• 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…

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    Jesus: I AM

    John 4:26:  Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am.” It’s the middle of the day in the Near East. Jesus has walked all morning with his disciples, and they’ve worked up an appetite. So, while the twelve have gone off to buy bread, Jesus rests at Jacob’s well. And there he meets a woman who has lost five husbands and is now probably a concubine so she can eat. (It’s unlikely she initiated divorce five times, as legal action depended on men—more likely, she’s an older woman, widowed and/or abandoned.) This woman has experienced much devastation, yet she waits in hope for the Anointed One. She tells Jesus, “I…

  • Immanuel God With Us
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    Go, Total Stranger, Go!!

    Sometimes encouragement comes from entirely unexpected sources. A few years ago, four friends and I embarked on a mini-adventure, each running a 5ish-mile leg of the White Rock Marathon relay. Mind you, my visions of the day and the reality of the morning were quite different. While training, I enjoyed either sunny skies or the comforts of a temperature-controlled workout room. I didn’t anticipate shivering outside for two hours in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Standing in the pouring rain waiting for that baton, out of my blue lips came these words (said with emphasis): “This is STUPID. Why did I sign up for this??” I had distant hope that I would…

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    Pods, Aliens, and the Incarnation

    There is a moment in the 1985 sci-fi movie Cocoon that has haunted me for 25 years now. Senior citizens discover that the water in the pool they’ve been swimming in has a marvelously rejuvenating effect on them. Aliens have stashed the cocoon pods of their cohorts in the bottom of the pool of a rented house, awaiting return to the mother ship. These aliens are light-filled, radiant creatures who cover themselves in human skin to pass as one of us. The moment in the film that has stayed with me all this time is when the lead alien, played by Brian Dennehy, checks his human disguise in the mirror.…

  • 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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    Matter Matters

    “It’s all gonna burn!” Many times I heard this exclamation in my early days as a Christian. Those who said it to me intended it as an interpretation of Jesus’s exhortation to avoid laying up treasures on earth, where things get stolen and destroyed (Matt 6:19). I imagine 2 Peter 3:10 also had some influence on such thinking about earth: “But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment” (NLT). So people told me…

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    It’s the Most ???? Time of the Year

    Christmas isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Before you change my moniker to ‘Ebenezer’ or start singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” hear me out. I love Christmas. While I’ve disciplined myself to not pull out the trees and tinsel pre-Thanksgiving, I have been known to bust out Bing Crosby the day after Halloween. The wonder of the season is far from lost on me. I love the lights, the gifts, the music, the parties, the weather, the décor. I still get giddy on Christmas morning and try to soak up every bit of magic the season has to offer. And, as a devoted Christ-follower, I welcome the…

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    Loving God Through Xmas Music?

    From Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, the sounds of Christmas music are everywhere: stores, TV specials, many radio stations. Every year, the biggest oldies station in Dallas becomes “The Christmas Station,” this year starting in mid-November. There are two ways to respond to Christmas music, I think. One way is to let it stream unfiltered into our hearts and minds as the background noise of our December lives. The other is to be intentional about categorizing what we hear, letting it all remind us of “the reason for the season.” I suggest that Christmas music falls into four categories, and we can mentally tag each song with the appropriate category as…

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    “Merry, Merry Christmas to All Our Sisters and Brothers”

     “The angel answered [Mary, saying], "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, NASB). Back in the beautiful orchard on a Friday afternoon, God made male and female in his image. What an astonishing creation—human flesh imaging God! But before long something horrible happened. Sin destroyed the unity humanity experienced, and all creation was affected by their plunge into sin. One ramification was the distortion of male/female relations. The battle of the sexes began. Loneliness and selfish independence replaced unity and interdependence. As a consequence…

  • Impact

    Why the Incarnation?

    December 3, 2017, marks the beginning of the Advent Season in the church calendar. So, why did Jesus leave the glories of heaven to become a human being? Scripture reveals that Jesus’ incarnation occurred for a number of important reasons, not the least of which are the following:   From the first two Synoptic Gospels, we learn that Jesus came to earth, (1) to fulfill the Hebrew sacred writings (referred to as the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets; Matt 5:17); and, (2) to serve humankind, as well as give His life at Calvary to redeem the lost (Mark 10:45).   From the third Synoptic Gospel, we…