• Heartprints

    The Velveteen Christian

    Our world is made up of a constant cacophony of voices. Truth, lies, myths, imaginations, and opinions fill our world with dissidence and confusion. We have information overload. It is difficult to discern who can be trusted because of the spin, the agendas, the omitted facts or the inserted insinuations that twist and distort. I grew up during the sex revolution. A whole generation believed that being real was living without restraints. Getting what you wanted, as much as you wanted, whenever you wanted it. No strings attached defined love for those who bought into the free love movement. Easter is coming soon and as I prepare my heart to…

  • How God makes the ugliness of sin and the cross into something beautiful | Psalm 22
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    God Makes Ugly Beautiful

    Isn’t springtime delightful? The landscape seems to go from ugly and barren to beautiful as new life emerges. Practically every day, I go outside to my garden, pushing aside dried leaves to see what is coming back up from the ground after the cold winter. The contrast from the ugly barrenness of winter to the beauty of new life emerging in the spring inspires worship. Easter belongs in the spring, doesn’t it? Spring reminds us that God makes ugly beautiful. One Friday, almost 2000 years ago, something very ugly happened. Jesus, the sinless God-man who walked among us people, was hung on a cross to die. The beautiful son of…

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    Easter: A Holiday of Hiding?

    Soon people across the globe will participate in Easter egg hunts. South Africa heralds the world’s largest, hiding over 100,000 eggs and tiny treasures. Soon, people of Jewish heritage will participate in the Seder as part of their Passover celebration. Adults will hide a piece of matzah called the afikoman  and kiddos will hunt it down for some splendid prize. Soon people across the world will attend resurrection services, many trying to understand the fascination with hiding. Do you feel Jesus is hiding? Life’s gotten rough. Infertility persists. Bankruptcy hit. Addiction ravages. Abuse resumes. Unemployment continues. And it feels like Jesus is playing heavenly-hide-n-seek to test your sincerity and spiritual…

  • Impact

    The Son’s Transfiguration

    Title: The Son’s Transfiguration Aim: To assess how our devotion to the Savior can strengthen our understanding of His teachings. Scripture: Mark 9:2–13   The mountaintop experience, Mark 9:2–4   Sometime during the last year of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He told His disciples that He would be executed and then rise from the dead (Mark 8:31-32). Not even Peter, one of Jesus’ closest followers, could prevent this series of events from happening (v. 33).   The Messiah stated that those who give Him complete control of their lives are His genuine followers and would be eternally blessed. In contrast, those who reject Him would experience eternal loss (vv. 34–38).    Mark 9:1 records…

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    Heartprints

    Good Friday? Good for who????

    Think of it. The blackest, darkest Friday of all time. Christ is hanging, suffering unbearably on a cross. This is the day labeled Good Friday by those who claim to love Him most. “Good for who???” might be a question that pops into the mind of a child who has been taught from birth that Jesus loves everyone and is always good.  Even teens or adults who have not grown up hearing the full story of Jesus might look at the suffering Savior and His weeping friends and ask the same question.  I certainly had questions at the age of 6. I was coloring a picture in Sunday School of…

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    He Was Not What They Expected

    (Para español, lea abajo.) He criticized the prideful, religious elite and dined with criminals and tax collectors. He spoke to shunned women and healed unclean and contagious lepers. He welcomed little children and gave mercy to the desperate and the weak. “Who is this supposed King? He does not behave as we had expected,” they thought.  They expected a warrior king, not a humble servant. They expected a savior from foreign oppression, not a Savior from their sins. They expected their long-awaited ruler to ride victoriously on a horse. The King of Kings rode peacefully on a young donkey. (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:5) They waved palm branches and put their…

  • Impact

    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Part II)

    “[I]f Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead…. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost” (1 Corinthians 15:14-18, NIV 1984). Once again we are examining the foundational cornerstone of Christianity: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Click here to read the first part of this study.) The resurrection of Jesus is central to all Christian belief, as…

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    Hike Higher into the Heart of God

    Humans construct pyramids, compose symphonies, crack quantum physics, cross The Sahara, and crest Everest. Yet the greatest thing we ever do with our lives is entrust them to the person of God. Such entrusting occurs as we hike the mountains of life, encountering Him and relying upon His character. God provides Scripture as a map for the journey, but sometimes we leave it crumpled in our back pockets. We capitulate to culture, affirming human reason and experience as adequate to navigate the mountains. Sometimes we wrongly rely on others and their interpretations of the map—a podcast here, a conference there. We construct our own concepts. Forecasting this, God stakes His…

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    Review: Risen Movie: Through the Eyes of a Soldier

    Today I have a guest post from my friend, Chrissy Segulin, who lives in Vicenza, Italy. She and her husband, Dave, attended the European premiere of Risen.   Like CSI, the film “Risen”—a Sony/TriStar production that opened today—starts after “the main event” has happened, and it follows the main character as he seeks to piece together evidence. Set in Jerusalem at the time of Christ, the story begins with the Crucifixion rather than ending with it. It follows the fictional hero, Clavius (Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare in Love), an ambitious, high-ranking Roman tribune, and his aide, Lucius (Tom Felton, Harry Potter), as they sort rumor from reality. Clavius has already seen…

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    Holy Week – Jesus’ Prayer in the Garden

    After sharing the Passover meal Jesus and his disciples begin walking toward the Garden of Gethsemane. Anticipating what was going to happen to him in a matter of hours, Jesus goes ahead to a place to pray asking Peter, James and John to wait with Him while he prays. He was deeply distressed and troubled (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14: 32-41; Luke 22:40-46). He falls to the ground burdened with excessive sorrow. He prays to the Father for Himself, for His disciples and for all who would ever believe – for you and for me. Can you imagine what it would have been like to overhear the prayer conversation between Jesus…