“Buts” and “Ands”

So often in ministry and counseling work I encounter people who are plagued by “buts.” “I’d like to get out and meet some new people, but…. “I’d like to go back to church but….” “I’d like to tell my husband/wife/mom/dad/son/daughter, etc. how I really feel, but…. “I’d like to quit this bad habit, but….” “I’dContinue reading ““Buts” and “Ands””

The Puzzle

I came across this essay in my files that I wrote on a snowy February day in West Virginia in 2003, and thought it was a good week to share it. I’ve always liked jigsaw puzzles, especially on snowed-in days like this one. I enjoy the relaxing and invigorating mental exercise they provide. It isContinue reading “The Puzzle”

Manifesto of the Moment

This is the moment for the followers of Jesus. This is not the moment to shrink back in fear; it is the moment to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow him. This is not the moment to deny that we know and love Jesus; it is the moment to represent him as ambassadors.Continue reading “Manifesto of the Moment”

There is No Plan B

Many years ago, when I was a worship leader in Ohio, my pastor and I came to an understanding. I told him that the Lord had forbidden me to lead our congregation out of my own musical ability or experience. I was only to use my abilities in response to the leading of the HolyContinue reading “There is No Plan B”

Imitators

Like it or not, throughout life we almost always have someone who is watching us. Someone may actually be following our example. Imitating us. It may be a sibling, a friend, a student, a person we’re discipling, or someone we don’t even know. But they know or see something in us that motivates them toContinue reading “Imitators”

God’s Mysterious Plan

(*This is the second essay in an end-of-crazy-2020 series.) I remember the first time I watched the movie “The Sixth Sense,” a brilliantly written and acted thriller. I got so caught up in the characters that I did not perceive that I was experiencing a sense of mystery. Toward the very end, I had anContinue reading “God’s Mysterious Plan”

An Embarrassment of Riches

About thirty-five years ago, a young musician living in New York City was drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ purely by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. There was no one preaching to her, and no one she could think of that would have been praying for her to come to Christ. God just wantedContinue reading “An Embarrassment of Riches”

God Laughs, We Laugh

I love the story of Abraham and Sarah when God announced they were going to have a baby in their old age. The text says that “Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief” (Gen. 17:17). Really, God? Very funny. God laughs, and sometimes he makes his people laugh withContinue reading “God Laughs, We Laugh”

He is Here

Some days I just need to know that God is near. That he is here. That he sees, and hears, and knows. Like Hagar, desolate and alone one moment, and in the next moment comforted with this revelation: “You are the God who sees me” (Gen 16:13). Or like Jacob, dreaming of angels climbing upContinue reading “He is Here”

Keep Standing

Often we are told in the Word and by the Spirit to simply stay put. To stand firm in the spot where God has planted us. There are seasons for breaking new ground and moving forward with kingdom assignments. There are other seasons to continue in the instruction we have already received until new revelationContinue reading “Keep Standing”