It’s Time to Conquer that Midyear Bible Reading Slump

The discipline and delight of steady and methodical Bible reading is life changing.

My ten-thousand-steps-a-day routine is a lot easier to accomplish in June than in January, the month when we all set our intentions for the year. The green world beckons, the garden needs tending, and our mowing business is in full steam ahead mode. (On a recent six-lawn Wednesday, I passed the ten thousand step mark… Continue reading It’s Time to Conquer that Midyear Bible Reading Slump

What to Do When You Think You’ve Found the Perfect Church

As the old saying goes, if you think you've finally found the perfect church, run like crazy before you ruin it.

Church has been the influence that has pushed me, challenged me to a greater faithfulness, and stretched me outside my comfort zone. It has also been the pebble in my shoe, the sandpaper which has knocked off some of my rough edges. There's no doubt about it:  Church can be difficult. By definition, church is… Continue reading What to Do When You Think You’ve Found the Perfect Church

A Reasonable Response to the Miracle of Resurrection

Even with a ham in the oven and the house mostly presentable, my Easter bonnet is all askew this year. Is it possible to celebrate Easter in isolation? Can we really observe the highest holy day of our church calendar without rousing hymns and communal breakfasts and the perfume of Easter lilies in the sanctuary?… Continue reading A Reasonable Response to the Miracle of Resurrection

Spiritual Formation at Mid-Life and Beyond

There's no age restriction on spiritual growth.

My son rolled his eyes in disdain as he vented his outrage. “Doesn’t she know she’s a grown up? There’s nothing cool about an old person trying to act like a kid!” Leave it to youth to give us the straight and unvarnished story. We’ve all witnessed the desperate measures of the middle-aged, stuck in… Continue reading Spiritual Formation at Mid-Life and Beyond

Enneagram Three: You Are More than What You Can Do

We are all ever so much more than what we do.

Oblivious to the hum of classroom activity, I turned page after page as silent reading time flew by. In the fifth grade, I was riveted to the story arc of Helen Keller’s life. Only just barely old enough to fathom the complexity of getting an education without sight or hearing, my laser focus had found… Continue reading Enneagram Three: You Are More than What You Can Do

Hear, Do, Know: The Christian’s Clear Assignment

“To listen to one word and go out and obey it is better than having the most exalted ‘religious experience,’ for it puts us in touch with God Himself—it is a willed response.” Elisabeth Elliot

My young friend’s question was as deeply earnest as it was misguided: “I know I need to read and pray every day, but isn’t it just hypocritical to go through the motions on days when I’m not feelin’ it?” It’s not hard to trace this line of reasoning to its source. In Western thought, a… Continue reading Hear, Do, Know: The Christian’s Clear Assignment

Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth

I cannot make spiritual growth happen on my own, so I'm trusting the recipe.

Bread dough the color of molasses yielded to the pressure of my working fist. Fold, press, turn, repeat, and soon I lost count of how many times I had kneaded the fragrant lump. With the recipe calling for three hundred repetitions, I began to wonder— Three hundred? Really? But switching to the heel of my… Continue reading Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth

Breakfast for Your Body and the Bread of Life for Your Soul

Let Jesus's invitation to "Come and have breakfast" change your morning routine as you incorporate habits of holiness into your day and live your way into the daily welcome of God's presence and his love.

Sunday Scripture After a long night of empty-net fishing, seven discouraged disciples turned their boat toward shore. The surprise of an early morning Jesus-sighting and the gift of an unexpected and bountiful catch turned their day upside down, and their shore-side picnic with Jesus is one of my favorite New Testament images.  What's not to… Continue reading Breakfast for Your Body and the Bread of Life for Your Soul

Portraits of Endurance to Jumpstart Your New Year

Let's war against doubt and discouragement with a borrowed confidence that defies our unbelief and keeps us running by faith as we trust in the carrying mercy of Christ.

Portrait #1 My friend Lori does not fit the profile for a church treasurer. With gifts that lend themselves more to giving hugs  than to writing checks, and with a ready smile that makes her a favorite with all the kids in the school cafeteria where she works every day, she has persevered in faithfulness… Continue reading Portraits of Endurance to Jumpstart Your New Year

Discernment: Pursuing the Good, the True, and the Beautiful

Discernment, an eye for what's good, is part of the believer's transformation process.

Something inside me freezes when I hear the word discernment. Whether I'm making a major purchase, giving advice to a friend, or standing in a voting booth feeling as if I'm taking a test I haven't studied for, discernment is the quality that's lacking and the thing I long for. We want good things for… Continue reading Discernment: Pursuing the Good, the True, and the Beautiful