• Engage

    Guided By an Unseen Hand

    It was a year to remember—but not for the reasons I hoped. Just two weeks after finding out we were expecting our third child, my husband came home with news we always feared. He’d be moving on from the coaching job where he’d served for thirteen years. Our family would be moving on from the community where we’d raised our children. We walked forward into an unseen, unknown, and unexpected future. Where would our soon-to-be kindergartener go to school? Where would we live? How would we make ends meet? The uncertainty continued for months. My husband jumped on a seemingly endless carousel of job interviews before ending up at a…

  • Heartprints

    Teaching Children to be Thankful

    It is culturally acceptable as Westerners to heap presents on our children at various holidays. We love to get presents and as parents we enjoy giving our children the things they want. In a land of plenty it is very easy to slip into a life of insatiable desires. Do we teach our children to say please and thank you only to teach them from our actions to be greedy and demanding?  If this question leaves us feeling convicted and uncomfortable then perhaps it is a time for change! Typically, thankfulness is not the feeling you get when you get what you want or even what you don’t deserve. That…

  • Engage

    Lies in Dark Chocolate

    Research affirms that our happiness increases when we feel seen, heard, and loved. As women, we have an innate desire to belong. But finding community and cultivating new friendships with people who “get” you and welcome you without judgement––can feel near impossible.

  • Engage

    Autonomy Gone Amuck

    autonomy (ô-tŏn’ə-mē) n., 1. Quality or state of being self-governed 2. Self-directing freedom and especially moral independence The first definition seems to be in line with biblical principles (self-controlled and responsible). However, the second definition seems to be how our culture defines autonomy. The culture’s definition echoes the repeated phrase in Judges, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Jud 21:25). The book of Judges displays the chaotic and evil outcome of everyone doing right in their own eyes…autonomy gone amuck!     Several contemporary thinkers aid in discerning the issues involving autonomy. Philip Rieff(1922-2006) wrote of the triumph of the therapeutic self which is defined as when “the…

  • Engage

    The Search for Joy

    Different foci on living have attracted mankind’s (man’s) attention over the years. Political, religious, and economical perspectives have all taken a turn in being primary for man. The political man emphasized ruling, the religious man emphasized religion, and the economic man emphasized status, wealth, and success. However, in recent decades, the psychological man seems to dominate the perspective of the Western society. Part of the psychological perspective includes self-interest and pursuit of happiness. Man chases after what will make him happy. The world’s search for happiness includes possessions, honor, and wealth which according to Ecclesiastes 6:2 is a gift from God. Man can easily exceed the just, usual, and fond…

  • Engage

    Stop Saying Christianity Doesn’t Make You Happy

    This week, a Gallup Poll has reported pretty dismal mental health ratings, adding to a year full of statistics about depression, suicide, porn, stress and substance abuse. 2020 stinks, and the world doesn’t know how to handle it. So can we please stop adding to the problem by saying that Christianity doesn’t make Christians happy? I know, I know. When we say this, we’re trying to explain that we–and our happiness–aren’t the point. We’re reminding one another that our faith doesn’t protect us from life in a broken world. We’re saying that the abiding joy in Christ is substantially different than flurries of happiness that may come. These theological truths…

  • Philosopher II

    What Did the Philosophers Know and When Did They Know it? Part 2

    Jesus told Pilate, “For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37). “Therefore see to it that the light in you is not darkness” – Jesus (Luke 11:35). While skimming a book I’d previously read entitled “The Great Philosophers: From Socrates to Foucault”, a quick summary of influential philosophers, I was sometimes struck by the darkness and futility of their ideas. Yet I was open to seeing truths that might be found within the shadows so to speak. I gleaned what truthful ideas I could from…

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    Prosperity: The Devil’s Gospel

                Some of us feel entitled to the “good life,” equating hardship with a life gone awry. The prosperity gospel aligns with this ideology—that God ordains health and wealth for Christians. “Name-it-and-claim-it” theology further perpetuates this notion that Christians can up their luck by speaking positivity over situations to alter outcomes.  Taking bible verses out of context, and cutting and pasting them to make crowd-pleasing sermons, prosperity gospel preachers apple-polish the gospel (Rom. 16:17-18).             Pastor Joel Osteen has preached, “Maybe Alzheimer’s disease runs in your family genes, but don’t succumb to it. . . . If you’ll rise up in your authority, you can…

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    Making Room for Pain

    “You’re not jumping two phone books high! Jump higher. Let these kids know how much you love Jesus!” And then I felt it—the water gun hit my back, mingling with the copious amount of sweat already drenching my t-shirt. Yes, that’s right—a water gun. Camp staff members were squirted if they didn’t jump high enough to show their enthusiastic love for Jesus while welcoming the kids to camp in 100-degree sticky heat. It was the start of a very difficult six weeks for me. In the midst of what my doctor diagnosed as chronic depression, I had been hired to serve as camp counselor for middle school girls. I had…

  • Engage

    Lead by Loving

    If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any one of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. . . A negative term has been substituted from a positive . . . The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point.  —  C.S. Lewis The poignant words struck my soul. What if we lived and led by Lewis’ observation? What if…