Posts tagged with: Matthew

A woman sitting on the ground in the middle of a foggy forest.

iForgive: What is Forgiveness?

Miraculous! That was the most fitting word that I could use to describe what had just happened to me. I had literally just finished my prayer time and had asked God for insight on what forgiveness was. Journeying back to my tent, I was approached by a stranger who gave me her brand-new Bible, and in its cover was a pamphlet on forgiveness. No one had been miraculously healed from a physical malady, but nonetheless, this felt like my “money out of the mouth of a fish” moment.

Read Article
Children playing in a park.

Wonder, Joy, Optimism, Laughter, and Love

Meanwhile our little friend kept running around the house. And then, he started screaming, because why not scream in an empty house that has an epic echo, right? The running and screaming got our attention. We stopped talking and watched him. The more I watched the more I laughed. “Man!” I thought to myself, “kids sure know how to have fun!” Then I remembered I was in my own empty house and what rules were there against running around in circles while screaming in your own house? None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Read Article
A Bible on a lakeshore.

iForgive: Introduction

“Well how do I forgive anyway!?” I said aloud. I was off a lake in Zambia, talking to God during my devotion time. My tone was slightly annoyed, almost in contradiction to the serene environment of my morning meditation. My prayer time had been going smoothly, up until the point when the Lord began to uncover instances in my life that warranted forgiveness… “You’re going to have to show me what forgiveness is!” I demanded out of frustration.

Read Article
A father reading a picture book to his child.

Becoming a Better Storyteller

Why do stories captivate kids so much? Here’s something to consider: Have adults somehow wrongly categorized storytelling as “kid stuff”? Isn’t it true that we never hear the local library advertising story time for adults? And yet storytelling continues to be a significant part of our lives as we read books, watch movies, stream Ted Talks, and follow our favorite Instagram influencers. Perhaps, in our work, we are storytellers by trade…

Read Article
A man sitting at a typewriter in the middle of a busy street.

Revolutionary Communicator: Storytelling

Jesus was committed to using various forms of storytelling during his three-year ministry. Storytelling is just as important today as it was for Jesus’s listeners… If we want to follow Jesus and be good storytellers, it means much more than being good verbal communicators. We have the opportunity to be good storytellers in our spoken, written, visual, and various digital communication media that we regularly use.

Read Article
Friends sitting in the middle of a shopping excursion.


Tasha sat slumped on the bench in the corner of the fitting room. Tears formed and spilled over into her lap, just like the rain outside. Tasha’s friend (she can be Nikki) said, “But we’re getting through this. We are doing this together.”

Read Article
A man, bent over low, sitting at a railway station.

Literal Hell

I received my first prescription for anxiety and depression ten years ago. It was Lexapro. I had been to therapy, and it helped. But the tape still kept playing in my head. When I was growing up, I knew mental illness was a thing, but no one called it that. Touched. A little off. Crazy. Loony. These are the words I heard. The adults in my life inferred that the right amount of faith would cure it, if you were looking for a cure. But mostly, some people were crazy… and others weren’t.

Read Article
A baby laid down, wrapped in simple cloth.

Christmas Hope

The pain and trauma of this world are not unfamiliar to the Christmas story… Baby Jesus was entering a battle zone full of oppression, sickness, and death—not a world filled with mistletoe, gingerbread houses, and holiday parties. Jesus came, in the midst of all this, to eradicate death, free the oppressed, and fill us with unspeakable joy. This is the fullness of what it means to “save his people from their sins.”

Read Article
Moses and the Burning Bush, 1966. By Marc Chagall.

Good Leaders Gone Bad: Recovering Leaders

Jesus startles with his vision of human leadership. It’s hard to imagine leadership more radically different from what people have envisioned or practiced throughout human history. In a world where “the greatest among you will be the greatest among you,” Jesus teaches that “the greatest among you will be your servant.”

Read Article
Moses and the Burning Bush, 1966. By Marc Chagall.

Good Leaders Gone Bad: Prestige, Perks, and the Problem of Glory

Whether we like it or not, being a leader brings recognition. Like success itself, recognition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Still, it’s easy to fall in love with both. It’s difficult to hold leadership, particularly its successes and rewards, lightly.

Read Article
Narcissus, oil on canvas. Caravaggio (1595). Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Roma.

Good Leaders Gone Bad: Show or Substance?

Leadership that focuses on merely external results leads to personal and institutional self-absorption. Progressively, we become less interested in the people and communities we are called to serve… We become less concerned about whether what we are doing is good, and more concerned about whether what we are doing is great.

Read Article
The Crossing of the Red Sea by Cosimo Rosselli, Public Domain.

Good Leaders Gone Bad: Slavery or Freedom?

In my experience, good leaders have high expectations. That’s true not only in entrepreneurial settings or established for-profit businesses, but also in thriving non-profits and churches. Still, a high commitment leadership culture can come at a price… So what underlies the turn from good leadership to bad in the area of high expectations? Where do we cross over from legitimately expecting much of ourselves and others to placing “heavy, cumbersome loads” on them?

Read Article
Sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo.

Good Leaders Gone Bad: Introduction

What causes good leaders to go bad? How do people who take God seriously, sometimes with the best of intentions (sometimes not), cause damage to the organizations they lead? What might Jesus’s teachings in his day have to say to us in our day about the critical ways in which we as leaders come to “behave badly”? And, perhaps most importantly, what is Jesus’s remedy?

Read Article
A person kicking delightedly at the tide on a beach.

Finding Your Way to a Peaceful Heart

Jesus taught that the Sabbath was given to us as a gift. As often as we observe Sabbath—whether once a week, a few times a day, or on the occasional three-day weekend—we say “yes” to God for the gift of rest.

Read Article
Multiple doors that all seem the same representing tough decision making.

The Oxymoron of Leadership

In yesterday’s devotion we considered the apparent oxymorons of a “crucified Messiah” and a “doubting disciple”. Leaders who find appropriate ways to share their doubts help their followers understand that Jesus won’t reject us for doubt alone. Today, I want to talk about another apparent oxymoron.

Read Article