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 genocideĀ 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 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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God Is a Genius

God Is a Genius

It’s funny how perspective can change. Amazing, really, the way the bad in life can take on increasing degrees of hope … Friends of ours needed to return recently from their home overseas due to a seriousĀ  health difficulty one member of the family was experiencing. It was a blow they all felt deeply–the critical health issue and then the loss of their long-time second home and relationships of many years. Their work and ministry remained only partly finished. After a few months of being back home in the United States, the family sent an update. All that was happening had been dark and utterly perplexing. Life hung in the balance for one and it had seemed that vital ministry would encounter no end of difficulties due to the family’s...

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Hearing God’s Voice, Part 2

Hearing God’s Voice, Part 2

Does the Holy Spirit really speak to people? And if so, can everyone expect to hear God’s voice? In my last post we talked about hearing God’s voice and I told about my pastor’s experience of hearing God give him clear life direction while standing up high, overlooking an Asian city. For some of us, that kind of specific and piercing direction from God, though not necessarily a daily occurrence, is something we have experienced from time to time as we’ve traveled life with God. For others of us, we’ve not once heard God speak in such a direct and unmistakable way. What gives? Do some “have it” and some just don’t when it comes to Dallas Willard’s second “light” along the path of hearing God? We can...

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Hearing God’s Voice

Hearing God’s Voice

Yesterday in church, after the sermon, we did the abnormal. Instead of standing and receiving the pastor’s blessing, we turned to a few around us and talked about how God was moving inside of us, either during the sermon or in the previous week. In my group, one man said that though he could think a lot about the sermon, he’d never had God speak to him and tell him what to do. You see, Pastor Peter had told about a time he’d stood high in a hotel overlooking an Asian city and told God he would live in this country and share about Jesus with these people. In fact, he’d love to have that assignment, he’d told God. God had spoken clearly to his spirit at that moment with, “No, that is not my will for you. I will use you to send...

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Shaping Up the “Day After”

Shaping Up the “Day After”

On this “day after” (the Superbowl), it’s a fitting time to consider the ways media influences us and our children. And to think about ways to ground ourselves in God’s truth and his Spirit as we live immersed in a culture assuming many other attachments and motivations. Neil Postman opens his book Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business with these words: I want to show that definitions of truth are derived, at least in part, from the character of the media of communication through which information is conveyed. Postman goes on in his book to discuss the ways that media influences politics, education, religion, and journalism, really all of public life. He offers cautions and advice for living in this...

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