Good Father

Kendall Qualls’ future looked bleak. Facing limited options, his newly divorced mom moved her five children into housing project squalor in Harlem, NY. It was the 1960’s. The grimy stairwells reeked, and dark hallways hid lethargic addicts. She did the best she could...

Hope In Crisis

“I heard the roar.” “I lost everything.” “I should be dead.” I hear such words when serving as a chaplain in natural disaster zones around the country. I am amazed at the resilience of survivors. After the initial shock, responses can vary from despair to anger....

America’s Memory

If one of my sons died as a soldier, I would ask the question on the heart of every Gold Star Family. For what exactly did my son die? For his country? And what exactly is the U.S.A., given it’s not a continent or ethnic group? America is an idea. The founders...

Ought To Be

I had visions of bright lights, a smoothly running stove bolt motor, and a responsive instrument cluster. But I was holding a rat’s nest snarl of old spliced wires, sketchy terminals, and rusty switches I had just pulled from the dash of my 1959 Chevrolet Apache. My...

Trusting Mom

“We have found a way to be OK,” she told me.  Being mom to more than the average two children per family is challenging enough. But when doctors diagnosed one of hers with a lifestyle-disrupting, chronic illness, the urgency of the moment was overwhelming. I was...

He Made You

Toward the end of the film, “Barbie” (2023), Billie Eilish gives voice to the title character with “What Was I Made For?” which became a hit song. This is far more than the familiar plot of a toy wanting to be real. It is an example of culture expressing and framing...

Confidence and Humility

In 1940, the newly opened Tacoma Narrows Bridge was the third-longest suspension bridge in the world. It was a beautiful engineering feat, until it wasn’t. One windy day, it began to twist and heave until it collapsed into a scrap heap of metal beams and cables. The...

Your Story

Chris Coghlan was 15 when it happened. It was 2001. He had just finished exams for his sophomore year. He arrived home to a gathering of cars and people. He stepped inside, joking about a party in his honor. Then he saw his mom’s face. His dad had been killed in a...

Take My Hand

I learned a cultural lesson living in Haiti. It was not uncommon for a friend to take my hand as we walked in public. The gesture prevented other pedestrians from interrupting our conversation. In our culture, handholding is a public display of affection or practical...

Help My Unbelief

Tim Keller tells the story of Kevin, who worked on Wall Street at J.P. Morgan. Kevin was an atheist with stubborn doubts about God. But he had doubts about his doubts, so he and his wife began attending Redeemer Church. They met believers who were smart and...

He Has Risen!

He Has Risen!

Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen! (Luke 24:5-6). If you find it hard to believe that Jesus came back to life, you’re not alone. When the women who first witnessed the empty tomb reported to the others what the angel said,...

The Answer

In the movie, Forrest Gump just feels like running. While he runs, he thinks about Mama, Bubba, Lt. Dan and especially Jenny. As he crisscrosses the country and contemplates his life experiences, a young man runs alongside Gump. “An alarm went off in my head! Here’s...

The Lightweight Skater

Scott Hamilton won Olympic gold in 1984 as a figure skater. He became successful as a professional skater and media personality. But something was happening behind the scenes. That’s the rest of the story. Hamilton was adopted at six weeks old. As a child, a rare...

The Distant Farmhouse

The Distant Farmhouse

U.S. Army soldiers liberated the Dachau concentration camp in 1945. The sights and smells revulsed even the most battle-hardened troops. One year later, one of the surviving prisoners, Viktor Frankl, wrote about his experiences. Frankl published Man’s Search for...

Your Label

Michael Shellenberger was a “Hero of the Environment” according to Time magazine in 2008. But he soon became disillusioned with the activism that earned him that label. In 2020, he published a book, Apocalypse Never,explaining his new take on environmental issues. To...

First Things, First

First Things, First

Life can get complicated in a hurry, can’t it? When it does, you yearn for simplicity. In those moments, you need a way to prioritize. Grand jury duty complicated my life. Many in the jury pool took time away from work to report to the courthouse. The nominal pay is...

Pursue Love

It was a cold and foggy night last December. I was on the train to London. At one stop a young woman boarded and sat just across from me. She wore an elegant, burgundy dress and delicate jewelry. In her arms were a dozen red roses. Her wistful smile suggested a tender...

Authentic Book

Authentic Book

F.W. Boreham (d.1959) was a preacher and writer in New Zealand. After reading some of his articles, I ordered his autobiography from a used book store in Melbourne, AU. When it arrived, I discovered his signature inside. I looked on the reverse side of the page and...

Forgiving Debtors

Uwe Holmer didn’t mean to have a moment of fame. He was simply a German Lutheran pastor who lived his faith in a way that astounded his fellow countrymen. As a college student in 1953, Holmer bid his family goodbye as they escaped East Germany. He stayed behind...

Embracing Piracy

Ron Hamilton was living the dream. After college, he married his sweetheart and began his career in the music industry. Then came the crisis. At age 28, Hamilton’s doctors discovered cancer in his eye. He had to lose that eye to save his life. How would you handle a...

Groundhog Day

“I got you, babe” plays on the clock radio, waking Phil Connors to face the same day yet again. Bill Murray played the lead in the film, “Groundhog Day” (1993). Phil discovers he is trapped in a time loop, experiencing that same song, day, and people over and over. To...

Life-giving Light

Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired many with his words and deeds. During his 1957 Christmas sermon in Montgomery, Alabama, he based his strategy of non-violence on Jesus’ admonition to love your enemy. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that,” King...

New Beginnings

The New Year is traditionally a time to think about new beginnings. The turning of the calendar represents a blank slate, a time to consider setting aside the old in favor of the new. The whole holiday season is an invitation to reflect, with time off work and visits...

Listen Carefully

I would like to offer you a New Year’s resolution. It may be the single most powerful change agent in your life. It is simply, listen to God. The new House Speaker Mike Johnson says he does. “I am a Bible-believing Christian,” he said. To know how he thinks about...

What Child Is This?

A 28-year-old insurance company manager took up his pen to write about something more profound than his livelihood. He crafted poetry to answer the question, “What child is this?” With those verses written in 1865, William Dix would become a part of the Christmas...

Privilege

In today’s parlance “privilege” is justification for treating people differently, even unfairly. It has always been true in human history that some are born into privilege due to circumstances beyond their control. It is also true that “There is no partiality with...

The Essential Gift

I’m bad at selecting gifts, but I enjoy the gift-giving tradition at Christmas. I disagree with C.S. Lewis on this point. He calls Christmas gift-giving “a commercial racket.” Perhaps with tongue-in-cheek he says, “The modern rule is that anyone can force you to give...

Connection and Community

Recent Harvard research indicates that many young adults are deeply troubled. The report identifies stress points and offers remedies. If you are one of those young adults, know that life can be much brighter. Harvard found that 36% of young adults in the survey...

Highest form of thought

In the episode “High Noon in Mayberry,” Sheriff Andy Taylor awaits Luke Comstock’s visit. Years prior, Taylor had wounded and captured Comstock, who spent time in prison. Now, Andy, Barney, and Aunt Bea stress over Comstock’s intentions. Comstock arrives at the Taylor...

Autonomy or Freedom

The NFL handed down a four-game suspension to Kareem Jackson, a player for the Denver Broncos. After ejections from games and hefty fines for unnecessary roughness, the fourth infraction cost him his freedom to play. In announcing the suspension, NFL executive Jon...

Exult in Hope

Everybody has trials and tribulations. It’s a fact of life. The question is, can you make sense of those experiences? The human tendency is to flee adversity and feel overwhelmed when it catches you. Reminds me of the Dickens character Pickwick who travels by...

End Times Prophecy

War is disruptive to complacency. It gives new urgency to latent thoughts, especially when the Middle East and Israel are involved. You may have thought about Biblical prophecy more than usual in the last few weeks. You should. Since the circumstances of Jesus life,...

From Goth to Grace

Gothic influencer Katherine von Drachenberg (a.k.a. Kat Von D) made headlines recently. The story was not about her career as a tattoo artist, television personality, entrepreneur, and recording artist. It was far more profound than her celebrity. She publicly...

Unadulterated Evil

President Biden got it right. He used theological words in condemning the attack on Israel. “You know, there are moments in this life when the pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world,” he said. “The people of Israel lived through one such moment this...

The Real Disaster

A wind-fueled fire destroyed the historic village of Lahaina in Maui. Libya experienced flooding. Morocco suffered an earthquake. Forces of nature contribute to these disasters, as do human activity and negligence. All of these disasters caused a loss of life. If no...

AI Is Here

I asked ChatGPT to compose an article about artificial intelligence, or “AI.” This isn’t it. I prefer to do my own thinking (if that’s what AI is supposed to do). One user started a firestorm by posting, “I asked ChatGPT to create a fake biblical passage. I know it’s...

The Invitation

My first response when receiving the wedding invitation was that the distance to the venue meant a days-long, tedious trip. But reasons to go made the decision easy. For a minute, I was distracted by travel demands. I soon remembered that I would be blessed by meeting...

Same Old Question

Oliver Anthony has joined Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix as a protest voice of his generation. Anthony’s songs released a few weeks ago touch a nerve by saying what many are thinking. Anthony feels dismissed, devalued, and angry. He turns his time into money, but it’s...

Desires of Your Heart

Retirees enjoy living in our mountain community. More than 34 percent of our county’s residents are over 65 years old, compared to 15 percent statewide. What attracts people here reveals deeper desires. My stories illustrate this. During leaf season, I drove to Hogpen...

You Think

I admire a philosopher willing to push his beliefs to their logical conclusion. Alex Rosenburg does that. He believes only in “physical facts,” a world without God. He concludes, “The illusion that there is someone inside who has thoughts about stuff is certainly as...

Reason to Work

A wise man told me once that everyone has at least one bad job experience. He sure had his. His boss made arbitrary and irrational demands, fomenting discouraging working conditions. But he learned to focus on the work and how people would benefit from it. I talked to...

Rumors of Angels

How do you engage the world? I see two extremes: you may absorb the daily news in all its repetitive outrage, or you are so disgusted you try to ignore it all. I’d like to offer a different way to engage – aware of the cultural context but focused on hope. Western...

Steadfast Hope

I attended a conference in Oxford, UK recently. That’s probably why I noticed this news story. King Lawal, a county leader in the UK, posted a Bible verse and commented on it. He was subsequently suspended from his political post, sacked from his job, and canceled...

Grace Pictures #5

“No one is above the law!” demand the detractors. “There’s a two-tiered system of justice!” say the supporters. Today’s political news is more likely to be about scandal and justice than statesmanship and the national good. Why would I risk losing you, dear reader, by...

Grace Pictures #4

For four days, what happened to the doomed Titan submersible was a mystery. Five souls aboard the craft traveled to see the Titanic resting on the sea floor two miles below the surface. One was a teenager whose mother gave up her seat so he could join his father....

Grace Pictures #3

I was so naïve. I assumed moving European country boundaries by force was a remnant of the last century’s ideological horrors. But history is repeating itself with trenches, cannon fodder, and tactics reminiscent of the 1914 war. My heart hurts for the Russian and...

Grace Pictures #2

People are hungry for grace.  That includes you if you’ll admit it.  Grace in its most common form means a second chance, a new start. It means receiving a gift when the giver knows you don’t deserve it. I sang the world’s most popular hymn, “Amazing Grace” as a lad...

Grace Pictures #1

Jim Caviezel stars in the recently released movie, “The Sound of Freedom.” It is the story of Tim Ballard, who quit his job to rescue children from global sex traffickers. Ballard founded Operation Underground Railroad to further that cause. Worldwide trafficking is a...

Sustaining Freedom

The gameshow “Jeopardy” was in the headlines. Seems that none of the contestants knew the word “hallowed” that appears in the Lord’s Prayer. There’s a lot Americans don’t know these days. A school board doesn’t know the difference between the Bible and pornography. A...

Finding Meaning

Heaven is “some fantasy,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said. “Anyone that tells you something else is a (expletive) liar.” Here’s an immigrant from Austria who arrived in the U.S. in 1968 with little to his name. He reached celebrity status as a body builder, actor, and...