Are You Ready For Love?

It was bad. Evil queen, invading army, and locusts-laying-waste bad. It was “you’re gonna tell your kids and your grandkids about this” bad. It was so bad the prophet Joel literally told the town drunks to wake up and weep because “the wine is gone.” Bad. They were grim, brimstone-and-fire days. Most wouldn’t survive. But God (through Joel) adds, “Rend your heart and not your garments. Even now you can turn to God, because he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love...I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” What would it look like if we set aside the performance

No Good Thing Ever Dies

One of my favorite films is The Shawshank Redemption. Although innocent of the murder charges against him, Andy Dufresne endures almost two decades of inhumanity in one of the country's most brutal prisons. Incredibly, he seems never to despair, encouraging the other inmates always to hold on to hope. At the end of the story we learn why: During those two decades Andy has been chipping away at a tunnel which ultimately becomes his passage to freedom. "Hope is a good thing," he writes to his friend Red after his escape, "maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." As we approach Advent 2016, we too may feel like prisoners in a brutal and inhumane world. On many levels It is hope t

It All Starts With "Very Good"

I’ll never forget the conversation. It probably saved my marriage, and maybe my faith. At the time I was an uptight, overworked and ill-equipped young husband, dad and missionary. It was an intense season where I felt the weight of all my various responsibilities heavy on my shoulders. I couldn’t see a way out. I was losing hope and in a moment of almost raging despair, I unloaded all of this on my wife Jane. I fully expected her to confirm my bleak, desperate assessment and commiserate with my gloomy outlook. Her response, however, was the last thing I’d anticipated. Instead of crawling into my deep cave of despair, she yanked me into the blinding light of truth with this simple statement:

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