Beloved Interruptions

Below is the manuscript of a narrative sermon that I delivered for my Expository Preaching class with Dr. Ken Durham last semester.

It had been a rough couple of days for Jesus when the curtain opens on our story, filled with roadblocks and unexpected frustrations. He had just calmed a storm on Lake Galilee that threatened to capsize his boat, driven out a legion of demons, and then been driven out himself by the townspeople. I don’t know what he felt as he crossed the lake once more. But I can imagine that he keenly felt the sting of rejection, the frustration of dismissal, the exhaustion of unceasing demands.  The lake was his only respite, a quiet place in the midst of chaos and people clamoring for his attention.

By the time the boat reached land, the crowd had already begun to gather.  As Jesus steps out of the boat, there falling at his feet is Jairus the synagogue ruler, pleading with him. “My little daughter is dying. Come touch her so she will be healed and live.” So Jesus goes with him.

But as they make their way through the crowd, Jairus turns and sees that Jesus has stopped.  He’s looking around him while a thin woman hangs back at the edge of the crowd. Jairus opens his mouth to speak, to remind Jesus of the urgency of his mission, but Jesus speaks first. “Who touched me?”

She had been sick as long as Jairus’ daughter had been alive. Twelve years of diagnoses and attempted remedies.  Twelve years of uncleanness and isolation.  Twelve years of daring to hope, only to be disappointed, penniless, and left alone again, the bleeding growing steadily worse.  Jesus was her last chance, and suddenly the one she knew she’d been waiting for. And so she found herself pushing through the crowd as he passed.  “If I could just touch his cloak…” His back was to her as she pushed her way to the edge of the crowd and reached out.

Her fingers closed around a handful of fabric, and her body’s response was immediate. She felt it, and she knew. One touch had done what no doctor could do. She was healed. There would be no more suffering.  But as she tries to shrink away and disappear into the crowd, she is arrested by Jesus’ question. “Who touched me?”

I can imagine the momentary relief she felt when Jesus’ disciples answered him incredulously. “Who touched you? Like…everyone. You’re in the middle of a huge crowd. What do you mean, who touched you?” Maybe he would agree with them. Maybe he would shrug and be on his way. Maybe he wouldn’t notice her at all.

Yet he ignores the disciples, scanning the crowd. “Who touched me?” He asks again, but there is no accusation or anger in his voice. In fact, it sounds strangely like an invitation.

The noise of the crowd, the puzzlement of the disciples, the impatience of Jairus, all fade away into the background, and all she can hear is her heart thumping in her chest.  The invitation is only for one. Jesus is calling her.

She steps forward – and although all eyes are fixed on her, the only ones she sees are those of her Savior. She falls at his feet. Hopeful. Afraid. Embarrassed. Amazed. And gloriously whole.

And in a torrent of words, she tells the whole story to Jesus. Not just about the touch. Not just about the healing. She tells him everything. All of the pain. All of the brokenness. All of the rejection and loneliness she had experienced over the past twelve years. But it doesn’t matter that everyone is watching. It doesn’t matter what they think.

Because Jesus listens. He waits. It’s like a shaken snowglobe has settled around the central figures, leaving a sense of deep stillness. Time has stopped for Jesus too, and all that matters is this moment. This story. This woman. She finishes her confession and waits for him to speak.

When he does, it’s almost like the sound of rain on a tin roof, or a fire crackling in the hearth, to one who has been away from home for far too long. “Daughter. Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace, and be freed from your suffering.”

But the world’s brokenness always seems to invade our perfect, still moments in the presence of Jesus. And this time, when Jesus had barely finished speaking, the sacred was shattered by the abrupt arrival of Jairus’ messenger and the abrasiveness of his news.  “Your daughter is dead. Stop bothering the Teacher.”

Yet hasn’t Jesus made it clear by now that he isn’t bothered by interruptions? “Don’t be afraid,” he tells Jairus. “Just believe.”

And the woman he called daughter stands and watches as he walks away. But the story doesn’t end here. Jesus has another daughter to save. He enters her house, where mourners are wailing. He enters her room, where her body lies motionless on her bed. And as Jairus watches in amazement, Jesus grasps the cold hand of a little dead girl and says, “Get up.” And when the Lord of the universe commands life, life answers.

Two people came to Jesus that day looking for healing.

And that day, two daughters were given new life.

This story paints an incredible portrait of what happens when God interacts with humanity. It doesn’t always work out perfectly. To us, it may seem like the timing isn’t right. It’s awkward and messy. Stories are supposed to be eloquent. Interruptions are jarring and disconcerting.

Typically, we would put interruptions in the awkward category and brush them aside to get to the main point. But what’s interesting here is that the chiastic structure of this story points us to the middle, actually points us to the interruption. The seeming inconvenience becomes the focal point of this story, just as it became the focal point of Jesus’ attention.

Henri Nouwen writes of a meaningful conversation with a Notre Dame professor in which the professor mused, “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.” I would venture to say that perhaps Jesus saw it the same way. That interruptions didn’t distract from his ministry, because they were his ministry. Because we are his ministry.

I remember the night, when I was about six or seven, that it occurred to me that because the world is so full of people, there are bound to be times when there are multiple people praying at once – maybe even in different languages.  I wondered how God was able to hear them all at the same time, and if he got distracted by interruptions.  And to be honest, that question has never truly gone away. When we are in our darkest moments of pain, I think it still surfaces for many of us. Does God see my tears? Can he hear me right now? Does one person’s pain even matter when there is so much suffering in the world? I’ve often felt, as the Tenth Avenue North song says, like “one tear in the driving rain, one voice in a sea of pain.”

But to Jesus, no interruption is an inconvenience. Every time someone reaches out for his cloak, he will look for them until they are found, listen until their story is told, and love them with a love that claims them and declares them valuable. To Jesus, every interruption is a son or a daughter.

He wants you to encounter him. So seek him out.  Whether it’s doubt you’ve been afraid to acknowledge, pain you don’t know how to express, or the childish excitement of a spring day – your faith to reach out is the interruption Jesus is waiting for. So reach out, and interrupt boldly. No matter when you come, no matter what your story, he claims you as his own.

“Son…daughter…your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

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Young Love

It’s a Sunday morning in a small town church, and the preacher stands before the congregation, his Bible open to today’s chosen Scripture.  From where I am sitting in my church pew, I glance across the aisle at the couple on the second row, sitting side by side and sharing a hymnbook.

Church dates are the cutest.  It looks like it’s their first.

She modestly smooths her dress over her knee, and he tentatively reaches out and puts his hand on top of hers.  For a moment he looks apprehensive, as though he’s afraid that his gesture will be rejected.  But although she is too shy to reciprocate at first, she turns toward him and her eyes light up with that spark of young love.

Ever so gently his thumb strokes the back of her hand, and the words of the sermon fade out as I become absorbed in their little romance, staring shamelessly.

Because it looks like their first church date, and for her, perhaps it is.

But her dress is outdated and her hair is white.  And by now, as her ragged breath comes in gasps and she grips his hand, looking frightened and ill at ease in her wheelchair, their Sunday morning excursions number in the thousands.

Fifty-two Sundays a year, for at least sixty years, they have walked together through the doors of the church.  But now he walks behind her as he wheels her toward their pew.  When the communion tray is passed around, he breaks the bread for her, and the ushers respectfully stand and wait as he feeds her the body of Christ in a sacred moment.

She becomes anxious, compulsively plucking at her dress and loudly whispering words that don’t make sense.  But he turns his creased and careworn face toward her, with love and longing and a depth in his eyes that I, at 21, cannot understand.  And he steadily reaches over and takes her wrinkled hand in his, comforting her as he gently continues to rub her hand with his thumb.  Her breathing slows and her panic subsides, and she looks down at their entwined fingers as though she is surprised to see them there.  Perhaps as though it is the first time.

At church, we talk a lot about Jesus and we talk a lot about love, and now I’m not sure that any of us, even the preacher, really knows what we’re talking about.

But I think Jim does.  Oh, I think Jim does.

Late Night Adventures and Little Girl Kisses

There’s no better opportunity for sharing random memories than a 15-hour road trip, and nobody better to hear them from than my mother.  So this one is hers.

“One night, when I was about 5 or 6, a couple of years after my Daddy died, I was mad at Mama about something. I guess I had gotten in trouble or something — I don’t remember, and I doubt she even remembers this — but anyway, I was mad and wouldn’t kiss her goodnight.  But after I had gone to my room in a huff, I looked out the window and saw the flashing red and blue lights of a police car down the road.  I guess I kind of forgot that I was mad, and I called her in to come look.  She asked if I wanted to drive down the road to see what it was.  [My older sisters] were already in bed, so we left them at the house and went on a little adventure, just the two of us.  I don’t remember if it was a car accident or what, I just remember that we had our little adventure and that when we got back I gave her a goodnight kiss, and all was right again in my little world.”

It reminded me of one of my own earliest memories, when Mother was already aggravated with me and I was supposed to be in bed.  I called her from my bedroom for probably the 2378th time, and she marched in threatening to punish me if I didn’t go to sleep.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  “But Mama, you don’t understand…see, there’s a bunny in the yard, and it’s hopping closer and closer to my window.”  She immediately softened and came to look out the window with me, exclaiming in delight.  At least, that’s how I heard it.  It occurs to me now that she was probably still really annoyed and not at all interested by the bunny, but she pretended to be interested, and I beamed with the pride of sharing my discovery.  I wasn’t punished, and I gave her a kiss goodnight, and I went to sleep happy.

My grandmother doesn’t remember driving down the road to look at police lights, and my mother doesn’t remember the bunny-watching.  So I can’t say why these memories stick out so vividly for us, except that perhaps while bunnies and police lights are meaningless, it’s those little (yet oh-so-big) moments of validation that define our sense of self.  It’s the fact that our mothers, our role models, were willing to pause their important adult lives and be fascinated alongside us.

What is of little consequence to you, may be one of those snapshot moments your child remembers forever.  So remember to slow down enough today to make memories.  Take your child out for ice cream and ruin his dinner.  Stay up late playing and having big girl time while your youngest is in bed.  Think twice before time-out and show a little unexpected grace.

And don’t forget a goodnight kiss.

A Game of Wiffle Ball

wiffle ball

Recently I was at a professor’s house for an end-of-semester party.  The evening sun, although it was setting, cast a warm and perfect golden glow through the trees. The weather was perfect and his backyard was large and inviting for a game of wiffle ball with our professor’s 8- and 10-year-old sons.  Teams were divided and makeshift bases set up around the yard, but between the little ones hiding them from us gullible college students and the too-competitive players sliding into them, they never stayed where they were supposed to be.

After a couple of strikes, my friend Samantha hit the ball with as much enthusiasm as she could muster, and the ball sailed across the yard to the neighbor’s dog, who was chained to a tree and looking for some excitement in his life.  It was an epic home run before the outfielders could wrestle the ball from his happy, salivating mouth.

Once in a great while, I experience brief glimpses of eternity here on earth that I can only describe as eschatological moments. Kingdom moments.

This was one of them.

As I sat on the porch steps with one of my best friends, sharing reflections on the beauty of restored relationship and new creation and watching our classmates laugh and play and interact with the younger kids, I saw it as though a curtain had been pulled back to reveal a new, and fuller, dimension of life.  It was somehow sacred, this seemingly ordinary game of wiffle ball.  It was fun and innocence and life, and it felt vision-like as I saw it through the eyes of eternity.

Our professor’s youngest son shouted at my friend Lincoln, “I’m gonna kill you!,” and everyone laughed at his absurdity.

And then, too, we will laugh at the idea of death because it seems so far from the lush springtime grass and the laughter of innocent banter and play. We will laugh because death has been swallowed up by life. And wiffle ball.

The pure fullness of life is a foretaste of resurrection.

Cheapening Forgiveness

Forgiveness: self-sacrifice, or self-help?

Forgiveness is just as prevalent a topic of discussion in self-help books as it is in Scripture, and in recent years, I think many of us have subscribed to the notion that forgiveness simply means to let go of an offense.  Whether at church or in a counselor’s office, I hear many of the same ideas that forgiveness is about our own emotional health.  One catchy phrase I have often heard is, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” We speak of “letting go” and “being free” and “moving on.” We say that once we forgive, we’re off the hook and it becomes the other person’s problem.  We don’t have to deal with the pain of being wronged.

Recently, though, while I was reading The God I Don’t Understand by Chris Wright, I came across this thought-provoking quote:
“[Forgiveness is] costly, for the offended one who chooses to forgive chooses to bear the pain and cost of the offence rather than hold it against the one being forgiven.”

When I look at the cross of Christ, I see that the quote rings true.  Christ ‘drank the poison’ and willingly died, and throughout eternity, even when all has been made right, His body will still bear the scars of his forgiveness.  He hasn’t forgotten or moved on, and praise God that in His darkest moment of suffering, He NEVER let go of us.  He held the offense close to His heart, and held us closer still.

Sometimes I forget this, when I haughtily decide to ‘move on’ because the person who hurt me ‘isn’t worth my time.’

I’m afraid that I’m guilty of cheapening forgiveness.

When we forgive, a deeply spiritual transaction takes place.  We transfer the hurt of the offense by declaring that the pain the other person deserves to hold in their guilt, we take upon ourselves to hold in our humiliation. We have the power to hold them guilty, or to declare them innocent.  The choice is ours.  Refusing to forgive is possibly the natural and just thing to do, and it continues along the predictable downward spiral of humanity’s fallenness.  Forgiveness, though — forgiveness is the choice to create a new reality, to live in the reality of the Kingdom.

When I speak of forgiveness as a form of emotional therapy, I rob it of any spiritual meaning and power.  When the purpose of forgiveness becomes about the benefits to me rather than about bearing the offense for the sake of another, I have neglected the very heart of forgiveness: namely, the other.

Was forgiveness ever really about my happiness in the first place?

Or do I distort it– do I cheapen it — by making it all about me?

“Forgiveness is costly,” Wright says.  Am I willing to pay its price?

Quotes on Preaching

The following is a selection of quotes collected from Ken Durham, Professor of Preaching at Lipscomb University, collected over the past semester.

Ken_Durham_Preaches

“The preacher’s number one job is to love his or her people.”

“Not all sermons call for baptism or membership — they might call you to praise aloud, or to fall on your knees, or to write your Congressman.”

“If the text doesn’t take you there, think long and hard about arriving at a different destination.”

“Preach a sermon as wide and deep and broad as the gospel itself.”

“If you’re boring people with your preaching, you’re not preaching Scripture right. It’s far too vast and deep for us ever to be bored.”

“If we are to be taken seriously in the pulpit, we must be consistent in everything from ‘I’ll meet you for lunch at 12’ to ‘I’ll pray for you.’ Make a commitment now to be a person of honor, a truth-teller, a promise-keeper.”

“We find the greatest clarity in the face of Christ.”

“Are we willing to let our hearts be broken for the sake of the people we serve?”

“Redemption can be invasive and convicting.”

“The best preaching you will ever do comes out of your own struggle with the Word of God.”

“The best communicator is he or she who turns ears into eyes.”

“Passion is expensive. It’s more than an emotion — it’s a sacrifice, a gift of great value.”

“We are not just called to tell the story. We are called to BE the story.”

Published in: on April 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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Black Eye Pride

The other night while I was at Maggie Moo’s with some of my youth group girls, as I walked to the trash can to throw away my ice cream cup, I noticed a young boy about 8 or 9 sitting at the table with his mom.  One eye was severely swollen and bruised and had a piece of tape covering a nasty cut underneath it that may have had stitches.

“Wow, that’s quite a battle scar you’ve got there!” I said admiringly.

He beamed, the tears that surely accompanied the hit forgotten. “Yep!”

“How did you get it?” I asked.

“I got hit with a baseball!” He squinted up at me, with the one eye nearly swollen shut, the other a bright clear blue, alive with excitement. He dug his spoon into his chocolate ice cream with sprinkles as happy and colorful as he was.

“That’s awesome!” I said. “Did you get a home run?”

He shook his head. “Nope. But I got this!”

And this will probably be far more memorable to him than any home run.

After all, scars sometimes make better stories than successes.

Published in: on April 22, 2014 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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10 Quotes that Changed My Life in 2013

Words are powerful. Sometimes, people say things that sear themselves into your memory, for good or ill. You’ll never forget where you were when they were spoken, or how they made you feel, and you’re a changed person because the depth that they conveyed introduced you to a reality you hadn’t seen before. 2013 was a year of significant growth for me, and I am indebted to those who have shaped me along the way. So without further ado, here are the 10 quotes (and one picture) that changed my life.

“Things will never go back to normal. You’re changed because of the people you’ve met and the things you’ve experienced. There’s a new normal that incorporates all of that and how it’s shaped the way you look at life.”

Specifically, this quote was about the difficulty of moving on with life after a life-changing mission trip. As obvious as it may sound, this was so freeing as I realized I didn’t have to ‘move on’ – that is, I didn’t have to choose between two realities. I could embrace the new and let it make the rest of my life even more amazing. And so far, it has.

“You may not have heard this a lot growing up, but you’re gifted to preach. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.”

If I could point to one life-changing moment in 2013, this is probably it. I can still point to the specific table in Starbucks where I was sitting when these words made my heart skip a beat. Until March of this year, I had never really given much thought to public speaking.  Ironic, then, that it has somehow become one of my most apparent ministry gifts. My knees were shaking as I walked to the podium that Sunday in March – bad combination with six-inch heels – and saw 600 faces looking back at me. And then I found my voice. Sometimes it takes other people to discern a calling for you, and without one man’s faith in my ability, I never would have thought of myself as (what?!) a preacher. To those who have supported, encouraged, and affirmed me along the way – you’ve changed my life.

“We need more people like you in the churches of Christ.”

Me? Church of Christ? I spent the first 3 years of college becoming convinced that those two didn’t fit together. But a fellow misfit — an abstract, artsy youth minister in a tradition of intellectuals who nevertheless believed in belonging — thought differently, offered me a job, and supported me through the growing pains of discovering a unity that transcends uniformity.

“It’s so obvious that God had a purpose in bringing you here.”

We all have those times when we wonder if we’ve actually made a difference – especially when we feel more like we’ve made a mess of things. But God brings beauty from the broken. I was sitting on a wooden bench with my aunt watching an incredible sunset over the water when she spoke these words. Yet, even more affirming than the words themselves may have been the tears that gave voice to my own depth of emotion.

“Find a husband to share life with, because even an independent girl like you will get lonely trying to go it alone. Don’t be in a rush — slow down and enjoy life. When you have a decision to make, ask yourself 2 things: Is it best for you, and will it hurt other people? God’s picked me up and dusted off my britches after too many selfish mistakes. And go out and look at the stars on clear nights, and see which ones are looking back at you.”

This is advice from an 88-year-old WWII veteran who joined the Navy at 15, fought as second loader at Iwo Jima, and came back and started a successful business without a high school education. I figured it would be wise to pay attention.

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A picture is worth a thousand words, right? This picture will always stay with me. Pope Francis looks at a crowd and sees individuals whose pain is very real. Learn to truly see people, and truly love them.

“Take pain and doubt with you as your companions. Say to them, ‘You can come with me if you want, but we’re moving forward.'”

Reid Hillin, Woodmont Hills college minister. He claims to have paraphrased this from another source, but either way, it’s a powerful concept. Let pain shape you and change you, but never control you. Life doesn’t have to be put on hold while you try to figure things out – live wholeheartedly, if imperfectly.

“I see people. They look like trees walking around.”

Mark 8:24. This is a text that I preached on for my Communicating the Gospel class, and this unlikely quote from my good friend Second Touch Blind Guy has changed the way I look at those around me. Do I see others imperfectly, distorted through the lens of my prejudices and cultural biases? Or do I love and appreciate their uniqueness and individuality?

“You know what disgusts me the most about Christianity? Grace.”

This was a little unexpected – and a lot thought-provoking. People have all sorts of pet evangelism methods – as if one size fits all! “Just tell people they’re going to hell without the grace of God!” Well, it changes things up a little when grace itself is the barrier to belief. Maybe evangelism – which simply means sharing good news, and is not at all synonymous with ‘conversion’ – is more about listening and understanding than it is about shoving a pre-packaged philosophy down someone’s throat and expecting them to think the same way you do.

“It would be difficult being with you, but it would be worth it.”

You asked me when I started to change my mind about you. And although I told you I couldn’t pinpoint a specific moment, this might be the closest one. As I recall, you also said that you read my blog posts hoping for a shout-out. Here it is, and I hope you’re reading, because this is about as close as I get to PDA. Thank you for loving me for who I am.

I’ve heard the first part of this quote more times than I can count, but never amended by the second half. It can be difficult for feminists such as myself to find a man who accepts the fact that we will never be domesticated creatures, yet still has his own clearly defined sense of self. These words prove that you are both. They reflect honesty and careful evaluation of the cost as well as a deep appreciation for the return. Although they might not be considered super romantic by some standards, they were to me.

“I love you.”

To anyone who has said this to me over the past year, it never gets old. These words are always life-giving and sustaining, and I could never have made it this far without the genuine love and support of so many people. May this new year be filled with abundant blessings, and may you find beauty in pain as well as joy, in failures as well as successes. Continue to love well, and change the world around you. I love you all.

Published in: on January 1, 2014 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Showing Hospitality…to Yourself

There are seasons of my life in which God teaches me through repetition. This semester, it seemed that every experience, every casual conversation, every class period, indeed every moment, somehow tied into the larger theme of hospitality. From reading Henri Nouwen, to struggling through the awkwardness of hospice visits and learning to be comfortable in discomfort, to receiving the hospitality of others, I have thought and journaled enough about the idea to write a little book on it. Maybe I will one day. But until then, the blog will suffice.

So if I could sum up in a single sentence what I have learned about hospitality, it would be this: Hospitality is an attitude of the heart.

Until we have peace within ourselves which we can extend to others, hospitality is merely a matter of going through the motions – and recipients of this “hospitality” can often sense its shallowness. This is not to say that those who extend this sort of hospitality are insincere in their intentions. Rather, because hospitality by its very nature welcomes, affirms, and eases discomfort, anything less seems forced and awkward. To make others feel at ease, we must cultivate an atmosphere of peace and create an environment in which others feel free to be themselves.

Yet we cannot accomplish this until we are comfortable with who we are and experience peace within ourselves. Thus, the first person to whom we must show hospitality is ourselves.

A while back, I had an eye-opening experience in which I learned to offer grace and show hospitality to myself. I was among a small group of fellow theology majors, and one of my classmates led us through a self-examining meditation. In our imagination, we were to picture a five-year-old child coming to us and sitting on our lap – a five-year-old version of ourselves. What do you say to the child? She gives you a gift – what is it?

My imagination wasn’t working, and I inexplicably became frustrated, even angry. What stupid, cheesy gift would five-year-old me give me? “Heck if I know,” I thought. “This is dumb.”

Yet as another of my classmates shared through her tears how she just wanted to let the little girl know how beautiful she was, it illuminated some very deep feelings inside me.

The reason I couldn’t picture the little girl was because she repulsed me. I didn’t want her there ruining my hard-earned awesomeness with her five-year-old awkwardness that I had tried so hard to put away and forget about. I was ashamed of her and didn’t want to be seen with her. I was angry at her for not being athletic, for not being fashionable, for not being perfect. Forget telling her she’s beautiful — I wanted to shake her by the shoulders and scream at her to get with the program because she had made my life difficult.

A lifetime of built-up resentment came out in a startling, choking sob as I realized that this criticism is something I have always done to myself, as I punish my past self and try to live up to expectations of my tyrannical future self.

For most of my life, these deep underlying insecurities have prevented me from creating a hospitable environment. Acutely aware of my own insufficiencies and punishing myself for every awkward moment, I have fought against them rather than accepting them as a part of me and working with them.

When we as hosts feel tension inside ourselves, some intangible quality of discomfort is keenly felt by all. In addition to creating a negative atmosphere, insecurity with ourselves is self-centered rather than others-centered. When we worry more about how we come across, rather than making our guests feel comfortable, we are neglecting the very core of hospitality.

In the days after the meditation, as I overcame my reactionary pain, I knew what I had to say to my five-year-old self.

I had to tell her I was sorry for the guilt and the blame I had put on her, and the pressure to be perfect that I would never put on anyone else.

But it took me a little longer to recognize the gift she gave me.

My dad has always loved to tell the story of how I, as a little girl with a pure and generous heart, would offer to give away my last piece of candy. That little girl hugged and kissed everyone, even strangers, and wanted to be best friends with everybody – probably even a bitter 21-year-old.

She would accept me, even as I rejected her. The gift that 5-year-old me gave me was one I had never had the courtesy to offer her.

She gave me the gift of hospitality.

Published in: on December 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm  Comments (1)  
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Our Present Salvation: A Practical Understanding of the Gospel

“Salvation is God’s Kingdom as it appears to a broken world.”

Most of the time, we tend to think of our salvation in terms of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and its implications for our eternal destiny. But how does this reality impact our lives now? I began to explore this concept in a brief paper I wrote for my Systematic Biblical Doctrine class. Click on the link below to access the PDF.

Our Present Salvation

Published in: on December 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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