On one of our recent anniversaries, Alan and I drove up the central California coast as we were given the gift of a few days at a luxury resort. Our souls were ready for a much needed deep breath.
We spent our time taking in the beauty of vineyards, ocean bluffs and country roads. We even took our bikes along with us, knowing that we wanted to enjoy some of the scenery at biking pace.
Before we get too far into this bike story, let’s just say that, at the time, I was not...
I love acorns. I found one a few years ago during a solitude walk up in the mountains.
I am always amazed by a beautiful little acorn, especially when it has a cap on it. So cute. It is amazing to me that an oak tree grows from something so small.
As I held the acorn in my hand and pondered its ability and power to grow an oak tree, it led to this thought, “You have the power within to do what is next.” A nice encouragement from God. (Eph. 3:20-21)
A couple of weeks ago, I shared some personal reflections from Psalm 42. This post continues that journal entry:
My tears are my food, by day and by night,
and everyone asks, “Where is your God?”
I remember how I went up to your glorious dwelling-place
and into the house of God:
the memory melts my soul.
The sound of joy and thanksgiving,
the crowds at the festival.
Psalm 42:3-4 (JB)
Instead of feeling nourished and refreshed, this psalm writer grieves and feels abandoned by God....
I’m well past the child-bearing years. My sons are all in their 20s. But those long ago days of pregnancy and little people are still as fresh in my memory as ever. I can still picture their little cherub faces and tiny chiclet teeth. And I can remember how their hair smelled like cookies until they were about five years old (yes, even dirty, stinky boys can have cookie hair).
All of this brings to mind Isaiah 49:15:
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
I’m often asked what Sabbath looks like for me. Though I have a book with Sabbath in the subtitle, this does not mean that I’m always a master of Sabbath. It continues to be a practice I’m growing in and learning to receive as the gift that it is.
A while back, I read something Rob Bell wrote about Sabbath that was very helpful to me:
“Sabbath is taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my...
I love watching cooking shows. It’s all just a delight to the senses. The colors, the creativity…I love it all.
Every chef is different, but all chefs agree on this one thing: A chef is only as good as her ingredients.
There is a difference between canned green beans and fresh haricot vert from an organic garden. There is a difference between boxed potato flakes and a beautiful yukon gold fresh from the ground.
Spiritual leadership is no different.
I may have shared this quote...
Recently, a long-time friend and fellow pastor reached out to me for lunch. It had been a little while since we were last together. He shared that he was working on his first book in which he wanted to share wisdom he’s gained over decades of church, and especially small group, ministry. He was asking for input from my experience. We had a great time together.
Over the course of lunch, when it came time to recommending further resources to him, I was so glad I remembered Andy...
When I’m reading scripture, I keep my eyes open and my ears attentive to lines that stir me, provoke me or arrest me. When this happens, I take time to reflect further on these words. A while back, while reading the book of 2 Chronicles, a short passage caught my attention like this:
Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah...
Wow. We have been through it this week, right? The escalating news on COVID-19 has many people running to the store and stock piling supplies. From movie stars to sports figures, more and more people are being diagnosed.
This is a great time to talk about fear and our response to it. It is good for all of us to stay responsibly informed and healthy, helping to keep others healthy as well.
It’s also ok to feel fear (or anger or frustration or confusion). And it’s good...
In our work, we interact with a lot of weary leaders. They began in the work of God with great passion and enthusiasm, but sometimes the work has begun to feel burdensome and even overwhelming. How does this happen?
There are a few classic authors I return to often. One is Andrew Murray, who was a late 19th and early 20th century South African pastor and author. This passage from Abide in Christ speaks powerfully to my tired friends:
“The idea they have of grace is...