September 22, 2017

Do Personality Tests Add Value?

Personality tests are all the rage right now. From the "just for fun" quizzes on Facebook (what color are you? which state should you live in? who's your historical twin?) to the more serious assessments used in the workplace (MBTI, StrengthsFinder) and counselor's office (Love Languages, Birth Order, Enneagram), we are a culture consumed with learning more about ourselves. Is that a bad thing? No. It can be useful, and even necessary, for growth. Do we take it too far? Probably. I tend to roll my eyes at the silly little Facebook quizzes. According to those, my tastes indicate I have a Master's degree, my dog personality is a mastiff, and I'd wear a yellow shirt on the Enterprise [...Read More]


#Read2017 – Literary Adventure in July and August

I finally had some downtime last month, and was able to make some good progress on my #Read2017 challenge by reading -- or completing -- 8 books. Several of them had already been started earlier in the year, so don't think I spent all my time reading the past two months (I wish!). And several of those were fiction, which I always devour rather quickly! I'm almost finished with reading through every category on my list at least once, and am starting to think about challenges for next year. I've been considering a few different ideas, including either a "curiosity" challenge or a "tackle the reading list" challenge. Any suggestions? I'd love to hear what you're interested in reading next [...Read More]


Peace in the Midst of Your Storm

Wildfires raging out of control in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Catastrophic record-breaking flooding in Texas. Severe threats from Irma across Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. How can you find peace when you lift up your eyes and all you see is orange sky and smoke-covered sun? When you wade through chest-high water to find your home of thirty years destroyed beyond repair? When injury and loss capture every waking moment? Life gets turned upside-down and there’s nothing anyone can do to make things right again. No amount of time or money can replace what's been lost. No amount of comfort can fill that emptiness of grief. How can there be peace in the midst of [...Read More]


Have Events Lost Their Significance?

In this social media age, events either get blown out of proportion or glossed over too quickly. The Great American Eclipse was one of those. How many people do you know who decided to watch the eclipse, either online or in person, just because it had been so hyped up by the media and their friends? And of those who watched it, how many got up as soon as it was over and immediately put it out of mind? It was the cool thing to do, so they did it . . . but once it was over, it was time to move on. I think, as Christians, we should have a more thoughtful way of experiencing things - whether we observe them firsthand or merely read about them online. Social media is great for catching the [...Read More]


Let Your Soul Be Stirred to Action

I decided to add a "current events" category in my reading challenge for this year, not because it's something I particularly enjoy, but because I think it's helpful and good to be informed of what's going on in the world at large. I'm not a news junkie, political die-hard, or economics geek; but there's other issues in our world that we need to stay aware of and, as Christians, be praying for on a regular basis. Many of these issues are hard to learn about: human trafficking, race riots, poor treatment of veterans, poverty in third-world countries, girls who aren't allowed to attend school, the abuse of women in terrorist organizations, persecution of Christians, bondage of everyday [...Read More]


Life in the Age of Smartphones

If you're reading this, you're probably old enough to remember life before cell phones. Think back to that time for a moment . . . Remember how quieter things were, how less distracted everyone was, how intentional you had to be to stay in touch with friends or family. Remember the hand-written notes in your mailbox, the hours of visiting quietly on the porch, the curiosity about other's life-events, and the satisfying hard work of searching for answers by making actual conversation with people in front you. Do we romanticize those pre-cell-phone days? Sure, to some extent. But there were aspects of life that we can never go back to, so in a way -- it's worth romanticizing a [...Read More]


#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in May & June

May and June were busy months, especially with several weeks taken up with preparing for and then helping with our church's annual VBS. In fact, I was running on reserves the last few weeks, and didn't do much reading at all in the latter half of June. But I did manage to complete 7 books for the #Read2017 challenge, including two that I'd been working through for a few months prior (What's Best Next and 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You), both of which called for frequent personal response, either through applicatory "homework" or simply careful consideration and prayer. But they were both well worth the time -- as well as the loss of reading anything else during those hours! I also [...Read More]


For When You Feel Like A Failure

Do you ever feel like a failure? Or get upset because you don't live up to your own expectations of what you should be able to accomplish? Last week, we had VBS at our church. There was a girl who needed to talk about something, and my tongue tied itself up terribly. I just couldn't get started with the conversation! Now, it might have had something to do with the fact that I'd just been pulled from doing crafts with the younger kids, and she was an older kid who had just come from lesson time. Plus, she's a kid who doesn't say much. I had no idea what she'd heard during the lesson, she had no idea how to explain what she wanted, and I just stumbled around trying to get the conversation [...Read More]


God’s Strength Is Enough for You

A lot of people can quote the first half of 2 Corinthians 12:9, but I’m not sure how many actually understand the power and strength imparted in its fourteen words of divine promise. I didn’t, until I actually lived it for myself. I didn’t really understand until I’d been diagnosed with a life-altering illness. Until I had absolutely no more spoons. Until I was called to spend more than I had of energy, strength, and life. We probably all know the back story of this great promise. God had graciously chosen to allow the Apostle Paul to suffer some sort of chronic physical affliction, from which he desperately sought deliverance. Have you ever been there? Have you ever been to that [...Read More]


A Testimony of God’s Faithfulness

One of my earliest memories is of the day I was forever adopted into God’s family. I was three years old, and my mom and I had just left a midweek Bible study at someone’s home. While the adults met in one room, the other kids and I enjoyed some play time, snacks, and a brief Bible lesson. I don’t remember who taught us, but I’ll be forever grateful for their willingness to serve! As we left that day, I was overcome with curiosity about the process of salvation.I remember sitting in the front seat of the car (that was before airbags and mandatory back-seat riding for children), and asking my mom how it worked—how a person could “get saved.” She talked me through acknowledging my [...Read More]