Meeting God in the Mountains

If you follow my blog, you know how highly I value creativity. We serve a creative Creator and are made in His image. I believe that exercising creativity in every area of life is part of the joy of following in His footsteps. It’s rare that I use this space to share an interview with another author, but Cathy Baker is a dear friend, a fellow blogger, and I’m deeply impressed by her creative approach to devotions. I LOVE this series she’s written of sensory-centered devotions to take on vacation. Anyone pioneering new ways for us to dig into His Word and spend time with Him, deserves your notice, so without further adieu, I give you, Cathy Baker!

Why focus on the senses in your Pauses for Vacationing Soul series?

I’ve seen firsthand what happens to adults when a sensory element like pennies, a crown of thorns, music, or beach sand is added to relevant adult Bible studies. It’s as if a divine-switch flips on in the brain. Continue Reading →

Wounded in the Woods – A Parable of the Dilemma of the Modern Day Church

There once was a city that became so evil, so destructive, so influenced by its evil prince who was fascinated by death, the only right response for citizens seeking life, was to move to the forest.

Life in the forest was hard. No one could do it alone, but living in community was challenging for those accustomed to living only for themselves, the way they had in the city. Sometimes there was conflict, but forest-dwellers were committed to life, and the forest was conducive to life, so they worked through their disagreements.

Though it was hard, the forest was beautiful, full of joy, and life there was more as their King had envisioned life, than what passed as life in the city.

Unfortunately, they were not alone, and the forest was not without dangers. The King promised there would be a time to come when that wouldn’t be so, but this was not then.

Sometimes forest-people who were new to forest living were unintentionally destructive. But, if they listened to more experienced forest-dwellers, they matured and came to thrive on forest living. They weren’t as big a danger as infiltrators. Continue Reading →

Faith as Blood Sport

If your father gave you a sword, the first thing he would teach you is to handle it with care.

“Swords are sharp,” he’d say, with a serious scowl. “They’re sharp for a purpose and you’ll learn to use it for that purpose but you must respect the blade. It’s not a toy. Always respect the blade. Especially because it’s double-edged. Fail to respect the blade and you’re likely to hurt someone else with a swipe and yourself on the back swing.”

As a child, you may defy him in an unguarded moment. Children test limits.

You’d be tempted to see just how sharp the blade is. What can it cut? How much will it hurt? But, most children learn quickly. One cut and you’d show proper caution going forward.

Once you matured, no one would need to remind you to respect the blade. Continue Reading →

Checking Your Old Bag at the Gate

Whenever I encounter older people who are cranky, unpleasant, or critical, I wonder how I’m going to avoid becoming just like them. Recently, I stumbled on part of the answer.

I took a quick trip south for a wedding. My luggage was very important – the outfit for the wedding, shoes, hairdryer, as well as clothes for the mugginess awaiting me in North Carolina. So important, in fact, that I refused to check my bags, carrying them with me on the plane to insure their arrival.

Just as the plane lifted off after making my connection, I dumped an iced tea into my lap, destroying the white pants on which I’d based the weekends’ outfits. This elevated the remaining luggage to an even more precious status and I made sure to keep careful track of it all the way to the hotel room. Continue Reading →

WHO IS THIS UNCIRCUMCISED PHILISTINE, WHO DARES DEFY THE ARMIES OF THE LIVING GOD?

You are not God.

Maybe you don’t need to hear that, but I need repeated reminders.

You are not God, and that is okay because you’d make a lousy one compared to the God who is!

Here’s another truth I need to tape to my mirror:

You are not every part of the Body of Christ.

You are one part.

The whole work and calling of the church includes you, but it does not rest on you alone. 

We’re facing it right now, aren’t we loved ones? Continue Reading →

What God did on My Summer Vacation

“You need to get to the hospital. Your dad fell.”

Three weeks ago, those words altered my August, finishing off a summer that will go in the record books as my worst.

It had already been the hardest summer of my adulthood. I’m working on a book I’ve dreamed of writing, but it’s the hardest one I’ve ever tackled. We’re slammed at my day job. Short-staffed, but no shortage of families in crisis.

(Add mine to the list.) Continue Reading →

The Stuff I’m Not Telling You

You have to really listen to people.

Not only what they say, but also what they don’t say.

The whole story is told, not only in what is said, but also in what is held back. Take this blog, for example.

Readers sometimes applaud my transparency. I do try to be that, but honestly, the best I often manage is selective transparency.

Too often, I write from my comfort zone. Admittedly, I have a really wide comfort zone for transparency, but there are topics you don’t see here. Continue Reading →

Washing Feet in an Angry World

Are you as tired as I am of all the talk?

It’s as if the air is peppered with speech bubbles loaded with expletives, punctuation marks, angry statements, and words of complaint, argument, indignation, or offense.

They pounce at us from the lunchroom at work to the car radio, from the television at night to social media by day. We receive emails, listen to sermons, and endure pronouncements from zealous family members or friends declaring positions and prophecies.

It’s as if we’ve slung backpacks over our souls and every word is another rock added to our burden. Continue Reading →

Invasion of the Good Day Heresy (Coming to a Church Near You!)

How can pursuing a good day possibly be evil?

During a prospective employee assessment for a job policing aliens in the movie, Men in Black, Will Smith is handed a gun and presented with a simulation of a dangerous situation.

It’s a dark city street. Late at night. The street swarms with vicious looking aliens and one sweet looking schoolgirl, Tiffany, carrying an armload of textbooks.

Smith passes the test when he shoots Tiffany, proving he knows that the most pernicious evils often disguise themselves as light. Continue Reading →

The Underestimated Risk of Rudeness in Our Ranks

I used to think there was one useless verse in the Bible.

It comes in the middle of this well-loved passage:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

This passage says such big things about love, why does it worry itself with small issues like rudeness and irritability, I thought. Surely, these are petty things. Why would the Almighty God stoop to concern Himself with rudeness? Continue Reading →