Move over, Barney Fife

My big, beefy imagination is usually overkill for most of the tasks requiring creativity in my life. But that inner world becomes a whimpering Barney Fife when it comes to one really important area. I can not comprehend how God can transform the church from a weary, jaded and frequently unfaithful renegade with a kaleidoscope of personalities and terrible habits into a pure, innocent partner with eyes only for the Son.But that is Scripture’s story. The author of that story tells us that he s … [Read more...]

Link by link

I have been witness to some pretty explosive displays of spiritual freedom over the years. During our time in fundamentalist churches, the fireworks came most often when someone reported an instantaneous deliverance from tobacco addiction. While attending charismatic congregations, I saw that the signs and wonders demonstrating God's supernatural liberation came in lots of shapes and sizes: physical and emotional healings, freedom from spiritual oppression and all kinds of addictions, and the … [Read more...]

Nothing new under the sun

Copyright 1931. Found in a used bookstore in Franklin, TN.  … [Read more...]

Get up and keep skating

Life lesson learned: If you are a Birkenstock girl, you should not slide on a pair of high heels right before you stand up in your friend's wedding. You need to practice walking in them for days - weeks, even - before the big event.I learned this lesson the hard way. Literally. I slipped and fell on my kiester on the shiny marble chancel  in front of 150 people or so, right in the middle of my friend Nancy's wedding ceremony. The moment was captured for posterity on video. Thankfully, the … [Read more...]

Review: A Good And Perfect Gift

Eight years ago, my husband's brother called to tell us that his fourth child had been born. The newest little Van Loon had Down Syndrome. My prayers for the family were born out of what I imagined that parents Dan and Maribeth were experiencing: the joy of getting to know the gift of their son was blended with unpredictable doses of shock, grief and concern for his physical health as he had a heart defect typical of the syndrome. They were experienced parents and people of deep faith, but they … [Read more...]

Shelf time – Part 2

Have you ever been shelved after a period of active ministry? Click here to read my post from earlier this week discussing some of the reasons this may happen.How can God's kingdom be advanced if I am sitting "useless" on the shelf?I hope you can hear the out-of-bounds pride at the root of that question. During my own shelf time, I will confess that I entertained thoughts like this. As if God was depending on me to save the world!Besides exposing my pride in what I could accomplish for God … [Read more...]

Have you ever been shelved?

A friend who'd been a women's ministry leader in her former church told me sadly that there was no place for her in her new church. "God used and developed my leadership gifts at our old church, but they told me nicely they don't need another women's ministry leader-type at our new church. I feel like I've been shelved."Is she being a whiner? Prematurely seeking a position of power in this new congregation? Could she be grieving her relocation and missing her friends from her former … [Read more...]