• Engage

    Welcome to My Messy

    My life is messy. Let me just start today by putting the truth out there. Of course, you wouldn’t know my life is messy just by looking at me. Like all of us, I know how to keep going in hard times and I cope when I need to. I used to guard the truth of my life, and I would continually makeover appearances of my exterior life so people wouldn’t ask questions about my internal struggles. Although not everyone goes to extreme lengths to conceal what they fear might look “off,” most of us don’t want others to see our behind-the-scenes messy truth. Since I’m being honest about my…

  • Engage

    Your Life through the Keyhole

    Have you ever seen a really old door on a house or stone wall with the thick iron hardware that creeks every time it opens? Back in the day, big heavy doors stood as formidable barriers that couldn’t be breached by force. Yet many of these doors were no match for prying eyes. The huge iron keys required to unlock the latches were so wide that you could actually put your eye up to the keyhole and look through to the other side. Nowadays we have small metal slits for slender keys, and sometimes only touch pads, so we can’t peer through keyholes to catch a glimpse of something beyond.…

  • Engage

    How Not to Hate the Wait

    Our pace of daily life quickens. For instance, do you remember when email emerged as a life-changing breakthrough––speeding up and expanding communication beyond what we ever imagined? Some of us older cats do. But today, many view email as an archaic nuisance, like snail mail. Why not just text or chat? In our world of one-click shopping and on-demand streaming, much of life no longer unfolds over time. We expect immediate results. We want what we want when we want it. Instantaneous life is a must. We hate waiting. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for anything. Or do we? Yes, often God asks us to wait. But His concept…

  • The Resurrection of Jesus–What does it mean?
    Engage

    The Resurrection of Jesus—what it really means

    Does it bother you when you watch a new movie about Jesus’ life (or, even an old one) and the movie just falls flat when it comes to the resurrection appearances of Jesus? Sometimes, they are skipped altogether, other times portrayed as some kind of “voice heard only” type of thing. With all the phenomenal capability of Hollywood special effects, it seems that filmmakers could do (and would want to do) a fantastic job of portraying Jesus in his resurrected body and his real interactions with all those real people (500+) for 40 days (1 Cor. 15:3-8). Come on. This culture is wild about the supernatural, sci-fi and fantasy fiction.…

  • Engage

    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…

  • How God makes the ugliness of sin and the cross into something beautiful | Psalm 22
    Engage

    God Makes Ugly Beautiful

    Isn’t springtime delightful? The landscape seems to go from ugly and barren to beautiful as new life emerges. Practically every day, I go outside to my garden, pushing aside dried leaves to see what is coming back up from the ground after the cold winter. The contrast from the ugly barrenness of winter to the beauty of new life emerging in the spring inspires worship. Easter belongs in the spring, doesn’t it? Spring reminds us that God makes ugly beautiful. One Friday, almost 2000 years ago, something very ugly happened. Jesus, the sinless God-man who walked among us people, was hung on a cross to die. The beautiful son of…

  • Engage

    The Greatest Gift: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

      What’s your favorite Christmas carol? I can’t pick just one because many carols bear fond memories of my dad. Each year growing up, my family sang in church choirs and caroled through neighborhoods with a large group of singers. Today, I still sing along every chance I get (out of earshot from others, mind you). One of my all-time favorite classics is the “12 Days of Christmas” as sung by John Denver and the Muppets. Corny, maybe. But it always ignites a smile. And you can’t deny the endearing chutzpah of Miss Piggy. Christmas carol junkies like me: it's worth watching the video on YouTube. Recently, I found out…

  • Engage

    No More Masks

                  As the days grow shorter and golden leaves fall from trees, we pack up Halloween decorations in preparation for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although a few costumes may linger in photos on the fridge, everything else is set aside for another year. However, there’s one thing that few of us ever put away: the everyday masks we live behind. We all have masks of one sort or another. Reasons vary. For some, our masks protect us from going too deep or being too real. For others, masks allow us to live more boldly as the alter ego we espouse. Still others crave physical and…

  • Engage

    The New Year Has Already Imploded

    A new year means new beginnings, and in that spirit I've started the Whole30 program. No longer can I enjoy the yumminess of dairy, sugar, and grains (read: no ice cream, cheese, or bread). This may sound sad, but discovering new recipes with vegetables I had rarely or never eaten has proven fun, tasty, and empowering. I mean, I can have a steak and potato on this diet! Designed to help people discover their food addictions and bad food habits, Whole30 is a kickstart, a one-month fast from certain comfort foods. Two weeks into this 30-day experiment, I've lost weight, sleep better, no longer need coffee every morning (though I do…

  • Impact

    “Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see!” An Autobiography

    Journal excerpt 2012: “Do I look like a Christian? If I’m a follower of Christ, then why is my life so compromised? Why is there so much sin, so much fear, so little faith? Dare I stand up and identify myself with Christ? Will I not shame Him and shame myself?” I was beginning to doubt my own salvation. Everywhere I turned I saw flashing lights and warning signals. “Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you – unless, indeed, you fail the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5).   I’m not…