. If we are blessed because we possess physical comforts and live in…

  • Heartprints

    Shoe Box Christians

    Am I rushing things to ask you to think about Thanksgiving in September? Maybe. But, please hear me out. What characterizes the Christian life more than that of giving thanks? We do a lot of activities ahead of time during advent and lent to prepare for Christmas and Easter. What do we do ahead to prepare for Thanksgiving Day? What is a Thanksgiving Day without giving of thanks? It can easily be forgotten in the midst of the food and fun. Be intentional this year, Take advantage of the next nine weeks to prepare. If you are home schooling, teaching Sunday School, or just plain parenting this will be an activity…

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    Thanksgiving: Let’s Actually Give Thanks

    A number of countries set aside one day every year for their people to gather and give thanks. I live in the USA, where we will celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. But no matter where we live, we are called in everything to give thanks (1 Thess. 5:18). So let's actually take time to do what the day is set aside to encourage—give thanks. That may seem like a no-brainer, but often we're so caught up in turkey and gravy and pumpkin pie and football and family togetherness and Macy's parade-watching that we actually forget to give thanks beyond the table blessing. Here are some prompts to get us started. Even…

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    Celebration Sabbath!

    My childhood friend Nancy was forbidden to participate in a number of activities on Sunday because her parents felt that Sunday was the Christian Sabbath, purposed for focusing on God. Recently, I read a similar comment about not participating in anything on Sunday that isn't centered on Christ, including family activities. I love the zeal and heartfelt desire to please God that these restrictions represent, but I wonder–isn’t there something in this perspective that misses God’s heart for people? On the other hand, in fleeing from legalism have the rest of us lost the benefits of the sabbath commands? Do we miss any focus on Christ in the midst of…