Saul: King of Fear (Part 2)

As we saw last week, Saul was a fearful man. He was afraid of his enemies. He was afraid of his friends. He was even afraid of being king. Sadly, the one fear he lacked was a fear of God.

When we left Saul, he was in bad shape. His fears had led him to disobey God. As a result, God had rejected him as king over Israel. Now let’s pick up the story in 1 Samuel 16. When Samuel goes to anoint David as Saul’s successor, we’re told at “the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” At the same time, “the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul.” As far as heaven was concerned, David was king and Saul was not. However, it would take years for this truth to work itself out on Earth. In the meantime, Saul manages to go from bad to worse. Reading the next few chapters, I tried to feel sorry for the guy, but what I really wanted was to whap him upside the head!

Continue reading


I have a big birthday coming up later this year. You know, the kind that ends in a zero. As a result, I’ve been feeling more mortal than usual—aware that my life is passing by, and I won’t be here forever. Milestone birthdays make me introspective.

An elderly family member passed away a few weeks ago. Between the memorial service and the burial, the obituary and the discussion among relatives and friends, we’ve all had plenty of chances to reflect on and discuss the life and character of the deceased person. A few of his acquaintances had some nice things to say—mostly about how intelligent and articulate he was, and how remarkable his life story was.

Continue reading

What Jesus Deserves

I’ve been talking all month about what sorts of things we can give Jesus for Christmas. A few weeks ago, our Global Sunday School showed the following video clip from a sermon by Paris Reidhead*. It highlights one more item on Jesus’ list… perhaps the most important item of all. What could be bigger than giving him our love for others and own love and devotion? Take five minutes, watch and see.

*Paris Reidhead (May 30, 1919 – March 23, 1992) was a Christian missionary, teacher, writer, and advocate of economic development in impoverished nations. (Wikipdia)

Caring for your Introvert

I am an introvert. There’s nothing wrong with that—it’s the way God made me. I enjoy people, but eventually they wear me out. I need to be alone to recharge.

I’m sure that living with an introvert has its challenges. A while ago, my wonderful husband (who is trying to understand me, despite the fact that he thrives around lots of people) found this essay online. It was written by Jonathan Rauch, and first appeared in The Atlantic in March 2003. His words certainly struck a chord with me, and apparently with a lot of other people. In fact, this article has received more responses than anything else they have ever published! After you read the original piece, you might enjoy scanning some of the follow-up responses.

If you’re an introvert, you will love this article. For all you extroverts (also spelled “extraverts”) out there, here is how to improve your relationships with the introverts in your life:

Caring for Your Introvert

Who Do You Want to Meet in Heaven?

There are a lot of people I want to see when I get to heaven. First, of course, is Jesus. I think we’ll just hang out together for the first several thousand years. Then there are people I’ve known and loved here on earth. Of course I want to see them again. But what about all the new people who will be hanging out with God, people I’ve heard of but never met on earth? Which one do I want to meet the most?

I want to finally meet Noah’s wife. I want to get to know her. How did she cope with having a visionary for a husband?

See, when God told Noah to build the ark, He also explained why: “So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth” (Genesis 6:13).

Note here that God told Noah. Nowhere is there any mention of God telling Mrs. Noah about much of anything. Did God just leave her in the dark? Did she have to take her husband’s word for it all? It’s easy to imagine Noah going home and having a little conversation with his wife… Continue reading

Birth Changes Everything

Today is my 200th post! That’s pretty amazing, a tribute to God’s faithfulness, and an unimaginable milestone when I first started this blog almost two years ago.

To celebrate, I’m taking the day off. Don’t worry, though. I won’t leave you with nothing to read. A wonderful person I know posted this on her birthday last year. I was so impressed, I asked to re-post it here, and she graciously granted permission. I hope we all take Jenny’s perspective to heart. Please check out her blog, “Life.Faith.Travel,” for more inspired writing.

It is my opinion that the day of one’s birthday is the single greatest day of importance in any individual’s year.  Perhaps that is a strong opinion, but what other day can you better acknowledge the value and importance of a person than on the day of their birth?

Think on this: the world changes because of someone’s existence. And if you know that someone, it changes your world.  Think of your closest friends or family members. Who would you be without them in your life? What would be different? How might your life perceptions vary? The simple notion that someone you know exists with purpose can change the whole way in which we celebrate the day of one’s birth: The biggest day of their life!

Continue reading

Unreached Peoples

You may have noticed my new little widget on the sidebar here. It shows a photo of an “Unreached People of the Day” along with a few facts to inform your prayers. If you click on the photo, the link takes you to the Joshua Project website, where you can learn more. Joshua Project is a ministry that seeks to highlight the ethnic peoples of the world with the fewest followers of Jesus.

When Pete and I talk about missions,  we are often asked about the phrase unreached peoples. “What do you mean, unreached? My neighbor here is unreached. He never goes to church. I don’t need to go anywhere—there are plenty of unreached people right here in my city.”

This type of confusion is what happens when mission researchers (who can be rather geeky at times) interact with the general public.

Continue reading

People of Church

Forget “People of Walmart.” Try “People of Church.” While I haven’t seen anyone at my church wearing four-sizes-too-small glowing pink-and-purple spandex, we are definitely a motley bunch. In any church (and especially one as large as ours) there are bound to be some “interesting” people.

Some are exuberant worshipers, dancing in the aisles, while others refuse to even lip-sync the words, standing with arms folded across their chests. We have Mohawks and buzz cuts, long haired hippies and intimidating (until you get to know them) bikers in their church leathers. Maybe we even have you!

Continue reading

Everything I’ve Ever Worked For

hearsepullinguhaul“You can’t take it with you.” How often we hear this phrase, usually as a reminder not to be so materialistic. In our consumption-obsessed society, this is a much-needed adage.

But lately, I’ve been rethinking the truth of these words. We can’t take it with us. Or can we?

Contemplating our eventual demise isn’t the cheeriest of topics, and most of us prefer to avoid thinking along those lines. But something I saw recently brought the same concept to a more immediate importance.

Continue reading