Crossroads: Friends

I was at school when I got the call that she was gone, and a friend of mine found me crying in the hallway. He comforted me and then we went our separate ways.

Crossroads: Staying Connected

I have always loved wisteria. I know that it’s a parasite, but it has always been beautiful to me. One of my favorite parts of driving to my grandparents’ house as a kid was driving past the beautiful wisteria growing in a patch of trees.

Crossroads: Compassion

How do you show compassion for others? Did you help others when you were a child, or is it something you have started recently?

Crossroads: A Blank Slate

It’s no secret that I loved school as a child. One of my favorite parts about going back to school was buying school supplies. Even if I had pens and pencils at home, I wanted new ones for school.

A Dark Day of Rest

The disciples, the women who had been following Jesus, and the other followers of Christ rested on the Sabbath. Joseph of Arimathea had taken Jesus’ body on that Friday and placed him in a tomb.

Crossroads: I Doubt It

When I was a child, we always played a game called “I doubt it” when we went on vacation. It was a card game and the point was to be the person who got rid of all of their cards first.

A Quiet Life: Living at Peace with One’s Self

One great embarrassment of Christians is that we talk so much and so loudly. Interviews and conversations of all kinds often remind us of a pride of lions feeding, snapping and snarling, each lunging in for a moment and then getting shoved aside by others.

What Makes for Peace

They are having so much fun as Jesus enters Jerusalem. The mood is celebratory. Then all of a sudden, everything changes.

Crossroads: Good Friday, A World in Ruins

Have you ever had a week start off well, but by the end of it all hope seems lost? Terrible things happen all at once, and you just aren’t sure how you’re going to make it another hour, let alone another day.

Crossroads: How Should We Live?

I loved going to church as a child. I loved Sunday school, VBS, choir, worship, and everything else I went to. I wanted to be there every time the doors were open. In fact, there was one Sunday morning that I woke up late and ran into the living room to ask my mom why she hadn’t woken me up for church.

Do Not Resist an Evil Person

How do you respond to someone who does not behave as a Christian ought to behave, whether they are or are not a fellow Christian? The easy answer is to quote Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount, “turn the other cheek.”

Crossroads: Why Did Jesus Come?

“God so loved the world…” you can probably say the rest. We learn that verse and remember how much God loves us. Why did Jesus come? Jesus came because God loved the world so much that God couldn’t sit by and watch us move farther and farther away from God.

Angry

The chances that we will murder somebody are thankfully slim. The chances that we will get angry enough at someone to want them dead…

Two Sons

Like the father in Jesus’ story, I have two sons. But unlike the sons in his story, my children could not pay for much dissolute living with their inheritance.

Crossroads: Why Do We Have Rules?

When I was in first grade, we had a fire drill. Our teacher told us we needed to be quiet as we walked outside. Well, when I was in first grade, I had a hard time being quiet. I talked all the time. And so, I wasn’t quiet during the fire drill.

Restorative Forgiveness, a Lenten Devotion

The second grade Sunday school class was visiting in the home of the pastor and his wife. The teacher had issued a strong warning to be careful in Reverend and Mrs. Cline’s home.

Crossroads: Why Are There Rainbows?

As a child, I always loved rainbows. I loved drawing them, and I really loved seeing them in the sky. There was something about all those different colors coming together after the rain that made me smile. As an adult, I still like rainbows.

Honesty: Believing There Are No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

This verse is about a merchant weighing out a customer’s goods. When the customer pays for a gallon or for a pound, the Lord demands a gallon delivered, or a pound, and not a drop or a hair less. Don’t even begin to walk down a dishonest path. But the command is about much more than buying and selling; it’s about honesty and truthfulness.

Crossroads: Praise the Lord!

As I write this, my family is getting ready to remember several losses in our family. On January 25th, we lost my great-grandmother (my mom’s grandmother) and my aunt (my dad’s sister), two years apart.

Crossroads: God Is Our Refuge

I was terrified of thunderstorms as a child. The thunder would get so loud that I just knew something bad would happen to me.

Crossroads: Wonderfully Made

As a teenager, I didn’t always feel pretty or worthwhile. There were many times when I doubted myself, particularly as a middle schooler. I had braces and I had to get glasses in middle school, and it was an awkward time.

Crossroads: Being Creative

As a child, I loved making up songs. I’d make up the tune as well as the words and sing these songs to myself as I played. Occasionally I even wrote the words down.

Crossroads: The Light Has Come

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” “You’re almost there!” “Blue skies are coming.” We use a lot of phrases to talk about how the light is coming.

Crossroads: The Waiting Is Over!

Luke 2:22-40 Your Story Talk to your children about when they joined your family. Tell them how you felt as you first met them, when the wait was finally over. My Story and the Bible Story One Christmas as a child, I really wanted a toy called “GoGo My Walkin’ Pup.” She walked and barked, […]

Crossroads: Jesus is Here

I confess that I have a favorite Christmas story. I love Luke’s story of Christmas. This is the Christmas story that my family read every Christmas Eve.

Crossroads: Love

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel loved by God. I grew up in the church, and I remember standing on top of the pew and sharing the hymnal with my mother.

Crossroads: Joy

I have a friend named Joy (she’s one of the 8-year-olds at church), and her name suits her personality. She always has a smile on her face and a radiant attitude.

Crossroads: Hope

I saw the Star Wars movies much later than many others. I was in my early twenties before I watched any of them, but when I did, I found a familiar story: of hope.

Crossroads: For the Least of These

My youth group went to serve lunch at a homeless shelter when I was a teenager. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wanted to help. We began by helping prepare the food and by making sandwiches for the people to take with them when they left.

Crossroads: Using What God Gives You

I’m a good organizer and I like to plan events, but I didn’t realize how these gifts would help me in ministry. I had planned on being an accountant, but God had other plans for me.

Crossroads: Tell Me the Story

I grew up in church. For as far back as I can remember, I had Sunday school teachers telling me about Jesus and how much God loves us. My preacher knew who I was and he told me about Jesus too. My mom told me about Jesus and my grandparents told me about Jesus. I knew that I was surrounded by God’s love.

Crossroads: Blessed Are You

Every time I read the Beatitudes, I think about Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa spent her life caring for the poor and forgotten. She showed mercy to those who seemed unlovable, and she did her best to bring about peace.

Crossroads: What Is the Greatest Commandment?

As a rule follower, I also want to know the order of the rules. Which rules are most important? Are there rules that we can actually ignore? Which is the rule we absolutely must follow?

Crossroads: Who Goes with Us?

My grandfather fought in the Korean War. In fact, he almost died in that war. In the few times that he ever talked about it, he told us that after he had been wounded, when he thought he was dying, he saw an angel.

Satisfaction: A Meditation for Teachers

Concluding a school day is a lot like finishing a meal—you know immediately whether or not you feel satisfied. When the day is over and we close and lock our door, we know immediately whether we feel full or empty.

Crossroads: How Should We Live?

I am a worrier by nature. I worry about all kinds of things. I worry about my family and my friends. I worry about safety. I worry about whether an event is going to turn out well and if people are going to show up. I even worry about other people’s problems!

Crossroads: Being the Best

One semester in college, I asked my professor what I got on my final exam. He said something like a 94, and I asked what questions I missed. I’ll never forget his response: “Why does it matter? You got an A.”

Crossroads: Our Attitude

I loved school. When I was a kid, I loved everything about school. And I loved good grades. I wanted to be the best. But here’s the thing: there was always someone better than me. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, there was always that one person who was smarter.

Crossroads: That’s Not Fair!

“That’s not fair!” Growing up with a younger sister sometimes meant that I said “that’s not fair” a good bit. There were times when she got to do things much earlier than I had gotten to do them, or she got her way when I really wanted mine.

Light and Scent

As my pastor mounted the steps to the pulpit to preach about Mary Magdalene anointing Jesus’ feet with perfume (Jn 12:1-8), he paused to light several sticks of incense.

Crossroads: God Always Finds a Way

Looking back and seeing God’s fingerprints in your life is a lot easier than seeing them in the moment. There are times in my life when things seemed impossible. When I was upset and hurting in the 6th grade when our church fell apart, it seemed impossible that I would ever be happy again.

Crossroads: Paying Attention

Moses could’ve easily walked on by. After all, a burning bush probably wasn’t that unusual. But when Moses looked at it, he noticed something. The bush was burning but it wasn’t burning up. So he went over and the Lord spoke to him. Moses was paying attention.

Crossroads: God’s Love Is Eternal

David’s psalm is a great reminder that God’s love never fails. God never quits on us. God sees and knows everything about us and still loves us. And when people hear what God has to say, they will sing about the glory of God. Their response will be one full of thanks.

Proof of Their Love

John W. Hammes was a tinkerer and inventor. This Wisconsin architect and contractor enjoyed using his basement workshop to bring to life his ideas for making household chores more convenient.

Crossroads: Standing Up for Others

Joseph was the favorite son and it seems like he liked to tell on his brothers. So Joseph was a tattletale and the favorite, and his brothers hated him for it. They hated him so much that they plotted to kill him. But Reuben knew how much Joseph meant to his father, and so he stood up for him. Kind of.

Crossroads: Don’t Give Up

I love learning different languages. I took French for seven years in high school and college and I absolutely loved it. I knew what I was doing and I was good at it.

Crossroads: What Do You Want?

As a child, I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be famous. I can carry a tune, but I’m not a great singer. But I loved to write songs. A lot of the songs I wrote were about God. I loved to dress up and sing my songs. As I grew up, I stopped writing songs and started grading papers.

Crossroads: God Sees It All

As a child, my mom always knew everything I did. (At least it felt that way!) I talked during a fire drill when I was in the first grade, which was a big no-no. I got in trouble at school, and when I got home that day, my mom asked me about school. She asked me if anything had happened and I said no.