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Embracing a “No Fear” Attitude

Maybe you’ve seen some version of this saying: Courage is not the absence of fear, but being afraid and doing it anyway. My quick internet search shows that Google doesn’t quite know who to attribute the quote to. As of this writing, top contenders are Nelson Mandela, Mark Twain, FDR, or John Wayne. It’s a great little nugget of wisdom nevertheless, and I’m sure there are plenty of accompanying inspirational images suitable for posting on the social network of your choice.

Three Ways to Serve Christ by Loving Your Family

Remember when we all hoped that we’d be able to go back to “normal” by Memorial Day? Now Labor Day has come and gone, Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and we’re all still at home. Some of us might be back in person, but a lot of us are learning new things every day as we work and attend school from home.

Celebrating Differences: Down Syndrome Awareness Month

How do we rank the quality of life for a person with a disability? October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month—a good time to consider this question. And to be honest, I’m already familiar with some of the darker opinions on this front. As the parent of a child with Down syndrome, I am sensitive to representations of people with disabilities in entertainment and in real life. I note that many people are uncomfortable with or even afraid of disabilities. I see a direct correlation of that fear when people consider abortion. I hear the suggestions of a sort of secular immorality in bringing people like my daughter into the world.

October 2020 Everyday Faith Calendar

Lawyer: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus: “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?

Lawyer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus: “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Lawyer: “And who is my neighbor?”

Who is your neighbor? Have you considered that question lately? The back-and-forth exchange above comes from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Chapter 10 holds two familiar passages of Scripture, one after the other.  

Developing a Circle of Trust

In previous posts, I have approached the concept of race relations from a theoretical point of view. However, in this post, I want to give you some practical ideas to help make the task ahead seem less daunting. When we work with congregations who ask us for the magic ingredient for reaching their community, we have just one word for them. If you want to know the secret to being relevant in your community, come closer and I will tell you. A little closer. The secret is RELATIONSHIPS!

John Maxwell once said about leadership, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Any hope we have of overcoming racial tension, any hope of seeing beyond color, is based on our ability to build authentic relationships. On to the task at hand: how do you develop a circle of trust? I believe there are five key elements.

Jesus Is With You in Your Worry

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). 

Maybe you hear this as a new Law at first, these words that Jesus speaks to His disciples about not being anxious. I do, sometimes. Because my first inclination is to say, “But, Jesus … ” and to start listing all the things I have to be worried about, to try and justify my anxious thoughts, and to show off just how much trouble today has already been. How can He possibly doubt that I need to get a jump-start on dealing with tomorrow?

The Art of Listening and Speaking

This post is an adapted excerpt from Speaking Boldly: Sharing God's Word Every Day by Edward O. Grimenstein.

We Christians must always be willing to take the time to listen to one another. Then, and only then, is it possible for us to make a proper “diagnosis.” Even though preaching is a primary, trusted means of hearing the Law and Gospel proclaimed every week, it is not the only way. Every day at home, parents have a chance to listen and ultimately speak Law and Gospel with their children (and sometimes vice versa). Every day in school, children have numerous opportunities to listen to one another. Every day at work, adults interact with co-workers in the office. Every day in the community, people interact with their neighbors at the grocery store, across the street, in the bank, in the library, or wherever we find ourselves.

Anxiety and the Pandemic: How Parents Can Cope While Sending Children Back to School

You, as parents, serve as the critical link in the bicycle chain of getting our educational system back on the road during this crisis, both for our nation and for our families. When you brought your child into this world, you accepted the vocation of parenting: to be loving, conscientious caretakers and leaders in your child’s life, both during your child’s earthly travel and, through Christ, into eternity. Without the Spirit’s presence and your understanding, commitment, sacrifice, and hope for your children, this quest to restart our lives and economy safely won’t be successful. Although there is enough anxiety for all within this chain, that of parents is perhaps the hardest to recognize or, at least to accept. I can guarantee your anxiety is observed easily by your children and is highly palpable in the planning of your school’s teachers and administrators.

September 2020 Everyday Faith Calendar

My social media feeds have been filled with school-related posts for the better part of this year. When the statewide shut-downs first occurred because of the pandemic, many posted about the experience of suddenly doing all schoolwork using exclusively digital mediums. As spring turned to summer and the uncertainty of fall loomed ahead, posts began to primarily feature the thoughts and feelings surrounding all of the details and decisions for the upcoming school year.

Marriage and the Art of Adjectives

There are people in this world who are grammar nuts. It’s their “thing.” They have an uncanny ability to track down a misplaced preposition. They seem to understand the difference between “who” and “whom” with a shocking level of contextual clarity.

I am thankful for these people. I am not one of them.

But I do like words. Words pour out of me easily, whether on the page or in conversation. My husband is a man of much fewer words. I’m almost certain that he keeps his thoughts inside a little treasure box inside his mind. When you get to peek into the box, that’s something really special.