• Engage

    You Were Meant for Today

    You were Meant for Today! It was quite a shock when I found out I was pregnant, for the third time, nearly 5 years after having given birth to my last little bundle of joy.  To complicate matters, we received the news just weeks after we announced that we would be moving from our beloved community, leaving behind a life of ministry and part-time jobs that I loved.   Suddenly, I had to come to grips with the idea that I would now be going backward. Or, at least that is how I interpreted the situation. Of course, I have pursued motherhood out of a calling and it has been one…

  • Heartprints

    Tips for Teaching #2

    I believe that today’s tip can help us better prepare our children for the difficulties of standing strong in their faith Tip number two: Encourage children to embrace their struggles. According to Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, by Tim Keller., our culture is one of the few around the world that believes that suffering is to be avoided at any cost. Most cultures see suffering as a normal part of life and essential for becoming healthy productive adults. Though suffering is uncomfortable, and scary, it is also unavoidable. Our task is to help our children see past the difficulties. Suffering is a gift to help us grow in our…

  • Impact

    Paul’s Damascus Road Experience and Its Consequences

    The Lord’s mission of reaching the lost through Paul (Saul) began with his conversion from Christian-hater to devout disciple. The account, which forms a significant part of the apostle’s life and legacy, is described in three places in Acts (9:1–19; 22:2–21; 26:9–18). The basic narrative is the same in each case, but there are slight differences in the details in each telling of the account.   After persecuting the believers in Jerusalem, Saul decided to go after those Christians who had fled the city, to bring them back to face trial before the Sanhedrin and possible execution (9:1–2; 22:4–5; 26:9–11). On the road near Damascus (9:3), about noon one day…

  • Impact

    Paul, a theologian of the cross

    Title: Paul, a theologian of the cross Aim: To learn that believers never lack Jesus’ grace to endure any hardship they encounter. Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:1–11   Paul’s reason for writing 2 Corinthians   Although there is considerable certainty about Paul’s authorship of 2 Corinthians, many questions have arisen about the exact time of the writing. Most Bible scholars agree that the letter was penned in the mid-50s, probably later in the same year that the apostle wrote 1 Corinthians.    One reason some have raised doubts about the dating of 2 Corinthians is Paul’s reference to a “painful visit” (2:1), which is not recorded in the Acts. Another reason is the apostle’s…

  • Engage

    Is Working Less the Right Christian Response to Society’s Over-Work?

    “I really try to put away my work phone on the weekends.” “I really want to be fully present with my family this weekend and not focused on work.” Twice in the past week, I’ve heard these phrases from well-meaning Christians. I’ve also said similar things myself lately. Yet the more I think about our approach to work, the more I realize that our thinking might be flawed.   As American believers surrounded by a society focused on over-work, we want to stand out. We don’t want to be slaves to our jobs and servants to our paychecks. We want our faith to be central, reflected in all we do.…

  • Impact

    What Did the Philosophers Know and When Did They Know it? Part 2

    Jesus told Pilate, “For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37). “Therefore see to it that the light in you is not darkness” – Jesus (Luke 11:35). While skimming a book I’d previously read entitled “The Great Philosophers: From Socrates to Foucault”, a quick summary of influential philosophers, I was sometimes struck by the darkness and futility of their ideas. Yet I was open to seeing truths that might be found within the shadows so to speak. I gleaned what truthful ideas I could from…

  • Engage

    The New Testament Embraces Suffering

                  God never intended for his creation to suffer. And most would agree that foolish choices by way of sin and rebellion can lead to suffering. But should suffering befall disciples of Jesus Christ? In a word, yes. If my last four blog posts have not convinced you, then let’s dive into the New Testament for more evidence.                 Jesus suffered more than any human before or after him. He had first-hand knowledge of rejection, humiliation, injustice, and shunning by friends and family. He prepared his proponents to expect the same (Matt. 5:44–45). The one who has…

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    Giving Thanks for Everything

    Today, some of us will gather around festive tables, eating our fill of roasted turkey, whipped potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It’s Thanksgiving in the United States, and so we pause today to celebrate —to give thanks—for a year filled with beautiful and hard things. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Perhaps there’s a chair at our table sitting empty this year. There’s a longing within us that a smile can’t dull. Maybe there’s financial stress that the holidays only highlight. A festive tablescape and full stomach may make us feel good for a moment, but they cannot fix the hurts and heartaches that we often carry with us…

  • Engage

    Cutting Teeth

    There’s a reason why “cutting teeth” became a popular phrase to describe a newcomer struggling to learn a task. Cutting teeth is hard—as any momma and her child can attest. Swollen gums. Sleepless nights. Endless fussing with no relief. Weeks of waiting for a single tooth to painfully push itself through.  Our first foray into leadership often feels like those early infant days of cutting teeth. We work countless hours, often on little sleep. We muddle through conflict, navigate bureaucracy, and endure opposition. We question our purpose. We struggle and strive and stress for what feels like years with seemingly little to show for it. Where’s that beautiful pearly white…