What if?
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The saints in Old Testament times had only promises that the Messiah, the Servant of the Lord, would live again after his suffering and death. You and I have the fabulous advantage to hear the story of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ as an accomplished fact. And yet—there is a downside here. Since Easter is old news, some of the suspense and anticipation can leak out of our celebrations and our hearts. When there’s no tension, there’s no relief.... Read More
Quiet charity
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It’s not too hard to spot charity phonies—you know, people who do something for the community and then leverage every media outlet they and their staff can think of to trumpet that news as far and wide as possible. How much better it is to be generous and help people and let that be the end of it! I have some friends who love to tell me what they contribute to and how they’ve been recognized. I wish they wouldn’t... Read More
Teach your boys about self-control
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My wife and I had some rather high-minded ideas about keeping our boys away from violent play when they were little. We solemnly decided that we wouldn’t buy toy guns for them. Ha! They just fastened two Lego blocks together at right angles to make guns of their own. When we took those away, they just used their fingers to shoot each other. We gave up. Boys want to live in a world of conflict in their play. Boys are... Read More
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Men are dimly aware of the pressure on women to be beautiful. Women know it—they feel it every day. They know they are being evaluated every time they step out of their houses on their clothes, their hair, their makeup, their jewelry. Parents of girls need to be dialed in to the terrible peer pressures they face in their schools and on their streets. That stress is so severe that it drives young women to anorexia, bulimia, and pills. It... Read More
Overwhelmed?
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It seems we are all overwhelmed. For some, the weight of loneliness, debt, grief, anxiety, change, poor health drags them down. For others, it is busyness. The schedules of work and kids and hobbies leave them gasping for breath. When I feel that weight, my prayers quickly become pleas of “God, please make my life easier.” Maybe yours do too. That’s when we hear him tell us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome... Read More
Three are better than two
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One of the persistent myths that hobbles people’s mental architecture of how marriage is supposed to work is the notion that good marriages are “made in heaven.” True enough—the blueprints were designed by God himself. But marriage comes in kit form—you have to build it yourselves. Good marriages are divinely designed in heaven, but they are built on earth by the daily choices, words, and attitudes of ordinary human beings like you and me.  Marriage is possible without God in... Read More
Happy: Find joy in your children
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I love children. Mine are big now, and I find special joy in talking about parenting with young moms and dads and playing with their kids. Only seldom can I resist the temptation to offer guidance in how to think about their lives. I look at pictures of my own kids when they were small and deep pangs of guilt and regret wash over me. How did I not realize how magic those days were! Why did I not spend... Read More
Happy: Appreciate good leadership
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The country of Yemen today is not known in the West for much beyond its poverty, khat chewing, and terrible civil wars. But back in biblical times, when it was known as Sheba, it was renowned for its oases in the desert and for its wealth. Sheba’s queen came to visit King Solomon in Israel to see if his reputation for wisdom could possibly be true. Her trip summary tells us a few things about what makes for a good... Read More
Happy: Enjoy being single
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Every time congregations advertise an event, they are tempted to use the descriptor family with it—you know, “family” Bible hour, “family” potluck dinner, “family” workday. They intend that descriptor to be inclusive, warm and fuzzy, and kid-friendly. Single people have told me, however, that “family” as a tag might as well say, “No singles wanted.” Aargh Pastors know that many marriages in their congregations are struggling and so will speak on marriage a lot. I did a three-part series on... Read More
Happy: Sing a song
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The digital music explosion has been a huge blessing for Christians—never before have we had access to so many kinds of sacred music for our home audio systems, smart devices, and cars. And yet there is a risk—I fear that the more music we have to listen to, the less able we become of making our own. God gave us throats, lungs, lips, and gospel good news for the purpose of personal musical worship. “Is anyone happy? Let them sing... Read More