A Christmas Poem, “Hands”

Hands Open on your mother’s chest or after a bellowing belch. Taut when you’re tired. Slurp slurp, tick tick, your tongue tackles each knuckle and cuticle. Somehow that helps you fade away to never-never-land. Mine are calloused, crusty, tired. Splinters are their wages. Blue veins bursting. Palm lines peeling. Bleeding. Grab the balm and bandage. I’ll too visit never-never-land soon, only after watching you there now. For a moment I remember the memories we will make. Brush and comb. Throw and catch. Shave and wash. Swing and saw. Eat and write. Push and pull. Mine will train yours? That baffles … Continue reading A Christmas Poem, “Hands”

We Are Going to Be Foster Parents

Six years ago this spring I interviewed to be a child protective services investigator for the State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. I knew next-to-nothing about the job or the field. It had only been three months since I entered the child welfare world, working for a private human services agency tracking youth on house arrest and supervising visits with parents and children who had been removed from the home. In God’s wisdom, however, I got the job. With Nebraska DHHS, I investigated child abuse and neglect allegations. When I tell people this, most of them cringe, close their eyes, stay silent, or say, … Continue reading We Are Going to Be Foster Parents

Calvin on Abortion

From John Calvin’s Commentary on the Last Four Books of Moses: For the fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light. Continue reading Calvin on Abortion

Everyday Talk, Everyday Discipleship

My wife and I live with two non-Christians, and a third is moving in this fall. These people don’t know much about Jesus. Their affection for Jesus is, practically, non-existent. When we talk about Jesus or pray or sing, they do not fall on their faces confessing their sin and praying for God’s Spirit to rain down mercy on them. Still, we’ve welcomed them as genuine members of our family. There are good days and bad days, but we love these people. Their journey to Jesus is a process. They have stony hearts and rebellious wills hell-bent on seeking their … Continue reading Everyday Talk, Everyday Discipleship

Making the Most of the Mealtime Prayer

In our home, spiritual formation and instruction happens “along the way.” We have a three-and-a-half year old and a 20-month old. Our oldest is not quite old enough for a formal “family worship” time. Yet she is old enough to comprehend some spiritual disciplines, particularly prayer. Our youngest even sometimes has the awareness to stop what she is doing to pray with us. In our home, we pray all the time. We pray spontaneously for needs that arise in our family or in others. We pray on our way to worship with God’s people. We pray at bedtime. We pray when there are meltdowns. … Continue reading Making the Most of the Mealtime Prayer

Quiet Time Confessions of a Pastor-Dad

What you see to the left is a picture of my nine month old daughter Hope and me from an early morning a couple weeks ago. This is characteristic of my morning “quiet time” (what I refer to as “personal worship”–I’ll use the terms interchangeably here). More often than not, early in the morning, I settle down with a Bible, a notebook, and a squirmy, noisy, giggly, grunty baby girl on my lap. I’m a pastor, but I’m mainly a dad, so that means my personal worship times look less like the shekhinah glory and more like grabbing fingers, laughs and … Continue reading Quiet Time Confessions of a Pastor-Dad