• Engage

    Releasing Expectations

    Snowflakes fall silently from the sky as bright-eyed little faces peer out frost-covered windows. Best friends gather around a candlelit table, dishes clanking, laughter wafting in the air. Family members from far away places knock at your door, excitement erupting into hugs and hellos the moment you welcome them inside. An ideal Christmas is easy to imagine. But it’s hard to live out. Despite what commercials portray and Facebook depicts, life’s celebrations are often far from perfect. Our children misbehave at the worst possible moment. Our plans get altered at the last minute. Our family’s disfunction erupts at the table. If there’s anything I’m learning this Christmas season, it’s to…

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    Robbed of My Right of Passage

    In this Covid-19 time, there’s a group of celebrants who feels the loss of their special day more than others: Graduates. With no stage, no diploma in hand, and no procession, it’s hard to feel the same sense of accomplishment and closure.

  • Kingdom of heaven is a banquet

    Celebrating Christmas Wrongly?

    Today is Christmas. Happy Jesus’ Birthday! But not everyone is on board with celebrating Christmas. I was recently in an online conversation with someone who asserts that “true” Christians would never celebrate the birth of the Savior because the scripture doesn’t command us to remember it, as we are told to do with Christ’s death. Luke 22:19 records Jesus’ instructions to celebrate the Lord’s supper: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” But the Bible bears no such instruction concerning His birth. So it must be wrong . . . right? I couldn’t disagree more. One of the things I most love about being a Christ-follower and a student of the…

  • Heartprints

    What is Christmas Without a Christ-child?

    The future of our world depends on steady hearts and strong hands from the next generation.   The next generation always comes to us first as a child. The children we teach today will be the future leaders of our homes, our churches, our country, and our world. They are valuable even when many times they don’t feel that value. Christmas is a perfect time to emphasize the importance that God has placed on children.  “The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation.”  — Ray L. Wilbur, third president of Stanford University “Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.”  — Wess Stafford, President…

  • Engage

    Planning Like Jesus this Year

    Meet Michelle Oney. She’s the Director of Development at Josh McDowell Ministry and has a passion for strategic planning, developing people, and making the most of every opportunity to share the gospel.  From the Old Testament with Moses, Joshua, Nehemiah, and David to the New Testament with Jesus and Paul, the Bible is full of examples of leaders who strategically planned in order to accomplish what God had called them to do. As we look to planning for 2016, we can’t just look at what worked and what didn’t last year. We don’t have to rely on brainstorming, ideation, skill, experience, or creativity. Of course we may use some of…

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    Anticipating Advent

      How can you not be drawn into the grateful expectation of Simeon as he realized that he held the long awaited Christ-child in his arms? Captured in the artist’s rendering is a story of culmination, of waiting, of being prepared by the Holy Spirit for this long anticipated event. Who was he? Who is Simeon and what can we learn from him in this brief passage about his life? He lived in Jerusalem and, as described in Luke 2:25-32, was a righteous and devout man – a man who cautiously and carefully observed the Jewish law and who had been waiting for the consolation of Israel; the promised Messiah,…

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    Don’t Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

    A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to skip the traditional fish brunch that I normally prepare for Easter and we made reservations to go eat at a restaurant instead. This past Sunday, along with many other folks, my family feasted—I mean, we ate like kings and queens—on some serious food. My favorite part of the brunch? I didn’t have to do dishes afterwards. My least favorite moment? The weeks before Easter.   In the days leading up to Easter, I kind of drove my family crazy. Instead of showing enthusiasm about our new plans, I resisted. Every time someone shared their excitement, I killed it with horror.…

  • Engage

    Said This Blogger to the People Everywhere

    It’s Christmas.    Celebrate the ultimate expression of love in the birth of God’s Son, Jesus. Celebrate His life—His power over death, for it is how we have salvation. It is how we have a relationship with God.   Take in His grace. Embrace it and don’t let it go. Take the freedom you have in Christ and play. Enjoy your life and the gifts God has given you. Laugh so hard your sides hurt. And go ahead and cry if you want because of the unexplicable love He has for you. Yes, He loves you dearly.   Stay in wonder. Can you imagine? The God-man born—given to us to…