Why am I such a coward when it comes to sharing my faith? That question has been rolling around in my head for the past several days. A convergence of three events—my own time in the Word, a missionary biography, and a missions conference at my church—have all got me pondering this idea of boldly … Continue reading A Quest for Confidence
Typecasting—the fear and bane of every actor’s existence. I’ve never seen Margaret Hamilton in anything besides The Wizard of Oz, but if I did, she would still be the Wicked Witch of the West in my mind. Anthony Perkins as a leading man in a rom-com? Forget it. It would be like watching the psycho, … Continue reading How Do I Know You?
Pardon for sin, and a peace that endureth,Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow:Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Great is Thy faithfulness! Twentieth century poet, Thomas Chisolm, who penned these beloved words, reminds us of just a handful of the blessings believers enjoy because … Continue reading Afflicted in Faithfulness
Jude is easy to miss in paging from John’s epistles over to Revelation. A mere twenty-five verses long, this brief letter may seem trivial, but it contains vital truths for the church as the earthly brother of Christ compels his readers to contend for the faith. He tells us that “some people, who were designated … Continue reading Are You Willing to Reach into the Fire?
It’s one of those verses. Everyone quotes it, but few people know the reference, and even fewer people know the context. “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways.” This line gets trotted out when things happen that we don’t understand. Don’t know why you can’t get a job? Well, … Continue reading What Exactly Are God’s “Higher Thoughts”?
Every flag hangs at half-staff as a constant reminder of the fractured state of our nation. For the first time in our nation's history, a President has been impeached twice. Tomorrow the world will watch as we inaugurate a new President who will face a set of challenges unlike anything since Reconstruction. In the past … Continue reading Are You Living as a Citizen of Heaven?
The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines contempt as “the act of despising”; “the state of being despised”; or “a lack of reverence for something.” This definition seems tailor-made for many of our interactions today. Whether on social media, mainstream media, or city streets, our society has fallen in love with contempt. That should hardly come as … Continue reading Filled with Contempt
Frank Abagnale, Jr. posed as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer as he traipsed across the country for free because of his brilliant—yet totally fraudulent—abuse of the American financial institution. And he did it before he turned 18. His story is told in print and on film, both works titled Catch Me If You … Continue reading What Are You Pursuing in 2021?
I wrote my halfway-point list of favorite books back at the end of June. (You can check it out here.) Therefore, what follows is my list of favorites that I have read since then, not necessarily the best of the entire year. I enjoy tracking my reading and looking back at what my 5-star reads … Continue reading Favorite Books of 2020: Part 2
As a native of Wyoming, I have stood on my share of mountain peaks. I’ve hiked to some and driven to more, but I have never been at the top of a mountain and had a member of my group suddenly rise into the sky in the midst of the clouds and vanish from sight. … Continue reading Seated in the Heavenly Places
Perhaps more than at any other time of year, in December we consider gifts. You’ve already spent time racking your brain for what to get that difficult person to shop for, and you probably can’t wait to see the look on the face of that person for whom you found the perfect gift. Of course, … Continue reading Every Spiritual Blessing
Canaan. The Promised Land. The land flowing with milk and honey. For any agrarian society, having fertile and fruitful land means wealth and security. A threat to the land is a threat to a nation’s livelihood. Therefore, land was a fitting reward for God’s obedient people, and the removal from the land a fitting punishment … Continue reading The 400-Year Famine
With Christmas now in full view, car radios, iPods, and grocery stores will be reminding us of silent nights, peace on earth, and joy to the world. But is it possible that joy seems a little more distant this year? A little more like a pipedream than a reality? Perhaps for you, the doldrums that … Continue reading Looking for Joy? Abide.
Dear 2020, Here we are at Thanksgiving, and you’re now on the way out the door. It seems like I have much more to complain about this year than to be thankful for, but maybe that’s because I’m not looking in the right places. Like Mr. Davis, my 9th grade biology teacher, you’ve been difficult … Continue reading A Thank-You Note to 2020
“When peace like a river attendeth my way,And sorrows like sea billows roll.Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,‘It is well, it is well with my soul!’” You’ve probably heard the tragic story that brought about some of the most famous words of hymnody. Two years after losing nearly everything in the Chicago … Continue reading When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll
“Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,Weak and wounded, sick and sore.Jesus, ready, stands to save you,Full of pity, love, and power.” I know this hymn is an invitation to salvation, but it describes me pretty well right now. How about you? This year, one that will live in infamy, has asked each of us to … Continue reading For the One Who Is Weary
Here we are. November 3, 2020. Whether you’ve already sent in your absentee ballot, or you’re about to grab your mask and black pen and head to your polling place, I’m sure you can’t wait for this election cycle to end. And yet, perhaps you also approach this day with a bit of trepidation. We’ve … Continue reading My Prayer on Election Day
You’ve probably been there. Lying in bed, unable to fall asleep, thinking, thinking, thinking about a situation, which has grown substantially (in your brain) since you crawled into bed. You try to pray about it, but your mind makes its way back to worrying or fretting or fuming. Something about the darkness can make the … Continue reading The Lord Counseled Me
Satan's fiery darts fly at us from every direction these days. As if a worldwide pandemic weren’t enough, he’s launched the grenade of racial tension, a busy hurricane season, raging forest fires, and, oh yeah, a little election thrown in just for fun. The battle is on, and we know we need to fight; and … Continue reading The Warrior King
“Home at last,” he thought as he pushed open the door, his stomach growling. The ache inside reminded him that he hadn’t eaten anything all day. He’d skipped breakfast so that he could get in a little hunting before heading out to the field to help his father. Neither of them had gotten any lunch; … Continue reading The Gift of Repentance
We each walk individually with God who will hold each one of us responsible for what we do with truth, how we respond to temptations, and how we steward the gifts He has given us. However, we also walk with God corporately. We cannot—we must not—walk alone. Our God, Himself three in one, created us … Continue reading We Must Endure Together
Did you know that you cannot hear and understand a question and not at least think of an answer? Let’s try it. I’ll ask you a simple question, and you try not to think of an answer. Ready? (I bet you just answered “yes” in your head.) Here we go. When is your birthday? Without … Continue reading Do You Ask Good Questions? 3 Reasons You Need To
Immaculate. Astonishing. Pristine. Breathtaking. Probably no adjective could capture the grandeur of Solomon’s Temple, particularly to the people of ancient Israel. It was a masterpiece, the apple of the nation’s eye. No wonder the prophet Jeremiah wrote an entire book lamenting its destruction (what we know as Lamentations). Not only was the Temple a work … Continue reading The Sacrifice of Praise
Let’s Make a Deal has been running intermittently for more than fifty years. On this game show, contestants try to trade up their prizes by “making a deal” with the host. If they choose well, they may start with a shoelace and end up with a new car—or, if they choose poorly, they may go … Continue reading Door #1? or Door #2? A Surprising Deal
It was the easiest basket she ever scored. Her teammate passed her the ball, and off she went down the court. She confounded the defense with her mad handles, and before they knew what had hit them, she was at the basket, scoring an easy two points. Everyone in the gym was shouting her name. … Continue reading Shooting at the Wrong Basket: Three Ways Your Heart May Be Deceiving You About Your Spiritual Growth
We’re quite the sight. A baby happily taking in the outdoors, grinning impishly at any passersby. A large, rambunctious black dog lashed to the stroller, leaping for attention from any passersby. And me, trying to navigate the neighborhood without meeting other dogs in order to avoid kerfuffle and brouhaha. Normally I walk with headphones in, … Continue reading I Need Endurance.
The grizzled, weather-worn football coach rose from his desk in the Driver’s Ed. classroom. He was about to impart knowledge. Maybe he was going give us the secret to passing our exam on the first try. Maybe he was going to let us go early. Maybe he was going to share his game plan for … Continue reading Pray Attention
“Imagine there’s no countries;It isn’t hard to do,Nothing to kill or die forAnd no religion too.Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say that I’m a dreamer,But I’m not the only one.I hope some day you’ll join usAnd all the world will be as one.” Those familiar words, penned by John Lennon … Continue reading Peace You Don’t Have to Imagine
On January 24, 2020, the youngest member of professional football’s royal family retired. Eli Manning, with as many Super Bowl rings as Peyton, never quite got out of his big brother’s shadow. Though he didn’t fill up the stat sheet like Peyton or set as many records, he had a knack for taking down Tom … Continue reading Counter-Cultural Grace
Part of the beauty of childhood is seeing things in black and white. For this reason, heroes in kids’ movies need not be flawed, and villains need not be redeemed. To a kid, right is right, wrong is wrong, with no gray in the middle. Because of this, kids quickly pick up on partial treatment. … Continue reading Is God Fair?
With June on its way out the door and the first half of 2020 nearly in the books, I thought I’d take a little time to tell you about my top five reads of 2020 thus far. Maybe one of them will be of interest or help to you. Saints & Scoundrels by Nancy Guthrie … Continue reading Halfway-Point Favorite Books of 2020
Have you ever had the experience of getting knee-deep in a project only to realize that it is not going to work out the way you thought it would? I once watched a YouTube video on how to repair my TV and thought, “Seems easy enough.” However, when I got the back off of the … Continue reading Be an Intentional Encourager
Her name is associated with faithlessness, but not her own. Her master’s. She came to Abram and Sarai when they faithlessly went to Egypt to escape famine. Apparently, they purchased a slave for Sarai while they were there, or maybe she was a gift to Sarai from Pharaoh. Either way, Hagar now belonged to the … Continue reading For the One Who Feels Invisible
Each year the church I attend has a theme, a direction we choose to head for corporate growth. For instance, in 2019 the theme was “Growing Deeper,” so many of the ministry goals focused on taking us as a church deeper in our relationship with Christ than we had gone before. Another year the theme … Continue reading Stronger Than Gorilla Glue
I’ve recently been reading Gone with the Wind, the great American novel set against the backdrop of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Though I’ve read it a couple times before, this time through has been a little different. The hardships of war have seemed a little closer to home, given the crisis affecting our world … Continue reading Scarlett O’Hara and Sacrifice
Stutterer. Fugitive. Murderer. Moses knew a thing or two about failure. Yet, he’s the one God wanted as the deliverer of His people. You know the story. Moses has run away from Egypt because his murder of an Egyptian was found out, and his own efforts to deliver the Israelites had failed (see Exod. 2:11-15; … Continue reading Just Obey Already!
Read almost any Christian living book from a Reformed perspective, and you’re almost sure to run across this line attributed to John Calvin: “Our hearts are a factory of idols.” This quotation is helpful because it tells us uncomfortable truth though an image of something familiar. Though Calvin knew nothing of conveyor belts and assembly … Continue reading The Unholy Trinity of Idolatry
Smoke covered the mountain that had been engulfed in cloud and bombarded with lightning moments before. On the peak flames rose above the smoke. As the people stood gazing upwards, the mountain itself began to shake violently. Suddenly, the trumpet sounded, beckoning them to the boundary at the foot of the Mount of God. They … Continue reading Do You Want to See God?
I have a confession to make. I’m naïve. The day etched into the memories of anyone over the age of twenty-five or thirty, is likewise implanted in mine. I remember September 11, 2001, better than any other single day of high school. It began quite normally; because I lived in the Mountain Time Zone, I … Continue reading Hungry for Normal
“Let My people go.” That’s the directive God gave to Pharaoh through Moses. All the people—tall, small, old, young, smart, talented, clumsy, and inept. All of them. All the animals too. “We shall go with our young and or old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we shall go, … Continue reading Pray, Don’t Negotiate
Among the first words Jesus spoke in public ministry were these: “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). We also find gentleness among the fruit of the Spirit listed for us in Galatians 5:22-23. Finally, James lists it as an attribute of heavenly wisdom (3:17). In short, gentleness isn’t optional
If you're anything like me, you had never heard the term “social distancing” before this spring. Now it’s a phrase that is permanently part of our parlance. I read speculation that it will be named the word (phrase?) of the year, and I suspect that’s true. Even when the economy begins to open up again, … Continue reading God’s Presence in an Age of Social Distance
My tenth-month-old son loves to gnaw a good string. Shoelace or hoodie, he doesn’t care. There’s just something about chomping on a string that puts him over the moon. Recently a pair of my tennis shoes was on the ground, and he tried to grab one of the laces. What he didn’t realize was that … Continue reading Hopelessly Devoted to Shadows
In my previous article, I discussed symptoms of a spiritual disease that has swept the Church: Laziness. However, since not much is more frustrating than a doctor saying, “Sorry, can’t help ya. Just figure it out,” I want to go back to Hebrews and unpack the treatment plan for our battle with the “slug bug.” … Continue reading Cling to Hope
The American Church is suffering from an epidemic (no, not that one). I’ve been infected, and I would be willing to bet that you have too. I don’t know where exactly I picked up the bug, but it’s a strong one. It works its way into every part of my spiritual life, and the scariest … Continue reading A Massive Epidemic (that has nothing to do with COVID-19)
Since we're all finding ourselves at home a bit more than normal these days, this might be a good time for you to discover the world of podcasts--or to find a new one to enjoy. Free and downloadable, there's a podcast for pretty much any interest, from fantasy football to The West Wing to reading … Continue reading Eight Podcasts I Like
Frightening. Unprecedented. Tumultuous. Uncertain. You don’t need to read any farther to know exactly what I’m talking about. In the past week we’ve watched our world go crazy, not unlike it did one Tuesday in September nearly two decades ago. However, unlike the aftermath of September 11, 2001, when churches were bursting at the seams, … Continue reading What Happens When We Cry Out to God
Captain Jack Sparrow is not only a surprisingly clever pirate; he’s also a surprising judge of character. He tells young William Turner that he’s on his way to being a pirate because he, among other things, is “completely obsessed with treasure.” Will balks at this, only to have Jack wisely respond, “Not all treasure is … Continue reading Where’s Your Treasure? Three Questions to Ask Yourself
Yesterday, I addressed the topic of fearing people. I finished by saying the antidote to that problem is fearing God. Today I'd like to share a poem I wrote for a children's program at our church. I hope that it will assist you in standing in awe of our incomprehensible but knowable God. I AM … Continue reading I AM THAT I AM
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:1) Jesus is in the middle of His most famous sermon. He has just finished spinning His listeners’ heads by telling them that if they have gotten sinfully angry at … Continue reading The Hour Every Week When I Fear People the Most
As a teacher of high schoolers for over a decade, I saw many responses from students as I did my best to teach them the finer points of the English language. Some checked out to some other planet in their brain; some fell asleep; some listened begrudgingly; and some blessed students looked like they were … Continue reading Teach Me Your Statutes!