When God Burns Down Your House

Tragedy is a part of living in a broken world. More than a part, it’s inevitable. When tragedy strikes, our first question is, Why? Whether or not we get an answer, we quickly must ask a second, and perhaps even more important question, How do I deal with this? Think of a tragedy in your life recently. How did you deal with it? Perhaps you dismissed it, chalked it up to bad luck, stuffed your feelings, or even blamed someone (maybe yourself). Maybe you blamed God. And got angry with him. Anne Bradstreet’s poem Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 10th, 1666 teaches us how … Continue reading When God Burns Down Your House

Five Reasons We Want to Be Foster Parents

My wife wrote earlier this week that we are starting the process to become foster parents. She said, “We are both well aware of the children out there who are abused and neglected, and in need of good, loving homes who can teach them about Jesus as well as care for and protect their little hearts and minds.” I love this woman, and I love her passion for Jesus and the “least of these” in our city and world. Why would a husband and wife in their mid to upper 20s, with a two-and-a-half month old daughter want to be … Continue reading Five Reasons We Want to Be Foster Parents

6 Ways to Be Middle Class and Mission-Minded

Here are six straightforward ideas to challenge middle (and upper) class Americans to reject opulence and excess while building the kingdom of God: Keep your high paying job and give the majority of your income away by living in a small house (not every kid deserves their own room) and driving modest cars (Chevy gets you there just as well as Lexus). Use your vacation time to go on a short term mission trip with your church or missions organization. Host international students from the local college or university during weekends or holidays. Start or join an urban ministry reaching … Continue reading 6 Ways to Be Middle Class and Mission-Minded

Stop telling me how to be better. Tell me to live like I’m new.

“This stuff seems so easy to remember and do.”  That was what a friend of mine said during a men’s time before church a couple Sundays ago.  He, of course, is single (which is not a crime, mind you).  He was referring to what we had just learned from a sermon on DVD about being a godly husband.  I was sitting to his left and a tad behind his periphery.  As he went on, I was shaking my head. One of our pastors, who leads the time, was smiling. He said, “James is saying, ‘NO WAY.’”  “You have no idea,” … Continue reading Stop telling me how to be better. Tell me to live like I’m new.

Happy Holiday, I’ll be Back in a Few Weeks

For the next three weeks I’ll be on holiday (as my South African friends would say).  Later tonight, I’ll start a 36-hour journey back to Nebraska. Carly and I will get to spend some much-desired time together.  I’m super pumped about this, if you couldn’t guess.  We haven’t seen each other since January 6.  It has been a hard, yet joyous 5+ months apart, and such a learning experience.  It’s going to be a delight to see her.  Also, my sister gets married on June 27, and I am the best man in my friend Matt Meschke’s wedding on July … Continue reading Happy Holiday, I’ll be Back in a Few Weeks