My heart is heavy
45 SHARES
7 comments
3898 views
On January 23, the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, more abortion-related laws were passed. In New York, the law allows for abortion through the third trimester, permits non-physicians to commit abortions, and repeals protections for surviving babies. In Illinois, Governor Pritzker says his state is now “the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to guaranteeing the right to choose for every single woman.”  While I believe we cannot legislate morality, I also believe what... Read More
Don’t get married too quickly
25 SHARES
3 comments
2662 views
Unless you’ve been set up with an arranged marriage, your spouse is the only family member you get to choose. Parents, siblings, cousins, kids—they are who they are. God just plops them into our lives. But a spouse—that’s someone we get to pick. Since we get to choose who we’re going to marry, it’s best to not get married too quickly. Now, by that I don’t mean you have to have long engagements.  I also don’t mean that you shouldn’t... Read More
The cleanest slate
29 SHARES
6 comments
2238 views
I woke up the first day of 2019 to a blanket of freshly fallen snow. What a perfect way to start the new year, with a layer of white covering over the dirty brown landscape. It brought to mind Isaiah 1:18, where the Lord says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”  I am one of those people who love snow. I love it with an obnoxious love reserved for Midwesterners who know how... Read More
That Gillette ad (and Jesus)
41 SHARES
5 comments
2713 views
Did you see that Gillette ad yet? If not, you missed the commercial that’s getting more attention than the Beatles walking through a shopping mall. If you have seen it, you might have either (1) gotten choked up by a needed cultural message or (2) purged your bathroom of every product with Gillette’s name on it. Or maybe you just rolled your eyes at the latest outrage in our quick-to-rage digital age. Just so we’re all on the same page,... Read More
Struggle through it
9 SHARES
5 comments
1497 views
In the past when people told me they couldn’t get through a genealogy or certain book of the Bible, my response used to be: “Skip it. Don’t let it become the reason you quit reading the Bible.” These days I’m more apt to urge people to learn to wrestle with God.  In the book of Genesis, Jacob spent a night physically wrestling with God: “The man said, ‘Let me go; for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, ‘I will not... Read More
19 SHARES
8 comments
2257 views
I remember the first time I was accused of being a false teacher. I had just finished a Bible lesson with a group of grade-schoolers when a leader from our church marched into my office, deeply disturbed. “Pastor, what you taught those children wasn’t right! You taught them that they had to work their way to heaven!” “No, I didn’t,” I responded. “Yes, you did!” he fired back. In his defense, I was a pretty inexperienced pastor who had yet... Read More
Lost and found
11 SHARES
5 comments
1833 views
Jayme Closs is home. On October 15, in the middle of the night, police received a 911 call. They went to the Closs’ home and found the parents shot to death and 13-year-old Jayme missing. Her disappearance made local and national news. The FBI offered a reward for information. Vigils were held, and her photo was placed on billboards. A contestant on The Voice, who was from the same town, dedicated a song to her and brought attention to her... Read More
7 tips on Bible reading
14 SHARES
3 comments
2572 views
My life changed on May 26, 2008.  It was the day I was assigned to be an intern (vicar) of a congregation in rural Wisconsin. I knew serving a church full time would be a great experience, but I didn’t know that it would transform me so deeply, affecting me to this day.  When I first met my mentor/pastor/boss, Nate Strutz, he greeted me with three abrupt questions: Ben,  Do you love Jesus? Do you love Jesus’ Word? Do you... Read More
What’s your word?
15 SHARES
15 comments
1535 views
For the past few years, I’ve seen people picking a word for the year. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love that idea, which might be a little surprising for someone who gets paid to use words. Then, a few days before New Year’s, a friend was talking about her nutrition and said, “I’m disciplined in my eating.” Usually when I hear people talk about their eating habits, they use the words willpower or self-control or giving in to cravings. So... Read More
Should a Christian diet?
22 SHARES
0 comments
2317 views
“Looks like you put on some weight, Mike.” That’s how the conversation started with my wife’s uncle during last summer’s tailgate. It was the first time anyone had suggested that I looked less than scrawny and, unfortunately, the brat in my hand didn’t defend me against his accusation. As I get closer to 40 and my jackrabbit metabolism grinds down to a few gears, I’m realizing that my relationship with food needs to change. Fading away are the consequence-free 10... Read More