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    Throwing Stones

    Six hundred stones plopped and splashed as they hit the surface of the Sea of Galilee and then sunk, never to be retrieved again. Each rock signified something of importance. Some represented long-held unforgiveness and bitterness toward a family member or friend. Other stones symbolized a wayward son or daughter, or even a spouse. And yet others signified unfulfilled hopes and dreams. Though the meanings of each rock differed, the lasting results were the same. As passengers aboard the Israel tour boats released their stones from their hands, they also released emotional and spiritual burdens from their hearts. As I threw my stone into the Sea of Galilee, I quietly…

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    The First Day of Lenten Season

                              Today marks the first day of the Lenten season—the beginning of the 40-day period (excluding Sundays) that ends with Easter Sunday. On this Ash Wednesday—across the country and around the world—Christians from various denominations will commemorate this “Day of Ashes” by fasting and praying. Others will participate in ceremonies that will involve ashes marked on their foreheads in the shape of the cross.    For those of us who will participate in Ash Wednesday and Lent, we do so in anticipation of renewal and newness in our intimacy with God. We shift our focus towards spiritual reflection…

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    Who’s behind the sheer curtain?

    I pray a lot but sometimes I wonder if my prayers bounce off the ceiling. Does God really hear? Does He really care? Do you ever feel that way? The first weekend of this month I was looking forward to speaking in Dubuque, Iowa, by way of Cedar Rapids, at the Emmaus Bible College women's conference. But I wasn't looking forward to getting there. Earlier this year on a similar occasion, my flight to that area of the country was suddenly and without explanation cancelled, leaving me to hopscotch around several airports, running from gate to gate, and arriving several hours after my first speaking session. I dreaded a replay…

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    Unfolding: A Pressure-Free Model for Leading Your Team

    Meet Michelle Oney. She's a friend, collegue, and leader with a vision to help individuals and teams discover how God has gifted them and where he is calling them to serve. Her words will challenge and encourage you.    You and I carry an unexpected burden. And I wasn’t ready for it either.     A few years ago, I moved into a new sector, feeling called toward ministry. Along with the transition came the weight of managing people with a “calling.” For 20 years I worked in university advancement and considered how I could “mold” and “shape” a team into the best team they could be based upon the…

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    Disruption: Thoughts on Life and Chaos

    Recently I set a goal to keep the house in spic and span shape for five days straight.  Admittedly, this isn’t the most exciting thing one can do, but there’s something refreshing about coming home from work with your surroundings in order….shirts hung neatly on their hangers, shoes in their rightful spot, junk mail sorted out and squared away.  It gives one a sense of orderliness, peacefulness, and, most importantly, control.  So, I set out last Sunday, spent a few hours getting rooms, bathrooms, and closets in top-notch shape, and determined to maintain my newfound tidiness for one week straight. And then life happened.

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    Dad Is Gone: What You Need to Let Go of the People You Love

    My Dad died Friday evening. Mom was on her way over to see him in his memory care facility, but Jesus, who holds "the keys to death and Hades," slipped the key in the lock and opened the door.   Today Dad is in heaven. And we are getting washed around by alternate waves of grief and urgency–to make plans and respond to family and praying friends.   Friday evening I was on the front row of a political forum, listening to Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal tell his story of how he found Christ (or Christ found him) when I got the call. Media vita in morte sumus. In the…

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    Mothers Have to Grow Up Too

    A couple of months ago, I had to pick out eight pictures that represented the last 17 years of my daughter’s life. The yearbook staff at her high school kept sending me reminders of the deadline for the senior ad. So I did what I didn’t want to do—I pulled out photo boxes, inserted photo CD’s into the computer and I sorted through a lifetime of memories.   There among the piles of “maybe,” “for sure” and “no way, she’ll kill me,” I remembered some of the advice I received as a young mother. Well, more like warnings than advice:     Just wait, she’s cute right now, but when’s…

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    Living for the Glory of God

      When Anna and I sat in carpool a few weeks ago, she asked me, “Mom, how do I know that I’m glorifying God?”   As believers we want to convey Christ-likeness to the world. We want to show everyone something different about us. So we challenge ourselves to “be the light and salt of the world” and we put ourselves out there for others to see something extra-ordinary about us.   We encourage our loved ones and other believers to live that way too. Not too long ago, I wrote about glorifying God at school. You can read about it here.  So how do we know that our lives…

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    Adios Summer!

    Have you ever had a moment in time when you felt completely unworthy? Out of nowhere a season of wrestling, heartache and loneliness takes a hold of you and you don’t know what to do? You can barely breathe and everything you do just feels wrong? You feel disconnected from everyone and from God? Ever felt like this before?   Let’s face it, feeling unworthy is for the birds! It’s not fun at all. Talk about a joy killer! I felt like this most of the summer and it brought me to my knees. I’m seriously thankful to say adios to a very difficult time in my life.   Yes,…

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    Restore to Me

    “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” Psalm 51:10–12 (NLT). Italics mine   I wish I could say it’s easy for me to go to God whenever I mess up. It’s not. Instead I want to do something—anything so I can feel good about myself before approaching God. This should satisfy God. That should make it all better. He’s not mad at me anymore.   Throughout the Psalms, we see the intimate relationship…