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.

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: 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.

Crossroads: The Love of God

When I was a child, I loved singing the hymn, “I Love to Tell the Story.” I loved telling people about God and this hymn reflects that. As an adult, it is sometimes harder to tell others about God. I am more worried about what they will think of me or how they will react than I was when I was a child.

Crossroads: Our Bighearted God

When I was in preschool, I had a teacher named Miss June. I loved Miss June. She had a really big heart. She was very sweet. But the thing I loved most about her was that she kept me company when everyone else was taking a nap. I had to do a breathing treatment for my asthma every day after lunch.

With All Your Heart

Good counselors ask good questions. The counselor who helped me work through my season of depression once asked me a question that revealed a source of my pain and a path I needed to take toward healing. She asked, “Who knows your whole story?”

Crossroads: We Are Called

When I was in eighth grade, I had a friend who knew about Jesus, but she didn’t have a relationship with him. Even so, she was open to talking about Jesus.

Meditations on Luke: The Depth of Darkness

One the greatest measures of human creativity is our ability to rationalize almost anything. No matter how destructive our actions, no matter how foolish our choices, no matter how selfish our behaviors, no matter how dark our impulses, we can always come up with a good excuse or a reasonable explanation for them.

Crossroads: Sharing Jesus with Others

As a young teenager, I remember telling one of my best friends about Jesus while we were at a slumber party. She was having a hard time and she was crying. Her parents argued a lot and she was worried about what was going to happen.

Crossroads: Pentecost

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the French language. And as soon as I got to high school, I started taking French. Because I went to a private, Catholic school, one of the first things I learned was the Lord’s Prayer in French.

The Reality of the Living Christ

1 Corinthians 15:20-26 What difference does Christ’s resurrection make? Does it matter whether it really happened? Would people all over the world still believe Jesus’ teachings about life and faith if it didn’t? Would they still follow his example? Think about Jesus’ early followers in the aftermath of his death. They are disheartened to the […]

Crossroads: Ascension, A New Chapter

New chapters are exciting, but also a bit scary. Moving to college was an important step for me, and it was part of being able to do things on my own. The disciples face a new chapter of their own that begins in the book of Acts.

Meditations on Luke: Forcing Our Way In

It would be hard to count the gallons of ink that have been spilled over the years trying to interpret verse 16. For one thing, the wording in the original Greek is terse and difficult to translate into an English equivalent. Beyond that, the phrase deals in imagery that is awkward and feels out of place.

Crossroads: Be

It is difficult for me to slow down, relax, and just spend time with God. In fact, I usually measure the success of my days based on how productive I was and the amount of work I got done. Sitting and just “being” doesn’t seem like a great way to find success.

Crossroads: God Is Our Fortress

There have been many times in my life when it seemed like a storm was raging around me. Sometimes it was because there were actual storms happening that came with tornadoes. In those times, I prayed for God to protect me and keep me safe. I prayed for God to calm my fears and remind me that God is always there with me.

Crossroads: The Shepherd

“Don’t talk to strangers.” It’s what my mother told me all the time growing up, and I’m sure it’s what you tell your own children. Strangers aren’t safe because you don’t know them.

Crossroads: Recognizing Jesus

Jesus tends to break into our lives in unexpected ways. Maybe for you, it’s the bully of the school doing something nice for someone else. Maybe it’s the popular kid sitting with an outcast at lunch. However it is, Jesus usually works through surprising people.

Crossroads: Don’t Be Afraid

The disciples were afraid. Jesus had been arrested and killed because of who he was. And the disciples were afraid that they, too, would be arrested and killed because they followed Jesus. So they hid, locking the doors and hoping people would forget about them.

God’s Work in Darkness

In movies and media today, savvy viewers know to look for “Easter eggs.” Reminiscent of the egg hunts we experienced as children, movie directors and software creators offer these Easter eggs as inside jokes.

Crossroads: He Is Risen!

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Easter is such a wonderful time. The dark, somber mourning of Good Friday has passed and in its place is new life, lots of color, and thankful spirits. The best part of our story as Christians is that we are not grave people—we are resurrection people.

Crossroads: Celebrate the Lord!

I loved to make up songs as a child. Most of my songs were songs of praise to God. They were celebrating what God was doing in my life. Sometimes, it’s easy to celebrate what God is doing.

Crossroads: My Shepherd

Most of the time, I associate this Psalm with funerals. I don’t like to read this Psalm because it brings to mind sadness and pain. And yet, this Psalm is all about peace.

Crossroads: Awestruck

Have you ever been awestruck by something? Perhaps a sight that took your breath away? For me, those times come most often when I am standing on top of a mountain, gazing out into the distance at the creation God has formed. Depending on the season, creation is either lush and green, or alive with color, or waiting in the darkness to spring back to life.

Misunderstanding Service

When I read these verses as a young person, I think I misunderstood them. I assumed that serving others rather than being served meant staying out of the limelight, letting others lead, always playing a supporting role.

Crossroads: Guilty

When I was in the first grade, I couldn’t seem to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to tell everyone everything all of the time. So being asked to be quiet wasn’t easy for me. One day we had a fire drill at school and our teacher instructed us to walk quietly outside. Honestly, I tried.

Crossroads: Jesus Is Transformed

I became a Christian when I was seven years old. For as long as I can remember, church has been an important part of my life. I loved going to church as a kid and I loved Jesus (and I still do!).

Crossroads: Anger and Words

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” How many times did we say this to someone growing up? How many times have you heard it before? When I said this as a kid, it was because someone had said something hurtful and mean to me, and I said it to cover up the fact that those words did hurt.

Crossroads: This Little Light of Mine

When we accept Jesus, we become a light for God. Our lives change because of Jesus. When we listen to God, we are kinder to others and we show them how much God loves them. In this way, we are a light. It’s kind of like we’re all walking around with candles.

The Hemorrhaging Woman

This woman in Mark’s story lived for years with a hemorrhagic illness. She had spent all her money on doctors who were unable to heal her condition—a condition which rendered her unclean and therefore a pariah.