The Myth of a Successful Prayer Life

Before asking myself whether prayer works, let me first define my terms. Is prayer a lever for moving the universe according to my whims, or is it a tool for molding my will to God’s?

Spring showed up bleak and gray this year, but we barely noticed. The weight of waiting occupied every minute, with question marks bristling where daffodils had been delayed. An army of friends prayed for our family when we could not, waging war on our behalf, inquiring with kindness about obstacles that made no sense and… Continue reading The Myth of a Successful Prayer Life

How Parenting Exposes Our Need for Faith

Do I believe Jesus can rescue my children? Do I trust him to work redemptively in their hearts? I want to.

Whether we’re making meals, changing diapers, or shuttling kids to baseball practice, parents are doers. Always in protective mode, we apply sunscreen and Band-Aids as needed, and when we hit a wall with a need we can’t meet ourselves, we consult with the experts. Long before parents could ransack Google or WebMD for medical advice,… Continue reading How Parenting Exposes Our Need for Faith

When Your “Perfect” Plan Has Crashed and Burned

Lean into your calling as you lean into the God who has called you.

It all started as a strategy for outreach. We sat around a table and began to dream out loud, trusting that the fire of shared passion and the wisdom of group process would yield creative ideas for communicating the love of Christ to our community. I don’t mind confessing that I loved my dream. We… Continue reading When Your “Perfect” Plan Has Crashed and Burned

3 Wise Filters that Will Improve Your Entertainment Choices

Paul’s words are a call to hand over my check lists, my grumpy tirades, and my opinion of your entertainment choices and to submit every decision to the scrutiny of God most holy.

Greasy fingers met in a communal popcorn bowl, and laughter overpowered the details of dialogue: “Hey, somebody rewind! I missed that line!” It was family movie night, and the flickering image on the screen played second fiddle to the allure of an extended bed time. With cold pizza congealing at room temperature on the coffee… Continue reading 3 Wise Filters that Will Improve Your Entertainment Choices

A Fruitful Life from a Heart of Love

We trust God to give our adult children eyes to see the truth about their own hearts’ affection.

Roots and wings are the gift Christian parents pass on to our children. We establish rules, give them responsibilities that build confidence and skill, and we water those deep roots with lots of love and prayer, knowing that strengthening wings will soon carry our children away from home, out of reach of our influence and… Continue reading A Fruitful Life from a Heart of Love

Is It Time for You to Try Something New?

It turns out that as we reframe our inner monologue, we actually change the way our brain works.

When the Apostle Paul urged believers in Rome to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, he was pre-figuring a field of neurological research that would appear on the scene (by natural means, anyway!) two thousand years later under the moniker of a “growth mindset.” It turns out that as we reframe our inner… Continue reading Is It Time for You to Try Something New?

Reaching Out for the Adjacent Possible

Make it your practice to begin working on your spiritual goals by addressing today’s adjacent possible.

“Nine chapters, one hundred fifty two pages—how hard can this be?” I thought, as I loaded a well-known Christian classic onto my Kindle. Slogging through chapter two, reality began to set in. I had always been an avid reader but felt a need to be more intentional in my reading choices. The holes in my… Continue reading Reaching Out for the Adjacent Possible

Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

Self-discipline is a matter of grit and grace.

With an empty house, a clean kitchen, laundry on the line (and even a sleeping dog!), it was a perfect afternoon to study or write. Deadlines were looming. However . . . the sun was shining, bath towels flapped and danced on the clothesline outside, and suddenly, while there was plenty that needed doing, the… Continue reading Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

The Apostles’ Creed for the 21st Century

The Apostles' Creed for the 21st Century

Whether from a desire for “authenticity” or from a mistrust of formal statements of faith, the use of creeds has fallen out of favor in many evangelical churches. However, in The Apostles' Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits, Albert Mohler—president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and TGC Council member—argues that creedal… Continue reading The Apostles’ Creed for the 21st Century

Surprise! God Has Your Best Interest at Heart

In Christian circles, we’re fond of talking about finding God, until we realize that He has been there all along.

When C.S. Lewis wrote Surprised by Joy, he was clear that it was a “spiritual autobiography” designed to track his pilgrimage from atheist to deist and, finally, at long last to “the most dejected, reluctant convert in all of England.” In Christian circles, we’re fond of talking about finding God, until we realize that He has… Continue reading Surprise! God Has Your Best Interest at Heart