coming near

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

One of the most commonly quoted verses from Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” Bible is John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” This metaphor for the incarnation is referenced so often because, like all good poetic language, it succinctly describes a profound truth: Jesus not only came to earth to be with us, he came to be one of us.

Following Jesus means following his example and “incarnating” the gospel in our own neighborhoods. Sometimes this means tutoring children …


repost: cracks of God

As I type this, I’m hiding from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Every month or so two of them appear on my doorstep, pamphlets in hand, asking for my time and suggesting I read articles with titles like “The Truth about Halloween.” Because the walk to my front door passes right by the dining room window, and because I spend much of my workday on the comfy red chair in front of that window, it’s easy for them to spot me inside. To avoid talking to them I’ve taken to scurrying …


This can be the best time for the church – in spite of Trump

I am more fearful for the American church during Trump’s presidency than I ever was during Obama’s.

The American church panicked as Obama legalized gay marriage, which many evangelicals saw as a direct violation of the Christian scriptures and their own religious beliefs. Many Christians also took issue with Obama’s approach to health care, foreign policy, the environment, and federal spending.

Many Christians railed against these policies, maligned Obama, and feared for the future of the nation. However, many of them also grappled more deeply with their understanding of biblical sexuality, prayed more strongly for our …


almighty favored

Hands upI write a lot of small group Bible study curriculum, and in the process I work with many different churches, different pastors, and different perspectives. One of my favorite clients is a preacher in Atlanta who leans toward the “spirit-filled” side of the spectrum and often talks to his congregation about God’s favor. He encourages his church members to pray for God’s favor in their families, their business dealings, and their health.

Sometimes I question the theology of those prayers. Sometimes I question whether I am brave enough to pray …


a quiet thing

I love to anticipate things.

I told Matt early on in our relationship that I always need something to look forward to. This doesn’t have to be a spendy vacation or a big event – right now I’m excited for my first listen of Christy Nockels’ new Christmas album and having some good Mexican food for lunch – but I’ve learned that I enjoy life more if it’s filled with a series of small pleasures. In fact, the small ones are often better, because the big moments in life usually turn out differently than we expected.

Six weeks ago Matt and I won a three-year custody battle for Miles …


my one life

jesusI have been a Christian for 28 years, and I have not led anyone to Christ.

It is painful to admit that. There were no “prodigal years” in my youth when I got off track with my faith. I never left the church, and my good friends who aren’t Christians know that I am. But I have never brought anyone into a relationship with Jesus. I don’t like that, but it’s true.

When I talked to Jeff Vines about OneLife, an initiative that challenges every person to bring someone to Christ …


fear not

94270-90683I am angry about the state of our union. And I’m not alone. But anger isn’t the core problem.

In January, the Esquire/NBC News “American Rage Survey” reported that half of Americans are angrier than they were a year ago. In February, BBC.com reported that 69 percent of Americans are either “very angry” or “somewhat angry” about “the way things are going” in the United States. As I write this, the day after the Orlando nightclub shooting, I’m sure the numbers are even higher.

We are angry about climate change, about those …


when will we all grow up?

kids-doing-adult-things-business-kidSo I’ve been re-reading re-skimming Pete Scazzero’s book “The Emotionally Healthy Church,” and was struck by this insight:

“It is not possible for a Christian to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.”

Oh, snap. OH, SNAP. Authors don’t really get mic drop moments but there’s one. THIS. This is the explanation for why people don’t seem to change, why people who have been Christians for decades are still spiritual babies. Spiritual growth requires emotional growth, and many of us are not willing or not able to do …


A reader asks, “Does prayer matter?”


Hi, I recently read the article about how God does not have a plan for your life. I really enjoyed it and agree with what you present in that article. I don’t believe that God plans out everything in our whole lives. So I’m curious to figure out then, how much does God intervene in our lives? Such as when we pray. Do our prayers sway God, and if so, does it take away from free will? If you have already written about this, …


ellipses years

151029_lex_ellipses.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2A few weeks ago I squeezed in some meaningful conversations with friends in the midst of 12 ten-hour work days. When you are a freelancer, no one cares that you are taking a week in California with your family and friends, or that the following week you are attending and working at a conference, or that in a moment of insanity you volunteered to be a female chaperone for the youth mission trip 36 hours after you get back. There is no such thing as paid time …