Turning Over a New Leaf

Turning Over a New Leaf

Autumn greetings, my friends and readers! I write today to share with you about a change in course my life has taken. You have met with me for many months, even years, here at Living in the Word. We’ve thought about lots of topics together concerning our lives, our world, and the way God and the Word speak into who we are. This writing and interacting with you has changed my life in significant ways. Actually, this writing has been key to God’s guiding me into the new season I’m entering. I began blogging at the urging of a friend. I wasn’t sure about my next steps as a writer, and starting a blog seemed a good way to explore where I was going and to keep my ideas fresh. The regular writing soon became a place to look within and decide what...

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Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After

Sometimes the happenings of this world feel beyond what the heart can bear. A beloved comedian’s tragic death. Reports of horrific conflict and genocide¬†in the Middle East, with many of the victims children, their pictures transported thousands of miles across oceans to verify the reality of carnage. Closer to home, a teenager is killed and racial tensions once again flare. And this moment, a family gathers at the deathbed of a dear husband, father and grandfather whose body succumbs to cancer, none ready to part with him. Tragic pain. Heartrending loss. Inner and outer turmoil that the spirit in its purest place knows don’t belong in this world, really. As parents we shudder and push through our days. As love-invaded friends of God we offer silent...

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The Biggest Piece of Jesus

The Biggest Piece of Jesus

I was sitting at a baseball game for one of our boys last week and chatting with my mom, who had come to watch the game. She shared with me about a dream she’d had the night before. In the dream, she was with an extended family member of ours who has recently moved to another city, and they were visiting a church in the area. As they were celebrating the Lord’s Supper and my mom’s turn came, there were only crumbs left and she felt like she couldn’t partake. We smiled at the odd course that dreams often take. The next day, as our church celebrated the Lord’s Supper and I sat next to our 8-year-old, the dish of unleavened bread came down our row, and just as he always does, Derrin took a few seconds to survey the contents and pick the...

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The Real Beauty of It All

The Real Beauty of It All

Every summer our family spends a week with extended family, where about 14 of us gather in one big cabin in a small mountain town to play, sleep, and eat together. We watch hummingbirds from the kitchen window, walk many times a day down dirt roads to visit the lake, throw rocks in the river, and catch fish. It’s a slice of idyllic life and a time we look forward to all year. We spent the 4th of July together in this spot, and in the flurry of packing I forgot to include our copy of Good Dirt. We have nine kids between the three families, ranging in age from 7 to 19. Several are teenagers, and last week as we got two or three days into the week some of them were needing to slow down and consider their words and their attitudes. It seemed apparent that even...

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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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