Here is a poem from my friend Dr. John Lawrenz. It both choked me up and inspired my heart. I share it with you with wishes for a Merry Christmas from all of us here at Time of Grace.
—Pastor Mark Jeske
One shoeless shepherd knelt before an awesome sight.
With eyes transfixed, he gazed upon a heav’nly light
That burned before him, yet had not consumed its source.
It was the fiery presence of an ageless force... Read More
In the lives of people I know, there isn’t much “Joy to the World” right now.
A mother died far before her time.
A husband heard the words, “I’m leaving you.”
A family didn’t hear the heartbeat.
I know you have your own story too, because everyone has something hard. Actually, one of my least-favorite promises of Jesus is that “in this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33)—and I see it fulfilled constantly. From a son’s suicidal tendencies to... Read More
Jews are in the news. President Trump has caused another spasm of international commotion by announcing his intent to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Most Arab leaders are outraged, seeing that move as another diminution of Palestinian Arabs’ path toward being recognized as an independent country. Other observers are intrigued. The “two-state” solution clearly hasn’t been making any progress whatsoever for the last several decades. Whatever happens, the drama over Jerusalem will never cease.... Read More
Last Saturday I headed to a concert. On my way in, I saw friends who were sitting in the front row. I stopped by to hug them—and then went to my seat on the third level.
Obviously we heard the exact same concert, but we experienced it differently. Their tickets were worth more, so they had a far more personal experience with the performers. From section 309, I could barely see faces, but I loved the concert anyway. (Still, the... Read More
Another day, another suicide.
But this one was different. What mental image do you have of a suicide? Someone terminally ill and suffering terribly? A loser, depressed, addled, and confused by drugs? A desperate and violent criminal about to be apprehended? Terrorist bombers in their lethal vests? This one, in Menasha, Wisconsin, was Pastor Bill Lenz, founder and senior pastor of one of the state’s megachurches, Christ the Rock.
This isn’t supposed to happen. Here was a man who had... Read More
In North America the shortest day of the year is almost upon us. On December 21 in the upper-Midwestern part of the U.S., sunrise will occur not even nine hours before sunset.
Sometimes life gets really low. I think of the times that my health waned; a child was out of control; days when the bills were bigger than the paycheck; when death took a loved one before I was ready to let go, leaving not only a hole but... Read More
I have been a leader in the church for almost 40 years. In addition, I have served as a director on nine boards, for organizations very small to very large. I have always thought it important to amass as much knowledge as possible to be a good leader and board director. When it is my job to seek board candidates, I am always on the hunt for people who are intellectually sharp and come with significant life experiences and achievements.... Read More
My husband recently got his Hot Air Balloon Badge! According to Fitbit, he has now climbed 2,000 stairs, and this accomplishment merits celebration. My daughter’s new driver app awarded her the Highway Badge, the Night Driving Badge, the Smooth Driving Badge, and the Smooth Acceleration Badge. For goodness’ sake, it even gave her a Welcome Badge. Me? Well, I don’t mean to brag, but I earned the Snowflake Badge on Words With Friends this week.
What app badges have you... Read More
Well, our nation has survived another Black Friday. Did you participate? In our town people set up their camping tents and spent the night on the sidewalk so they could be among the first in the door at 6 A.M. I will say that it would take a prodigious amount of money to get me to do that. I certainly would never do it for free. But the pressure isn’t over; in fact, it’s just beginning. If you don’t take... Read More
My family prefers Netflix and sitting on the couch and subtitles. (Well, we’re split on subtitles.) Yet, after reading the book Wonder, we couldn’t wait to see the movie, so off we headed to the theater.
I packed tissues.
The story revolves around Auggie—a boy born with craniofacial differences—as he heads to middle school and faces taunts, bullies, and loneliness. Frankly, those are things all humans face—though not nearly to the same degree Auggie does—and that’s why Auggie’s teacher Mr.... Read More