• Heartprints

    Teaching Tip #4

      God’s amazing grace is the heart of the Gospel message. From Genesis to Revelation grace weaves its way through every book of the Bible. Every time we see God act, we are viewing a glimpse of His amazing grace. What greater gift can we give our children than to guide them to accept God’s grace, let it empower them to overcome sinful habits, and teach them how to live out of the grace they have received becoming generous givers of grace. Grace giving or receiving does not come naturally to the human heart. Parents are inclined to teach better conduct by keeping and enforcing rules, rather than teaching a need…

  • 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…

  • Heartprints

    Am I Who You Think I Am?

    Have you ever read any statistics on how social media is affecting our sense of identity? In a world where we can post who we want others to perceive we are, we can end up with an online-induced case of plural identities. Not only does this create confusion, it also is exhausting to maintain. My daughter, Kari Ciliberti, recently in a paper on this very subject, cited “Mary Aiken’s, an expert in cyberpsychology, comments on the feedback loop of one’s cyber self, saying,  “… The cyber self is always under construction, physiologically and digitally. Even when …sleeping, the cyber self continues to exist. It is always on- evolving, updating, making…

  • Heartprints

    Praying for Heroes

      Everybody loves a hero. We watch the stories of public heroes unfold on the news and in docudramas and our hearts are moved so that we long to be one. But what of the unsung heroes of the heart? They seldom make headlines.  Even fewer of them become known to anyone other than their own family.  Heroes of the heart are the men and boys in our lives that live and work among us as dependable husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers. These heroes are our heroes because they belong to our hearts. Their selfless love has changed our worlds. True Heroes of the heart make a difference not just…

  • Heartprints

    In the Shadow of Christmas is a Cross

      Christmas, for many, is colored with twinkling lights, the sound of singing, bright colored packages topped with elegant bows, cookies, candy, parties and laughter. But for others, Christmas is colored with the stark reality of roaring fires that ravage neighborhoods, hospital rooms, funeral homes, broken relationships, drunken relatives, and memories of those whose faces are missing from thier lives. As we teach our children about Jesus, God’s greatest gift to the world, we must not forget to teach them that the manger was shadowed by a cross. The Messiah in the manger was destined to be a man of sorrows acquainted with all our grief, bearing all our sin…

  • Heartprints

    TAKING TIME TO WORSHIP

    How is it possible that the day of the year set aside as a Holy Day to celebrate the greatest gift ever given usually finds us exhausted, stressed, and even at times depressed? Our children wake up all excited in anticipation of presents that in the end may or may not be what they expected. Spirits tend to dwindle as we move through the day ending up tired, over sugared, and overwhelmed ready to fall into bed exhausted.   We all have a desire to focus on the Lord. As believers. we usually plan to do our best to make the season one that is about worship and gratitude. Honestly, how…

  • Heartprints

    Christian Parenting Mistakes: #4 Raising Cultural Christians

    The difference between religion and life in Christ, which is what God intended in Christianity, can be summed up in one word, RELATIONSHIP. We must guard against just handing down our rules and ethics like a religious preference. Christianity is not inherited or genetically passed on from one generation to another. It is not a way of life that is taught because how we live doesn’t make us Christians. Being a Christian determines how we live. We cannot give anyone a relationship with God. Relationship is personal. Relationship must be developed by the individuals at a personal commitment level. Christian parents are sadly mistaken when they think that if they…

  • Heartprints

    Christian Parenting Mistakes: #3 Giving Stuff Versus Giving Myself?

    What does love look like? How do we teach it to our children? For some families, it is expressed through encouraging words or the giving of lots of stuff. For other families, it looks like a vacation in amusement parks or exotic places. The Bible teaches that love is not about giving stuff or even just spending time together, it is about giving self.  Little in this world is satisfying long term. Words can be empty and time together isn’t always productive. Quoting Isaiah’s message from God, Jesus said, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Time without investing our heart will never…

  • Engage

    The Crazed Creation is under the Curse

                “Pain is a blessing in disguise.” Really?             Today, many Christian women seek psychotherapy. Surprised? Because Christians shouldn’t feel angry or depressed.                 I have struggled with doubt and loneliness due to infertility. With the Christianese platitudes that ensued, the sense that people in church disapproved of my struggle was hard to miss. As a Bible study leader, I wasn’t supposed to struggle.             Some of us feel uptight about pain. So we rush others through their pain. We try to fix it instead of letting God fix it, all in the name of Fake Happy. But the plastic church smile only perpetuates…

  • Impact

    A Mother’s Treasure

    Recently Lynna and I flew home from Singapore, and, of course, we had to pass through security. We have gone through security in the toughest airports in the world: DFW, Kennedy, Heathrow, Tel Aviv, Frankfurt, Paris, Budapest, Hong Kong, just about every airport that is on some high level of alert due to terrorists. Since we’ve done them all and had every innocuous thing taken from us that could possibly be labeled high risk, we had no concerns as we approached Singapore security. We should have been concerned.   I sailed through in no time flat and then discovered Lynna pulled aside as an agent tore through everything she had,…