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    Five Things My Community Has Learned after a Mass Shooting

    Today I'm happy to have as my guest Destiny Teasley, who was my grad-school writing student at the time of the Las Vegas shootings. Please listen carefully….  On October 1, 2017, a mass shooting took place in the center of my city, Las Vegas, Nevada. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 850 suffered physical injuries. Two years have now passed. And here are five things my community has learned in that time: 1. Life goes on. And that is positive and negative. Encouraging and insulting. As a community we have become well-acquainted with the challenge of helping others to navigate the precarious tightrope between mourning and living. In this broken world…

  • Impact

    The Clarity of Death

    “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). My father died recently. He was always sharp, quick with a pun or a play on words, an accountant by trade who worked until he was seventy-seven years old. He was a student of the Bible for almost sixty years. He did a lot of reading, writing, and “sparring” (personal debating) over the years, quoting folks like Barnhouse and Spurgeon in the process. But dementia overtook him these last few years. He could no longer…

  • The rapture of believers
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    The Rapture of the Vanished

    This is an updated repost of one of my most popular blogs.  On March 7, 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from radar in flight and never was seen again. In 2018, the investigation of its disappearance ended with no one really knowing what happened to the plane with its passengers and crew. The families and friends of those missing are left to grieve and mourn the vanishing of their loved ones. The mysterious disappearance reminded me of the movie, “Left Behind.” That movie depicts the time when Jesus will return to collect all believing Christians from the earth and take them to heaven with Him. In the movie, the…

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    Better to Have Loved & Lost?

    Think about a time when you wholeheartedly loved someone and felt adored by them. As you think about that person––spouse, parent, boyfriend or girlfriend, sibling, child––how would you describe that love? What emotions or feelings come to mind? I think of: expectation, joy, excitement, purpose, belonging, peace, contentment, hope. As human beings, we cannot live healthy, abundant, prolonged lives without love. We are created to love. We long for love. We will do crazy things to show our love. But at some point in our lives, we will all lose love. What then? ·  A husband sits silently, mourning the end of 50 years with his beloved bride. ·  A…

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    Hope Deferred—Observations from Hannah’s Story

    She pushed herself up from the table and left the room. She did not have much appetite. The day had been long, and she could take the painful and provoking comments from Peninnah no longer. As she walked towards the temple, tears poured from her eyes and slid down her cheeks and nose, making a wet trail in the dust. Her lips moved as she prayed, but she did not utter a sound as she pleaded and begged the LORD for a child. To make matters worse, the priest believed her to be not grieved, but rather, drunk. (1 Sam. 1:7–14) Hannah suffered much because of her childless state. Many…

  • Impact

    God’s Comfort For Mourning Leaders

    Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken When Blessings Abound Series The Beatitudes Attitude: Passionately Pursuing Christlikeness Through Desperate Dependence on Him { God's Comfort For Mourning Leaders } Blessed are those who mourn . . . (Mt. 5:4) How can God comfort mourning leaders? Few of us would, especially if their sin tore our hearts apart, left our lives in ruins, and created suffering for us. Yet comfort is exactly what He offers those who mourn for sin.However, we must understand God’s kind of comfort because there are many false comforters among us today who do not take God’s holiness seriously, so they don’t take our sin seriously either.…

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    Where is our Hope?

    Injustice. Anger. Murder. Mourning. (Repeat.) It seems the newsfeeds do not change—same story, just different day and different city. Additional protests lead to counter protests: #BlackLivesMatter, #WhiteLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter. Confusion and anger fuels more anger. I read and watch social media posts and videos from various viewpoints. It disappoints me that many posts are full of blame, anger, should-haves, and could-haves. And so the cycle continues… Injustice. Anger. Murder. Mourning. (Repeat) Blame and anger are normal stages in the grief process. But it seems many people stay in those stages and never move forward. Why? They want justice. They want vengeance. Many simply want change, change for the better. And so…

  • Heartprints

    Helping Kids Process Traumatic Events

    Living in an information saturated world means we often get bombarded with news events. I recall crying when I read the news on Sandy Hook and feeling sick to my stomach over the events in Paris. And now, the latest terrorism in Orlando leaves us all stunned—CNN is calling it the “deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.” How do we respond to such events? And, how do we help our children process difficult news when we struggle to make sense of it ourselves? Be careful of media exposure—Whenever possible, avoid letting children under 5 view any traumatic news. Many psychologists also suggest that children between the age of 6–11 should…

  • Heartprints

    GOOD GRIEF: Seven Steps to Embracing Emotions- #4 Actions Defined

    If actions speak louder than words then we had better learn to define them. Whether at home or in the classroom, hurting children who have not learned how to ask for help will resort to acting out or closing down. Their actions are a cry for help. Too many times we label them as an act of defiance. We never want to justify or condone misbehavior. However, if a child needs help and they don’t know how to ask for it we can correct their communication style best by first hearing their heart, dealing with their hurt and then in love and compassion explain to them the proper way to…