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    Unanswered Prayers

    When someone dies, we struggle with the “why”. Why didn’t God answer our prayers? Why didn’t God answer the prayers of everyone else? Why was this life cut short? As Easter approaches and we solemnly remember the Last Supper and the gruesome events that unfolded, the “why” questions of the disciples are laid bare. Jesus was taken by force from the garden. He was tried for false crimes, beaten to the edge of life, and brutally hung on a cross to die in agony and ridicule. His disciples and followers watched it all. They had grown up in the Jewish tradition of prayer. And Jesus, their esteemed rabbi, taught them…

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    Why Kids Leave the Church After High School

    The Youth Transition Network has released the results of research about why 70% of students in high school youth groups have left the church within a year after high school graduation. One big reason is the unrealistic expectations that our young people sense from parents and church authority figures. When asked, “What does it mean to be a good Christian,” students responded with a long list of do’s and don’ts, always and nevers: No sex No secular music No fun No profanity No bad attitudes Be perfect Be a virgin Be wholly devoted to God Be righteous Be a role model Don’t doubt Have all the spiritual answers Always be…

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    The Whole Law

    After church one day an older woman approached me and said, “I didn’t see you in church today. I saw your husband take communion, but I didn’t see you take communion.” I responded, “You are correct. I did not take communion today.” To which she replied, “I’ve been sitting in the front row for years, and I know exactly who does and does not take communion.” I think she even ended with a, “Hmphh,” but I can’t confirm that. Now, I sometimes just blurt stuff out without weighing the consequences. Lucky for my husband in this moment I did more weighing than blurting. Not that I cared what she thought…

  • Impact

    None Have Been Forgiven Little

    Now one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil. As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfumed oil. (Luke 7:36-38 NET) 0

  • Mister Rogers Neighborhood
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    Mister Rogers and the Hunger for God

    “You’ve made this day a special day by just your being you. There is no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are.” —Mister Rogers, to every person as we watched his show. With the news that a documentary about Fred Rogers (Public Television’s “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”) will be released this summer, and a movie about him starring Tom Hanks will be in production soon, there has been a good bit of buzz in social media recently. I keep coming across articles about him and links to videos that often move me to grateful tears for this amazing man. “Mister Rogers” had…

  • Impact

    Free to Forgive

    Every Sunday millions of Christians pray, “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us” (Luke 11:4). It’s easy to say that without thinking about whether we have really forgiven all those who have offended or wronged us.   Forgiveness is extremely difficult to grant others because it costs us so much. When we forgive someone, we accept the loss or the hurt without demanding any reimbursement, revenge, or satisfaction of any kind. Forgiveness means we suffer so that the offending party can be restored to fellowship with us.   To forgive means we hold no grudges and nurse no resentments. To forgive means to yield…

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    A Prayer of Thanksgiving

                        Lord today we stop to come before you—to remember the reason why we give thanks. We live in such fragile times and if we are not careful this day will pass us by. The jingling of bells, the sparkle of lights, and the Black Friday sales already have captured our attention. Lord, keep our eyes only on you. May we get rid of any distractions today that will eclipse the glory of thankful worship.   Lord help us as we prepare to serve our family, friends, and guests. We ask you to get our hearts ready to serve wholeheartedly, unconditionally,…

  • Heartprints

    Authority! How is That Working for You?

    God blesses His people with authority. But how well are we wielding it? One of my high school teachers was disciplining her children over a broken vase, not sure which one had broken it, she told them that God had been watching and knew which one of them had done it. The daughter told her mom that God hadn’t talked for a long time and she was counting on that to continue. What we think about authority makes a difference in our relationships. 1 Peter 2:12 says that we are being watched.Our actions often result in how others judge God. This is true, especially with children. Look at the human…

  • Heartprints

    Suffering and All Its Glory

    There are several ways to approach teaching God’s Word. There are those who focus on teaching the principles, others on the doctrine, and still others put the focus on the words or the content of the passages. They tell the stories, they highlight the words and they emphasize the historical facts. They carefully teach the who, what, when, where, why, and even the how of the story. I have tended to use this method. Through this form of teaching I learned a lot of the characters, places, and events in the Bible. I have seen how God works and how people respond to His person, power, and promises. After over…

  • Grace - yes. Karma - no. Karma has no place in a Christian's life.
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    Karma, Grace, and the Kingdom of God

    Facebook Theology. That’s what I heard it called the other day. You know, those “cute” sayings posted by Christians on Facebook. I see it all the time. Cute sayings that seem “true enough” to sound okay but are really not true and can lead to some really bad conclusions. I recently saw two very colorful, eye-catching posts referencing karma as something to pursue (especially “positive karma”). One was tips for improving good karma. The other said, “Create positive karma now!” My first response to these expressions of Facebook Theology was this, “Does karma have anything to do with a Christian’s life?” So, I decided to examine these in light of…