Fishers of Men: The Story Behind the Story

We open the New Testament and start reading in Matthew. Okay, we skip the geneaology (but we shouldn’t!) After everything surrounding Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1-2), He’s suddenly a grown-up, and His cousin John is out in the wilderness preaching (Matthew 3). Jesus gets baptized by John, then He’s tested by Satan. Right after the testing, he starts preaching, and then, toward the end of Matthew 4, Jesus calls Simon (a.k.a. Peter), Andrew, James, and John to leave their fishing nets and follow Him (Matthew 4:18-22).

Pastors love this story. It looks like these two sets of brothers meet Jesus and just turn their lives upside down without a second thought, walking away like something from the Pied Piper. But that’s not the case. In fact, they had known Jesus for at least a few months. They had already seen Him in action and even talked to Him. Walk through this with me… Continue reading

Follow-Thru Honors the Sacrifices

Nothing can beat a week in the mountains, surrounded by people who “get” you, with your combined love for Jesus and crazy #grammarnerd brain. Yes, it was the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Around 500 writers–from newbies to seasoned, best-selling authors–spent the week worshiping, practicing, and learning from each other. Well, mostly the newbies learned from the experienced writers.  Continue reading

Watching and Waiting

The guard stands in the tower, eyes cast downward, searching through the thick night for any change, ears tuned for any out-of-the-ordinary noise. He raises his eyes to the distant mountains, their peaks muted by the sameness of the sky. He leans against the edge of the window for a moment, but he cannot relax. He will not descend until the sun ascends.

sandstone tower
watchmen’s tower in the Middle East (c) Carole Sparks

Even in the deepest, loneliest part of the night, the guard never doubts the rising of the sun. With absolute confidence, he glances to the east for a moment, eager to catch the first graying of the dark sky, the first dimming of the stars. Continue reading

Let Your Shoulders Relax

The Woman at the Well (part 3)

There’s so much to learn from Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well near Sychar. Let’s keep going! When we stopped last week, Jesus was changing His approach with the woman. He had been talking about living water, but now he shifts to the far more personal issue of this woman’s love life. That statement, however, is just a segue into what He really wants to discuss. Continue reading

Are YOU Talking to ME?

The Woman at the Well (part 2)

Not just anyone can cop an attitude with Jesus, but this woman did! Let’s sit down with Jesus and the woman He met at Jacob’s well outside Sychar, a small town in Samaria. (For more on the context and background, check last week’s post.)

John 4:1-42. You might want to pull out your Bible or click on the link. I’m not going to quote all the text here.

After He raised a ruckus in the temple at Jerusalem and then drew record crowds to big baptism services, things got a bit dicey for Jesus down in Judea, so he decided to make Himself scarce. (This is where we started last week.) Continue reading

Context and Consequences: The Woman at the Well

After He raised a ruckus in the temple at Jerusalem and then drew record crowds to big baptism services, things got a bit dicey for Jesus down in Judea, so he decided to make Himself scarce.

John 4:1-42.

Jesus headed back toward Galilee, probably back to Capernaum, where he usually made his home-base while in that region. There were two ways to go: the direct route, which would take them through Samaria, or the long way, which involved crossing the Jordan Continue reading

Escaping Stereotypes

I can’t speak for everyone, but in my experience, our brains automatically stereotype based on personal observation and experience. What image comes to mind with each of these?

  • professional basketball player
  • soccer mom
  • construction worker
  • woman missionary
  • minister’s or pastor’s wife

If I asked for an image of a “dogwood flower,” you probably think of the white flower above (calm, pure, little tinge of pink on the edges), but the riotously-fuchsia flower on the left is just as much a dogwood as the white one!

Growing up, I had a really strong image of what a minister’s wife was “supposed” to do and look like. Because my own life and personality were so far removed from that stereotype, I struggled when that role became mine.

This month on Pastor’s Wives, I talk about it. Catch the post here, then leave a comment over there or come back and talk to me here. I’d love to hear what you think. Am I right in my advice? What would you add or take away?

God always knew you would be a #pastorswife, and yet He made you this way anyway! (click to tweet)