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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…

  • Heartprints

    4 Purposes of Illustrations in Faith Conversations

    Most of us can regurgitate Christianese taught in church, but what is not always easy is engaging in deeper, spiritual conversations. Sometimes we tend to listen just long enough to find a point in the conversation where we can interject with our own ideas. But conversation with our children, family, & friends requires attentive listening, as well as thought-filled answers. J. P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff address this in The God Conversation, a book designed to help Christians wrestle with non-Christians’ tough questions through illustrations: “The thoughts and questions our friends have about God and the Christian faith require careful answers. Our answers require study of the Scriptures, reading of Christian thinkers…

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    New Year: New You or Old You? — Actions vs. Resolutions

    It’s January and as expected, class attendance exceeds the maximum room occupancy at the gym. These (will prove to be non-faithful) newbies are bubbling with excitement to start their “New Year’s Resolutions.” They start with high hopes that this will finally be their year to change. But after years of observing this New Year’s phenomenon, I know the gym will return to normal by the end of February (if not earlier). It’s easy to make resolutions. It’s sticking to them that’s the problem. When asked to speak about his book, Put Your Dream to the Test, John C. Maxwell, internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach, and best-selling author, gave me…

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    Why the Gospel Matters in 2017

    As 2016 came to an end, several of us found ourselves grieving over the harsh realities of our fallen world — mass shootings, Zika, civil unrest, terror attacks, Aleppo, corruption in politics, the refugee crisis in Europe, and lives over far too quickly. To sum it all up one woman made a “dumpster fire ornament” and tweeted “Dear 2016: I made you this ornament. It’s a dumpster fire.” People identified with her sentiments, and it went viral. Many of us are relieved 2016 is over. Some of us are fearful over what 2017 may hold. As believers, we weep with the world as it groans under the tyranny of sin,…

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    When Christmas plans wound or disappoint

    Every fall you plan where you will spend your holidays, and chances are, in the process, you inadvertently wound or disappoint someone–or they end up wounding you. Situations like: if you are married and have two sets of in-laws, it's easy for one set to feel slighted. Maybe your husband wants to spend the "special" days with his folks, and you want to spend them with yours? Or this year, you'd both just like to keep it simple and spend Christmas at home with your own children? Or maybe you are single and you've made plans with that dear friend you haven't seen for awhile, but your roommate feels slighted…

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    Feast on God’s Goodness

    I recently read post-election family feuds continue due to tensions and discord after the divisive and challenging campaigns that occurred here in our nation. Add a dash of protesting, a side of expectations, and the one sibling who won’t let you graduate from your fifteen-year-old self and voila! You now have a feast of dread! Happy Thanksgiving?   How should we approach this day of giving thanks? Gratitude seldom comes easy when hurt feelings, stress, and exhaustion demand our focus. The sleepless nights of uncertainty and hopelessness don’t help either. What about “the renewing of our minds?” Okay sure, but how?   Stay diligent and strive to continue to pray against…

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    The Tapeworm Gallery: Empty

           Your Bible is just where I like it—on your nightstand covered in dust. You have power to make me flee. Yet you never do. What I want most of yours He won’t let me have. So I’ll settle for your time and attention.             You make it so easy I can hardly take credit for it, though. By the way, your nail polish is chipping again. And time to redo the extensions on those perfectly normal eyelashes. Because every forty-year-old woman deserves the dark lush lashes of a teenager. Who cares what Mark says? They look natural to me. Besides, letting a non-medically trained kid approach your…

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    Walking Away from Baseball: $13 Million │ A Little Divine Affirmation: Priceless

    A timely dream encouraged White Sox hitter Adam LaRoche in his decision “I had the strangest dream,” my husband Jack told me at breakfast last Tuesday. “I dreamed I was walking with Adam down a long corridor headed to the field and he told me he was retiring from baseball.   “It was unlike any dream I’ve ever had, extremely vivid and high-def. Adam was sad so I put my arm around him to comfort him. I prayed for him. Then he walked on down the corridor and out onto the field to make his announcement.   “After all these years that would be sad,” I said.   “And then…

  • Heartprints

    3 Ways God’s Love is Different from Human Love

    If you’ve stepped into the grocery store recently, more than likely you noticed large displays of chocolate, flowers, and conversation hearts—iconic symbols of love. With Valentine’s Day approaching, I got to thinking. We set aside a special day to celebrate romantic relationships, but how often do we celebrate God’s love for us? At the very least, amidst all the celebration this month, I want my kids to realize at least three unique things about God’s love: God’s love for us is unconditional—God does not love us based on merit. We can never be good enough to earn God’s favor, nor can we ever be bad enough to diminish his love.…

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    Making New Year’s Resolutions as a Family

    January has long been heralded as a month of renewal and a time to set goals for the coming year. We make resolutions concerning all kinds of things. Maybe you want to get a better grasp on your finances or pay off the loan on a car. Or perhaps it’s more spiritual sounding like developing a deeper prayer life.    Regardless of the goal, don’t make your resolutions a solitary event. Take some time this month (if you haven’t already) and sit down with your family to discuss goals for the coming year and the motivation behind the goals.   As Christians, all goals should ultimatly honor God and draw…