Inspiration

The incarnation

The incarnation

Bruce Thielemann told about a European monarch who, a couple of times a year, would take off his royal robes, dress as a peasant and go out among his people. His courtiers worried about this; they didn’t like the king putting himself in danger. But the king said, “I...
Learning about God’s love

Learning about God’s love

How did you learn that God loves you? Most of us could answer this on two different levels. There was the day we learned about God’s love, and then there was the day where it made sense, where we intuitively began to understand that God loved us and we started to live...
Life after falling

Life after falling

On May 26, 2018, I had an accident that would forever change my life. I attempted to ski from the summit of Mt. Hood (in Oregon) and ended up falling about 450 feet to what should have been my imminent death. A 10-hour rescue, involving about thirty individuals from...
Personal decisions have communal impact

Personal decisions have communal impact

We love personal pronouns. We iMessage people on our iPhones while setting up profiles to personalize our experience on Netflix, Amazon, Instagram and even the grocery store. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The language we use reveals what we value. And...
You are new

You are new

Ceramic floor tile is very unforgiving. Trying to find something in our pantry the other day, my wife nudged the spaghetti sauce just a little too far, and off the shelf it tumbled. The glass jar hit the tile and burst open, sending glass shards and bright red sauce...
The most beautiful snow cone maker

The most beautiful snow cone maker

Growing up in the 1950s was a unique experience in itself. Add to that growing up in a large, rambunctious pastor’s family, in a three-story bright yellow home on Main Street, smack in the middle of a small town in Washington State, and you’ve got memories. Those days...
Greatly forgiven

Greatly forgiven

Lately, I’ve been really moved by the story of the woman who washes Jesus’ feet in Luke 7. Every time I read it, I feel a deeper sense of awe and grace about what is going on in this story. To recap, Jesus is invited over for dinner by a Pharisee named...
Two hammers: the problem with comparisons

Two hammers: the problem with comparisons

I have a sledgehammer in my shed, and I also have a small finishing hammer. They are both equally important to me. If I had to choose between the two, I suppose I’d pick the little guy. He’s been a real help to me over the years — but I’d rather not...
Death and dying

Death and dying

Death and dying have been my point of contemplation lately, which makes sense since it was this week about 2,000 years ago that Jesus began his journey to the cross. There he would die to provide a way for renewed friendship with God. This was on my mind when my son,...
An uncommon grace at a common place

An uncommon grace at a common place

Forty-eight hours following Jesus’ death, Luke draws out an incident involving Jesus that the other gospel writers do not mention (Luke 24:13-35). On the afternoon of the day of his resurrection, Jesus surreptitiously joins two people walking back to the Podunk...
Remember when?

Remember when?

“Whatever became of …?” Or “remember when …?” These were frequent questions over the course of a recent “mini reunion” of my parents and siblings in Barbados. As we gathered, made final preparations and celebrated our parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, outbursts of...
Grace before grace

Grace before grace

It was an overcast, drizzly day in November when I sat in a local restaurant in Pristina, Kosovo, listening with increasing interest to a new, yet familiar, story. Entering the smoke-filled, pub-like restaurant, mostly made up of men sitting around small round tables,...
Where is God when I’m scared?

Where is God when I’m scared?

As a pastor’s kid who grew up during the 1990s, VeggieTales was a staple in our house and in kids’ church services. I remember one episode in particular. In this episode, Junior, the child asparagus, had watched the veggie equivalent of Frankenstein even though his...
Front stage, backstage

Front stage, backstage

Editor’s note: Kansas District Superintendent Ed Rotz speaks below to the balance all Christians, especially those in leadership, seek. Nearly 2,000 pastors and spouses will attend The Gathering this week. Pray for all attendees— that the Holy Spirit would encourage,...
What Christmas is all about

What Christmas is all about

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:1-3, 14a)....
Living in the “what is”

Living in the “what is”

I couldn’t stop pacing the floor of my son’s hospital room. It was Sunday night and Andrew, age four, hadn’t eaten since Friday. Everything he put in his mouth, including ice chips, came right back up. At this point, he had nothing left in his...