• Engage

    Pain: God’s Just-Right Tool

    I wrote this blog post on May 7, 2012. When I ran it again almost five years later, I added this introduction: Not quite five years ago, when I originally wrote this, I had no idea that by this point, I would hardly be walking, using a scooter 95% of the time and unable to move without a walker for the rest. Pain and serious weakness are my daily companions. As I noticed the counts on my most popular blog posts and discovered this one among the top, I am grateful that the wisdom God gave me five years ago is even more true today. And I am grateful that…

  • Fire

    Obey God or Please People

    In Daniel Chapter 3 we find three Hebrew captives who refused to fall down and worship the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. The Babylonians practiced polytheism. They didn’t believe in just one god, nor did they require others to follow only their gods. King Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t asking them to renounce Yahweh by bowing down to his statue. So what was the big deal, then? This is exactly what my relatives ask me when I refuse to participate in Hindu rituals. They believe in a pluralism of sorts, and purport that Hinduism is more of a philosophy than a religion, where one can adhere to tenets that appeal to them, and disregard…

  • Heartprints

    Finding Faith In an Unplanned Pregnancy

    The home pregnancy test showed an electric blue stripe. Pregnant. Definitely pregnant—and at the worst possible time in our married life. For months I cried and called out to God. He met me in my pleas and led me to His words for help.

  • Heartprints

    A Deeper Look at Suffering

    No one escapes suffering. NO ONE! Suffering entered our world with the first sin.  Choosing a sinful desire over God’s will resulted in suffering.   With sin came death. Death, by definition, is separation, ultimately the separation of God and man. We often focus on the separation of soul and body. Because of sin we suffer all kinds of separation. Daily we face the ugliness of disease, divorce, dysfunctional families, and of course the possibilities of tragic accidents.  There is just no way to truly prepare our hearts for the depth of suffering we may encounter. The journey from birth to death can be a long suffering. There are countless ways…

  • Engage

    Let My Tears Flow

    This month I am thankful to have guest blogger, Marnie Legaspi, instruct us on how to appropriately minister to those who grieve.  “Sister, I have cancer.” My stomach dropped. My body felt numb. My brain whirled with worst case scenarios. I tried to be brave. Every fiber in my being wanted to believe my thirty-eight year old brother was playing some kind of cruel joke. Who jokes about cancer, though? No one. The carcinoma that grew inside my big brother’s body advanced quickly, ravaging him within a mere six months. As I literally watched the tumors grow and protrude through his skin, my grief often came hard and fast leaving…

  • Heartprints

    Suffering and All Its Glory

    There are several ways to approach teaching God’s Word. There are those who focus on teaching the principles, others on the doctrine, and still others put the focus on the words or the content of the passages. They tell the stories, they highlight the words and they emphasize the historical facts. They carefully teach the who, what, when, where, why, and even the how of the story. I have tended to use this method. Through this form of teaching I learned a lot of the characters, places, and events in the Bible. I have seen how God works and how people respond to His person, power, and promises. After over…

  • Engage

    Making Room for Pain

    “You’re not jumping two phone books high! Jump higher. Let these kids know how much you love Jesus!” And then I felt it—the water gun hit my back, mingling with the copious amount of sweat already drenching my t-shirt. Yes, that’s right—a water gun. Camp staff members were squirted if they didn’t jump high enough to show their enthusiastic love for Jesus while welcoming the kids to camp in 100-degree sticky heat. It was the start of a very difficult six weeks for me. In the midst of what my doctor diagnosed as chronic depression, I had been hired to serve as camp counselor for middle school girls. I had…

  • Impact

    Blessed are the Bankrupt

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . (Mt. 5:3) What stunning, shocking words! What king announces his rule by calling the poor in spirit to him, the bankrupt, those with no resources who bring nothing to him? Only one. The King who is lowly in heart, who offers a light burden because He is not bent down by the weight of pride. Amazingly these are the first recorded words of discipleship Jesus uttered. Jesus requires bankruptcy to enter His kingdom… That’s what it means to be poor in spirit: spiritual bankruptcy, a total lack of resources to do what ultimately…

  • Impact

    Last Things First

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken The Great Commission was the last words Jesus said, but it was among the first thoughts in His mind as He began His ministry. Why was it that one of the first actions He took was to choose disciples (Mt. 4:18-22) if He did not have a purpose in mind for them? He certainly did not intend to spend the better part of three years preparing followers for nothing… And why did He persevere so relentlessly with them when they rejected His message and thought like Satan (Mark 8:33) or created more confusion than clarity when a father sought their help for…

  • Impact

    Start With the End in View

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Jesus started with the end in view. From the first day of His earthly ministry to the last, He had His two-fold purpose before Him: redemption and preparation, the cross and the commission. He came to provide redemption for dying men and women. But what good would His redemptive death be if there were no one to tell others what it means? How could He establish a redemptive movement if He had no one to start it? That’s why He declared to His Father before the cross that He had accomplished His will by making the Father known to those He had…