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
There are a lot of different ways that the Bible helps us picture Jesus, and each of those pictures teaches us something about him.
One picture of Jesus that really resonates with me is the Shepherd. I like the thought of Jesus gently picking me up, placing me over his shoulder, and carrying me safely home. I like the picture of Jesus coming after me when I’ve wandered and bringing me back to safety. And I like the fact that... Read More
I have two boys going through Bible instruction class right now, and at our church, a parent attends the evening classes along with his or her child. One night in class, we talked about the three “omnis” or the “alls” of God—if you’re not familiar, these are attributes that are unique to him only and qualify God as God:
Omnipotence—God is all-powerful.
Omniscience—God is all-knowing.
Omnipresent—God is all-present.
Our pastor asked us which one of these attributes we’d like to... Read More
A few years ago I visited a church that was passionate about prayer. So passionate that they inserted all of their church family’s prayer requests in the bulletin so their members could pray for one another throughout the week.
But as I read through the long list of over 30 prayer requests on the light-blue insert, I started to notice a pattern—Pray for his cancer. Pray for their safe travels. Thank you for her successful surgery.
After reading... Read More