I never ignored any of my children the day of their birthday parties. The planning and preparations were all done with the child in mind. The day of the party, he or she was the object of everyone’s attention.
Why then is it so easy to spend a month or more getting ready for the celebration only to miss spending time with Jesus at Christmas? Instead of celebrating Jesus’ descent to earth, we easily make the day about the festivities,... Read More
One of the Christmas story accounts is found in the book of Luke, chapters 1 and 2. Luke claims he’s writing a historical account of Jesus with complete accuracy and integrity so we may know the certainty of the things we’ve been taught.
As he begins, Luke makes it sound like he’s writing a history:
“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah . . .”
Luke mentions King Herod. We know Herod was... Read More
This past October, I talked in church about sex. For four straight weeks.
If you’re doing the sermon math, that was over two hours of me opening a Bible and talking about sex and God in church. To singles and couples. Toddlers and teens. Dating and divorced. Widows and newlyweds. Everyone.
As I reflect back on that month with our church family, there are a few lessons I’d love to share with you:
-God’s People Talk Back—Very few people in... Read More
In the United States, we’re not used to children dying—and that’s a good thing. From 1980 to 2016, the death rate in the United States for children ages 1-14 dropped significantly, so we’ve become accustomed to declining death rates. While that’s a good thing, each one of those deaths still represents a devastated family who hates being part of the statistics.
(And let’s be honest, miscarriages and adult-child deaths aren’t part of these stats, so there are even more hurting... Read More
Christmas is a popular time for lists.
Children are making their wish gift lists. Parents are making to-do and to-buy lists. Even Santa is making his list—and checking it twice.
I think we should be making another list too. A list of people who need Jesus—and, therefore, need you!
At Christmas, we see the baby Jesus in the manger and know that he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom... Read More
Thirteen years ago my father-in-law died unexpectedly days before Christmas. The funeral was on the 23rd and the burial on the 27th, with sickness and chaos in between. That, a whole lot of responsibilities, and an aversion to the sentimentality of many Christmas traditions makes the season, well, not my favorite.
For many the holidays are hard. When you’re estranged from your family or members of your family are struggling, when death has made a gaping hole in your life,... Read More
Last week was our 14th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we went to the movies. We finally had the chance to use a gift certificate that we had been sitting on for about a year. This was our shot, and we didn’t want to waste this opportunity on a bad movie.
We were open to any kind of movie. We just didn’t want to see a film that made Christians look stupid. And it’s getting harder to find. Most movies depict... Read More
This past weekend, we put up all our Christmas decorations. And by “we” I mean “my daughters,” because they love doing it so much. In addition to the lights, tree, stockings, and garland, they changed the hand-lettering on the chalkboard backsplash to read, “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”
They couldn’t have chosen a more perfect line for this year. We really do live in a weary world, don’t we? Maybe it’s the weariness from fears, final exams,... Read More
I was raised in a church culture that emphasized an immensely practical teaching—that every Christian is, at the same time, a sinner and a saint.
Did you know that? Every last person who trusts in Jesus, no matter how weak or immature in faith, is already a saint—forgiven, holy, blameless, pure, perfect, righteous, radiant, and more.
Here’s the proof—“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through... Read More
Thank you for what I have. I know you’ve chosen to give it to me. And thank you for what I don’t have, because in your goodness you spared me from it.
Thank you for necessities provided and for luxuries lavished on me. I don’t deserve them, and I know it.
Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for shaping me so that day by day I may become more like you.
Thank you for being... Read More