My forehead was hot and a little scratchy. But, that's what normally happens when I wear a Santa Claus hat. I took it off and threw it on the dash of the church minivan as I motioned for two of the teenage guys that I disciple to hop in. We were just leaving our church's Christmas party; it was dark, and they both needed a ride home. As we headed down Cranston Street, the guys talked about the food we’d eaten and the games we’d played. We came to a stoplight. That's when I saw them and knew what I had to do.
Last December, while away on a marriage retreat with twelve or so other couples from church we discovered that a new family in our congregation had to call an ambulance to take their three-year-old to the hospital due to breathing difficulty. We knew they had no friends or family in the area, since they had recently moved from another state. It was late, the evening session was about to start, and the hospital was an hour and a half away.
Father, help us to see You. We are spiritually blind without Your Spirit giving us eyes to see (Eph. 1:18), and we need to see You, first and foremost. If we can see You in all of Your glory, all of Your power, all of Your justice and all of Your grace, then we will know that You are at work in us, for us, around us and through us.
Church leaders often find themselves in a bitter and lonely place. When I stepped into ministry leadership, I feared the high and even unrealistic expectations people would place on both me and my family. I had been through an intense personal struggle to understand and finally accept God’s call upon my life. As a pastor’s kid, I had in-house experience of how people can be so insensitive to the love and care of the shepherd who God has placed in their lives.
I took an apologetics class during my last semester of seminary. Halfway through the semester, doors opened, and God placed a clear call on my life to Boston. (Another story for another time.) When my professor learned I was preparing to move to New England, one of the world’s intellectual hubs, he said, “All you learned this semester will be helpful as you serve.
I replied, “I’m not smart enough to debate or challenge even after taking your class. All I really know is what Christ has done for me.”
It was 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning that we got the call from a fearful husband letting us know that his wife was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital with pain and hemorrhaging in her sixth month of pregnancy. Since the first worship service wouldn’t begin until 9:15 a.m., we were out the door and off to what we knew could be a very difficult hospital visit.
Your alarm goes off in the morning, rousing you from your sleep. What is your first response? If you’re like me, you may check Facebook, look at missed emails, respond to text messages or read the news. You do all of this before you even get out of the bed.
From the very moment of waking up, the world is already fighting for our attention. And in this moment we often neglect to look to God in worship and praise. Why am I passionate about this?
It happened as I was on my way to play a board game with friends from church. Someone in my car asked, “So, Molly, why are you going to this?”
Caught off-guard, my eyes switched back and forth between the road ahead and the rearview mirror as I tried to gauge the sincerity of the question. After quick deliberation in silence, I said, “Well, I guess the first reason would be that I was invited.”
“The disciples were ﬁrst called Christians at Antioch.” (Acts 11:26)
The disciples at Antioch displayed substantially diﬀerent lives, so much so that they received a new descriptor that became the name for followers of Jesus Christ world-wide. What separated these believers from the moralistic religious adherents around them?
It’s a classic movie trope. The main character is alone in the wilderness, huddling close to a dying fire. As the fire dies, glowing eyes begin to appear and multiply. It’s a pack of starving wolves.
But have you ever realized that Jesus says He has put us in that same situation? “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)
It’s hard to be teenage girl! There is so much advice out there, it can be overwhelming! Still, I believe the best resource in counseling, supporting, loving and challenging young ladies lies in God’s Word.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned from Scripture and personal experience. In fact, most of these lessons I’ve learned the not-so-easy way. In many ways, I lived the exact opposite of this list and have found the consequences to be less-than-pleasant and totally avoidable.
Today is my 40th birthday. As I sit here with my feet firmly planted in middle age, I find that I am joyful rather than fearful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stoic. The other day I typed “my forties” for the first time and I felt sick to my stomach. But as I reflect on God’s goodness in my life and on what I have to look forward to in Christ, my soul is full and content, and I can’t wait for the future, gray hair and all. Here are 3 reasons.