• Engage

    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…

  • Engage

    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!…

  • Helping women

    Invisible Women

    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.…

  • Engage

    Loving Your Neighbor from Six Feet Away: Serving Others during COVID-19

    The recent COVID-19 recommendations from government and health officials have most of us hunkered down in our homes, only venturing out for the occasional walk or necessary errand. Though the times have necessarily dictated a drastic change in our daily routines and social norms, how can the church continue to connect and serve our communities well…from a distance?  Below are some ideas, many of them crowd-sourced from Facebook. If you are able, pick one or two and better yet, make it a communal event by asking your family/friends/Bible Study/small group/etc. to join you. Donate to food banks and homeless shelters. Roughly 18% of American children live in “food insecure” homes;…

  • Engage

    A Morning Prayer

    Soul care requires us to realize our utter dependence on Christ, who said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” (John 15:5). A couple of years ago I read this morning prayer by John Baillie (1886-1960) and posted it on my blog. Its message seemed perfect to share with you today: O God my Creator and Redeemer, I may not go forth today except You accompany me with Your blessing. Let not the vigor and freshness of the morning, or the glow of good health, or the present prosperity of my undertakings, deceive me into a false reliance upon my own strength. All these good gifts have come to me…

  • Church

    Confessions of a Church Critic

    “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). When I first considered writing Christian articles/columns or a blog online the following thought came to mind: “Wouldn’t it be neat to visit different churches and then write a column rating that church? I could tell others what was cool about the church, where they were on the straight path, where they were straying, where tradition was overriding biblical teaching, where they had adopted…