Richard Peck’s novel A Year Down Yonder is set during the Great Depression. Fifteen-year-old Mary Alice is sent downstate to live with Grandma Dowdel while Ma and Pa scratch out a living in Chicago. Problem is, Mary Alice’s grandma is tough as nails.
Turns out, though, that Grandma Dowdel’s crusty exterior hides a tender wisdom that allows her to see her granddaughter with the “eyes in the back of her heart.”
It’s a poignant phrase, isn’t it? The eyes in... Read More
Where does worship happen? Well, in church, of course. In your home, when you sing and pray together. In your quiet place, when you read Scripture and talk to God. But don’t forget about your workplace.
Seriously—God is intensely interested in what goes on in your place of employment. He wants to see how you treat your customers and your fellow employees. He wants to see how you treat your boss and the quality of your work when nobody is... Read More
Remember the old WWJD rubber bracelets that people used to wear? “What Would Jesus Do?” Those bracelets served a good purpose if they kept people more mindful of God in their lives. But they could also provide a lazy person’s shortcut to behavior decisions.
Can I be a little direct? I think it’s hazardous to assert that you know what Jesus would do in all situations. In the three years of their ministerial training, Jesus’ disciples were astounded over and... Read More
The mark of good coaches is that their teams get better the more coaching they do. Not perfect, just better. They see potential in each player and coach ’em up to get better individual performance and good team results. Effective parents, pastors, instructors, directors, managers, and other shepherding types have the same knack for upping people’s game through the way they interact with them. They know that everything they do has the potential to elevate admirers whose silent plea is... Read More
Do you have a bucket list? My kiddos make one each summer, and we complete about 75 percent of it. Not bad, considering we have diverse personalities and interests. We watch movies, paint faces, have water fights, and go to the beach. Most grown-ups set their sights higher: swim with dolphins, visit European cathedrals, see the majesty of Alaska.
God has a bucket list for his family members to do on this earth too.
“Now we ask you, brothers and... Read More
That tearing sound you hear is God stripping away pretense. He allows only so many layers to build up before he rips them off our politics, our piety, and our personas like grimy old bandages. It hurts when God strips away pretense because we have to look at our own delusions and rev up our consciences to leave the gravitational force of groupthink. God strips away pretense so we can be wise and recognize that the truth is staring back... Read More
Should I do it now? Is now the right moment to share my faith? No . . . I’m so bad at explaining things. She’d probably take offense. Or worse, she’d scoff.
Have those thoughts ever flashed through your head during that suspended moment after an unchurched friend vents about some mess in her life?
Perhaps, like me, you’ve chosen to murmur words that steer clear of anything too theological, afraid that you lack the wisdom and eloquence to do... Read More
I remember a time I walked into my high school dorm room with a greasy bag of leftover French fries. My roommate—fresh off a shift at McDonalds—just about gagged. But the same smell drew hungry, hopeful friends from halfway down the hall.
Believers who “smell” like their Savior get a mixed reaction too. To some, we stink. To others, we couldn’t smell sweeter. “We are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those... Read More
Everybody would like to strike it rich. From the gold fevers of the mid-1800s to today’s sophisticated investors like arbitrageurs of Wall Street, from the tulip investors in Holland in 1637 to Carlo Ponzi in the 1920s to real estate speculators in 2006, people have dreamt and grasped and cheated and prayed for wealth.
Not Agur, son of Jakeh, author of the marvelous 30th chapter of Proverbs. In fact, he prayed to God to keep him not only from poverty... Read More
An important safety tip for early season ice fishing is to politely tell your fishing buddy, “You can go first. I’ll be right behind you.” Then if you fumble a bit with your equipment, you can buy some time and keep an eye on him as he heads out on the ice. Soon enough you will know if it is safe to follow.
Everything about our lives is venturing out on thin ice. The ice is treacherous. There is always... Read More