Do I Serve to Please Others, Myself, or God?
I shut the cover on my laptop after facilitating a zoom webinar. Was I good enough? Did I say the right thing? They must really think I’m stupid. That was surely a waste of their time. I hope they still like me. The Holy Spirit quickly asked me the same question posed by the apostle Paul: Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ! Galatians 1:10 I know that God has called me to sincerely and deeply love others and help them…
How to Become a Better Dad: A Daughter’s Perspective
Last August, I received this message from a former student who wanted to become a better dad: I’m reaching out because I have a daughter who’s about to start kindergarten. I’m also realizing more and more that I’m going to play a huge role in how she views men for the rest of her life (#nopressure). This is a huge responsibility, but it’s also an awesome opportunity, so I’m asking for some help. What is something you learned from your dad that helped shape who you are today? Kudos to this wise man for studying how to become a better dad—and for looking to both men and women for insight!…
You may not be the President, but YOU can be a leader
This is a unique year to be a leader in your community. 2020 is full of hardship, uncertainty and political unrest. The fact that we are living through a pandemic and participating in a heated presidential election provides Christians a unique opportunity to show Christ in our spheres of influence. In an election year it is easy to focus on our local and national leaders. Our senses are heightened and bombarded with election news streaming in from every outlet. In our human frailness it is easy to be consumed with how the next leader will impact our lives for better or worse. Allow me to challenge you to go deep…
The other morning at church, I was talking to one of our church leaders as he spotted one of our three-year-olds making a run for the lobby. He called the boy’s name three times, including extending his hand for a high-five, and was ignored all three times. (I’m a boy mom. I get it. The little guy was completely focused on escaping the worship center—no room for any other thoughts!) Laughing, I asked my friend, “Hey, how are you doing with that ‘feeling invisible’ thing?” He was fine with it. But there are a number of people in our churches for whom feeling invisible is no laughing matter. It hurts.…
May I Take Up Your Trash?
During a recent training event, I sat with fellow leaders chatting over lunch. Our meal filled us with necessary sustenance, but what now remained on our plates was unconsumable, gross substance. As lunch came to an end, Douglass, one of the leaders, stood up, glanced around the table, extended his hand, and asked, “may I take up your trash?”
Fresh Perspectives on Women in the Bible–Phoebe by Lindsay Ann Nickens
Augustine of Hippo. Martin Luther. Billy Graham. Three giants of the Christian faith, and they each have this in common: God chose to hinge their salvation experiences upon the courage of a woman named Phoebe. This is because each of these men had salvation experiences through reading or hearing the book of Romans, which Phoebe faithfully and courageously delivered from Paul to Rome in the first century AD. “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” Phoebe is mentioned in only two verses, Romans 16:1-2, out of the 7,957 verses in the New Testament. However, these two little verses pack a big punch, revealing the…
Living in Obscurity: Am I Missing God’s Plan for Me?
Today I'm grateful to have guest blogger Seana Scott here to share her heart with you: Friends from college are abolishing slavery. Neighbors are fostering to adopt. A family’s church planting in Poland, and the mom with a van full of kids is launching a book. Meanwhile, am I missing God’s plan for me? Because I shuffle through my ordinary day—a grocery run, teaching my toddler shapes with a Melissa and Doug puzzle, ready-to-cook stir fry tossed in a pan, bedtime reading of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. And I try to push aside the feeling of missing out on “bigger” things for Jesus. The kids now lie asleep, and I settle…
Never Underestimate the Price and Prize of Peace and Quiet
Guest blog by my stellar student Lisa White In childhood we constantly hear, “What do you want to be when you grow up.” At 52, I still ask myself that question. Today, we live under the impression and pressure that the sky’s the limit. We create great expectations for ourselves and for others. Fears of not measuring up or of missing out on the prize often inflate our answers and our egos. One of my favorite novels, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations tells how bigger-than-life ambitions have the power to crush joy. Dickens’ title references a poem by Philip Sidney who nicknames our great expectations “friendly foe.” These expectations…
Women, Submission, and Work
Recently I heard someone speak about how a woman is to interact with males in a vocational context, and the word “submission” kept coming up. Now, that would have been fine if this speaker had meant an Ephesians 5:21 kind of submission—in which everyone serves everyone else mutually and reciprocally. But the submission she described was a one-way kind of service that applied only to the women serving the men in the office. And that is wrong. Some say women are made for submission and men are not. But every one of us is called to live in submission to our Creator (James 4:7). And we are all also called…
What’s Your Superpower?
If you could choose a superpower, which one would it be? When asked this question as an icebreaker, I’ve heard some people say they’d love to fly; others say they would choose mindreading. Some would love to be invisible. But for the believer in Jesus, the idea of having superpowers isn’t a fantasy. It is the reality of being indwelled by God Himself, the source of actual and real supernatural power. And He gives gifts, spiritual gifts, that consist of supernatural enabling. We find the spiritual gifts in four places in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4. Consider these spiritual gifts—superpowers,…