• Engage

    “The Gospel Comes with a House Key”

    We all have them. That short stack of books that have profoundly impacted our lives. Changed not only our understanding but the way we live. To my short stack I’m adding Rosaria Butterfield’s The Gospel Comes with a House Key.    I’ve read several books on “hospitality.” But none have reached as deeply into the way I think about and practice hospitality as her discussion of it as the overflow of table fellowship and caregiving. Rosaria and her husband’s daily schedule radically incorporates preparing extra food, engaging with neighbors, and filling their guest room as a way to make “strangers into neighbors, and neighbors into the family of God.” In…

  • Heartprints

    7 Outreach Ideas for Valentine’s Day

    It’s no secret—humans crave love, even to the point of creating a holiday to celebrate it. A holiday where, per the National Retail Federation, American spending soared to 19.7 billion dollars last year! Just what are we spending our dollars on? Jewelry, an evening out, and flowers are the big-ticket items. But we don’t just spend money on our significant others. More and more people are spending money on things like appreciation presents for teachers, valentines for class mates, cookies for neighbors, etc. It’s a truly honorable thing to show appreciation for those closest to us, whether through homemade or store bought items. But this year, I encourage you to consider…

  • Engage

    The Best Antidote to Summertime Boredom and Distraction

    Summer gives us an opportunity to slow down. “The livin’ is easy; fish are jumpin,’” and all that. Without so many activities on the calendar we have more time to take trips, watch TV or kick back with friends or a good book. We all need seasons of restoration, but the cultural pull towards having fun and lazing around can make room for boredom and distraction to settle in like a fog. In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Aslan draws Jill and Scurbb into Narnia to accomplish a special mission: rescue Prince Rillian, the crown prince of Narnia, now missing for over ten years.The great lion gives Jill…

  • Impact

    Live the Jesus Lifestyle – Make Disciples

    Leadership is Broken Because Leaders Are Unbroken The most disobeyed directive Jesus ever gave is the last directive Jesus ever gave:  make disciples.  Nothing could be plainer than Jesus’ final marching orders: make disciples!  That’s what He said, that’s what He meant. Yet all over the world we find pastors, churches, deacons, elders and church members who are radically disobedient. Some are ignorant, others are willful, but many are disobedient nonetheless. Pastors give in to tradition and the demands of their people and choose to disobey Jesus’ final command.  Many seem to think that ministry is about making them successful or keeping their job secure, which they confuse—often unconsciously and…

  • Engage

    What If We Only Had 6 More Years?

    Driving between Austin and Waco recently, the words on one particular billboard captivated me. It said, “8/2/2027 — Christ stands on Mt. Olivet at NOON — Amos 8:9.” While the billboard’s creator was not predicting a specific date for Jesus’ Second Coming (but it did predict his actual presence on earth on a specific date), my mind went to the “what if’s.” What if Jesus was on earth by then, the 7-year tribulation over, the Rapture of believers having already occurred? What if we as Christian women had only 6 more years to share Christ with everyone we know? Would that make a difference in how we planned this year’s women’s ministry…

  • Engage

    Time to Blow Things Up

    I do not like change. Unless, of course, it is something I initiate.  For the most part, I am most comfortable when a certain ministry in which I am actively involved (MOPS, Bible study, small group) continues on year after year just the same. Well, maybe a few tweaks here and there, but essentially the same. One of my favorite ministry activities is getting blown up this fall. It feels very weird not to have it the same. But, it is the right thing to do. It was time to blow things up! Operation Kaboom! That is what Heather Zempel calls it in her book, Community Is Messy.  In fact,…