• Heartprints

    What Are You Selling?

    Before I got into ministry, I spent many years as a salesperson.  I learned so much about life while I was in sales and I find myself constantly finding similarities between sales and ministry.  I thought for fun I would share some of those with you today:  #1) You win some – you lose some! You are going to have days where you nothing goes right, people mistreat you, your lesson falls short, you make a change and you feel as if your volunteer staff, the kids and the parents are all going to hang you from a tree.  Those days happen and if we let the evil one get in our heads,…

  • Heartprints

    Am I Who You Think I Am?

    Have you ever read any statistics on how social media is affecting our sense of identity? In a world where we can post who we want others to perceive we are, we can end up with an online-induced case of plural identities. Not only does this create confusion, it also is exhausting to maintain. My daughter, Kari Ciliberti, recently in a paper on this very subject, cited “Mary Aiken’s, an expert in cyberpsychology, comments on the feedback loop of one’s cyber self, saying,  “… The cyber self is always under construction, physiologically and digitally. Even when …sleeping, the cyber self continues to exist. It is always on- evolving, updating, making…

  • Engage

    Confessions of a Recovering People-Pleaser*

    I hope I don’t step on anyone’s toes here. As a recovering people-pleaser, stepping on toes is something I tend to avoid like the plague. Growing up, I learned early on that popularity was easier to attain if you were, well, nice. The church seemed to reinforce the pursuit of bending over backwards for the needs of your fellow man: God first, others second, self third. Anytime I heard this popular mantra, I internally gave myself a high-five. I had that down pat! Well, maybe not the God first part. My own formula went something like this:

  • Engage

    Christmas at The Cove Disrupted: How God uses busted plans for greater impact

     When we first signed up for the Christmas concerts at Billy Graham's Asheville, North Carolina retreat center, we expected a weekend of beauty and gorgeous music by some of the Kingdom's finest artists. What we didn't expect was how God used major disruption to turn one evening into a rare, deep worship event.  Annie Moses Band At Christmas time the whole place feels like a warm Christmas hug–fireplaces great and intimate, wreaths, garlands, trees and smack in the middle of it all a nativity scene with the Christmas spotlight right where it should be. Each evening begins with a splendid dinner which might include encrusted prime rib with brie and…

  • Engage

    A Good Lookin’ Bag of Bones: Keeping Up Appearances

    Believe it or not, Americans lie about how often they go to church. According to a 2013 Huffington Post article [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-mcswain/why-nobody-wants-to-go-to_b_4086016.html ], although more than 40 percent of Americans claim to go to church weekly, less than 20 percent actually do.   Am I the only one that finds this funny? Christians lie about going to church in order to look good. Why would we do this? Call it funny, call it sad, but call it me. No, I've never lied about going to church, but I have definitely misled others about myself. My husband and I lived and worked overseas in a Christian ministry for 12 years and every month…

  • Engage

    Vulnerable yet Safe– 5 Levels of Sharing

    So often the pendulum swings a bit too far. My mother, who was true to her generation, taught us to keep quiet about the family business. Her concern was appearances; she didn’t want others to think badly of her.   I never remember people praying for one another in my home church for anything other than illness, and usually those were for other people rather than their personal health issues. Who knows how many sick Uncle Joes and Aunt Marys were lifted in prayer at my church—not that there is anything wrong with praying for sick Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary! But where were the prayers for marriages, for spiritual growth,…

  • Engage

    10 for 10 – Marriage Learnings

    Today my husband, Craig, and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary! We have learned much, are still learning and will learn new things. Below are 10 things that I have learned in the 10 years I’ve been married to my best friend. 1. Seek your identity in Christ first. Your identity is not rooted in your marriage nor who you are married to. Yes, your marriage is a significant part of your identity as is your spouse, but that is not where you identity is (or should be) rooted. If your identity is based in Christ (and is continually deepened) your defenses will fall, confidence and compassion will increase…

  • Engage

    The Power of an Expert Speaking as a Fellow Traveler: Phillip Johnson

    When my husband Jack was in seminary he was taught to speak as the expert from a posture of strength. If you talk about weakness, struggle or failure, speak in hindsight from the place of victory won. It’s not always safe to talk about your weaknesses. You don’t want to give your detractors or enemies ammunition. (Especially in churches.)   In today's culture that mindset is changing. But, If you are an expert, why would you want to try to speak as a fellow-traveler? What might be the benefits of exposing your weaknesses, speaking of your struggles, or even failures? In the academy? In churches? Phillip Johnson, the father of…