• When Heaven Comes to Earth by Melanie Newton

    When Heaven Comes to Earth

    Listen to this as a similar podcast: “The LORD reigns! Let the earth be happy! Let the many coastlands rejoice!” (Psalm 97:1) The declaration that the LORD reigns is common in the Psalms. I know in my head and believe in my heart that God is ruling His creation. It is hard to see in real life, though, in a practical sense. He tolerates more rebellion and disobedience than any earthly king or dictator I’ve read about in history or current events. If left to evidence alone, we could easily think that God’s rule is “hands off” and passive and that Satan is really the ruler. I have to remind…

  • Hallmark Christmas Movies

    Why I Won’t Apologize For Watching Hallmark Christmas Movies

    I’ve decided to take the “guilty” out of “guilty pleasure” when it comes to watching Hallmark Christmas movies. This cultural icon has become fodder for endless jokes and even sermon illustrations. Yes, they are completely formulaic and the always-happy endings are entirely predictable. What keeps us watching are the “getting there” details of maneuvering the journey through falling in love and overcoming obstacles and the inevitable misunderstandings that are shortly and inevitably resolved. (“Whew! That was a close one!” said no one ever.) But there is such a deeply satisfying resolution in every movie that makes the obligatory happy ending seem not obligatory at all. Just . . . right.…

  • Engage

    The Crazed Creation is under the Curse

                “Pain is a blessing in disguise.” Really?             Today, many Christian women seek psychotherapy. Surprised? Because Christians shouldn’t feel angry or depressed.                 I have struggled with doubt and loneliness due to infertility. With the Christianese platitudes that ensued, the sense that people in church disapproved of my struggle was hard to miss. As a Bible study leader, I wasn’t supposed to struggle.             Some of us feel uptight about pain. So we rush others through their pain. We try to fix it instead of letting God fix it, all in the name of Fake Happy. But the plastic church smile only perpetuates…

  • Engage

    What Makes New So Beautiful?

    New. What comes to mind when you think about that tiny but enlivening word? A home with freshly painted eggshell walls? A classroom full of wide-eyed kindergarteners? An unknown city bursting with possibilities—and anxieties? When I think about new, I envision a clean white shirt, freshly pressed with a hint of starch mingled with my husband's scent. I love fresh, new things. But I crave the familiar too. Do you? Flip through the book of Revelation, and you won't find much that's new—at least at the beginning. Images of destruction, fear, and horror stain the pages—until you reach the end. Then everything changes. In Revelation 21, the author paints a…