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...

Read More

Gentle Whispers

Gentle Whispers

Summer with kids screams the daily, material, ordinariness of life. In the prominence of all the ordinary, the tangible presses in on our moments and envelops our days as they spin into weeks and march toward Fall. Yes, we cherish the shining moments of spectacular sunsets and interludes on the pavement viewing roly polies as they curl and uncurl. We triumph at a first ride on a two-wheeler and delight at a bouquet of dandelions. But so many other moments during summer involve the weary obligation of cleaning up after a camping trip, chasing flies around the house, spraying stained clothing. Hanging up wet towels and clothes, pulling weeds, intervening amid squabbles, mopping the floor one more time to find missed popsicle drips, removing splinters, applying...

Read More

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...

Read More

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,...

Read More

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...

Read More

Just a Minute

Just a Minute

In honor of spring break I want to tell the story of a child and of the man he became. This man today loves children like Jesus does and helps other people do the same. He didn’t have a good childhood. He was beaten nineteen times each week for nine months out of each year. He was the son of missionaries in the days when children were sent off to boarding school to keep them from interfering with the mission work. A head master and teachers who didn’t want to teach and were not called to caring for children used physical abuse to keep  some 50 children under control and said that if the kids told their parents they’d become Satan’s tool and would harm the mission work being done. The children lived in misery, fear, and silence. Finally one...

Read More