He Will Be Called: Everlasting Father

This will be our second Christmas without my father. Hopefully, this one will be easier than last year. My father was a good man, and a good father, but he wasn’t perfect. And while his soul is everlasting (Praise God, I know my dad is in heaven!), his presence with me was not.

As the nation of Judah trudged into Babylonian captivity, many had lost their fathers, grandfathers, husbands, and sons to the war in which Judah was defeated. Perhaps some of the survivors barely had time to bury their loved ones, much less mourn, before the forced march began. Isaiah’s prophecy promised a time when they would no longer fight, when “every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire” (Isaiah 9:5). But in the moment, they knew the sorrow of great loss.

Did their hearts sting when they remembered the prophecy? Continue reading

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The Flip Side of Generosity

Last week, we dug into the relationship between humility and generosity. We receive both worldly/tangible gifts and spiritual gifts from God so we can bless others.

But what about the gifts other believers receive to bless us? There’s a flip side to generosity. Continue reading

Contentment’s Crucial Place in Generosity

About twenty-five years after Jesus’ ascension, the small band of believers in Jerusalem faced big trouble. They were persecuted and oppressed in every way, and they were completely out of money. Things were desperate.

2 Corinthians 8:1-7.

When the apostle Paul heard about their situation, he responded out of the depth of his relationships. He called upon fledgling churches throughout the region to help their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. The Corinthian church—one that excelled in everything (2 Cor 8:7)—was among the first to raise their hands. Paul wasn’t surprised.

But something else did surprise him: Continue reading

The Standard of Our Name

One lone knight riding off to battle? Well, that’s just sad. But a squadron of knights riding off under the banner of a tried-and-true leader? That’s inspiring!

In this guest post for Heather Bock, I dig into what it means to “walk worthy” of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). I geek out just a little on word definitions, but there’s also lots of imagery, including a measuring stick, me at sixteen years old, and some knights in shining armor. Intrigued? Click on over.

The Standard of Our Name: of knights and measuring sticks and surnames. A #NotAboutMe guest post for @heatherbethbock via @Carole_Sparks. #WalkWorthy (click to tweet)

 

Are We There Yet?

Some of us like to finish things. By “some of us,” I mean Type-A personalities like myself! We like to mark things off lists, close back covers of books, follow schedules, and meet goals before deadlines. We get impatient when the drive takes longer than planned; we like to arrive.

Because of my Type-A personality, certain gospel scenes challenge me. Like when Jesus and the disciples are heading off for some much-needed downtime but end up serving a big meal to a huge crowd (Mark 6:30-44). Or when a couple of disciples Continue reading

The Season of Our Discontent

This month on PastorsWives.com, I talk about a challenging time in our ministry lives when God was preparing something new but we had to wait on it. There were some restless nights.

It starts like this…

Sometimes an indefinable restlessness comes upon a Christ-follower…a dissatisfaction with life even though nothing has changed. We’ve learned to call it holy discontent.

When God called us to move to a difficult, distant location, we hung contentment on the wall like a plaque. We memorized Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” and we determined to choose contentment regardless of what happened. Because really, contentment (the flipside of gratefulness) is a choice. Will I focus on the difficulties, troubles, and inconveniences in my life, or will I focus on God’s blessings?

Continue reading