• Heartprints

    It Was a Black Friday but It Was a Good Friday

    Jesus taught in parables. He used every day ordinary objects and events to teach amazing spiritual truths. I can’t help but wonder what He would say if He chose the American Black Friday as the event to highlight a spiritual lesson. “Forty-five of Jesus’ fifty-two recorded parables had a market place setting.” —Jim  Harris I think there is an interesting parallel between the religious Black Friday that we call Good Friday and the American Black Friday. They both are represented by a relentless and ruthless suffering that results in savings. The lesson learned would be like that of the shrewd business manager. He was an employee which means he received…

  • Engage

    Maundy Thursday: A Covenant of Hope

    The room was dark, somber, even gloomy. Heaviness clung to the air and caught in their throat. The disciples didn’t understand what would transpire in the following hours. But they sensed a growing somberness about Jesus and growing uncertainty within themselves.  For the past several days, Jesus increasingly talked about his death. And now, as the gathered round the Passover table, the theme emerged again.  Jesus picked up the bread and broke it—his body, he said. Then he passed the cup, telling them to each take a drink. This wasn't like the other Passovers that the disciples had celebrated since youth. There was something new and different about this one.…

  • Engage

    Around the Table: Why Gathering Matters

      Gathering is nothing new. All throughout sacred history, women and men have been gathering around tables to celebrate, reflect, feast, and remember. From Israel’s inception the sacrificial system ushered people into God’s presence and then around a table as they often enjoyed a meal as part of their offerings and festivals. In the book of Ruth, Boaz sat around the table with his workers, inviting an unknown Moabite woman to eat of his bread. In Psalms David celebrated God’s banquet table. And in the New Testament, Jesus gathered around tables with friends and sinners, and then he instituted his memorial supper around over the Passover meal as he and…

  • Engage

    Memories, A Legacy or Lifeline?

    A popular storyline recurring regularly recounts the tragedy of a person who loses their memory due to some tragic event. Then, beset with amnesia, the hero searches for what has been lost and the story unfolds.  Remembering and recovering becomes a victory.  In a similar way, the devastating illness of Alzheimer’s robs a person of their memories and devastates those who love them. Losing the lifeline of memories becomes a living heartbreak. Memories represent the legacy of a life and become a lifeline .  Yet as I was reminded by a young pastor some years ago Jesus knows we are a forgetful people.  He instituted a special meal to jog…

  • Engage

    Lent 101: Five Suggestions

    “What are you giving up for Lent?” For many Protestants, our only knowledge of Lent is what we perceive as excessive asceticism on the part of other Christians, often preceded by binging on Mardi Gras. We connect the season only with “giving up” something. Because today is Mardi Gras, I propose that we take a closer look. Just because some people abuse a spiritual practice, does that warrant our dismissing it altogether? “Mardi Gras” means “Fat Tuesday.” And Fat Tuesday precedes Ash Wednesday, which happens tomorrow and which marks the beginning of Lent—the forty-day season leading up to Easter. On Ash Wednesday participants receive ashes on their foreheads as a…

  • Engage

    Living for the Glory of God

      When Anna and I sat in carpool a few weeks ago, she asked me, “Mom, how do I know that I’m glorifying God?”   As believers we want to convey Christ-likeness to the world. We want to show everyone something different about us. So we challenge ourselves to “be the light and salt of the world” and we put ourselves out there for others to see something extra-ordinary about us.   We encourage our loved ones and other believers to live that way too. Not too long ago, I wrote about glorifying God at school. You can read about it here.  So how do we know that our lives…

  • Engage

    Seasons of Sacrifice

         Eight days with junior high kids on a mission trip in South Carolina may not sound like a blast to you, but they were for me in more in so many ways. Love for mission trips are part of my heart, my DNA, how God created me. I love serving on mission and being on mission, especially internationally.      My first mission trip was in 2001 while in seminary. I served for six weeks in Freiburg, Germany. I fell in love with international missions. It was so hard to even return to seminary and learn old and “dead” languages such as Greek and Hebrew when I could be learning…

  • Engage

    A Trip to Normandy to Enrich Your Fourth

    My friend Carla Galanos recently returned from the beaches of Normandy with deep gratitude to God and our brave soldiers for making our Fourth of July celebration still possible. I've asked her to share highlights of the experience hoping her words will enrich your holiday too. Enjoy! It’s here! July 4–our favorite summer holiday. Fireworks, flags, parades, red, white and blue everything, barbeque and glow sticks–all the trappings to celebrate our country’s birthday. This year we are remembering that it all began with a Declaration, an unwavering commitment to freedom and liberty. In May of this year, my husband I took a “bucket list” trip to the Normandy beaches where,…

  • Heartprints

    E…A…S…T…E…R

    As we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, what do you believe?   Do you believe that Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins and then rose again on the third day?   For me, this is what I believe and I will celebrate Easter this way:      Those who believe in    His Death and Resurrection have:              Everlasting Live   Jesus defeated death for all those    who believe in Him.  My home is    not this earth…it is in heaven with    Him forever.     Those who rejoice in    His Death and Resurrection have:      …

  • Engage

    Valentine’s Day–What’s the Mark of True Love?

    How real is love? Valentine’s Day is a good time to assess how much we love both our significant others and our God. The definitive mark of true love is willing sacrifice.    Every relationship has some element of sacrifice, but what’s the attitude behind it? Is it out of coercion, a sense of “ought,” or joy?   The depth of God’s love for us is marked by the willingness of Jesus, God himself, to come to earth, become man, live among us, and die a cruel death on the cross carrying the ugliness of our sins and those of the world. “For this is the way God loved the…