When God’s People Get Tired of “the Poor”

The woman was tired. I get that. I’ve been that tired.

I arrived at the church office incognito. Not really, but I introduced myself in my role as a facilitator of my day job with a community agency, not as a fellow Christian. The church has programs to help the poor in their area, and I had one of them with me (one of the poor, I mean), waiting on the sidewalk, too nervous to come into the office herself “lest lightning strike.”

Smiling, I stated the reason for our visit was to introduce the woman to the needs ministry at the church and to inquire about the hours they met with new people. The woman behind the counter frowned and sighed. “Frankly, we’re tired of you agency people thinking the church is the answer for every poor person within a twenty-mile radius. Don’t you have any other answers for her?” Continue Reading →

One Thing We’re All Doing Wrong – and How to Stop It

If someone was trying to kill me, I’d be tempted to lose focus on other people. Just sayin.’

Not Jesus. I don’t know how kosher it is to say how much I admire Him, but I do. I love Him as Savior, but every time I read the gospels I also grow in admiration, respect, and awe for how He conducted Himself in our midst.

Today, I read John 12 several times and listened to it once on the CD in my car. The time of Jesus’ death is drawing near, and He’s surrounded by people plotting His destruction. He STILL does not allow THEM to set His agenda. He STILL keeps His eye on the work His Father assigned to Him. He still spends more time focusing on those who listen and obey than on those who oppose Him. Continue Reading →

Is It Bad to Be an Emotional Christian?

There are people who believe there is a flaw in God’s design. I was once one of them.

I remember the first time a spiritual leader accused me of being emotional. I was a teen so, in his defense, it wasn’t a huge leap. Also, I was crying and distraught when I arrived in his office with questions of a theological nature.

What had moved me to tears? It was the week leading up to Easter and I’d been considering what Jesus endured in the final week of his life.

Betrayal. Arrest. Abandonment by His followers – His friends. Rigged trials. Humiliation. Beatings. Rejection by His own people. Flogging nearly to death. The long walk to Calvary. Crucifixion. This was the Jesus I’d loved since I was a child and as I considered all He’d endured to pay the price for my sins, it moved me to tears. Continue Reading →

The Best Way to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

united-states-1195790_640“Before I was humiliated I was like a stone that lies in deep mud, and he who is mighty came
and in his compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall.” – St. Patrick
To celebrate St. Patrick is to celebrate the power of the One True God who continues to work in those of us stones that lie in modern mud.
Irish raiders stole Patrick from his family, enslaving him for six years until he escaped back to his family in Britain.  After entering the church, Patrick returned to Ireland – to the people who had held him in slavery  – serving them as a missionary and spreading the truth of Jesus Christ.

Continue Reading →

Christians Sentenced to Death – What Difference Does It Make to Us?

**Warning: This post may make you feel bad. ***Warning: That feeling may be appropriate.

There are moments in life that feel like a swift slap in the face.

No one courts that. No one wants to feel that pain. But, if it’s a slap that rearranges your priorities to align with God’s heart, then you will thank God even for that bracing offense.

I received that slap in 2014 when I read a report that Kim Jong-un had ordered the execution of thirty-three Christians reported to have been planting over 500 underground churches in North Korea. I receive the same slap when I read of the struggles of Syrian, Nigerian, Pakistani, Chinese, and Indian believers. Many struggle to literally hold onto life because they’ve chosen to follow Jesus. Continue Reading →

Sometimes Sin is a Sign

Sometimes we lose it with people.

It takes a lot. We’re not quick to anger. We’re the ones called to patient endurance, long-suffering, and persistence. We’re the people tasked with teaching, counseling, shepherding, discipling, and leading. We usually like people, even the challenging ones.

We’re realistic. We anticipate slow growth. We expect setbacks. We’re prepared for barriers, excuses, and restarts. All day. Every day. Continue Reading →

When You Have to Do What’s Impossible to Do

“I could never do what you’re doing.”

I’ve heard that line many times over the past six years.

My reply is always the same. “Neither can I.”

Many of you face unexpected circumstances, tragedies, or trials you wouldn’t choose for yourself in the great box store of life choices. You’ve also likely heard the comment from others. “I could never do what you’re doing.”

One of the more public tests I’ve endured began in 2011 when my husband “surprised” me with the purchase of his “dream.” We’re in our seventh year living inside this century-old dream he’s restoring with his own hands. For most of this time, I’ve lived without benefit of walls, floors or ceilings (you know, the frame is there but not the nifty coverings like wall board or flooring.) Continue Reading →

The Problem with You Christians Is . . .

There were times Jesus drew people to Himself, and times when He drove them away. Truths He told that inspired people to love Him, and truths He told that incited them to kill Him.

While Jesus certainly listened to people and we know by His actions that He loved them, I don’t get the impression He checked in with them frequently to ask how He was doing. He didn’t have the disciples hand out response cards or run polls with certain demographics to see if He should tell more stories this week or hit harder on the love thing, but pull back a bit on hell.

Jesus wasn’t one to check His reflection in every mirror. He was the image of only One – God the Father – and that’s the only mirror that mattered. Continue Reading →

Let’s Not Pretend – Not Even for a Moment

Let’s not pretend, even for a minute, that God’s Word isn’t powerful, dangerous, and newsworthy.

Let’s not be shocked at the headlines, the Twitter feeds, or the backlash.

Let’s not, even for a minute, act as though reciting God’s Word in public should be greeted with the same response as quoting famous poetry or prophets or politicians. It won’t be, because it’s not just words. It is the Word of God.

Conventional news and social media is abuzz that Melania Trump opened the president’s Florida rally by reciting the Lord’s Prayer, based on Jesus’ instructions on prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.

Critics pounced on her with complaints ranging from the predictable charge that it violated the separation of church and state to the ridiculous claim that the fact she had to read it rather than recite it from memory indicates she’s not a good Christian. Continue Reading →