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    Are We Losing Our Souls?

    I’m been very disturbed the last few years by the types of posts I’ve seen on social media coming from Christians. Full of lies and hatred, they divide Christians from one another and paint those who disagree as monsters. Jesus famously said, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and because of the gospel will save it. For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:34-36). In context Peter has just…

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    Choosing Bible Study Curriculum

    Popular teacher . . . Best selling . . . Easy homework . . . Recommended. I’ve chosen Bible study curriculum for all these reasons, but none of them is foolproof, and they often won’t meet the needs of your group or fulfill your purpose for Bible study. The popular teacher won’t necessarily reflect good theology or teach women how to think biblically for themselves. Her greatest asset may be her humor or her stories, which are great, but they may not help the women learn the Bible, which is essential to personal discipleship. Best-selling doesn’t always involve depth or even truth. Easy homework by definition fails to wrestle much…

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    Honoring Spiritual Mothers

    You did it. You survived another Mother’s Day. You’re licking your wounds, but you made it through the day. You plastered a smile on your face and gave a polite nod and shrug of the shoulders in response to the all too familiar question, “When are you going to have a baby?” You, and the other non-moms, successfully pushed back tears and sat staring at the bulletin while a church leader asked all of the mothers in the congregation to stand for applause and recognition.

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    How Bad is This Conversion Therapy Thing?

    As pro-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) voices and values grow louder and more insistent in the culture, what about those people of faith who experience same-sex attraction and don’t want it? What are they supposed to do with feelings and desires at odds with their faith? How are they supposed to learn to reconcile their faith and their sexuality? The cultural narrative has become, “LGBT represents normal, healthy variations in human sexuality, so everyone should support and celebrate all forms of sexual diversity. And if you don’t, we’re going to punish you, shame you, and squelch your voice.” Part of the punishing and shaming includes outrage over “Conversion Therapy.”…

  • Heartprints

    The Danger of Growing Up in Church

    As a mom and former children’s ministry director, I know the joy of seeing kids excited about Jesus. I’ve also been at it long enough to know the heartbreak of seeing former students walk away entirely as they got older. Mark Batterson, a mega church pastor in DC, said this in his book, All In, “My greatest concern as a pastor is that people can go to church every week of their lives and never go all in with Jesus Christ. They can follow the rules but never follow Christ. I’m afraid we’ve cheapened the gospel by allowing people to buy in without selling out.” (p. 20) I think this…

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    Leadership and Friendship—Are They Mutually Exclusive?

    With whom can you be yourself—totally raw and without filters—without expectations? Someone recently asked me this question. Several names came to mind, but I realized my list was short. This person advised, “You need these types of people in your life, people who will listen to you without expectations or judgment, with whom you can climb down off the mentorship and ministry pedestal.” Regardless of the world in which you work or serve—corporate, construction, education, marketing, medical, ministry, research, restaurant, the arts, or the home—being a leader can make finding raw-and-without-filters friendships difficult. Why is that?   First, leaders are visionaries. They lead the charge. They think outside the box.…

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    Small Beginnings

    “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” ‭Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬   KIDOGO KIDOGO HUJAZA KIBABA. It’s an African proverb that a Kenyan friend recited to me often when I, as a newly arrived missionary, would become discouraged at my very slow pace in learning basic Kiswahili, or when I would get confused over the local currency or make embarrassing cross-cultural social blunders. He would say the proverb to remind me that great things start out small and mastery happens gradually over time.   KIDOGO KIDOGO HUJAZA KIBABA. Little by little fills the measure. I…

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    We Were All Foreigners

    Lady Liberty looked on as the immigration officer stamped my great-grandfather’s passport at Ellis Island. He had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from the Netherlands to New York. He ultimately settled in central Iowa. Other ancestors had immigrated before him and their reasons varied. Many simply wanted a better place to raise families. Others fled Europe to escape the atrocities of the Great World War. The Dutch immigrants built homes, planted crops, started bakeries, and established churches. Frugal, yet tidy, their gardens bloomed with tulips from their European homeland. But their lives were not without struggle or prejudice. Not everyone welcomed them. During the First World War (when the Allied…

  • Heartprints

    Christian Parenting Mistakes: #2 We Settle for Obedience

    As I began my adventure of parenting I thought that obedience was the goal. If they were in danger, obeying immediately could save their lives. Unlike animals that are trained to follow orders, people by God’s design were created to obey in the context of relationship. In the great commission, Jesus doesn’t just say, “go and teach them all that I have commanded you.” He tells us to go and make disciples. Then we are to baptize and teach them His commands. The word “make” means we will invest time and ourselves to build a relationship. Obedience is meant to come from a willing heart. Who better to disciple than…

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    The Cost of Our Spiritual Adoption

    Stacks of notarized documents, contracts, home inspections, social worker interviews, fire extinguisher requirements, bank statements, medical exams, blood tests, and more…these are just a few of the many customary items required to receive approval to adopt a child. The process is tedious, time-consuming, exhausting, frustrating, and…expensive. The average cost to adopt a child is $35,000 USD. That is the average cost for just one child. (It takes a village of lawyers, social workers, and adoption professionals.) The cost alone scares many families away from adoption. According to Hank Fortener, founder of the crowd-funding platform, AdoptTogether, 70% of couples considering adoption are deterred because of the costs. In the end, only…