Is Hollywood running the show?
14 SHARES
4 comments
1725 views
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
Hope for a weary world
24 SHARES
5 comments
1781 views
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
38 SHARES
6 comments
2681 views
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
A Thanksgiving prayer
33 SHARES
7 comments
2157 views
Dear God, 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
How do you picture Jesus?
8 SHARES
5 comments
1414 views
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
The gift of presence
11 SHARES
4 comments
1558 views
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
Does your church pray like Jesus?
21 SHARES
5 comments
1618 views
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. Amazing idea. 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
7 ways to engage conflict
21 SHARES
3 comments
2154 views
To get through college, I washed windows for a wonderful Christian man named Joe. In one of our initial conversations, Joe told me, “Ben, if we’re going to work together for any period of time, we’re going to have conflict. It’s inevitable. So when it happens, let’s speak to each other face-to-face and deal with it.” About a year later, we had a disagreement. But because we were ready for it, we talked about it, dealt with it, and moved... Read More
17 SHARES
7 comments
2214 views
Not too long ago, I had a rough, restless day at church. It wasn’t the pastor’s or the musician’s or my fellow worshipers’ fault. Pretty sure it was my fault—even though I have no idea what my problem was. My mind couldn’t focus, I had a hard time listening, and I barely felt like praying along. I started to wonder if I should’ve even gone at all.  I think we all have “bad” days when it comes to faith, the... Read More
A text away from Jesus?
18 SHARES
2 comments
1583 views
Do you know someone who’s drifted from church? Maybe your best friend or your niece or your grandson has gone months without joining other Christians to hear God’s Word and respond in gathered worship. Maybe your heart is heavy when you see those empty Sunday seats or sparsely populated pews. Maybe you know this isn’t about church attendance; it’s about real people with real eternities who are missing a real chance to hear the real gospel from a real church... Read More