That’ll Leave a Mark

That’ll Leave a Mark I’m a preacher’s kid—not just some preacher from some church on some corner somewhere, but a preacher and church that is literally known around the globe. And when I was a wee one, I had a knack for making sure other people knew it. My life-long childhood friends tell me that whenever I wanted to assert some type of authority or control, I was quick to remind them who my dad was. (How obnoxious of me. I’m surprised I still have any friends at all after those annoying young years.) And while I’d like to think I’ve been humbled these decades later, I know what it means to form one’s identity and significance from facts on a bio sketch. I’ve always known that a big part of who I am comes from my deep legacy of

Your Destiny

Your Destiny You are God’s child. He saw you, picked you, and placed you. “You did not choose me; I chose you” (John 15:16 NCV). Before you are a butcher, baker, or cabinetmaker, male or female, Asian or black, you are God’s child. Replacement or fill-in? Hardly. You are His first choice. Such isn’t always the case in life. Once, just minutes before I officiated a wedding, the groom leaned over to me and said, “You weren’t my first choice.” “I wasn’t?” “No, the preacher I wanted couldn’t make it.” “Oh.” “But thanks for filling in.” “Sure. Anytime.” I considered signing the marriage license “Substitute.” You’ll never hear such words from God. He chose you. The choice wasn’t obligatory, required, compulsory, forced, or co mpelled. He selected you because he wanted to. You are his open, willful, voluntary choice. He

Pray, Pray, Pray

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your  prayers for all believers everywhere. —Ephesians 6 :18 NLT When we take a shower in the morning, we have space and quiet to pray a nd ask God to be present with us throughout the day. As the water cleanses our hair, we praise God for his great cleansing of us. And we pray for those who need to know that kind of wild grace. As we prepare food, we pray for those who will taste it. As we add seasoning, we ask Jesus to please make us salt for this earth. As we fold laundry, we ask God to fold us into himself, and we intercede for those whose pants we fold. As we run errands, we thank God for transportation.

April 7th, 2019|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Glorify God in the Mundane

Glorify God in the Mundane In a million unique ways—as we change diapers, eat dinner, return e-mails, pay the bills—we are to be evidence of God. Jesus factored in the mundane. . . . Embrace the common: a Sunday afternoon watching sports, Starbucks with a friend, cooking dinner for a neighbor, taking the dog for a walk, heading to a job that is making you more humble and needy because it is so unfulfilling. . . . Do your everyday and your ordinary. Godliness is found and formed in those places. No man or woman greatly used by God has escaped them. Great men and women of God have transformed the mundane, turning neighborhoods into mission fields, parenting into launching the next generation of God’s voices, legal work into loving those most hurting, waiting tables into serving and loving in such a way that people see

Soft Heart, Thick Skin

Soft Heart, Thick Skin There I was standing on the playground, underneath the monkey bars, 10 years old, two long braids hanging down my back.  This image is burned into my brain as one of the very first times my feelings were truly hurt. I was standing there with two other girls waiting to find out which one of us would be chosen to be the girlfriend of the new boy in school.  Needless to say, I wasn’t chosen that day. I walked away feeling hurt and embarrassed. Twenty-eight years later I could look back at that little girl and tell her it doesn’t matter in the long run, I could tell her that same boy would be her first kiss and once again break her heart 5 years later. I could tell her she would meet the man of

The Gift of Grace

The Gift of Grace The law of the harvest is explained in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. Verse 15 says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” Now if a gift is that good that it can’t be described, I want to know about it. So what is this gift that the Bible says is indescribable? We don’t have to wonder because the answer is right there in our passage, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (verse 8).   The gift that God has given to each one of us, the gift that is beyond Paul’s ability to articulate, is the gift of grace. Grace is the doctrine that separates Christianity from every other religion ever known to mankind. Grace

In the Midst of Dirty Dishes

In the Midst of Dirty Dishes Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: . . . whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. —1 Peter 4:9 – 11 ESV She and her husband had been missionaries for over sixty years and led countless people to Christ. Now she was in her eighties and still serving. My friend Sheli and I were honored to stay with her for a week to minister alongside her. After traveling thirty hours to her home in Takamatsu, Japan, we arrived late in the evening. She ushered us into her kitchen for a hearty meal, then prayed for us

Patience: The Glory in Waiting

Patience: The Glory in Waiting “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3–5 In our microwave, instant-messaging, drive-through-window, cell-phone world, one thing many of us are not great at is patience. More succinctly: we hate to wait. Yet in reality, many hurry up to wait. We want what we want and we want it yesterday! When going through tribulations, we naturally want our trials to quickly be over and done. But let us learn to go through whatever’s before us (the good and bad) with joy, knowing that what the enemy may have intended for evil, God can and will

March 31st, 2019|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

Five Ways To Worship When You Are Weary

It's not easy to keep going when you're tired. Fatigue zaps us of our strength. Weariness wears on your soul like a rung-out dish cloth. How do you keep going when you're all out of "go?" What's the secret sauce to getting your spiritual fervor back?   I think it's different for everybody. You and God are the only ones who know exactly what you have gone through and what you're currently going through. Even the people going through difficulties with you don't fully understand because they aren't you. They don't have your perspective, history, etc. Your perception and experiences are unique to you.   But let me offer you five strong ways to worship when you are weary. These aren’t magic bullets, but they do work if you work them. Why? Because… Worship is a weapon. Worship does spiritual warfare.

March 11th, 2019|Tags: , |Comments Off on Five Ways To Worship When You Are Weary

Extraordinary in the Ordinary

All of us love hearing stories of miraculous healings. Our hearts are stirred when we hear about impossible situations being beautifully restored. We get inspired by people exhibiting supernatural strength and endurance when pushed to their absolute limits.   Truthfully, I’m a junkie for these kinds of things. Being a writer, I’m always on the lookout for powerful, moving stories for inspiration and ideas.   When we read about the miracles Jesus performed while He walked among us, they fuel our faith and give us hope when things seem hopeless.    But we have to remember that not every miracle was accepted or celebrated. Remember when Jesus healed on the sabbath and got the religious leaders all riled up. And when the disciples carried on His healing ministry, sometimes those miracles got them into trouble as well.    Today I read the story

March 11th, 2019|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Choose Faith

Choose Faith Hebrews 11:1, 6  “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” They say that faith is believing without seeing. In the book, Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts, My sister Sara said that she believes that faith is believing without seeing, but it is also believing without feeling.  It’s believing in those moments when our hearts ache and our tears betray us by spilling over when we know better but feel the pain anyway. It’s not about always being in a happy place, as much as we should try to live there. It’s about believing even when the happy place isn’t ours to have. It’s about those times when

March 6th, 2019|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Choose Faith

Secrets to Staying on Target with Your Goals

Secrets to Staying on Target with Your Goals Have you already fizzled on your goals for the year? You’re not the only one! In fact, there is actually a day in mid-January officially titled, “Ditch Your Resolutions Day,” because it is generally assumed that most people have given up their goals by then. It’s good to know we are not alone, right? But why do we tend to give up on our goals? Often the reasons are quite simple. Most people tend to: Set unrealistic goals Set too many goals Forget about their goals or lose interest Let’s consider some practical ways for us to get back on target and stay there. Here are three simple secrets: Review at the First of Each Month. It’s difficult to keep the momentum going in September for goals you set in January, so consider

March 4th, 2019|Tags: , |Comments Off on Secrets to Staying on Target with Your Goals
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