Yearly Archives: 2014

348 posts

A girl and her birthmark

Several years ago I had the privilege to respond to a mom whose daughter was mocked by another child on a school bus. Here is the comment the little girl’s mom wrote in her blog: The girl on the bus pointed at her birthmark–the one just below her left eye–and told her she looked stupid. The soft confession came from my little girl, who was staring at the floor. A groan escaped me and I grabbed my daughter close. And I did exactly what I shouldn’t have: I cried. Will it get easier to be strong? Will it get easier to say the right thing in response to pain? Below is what I wrote to encourage this mom. A birthmark, […]

Caring for single-parent families

Christian single-parents live in two worlds. As a part of the church world, they are in the minority. As a part of the world outside of church they are the majority. Parenting is challenging enough with two parents – it can be overwhelming with just one. It is important for church leaders and two-parent families to recognize the challenges single-parent brothers and sisters face. This is important for the health of the entire church and our witness to the communities we serve. As Paul reminds us, if one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers as well. Many of our single-parent families are struggling. This is not always easy to spot in a church environment. Worship services, educational […]

We must not hide the dominion of Christ from our children.

Colossians tells us that we have been rescued from the domain of darkness and been transferred into the Kingdom of God’s Son. Yet, often we act as if no rescue has taken place at all. You and I frequently live as if we still remain in the realm of darkness. When this happens we do what the Psalmist tells us not to do; we hide this miraculous transfer of dominions from our children.   Colossians does not speak of another kingdom that exists between the realm of darkness and the realm of Christ. Yet we often live as if this mythical kingdom is real. In this pretend kingdom, the really important issues of life are seen as neutral. There are […]

Thought for the Lord’s Day

Are you all in for God?   Proverbs suggests at least one reason why we have periods of spiritual apathy. Solomon says to find the knowledge of God, you must be passionately committed to your search, you must be all in.   Suppose I told you that you could find millions of dollars of treasure in your back yard, all you have to do is go find it. Would your response be passive? Would you start your search after you have had a nap or watched your favorite TV program or football game? Would you put your search off until a more convenient time?  Would you worry about the neighbors thinking you are weird because you are digging up your […]

Believing or Mocking in 2014

A new year has begun. 2014 is already on a relentless pace towards 2015. There will be plenty of things to worry about: healthcare, the unsettled Middle East, mid-term elections, more earthquakes and severe storms, and no doubt, personal concerns, and more. The question is—how practical is your Bible in the face of increased opportunity for worry? Listen to Christ’s words as he addresses worries about our lives. Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or […]

Absalom and your teenager

Absalom was a troubled young man. He did not present himself as troubled, but he was. He projected power; he manipulated his father, the king. He was arrogant. He was vengeful, taking the life of his brother in payment for the honor of his sister. He had a flare for the dramatic. He had 50 men who ran ahead of him to announce his going and coming. He challenged his father’s leadership by publicly proclaiming that life would be better for all if only he were king. But the real Absalom was not what he appeared to be. Inside he was hurting. He relied on subversion and raw intimidation to achieve what he wanted. He had no answer for the pain […]

Biblical love and discouragement don’t mix.

If you pour some oil into a clear measuring cup with water you will find that they don’t mix; the oil remains on top. I realize this observation hardly qualifies me as scientist of the year! But there is something to be learned from this familiar occurrence. Biblical love and discouragement are like oil and water. Mix love and discouragement together in a clear glass and you find love (oil) on top and discouragement (water) on the bottom. You can see the line that separates them. Discouragement, though real, does not change our ability or capacity to love.  We tend to believe that discouragement comes from unfortunate circumstances, as in children who are slow to obey. Actually, discouragement comes most […]

Three thoughts that will change your life in 2014

What will 2014 bring for your life? If you are a parent, this question, no doubt, has crossed your mind. What kind of a parent will you be this year? What are the new issues that your children will face, both in their own growth and with the unsettling changes in the culture. it is not uncommon for your thoughts to vacillate between hope and worry. There are new opportunities, but also new dangers to face. At the end of the day, when you are left alone with your thoughts, what will you think about? The Holy Spirit gives particular directions for your thoughts. He says to think about whatever is excellent and praiseworthy ( Philippians 4:8-9). This positive directive […]