• Engage

    Better to Have Loved & Lost?

    Think about a time when you wholeheartedly loved someone and felt adored by them. As you think about that person––spouse, parent, boyfriend or girlfriend, sibling, child––how would you describe that love? What emotions or feelings come to mind? I think of: expectation, joy, excitement, purpose, belonging, peace, contentment, hope. As human beings, we cannot live healthy, abundant, prolonged lives without love. We are created to love. We long for love. We will do crazy things to show our love. But at some point in our lives, we will all lose love. What then? ·  A husband sits silently, mourning the end of 50 years with his beloved bride. ·  A…

  • Heartprints

    In the Shadow of Christmas is a Cross

      Christmas, for many, is colored with twinkling lights, the sound of singing, bright colored packages topped with elegant bows, cookies, candy, parties and laughter. But for others, Christmas is colored with the stark reality of roaring fires that ravage neighborhoods, hospital rooms, funeral homes, broken relationships, drunken relatives, and memories of those whose faces are missing from thier lives. As we teach our children about Jesus, God’s greatest gift to the world, we must not forget to teach them that the manger was shadowed by a cross. The Messiah in the manger was destined to be a man of sorrows acquainted with all our grief, bearing all our sin…

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    Let it Be Light

    I don’t know where I’ve been the past six Advents at my church, but this year, I’ve been given the gift of Advent and the gift of hope. This year, I finally see why we need Advent—the season in which the church celebrates Christ’s first coming while also eagerly anticipating his second coming. Because here’s the truth. We don’t realize our immense need and desperate longing for the light unless we’ve first seen the gravity and weight of the inky darkness. And in just the past few months, there’s been a lot of darkness in my life and family. My beloved Granddad passed away unexpectedly, I’m battling severe chronic depression,…

  • Engage

    God with “Skin On”

    Thanksgiving offically kicks off the “Holiday Season” and sounds of the season surround us. Decorations abound, lists begin, shopping survives Black Friday.  For many this annual season recalls warm memories and anticipates new ones. I discovered this year a family Facebook picture that included the newest member sporting a tiny tee shirt with the words “I’m New Here.” That clever line brought a smile to my face. However, for some, if not many, aspects of this season prove difficult.  Perhaps because of painful memories of seasons past or traversing a first season without a loved one gone, they struggle to enter into the celebration. It could be added stress financially…

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    Ups and Downs

    The last month has felt like an emotional roller coaster—reaching exciting heights but plunging down quickly. After experiencing the high of a remarkable mission trip to Kenya, the low of returning to reality in the U.S., and the high of a belated summer vacation on the white sands of Florida, we returned to Texas for the funeral of a beloved family member who had pulled back from our family the past few years. Right now I am hanging on to a short season of calm on the ground, knowing that it may not last long.   As I ponder the events of these few weeks, I am thankful that my…

  • Engage

    The Power of “Withness”

    The day after Easter, our beloved Golden Retriever Calvin, only seven years old (that’s mid-life in dog years) had to be put to sleep because of cancer that had been sucking the life out of him. When our son and his wife moved from Texas to California, they were forced to leave him behind because their housing does not allow dogs, and Calvin became my husband’s dog. Calvin was the exact same shade of red as our Irish Setter, who died seventeen months ago. When we had to put Pele down, there was another big red dog in the house. But not yesterday. Or today. And it’s painful. Ray has…

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    Philippians and the Big Story

    For this post I’m delighted to have as my guest Dr. Lynn H. Cohick, author and Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. I require Dr. Cohick’s terrific work, Women in the World of the Earliest Christians, for students in my Role of Women in Ministry class at DTS.  Today Zondervan released her latest book, a work on Philippians in The Story of God Bible Commentary series. I'm enthusiastic about this new series because of its emphasis on narrative. Before we talk specifically about your writing on the book of Philippians, what can you tell us about this new The Story of God Bible Commentary? The commentary…

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    When pain is too much to bear, how can we find relief?

    There’s “sad,” and then there are those times when sorrow seeps down into your soul and collects there into an aching pool of grief. You sleep. You wake up. And for a minute it’s better. Then the drip… drip of pain begins again. After thirty-two years with rheumatoid arthritis I would rather spend a day in significant physical pain than a day in significant emotional pain, although sometimes the two are inextricably linked. When we find ourselves in that kind of pain, how might we find relief?