Glad Places

Glad Places

I have just returned home from bringing two of our boys to church camp for the week. Our other son is already away for a second week of training for a children’s evangelism ministry he’s taking part in this summer. And so, the house is quiet. We brought a neighbor boy and two nieces along to camp, and all the way home as I drank in the blue Colorado sky with forests of evergreen and aspen, roadside streams and meadow flowers stretching mile after mile, I thought about each of the kids and each of their little personalities and passions, their gifts and their callings. We read Good Dirt and the Bible this morning after final packing, and the passage we read from Luke 20 talked about a vineyard and unfaithful workers who mistreated all the  servants sent by...

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Summer Reading for Crazy Busy People

Summer Reading for Crazy Busy People

Summer greetings to you, my Living in the Word friends! June is underway and it is time to talk about summer reading. In past years I have offered lists of my own recommendations and have also shared with you the reading choices of authors, pastors, and publishing world friends. This year I’ve decided to do something different. Instead of talking about several books I’d like to talk about just one. And more, I’d like to invite you to read it along with me this summer and discuss it here periodically at Living in the Word. The book? It’s one I purchased a few weeks ago and am just getting into. It’s not long. It’s not a difficult read. It’s not fiction, but I think we can manage an easy nonfiction book over the summer,...

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Life on the Road

Life on the Road

I am guessing that most parents who are following Jesus and helping their kids to live with him struggle in the same way I do. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about who and what is most influentially forming my three kids. When I say “forming,” I mean forming them spiritually in a way that affects their identity, their passions, their understanding of living and being in this world, their view of God and what He means in their life. With our youngest child being close to 9 years old and our oldest at 15, immersed in high school life, they are at ages where home, parents, and church are a big influence, but peers, media, and pretty much all of life outside our front door also play a big role in who they are becoming. Many times I have, in my...

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Couldn’t God Simply Forgive?

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Couldn’t God Simply Forgive?

We have just observed Holy Week. Our spirits have been solemn, turned inward and upward more intently than at any other time of the year. We have remembered Jesus’ last days on earth and and his suffering on the cross. Yesterday, we rejoiced in Christ’s resurrection and victory over death and sin. Today we carry the glow of Easter and the promise of new life. In this time of Easter celebration, let’s continue to reflect on what has happened through the events of Jesus’ final days on earth. Why did the cross have to happen. Really, why did Jesus have to die when God is all-powerful and all-loving? Why couldn’t God simply forgive our sin and wipe the slate clean? Many of us have been taught that Jesus had to die to pay the price for our...

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A Life That’s Cruciform

A Life That’s Cruciform

It’s those bedtime questions that can require the very most we have to give. I remember hearing Chuck Swindoll say one time that for parents, it’s those moments we’re tucking them in when kids are the most talkative. Don’t rush through bedtime with your kids, he encouraged. They’ll do anything to delay switching off the light. Talk to them. Listen to them. Take advantage of their open hearts and listening ears no matter how tired you are and no matter how ready you are to be done with parenting for the day. Austin, my 11-year-old, asked this one as I was giving him a final kiss at the end of a trying day, to put it mildly. Our 8-year-old had been through two meltdowns, our high schooler had been home sick from school and then had...

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