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    Somebody, Turn on the Lights

    “The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness.” Isaiah 9:2 NET I rarely see bright-eyed children in Christmas dresses and or plaid vests singing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” in a Sunday school program. The somber tone hardly seems appropriate for the joy of a children's Christmas pageant. This advent hymn focuses on a somber, troubled world waiting for the Messiah. Advent used to have little meaning for me, as a child. Instead, I looked forward to spreading buttercream frosting on Christmas cookies, singing “Silver Bells,” decorating a fragrant Douglas fir and opening crimson foil-wrapped gifts. But red foil…

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    How do we speak from failure with integrity?

    We who follow Jesus have a high calling. And often a high privilege of telling others about him and his way of life, equipping or simply encouraging them on their journey. But we are all sinners, desperately in need of God’s saving grace. So when our lives haven’t aligned with the way of Jesus how do we decide if we still should speak (or write) about following Jesus in that way?   For example, How can we best honor Jesus and speak with integrity to our children about sexual purity if we were not sexually pure?   Or should we counsel and minister to other couples about how to have…

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    How to Glorify God at School

    Just got home from taking my student to walk her schedule and practice opening her locker at her new school. Despite all the fears that come with her disability—you can read about that here—I feel so thankful for God’s faithfulness in Anna’s life, as she gets ready to start junior high in a few weeks.   One of the challenges Anna faces this year has more to do with her desire to glorify God at school than anything else. I told her glorifying God can produce all sorts of blessings, but it can also lead to bullying. She didn’t even blink.   Instead she asked, “What am I suppose to…

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    Father’s Day Memories of my Daddy

    My father, who passed away 30 years ago at 63, was a quiet and thoughtful man, a person of great integrity and spiritual maturity. As Father’s Day approaches, I think of him and the life lessons he taught me through his strengths—lessons that have served me well as a person and often as a leader.  Daddy loved the Word of God. He never led us in family devotionals, much to my mother’s dismay, but he many nights he read us Bible stories at bedtime. Often when I found him deep in study in his chair, I would ask him what he was reading. He usually responded by taking me in…

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    Possession, Power and Politics: A Lesson from Acts 19

    Some people love the Lord, others try to pimp him, but eventually, motives will be exposed and consequences meted out. Acts 19:11-20 chronicles this. As the apostle Paul spreads the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit imbues him with such power that people touch his skin with their hankies and aprons in order to bring healing to their loved ones. In Acts 19, people who belonged to Jesus were not characterized by self-aggrandizing demonstrations of healing (Paul was described as one who “preaches” in verse 13, not as a "healer," and he didn't even actively heal in verse 12), but were those who feared, praised, confessed and spread the…