Throughout my years of being a Christian, I’ve attended thousands of worship services. I’ve listened to sound and engaging preaching, endured a fair number of confusing sermons, sung countless songs, and watched the behavior of fellow Christians. I am ashamed to admit there are more than a few services from which I leave saying, “I got nothing out of it.” I frequently blamed the preaching, the song leading, the members nodding off, my own exhaustion, the failure of others to acknowledge my existence, but rarely did I do the thing that really needed to be done. Instead of saying, “I got nothing out of it, I should have been asking, “What did I put into it?” When we feel like we are leaving worship “unfulfilled,” it’s time ask ourselves some hard questions.
Note from Elihu: I'm sure many of you have already made your goals, but if you're like me, the goals get re-evaluated frequently. This post applies to any time we make plans or goals or even dream dreams. I hope your year is off to a lovely start! May God bless you with grace and… Continue reading The One Thing You Need to Do Before You Set New Year’s Resolutions
On this New Year’s Day, we begin a new trip around the sun, full of expectations, hopes, and goals. Is one of your goals to draw nearer to God? He longs for each of us to know Him more, to trust Him more, to love Him more. Success comes from joining our small efforts with His great will. It comes as we study His word daily, call on Him daily (sometimes hourly!) and trust Him even when nothing makes sense.
In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church, there’s been plenty of blame and finger-pointing. There’s also been something else: People mocking those praying for the situation. This derisive attitude toward prayer is nothing new, but it may stir up doubts as to the effectiveness of prayer or the power of… Continue reading For Those Questioning the Effectiveness of Prayer after the Sutherland Springs Shooting
The sink is overflowing with dishes and more have migrated to the countertops. Piles of laundry wait expectantly to be washed, folded or put away. Your kids seem to think that their outdoor behavior works indoors. Suddenly, you hear glass shatter nearby as the dog's tail makes contact with a vase. The phone is pinging.… Continue reading When You’re On Sensory Overload
So many families have no choice but to be dual-income. With the cost of living rising faster than wages and divorce rates elevated, many parents are unable to volunteer in their kids' classes. Some parents have to put their kids into after-school care with people they don't know all that well. Homeschool parents also get overwhelmed, particularly if they have children with developmental, physical or behavioral disorders. Grandparents, retired from full-time work, can play a valuable role in the lives of their grandchildren while providing some much needed help for their children.
Teachers and cops have something in common: a negative perception of the whole is based on the actions of a few. I've known many teachers and many cops, and just like any profession, there will always be a few bad apples. The persistent degradation of good teachers based on the poor performance of a few… Continue reading Prayers for Teachers
As we press through August and into the fall, we will see frequent signs that school is back in session. Gradually, a few parents will develop a worry line or two. Homeschool moms may find themselves sobbing as perfect lesson plans implode in the face of another autistic episode. Another mom may be quietly sobbing in an empty room as their youngest child moves three or three hundred miles away from home in pursuit of a college degree. A dad may be getting stomach ulcers worrying about the safety of his daughter around all those teenage boys. On top of all the back-to-school changes, these parents are still facing life with all it's pressures and frustrations. Are we sensitive to their needs? Are we reaching out to be supportive? Encouraging? Helpful?
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5.16-18, ESV Raising kids isn't for the faint-hearted. Educating them is no cake walk either. In the run-of-the-mill routine of life, we can slip into two traps: putting our parenting… Continue reading School-Time Prayers
Dear Heavenly Father, I approach your throne of grace with joy this morning as I prepare to worship you today. You are worthy of all glory, honor, and praise. You are my creator. You have given me purpose. You have redeemed me through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. You demonstrate perfect justice, and… Continue reading A Prayer Before Worship