• Heartprints

    Tips for Teaching #2

    I believe that today’s tip can help us better prepare our children for the difficulties of standing strong in their faith Tip number two: Encourage children to embrace their struggles. According to Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, by Tim Keller., our culture is one of the few around the world that believes that suffering is to be avoided at any cost. Most cultures see suffering as a normal part of life and essential for becoming healthy productive adults. Though suffering is uncomfortable, and scary, it is also unavoidable. Our task is to help our children see past the difficulties. Suffering is a gift to help us grow in our…

  • Engage

    New Year: Looking Back and Forward Through the Lens of Struggle

    It’s easy to look back at the previous year through the lens of struggle—to look only at the difficulties, the disappointments, the dark places—and then jump to inappropriate conclusions. My husband and I have had more than our fair share of “hard” this past year with tough ministry decisions, medical treatments for our newly adopted son, and the death of a sibling. Friends have faced equal if not greater challenges as well. The list of those struggling is endless.   Thus I’ve been pondering on the struggle and the hard lately, but not in the way you might think. For churchgoers who think the Christian ideal is “health, wealth, and…

  • Engage

    Teaching our Kids about Pain, Suffering, and Hope

    “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” It's a popular mantra we recite to children in our churches. And it's true.  One of the greatest lessons we can teach our kids is that God is good and gracious—it's the heart of the gospel, the anchor of our faith, and what sets our beliefs apart from other world religions.  But there's more to what we believe. And sometimes we miss it until we walk through pain and suffering and are forced to confront the fact that Christianity isn't easy. Walking with God, in the most complete sense, certainly involves struggles and even loss.  I remember being faced…

  • Engage

    Afraid of the Woman in the Mirror

    You tug at the corner of your eyes, smushing them upward then pulling them down. “Who is that?” You wonder to yourself as you gaze into the mirror.  Maybe it's the dark circles betraying an illness that caught you by surprise. Maybe it's the fine lines, telling the story of stress and toil. Maybe it's the weary look in your eyes begging for sleep.  Before you can answer, you snap your head and look away, unwilling to gaze any longer.  Have you ever been there?  Recently I had one of my own mirror moments. And as much as I've tried to forget it, I can't.  Such glimpses force us to…

  • Impact

    Thanks Be To God – For What?

    Thanks Be To God – For What? Thanksgiving is one of the most precious times of the year because we have so much to be thankful for: our nation, family, life, health, opportunity, the list never ends.   But what if you’re in a season of uncertainty, if you’re asking what God is doing in our nation or your family is struggling or your health is questionable or you’re unemployed? What if you’re living in confusion and fear and don’t know how to respond to what is happening to you? How can you be thankful?   The apostle Paul faced that exact situation. He had written a letter of rebuke…

  • Impact

    The Voice of a Father

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Christmas. The scent of a beautiful green tree filling the house decorated with colorful balls, shining lights, shimmering tinsel, and topped by an angel. Decorations generously spread from room-to-room, symbols of wonderful family memories passed down from generation-to-generation. I love Christmas and all it represents. One thing I get tired of, though, is pundits who annually quote Bible verses they don’t understand about peace on earth and good will toward men when they have no grasp of how to fill that longing… The human heart cries for deliverance from suicide bombings and ceaseless streams of refugees risking their lives in rickety boats…

  • Impact

    The Sign of Silence

        Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Four-hundred years of silence. Not a sound. Not a word. Not a prophet. Not a spokesman. Not the screeching of a chair or the clearing of the throat as a speaker mounts a rostrum. Nothing. Just silence. And the nation was getting restless. Oh, they had enough through what God had said previously to live with hope and anticipation. They had His covenants and His promises and His faithfulness. He had kept many of His promises already. He had released them from Egypt and returned them to the Promised Land; He had delivered them from Babylon and once again restored them…

  • Impact

    Big Talk, Small Man

        Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken It happened on a Thursday morning many years ago in San Jose, CA. That morning I was involved in a meeting about reaching the world with the Gospel—heady stuff. Following that meeting, I chatted with a pastor friend of mine and soon our conversation centered on what great things we were going to do for God. It could have been an edifying conversation, but it wasn’t, and I knew it wasn’t as soon as I left my friend. I knew what I said was wrong—empty words full of empty ambition. That night I woke up with my arm wrapped around my…

  • Impact

    You’re Too Big to be Small

    Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken In Christ God has made us big, so big we can overcome the smallness of pride that lurks within us. Christ in us, our hope of glory, is how we gain God’s bigness for us. Everything we do through Him brings us into the freedom of His bigness and delivers us from the bondage of our pettiness. And this leads me to a question… Are you big enough to lead or are you too small to be big at all? I mean big like Jesus was big. Big like Christ in us is big. Big enough to rise above human pettiness and to…

  • Impact

    The Blessing of Being Broke

    Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . You can’t be rich until you’re been bankrupt. You can’t be wealthy until you’re worthless. You can’t have God’s best until you’ve faced your worst. Bankruptcy is a sinister word. Job lost. Career crashed. Identity crushed. Prospects dim. Future bleak. Hope gone. Home about to go. Family tattered. To be broke is to be shattered, ashamed, devastated. Spiritual bankruptcy starts with the same feelings of failure, frustration and hopelessness, the same struggle. the same shame. We ask questions like, “How could I have done that?” or, “When will I be free?” We feel shackled…