Take a Step Back

Prayer is not a question and answer session, an exchange of whys for how this is all going to work out. Prayer is not God’s tell-all. It is not the time to corner God in our prayer closet and demand an explanation.

Crossroads: God Makes Beautiful Things

I’m very clumsy. And sometimes I break things. There have been times when I have broken dishes as I washed them. Usually, when I break something, I have to throw it away.

Seasons for Everything

Before my grandfather’s funeral, I struggled for time to absorb his absence and grieve. We had logistics to handle, relatives to entertain, strangers to greet, and my grandmother to keep company.

Crossroads: Entertaining Strangers

Have you ever helped someone you didn’t know? Or has someone come into your life at just the right time and it felt like they were sent from God? Pick one of these times to talk about with your family.

Crossroads: By Faith, pt 2

Tell your family’s story of faith. If your ancestors were immigrants, your family faith story may begin with something like “by faith my great-great-great grandparents left the home and land they knew and came to America in search of a better life.”

Crossroads: By Faith, pt 1

As Christians, we believe in what we cannot see. We cannot see God, but we know He is there. But believing in God and becoming a Christian makes a take a leap of faith; because we cannot see God but we believe anyway. We have faith in a lot of things.

Say What?

When God knows it all and none of it makes sense to you, what do you pray? How do you respond when the posture of prayer doesn’t feel right?

Crossroads: Greed

As an only child for seven years, there have been times in my life when I wasn’t great at sharing. Even now, I want to make sure someone is going to take really good care of my stuff before I let them borrow anything.

Crossroads: Prayer

When I was ten, my father asked me where I wanted to go on vacation for my 13th birthday. Turning 13 was a big deal, and so I got to pick our vacation spot. So I thought of the craziest place I could think of, sure that we wouldn’t get to go.

Crossroads: Being Busy

I like to be busy. If I’m watching TV or even a movie, I want to also being doing something else so that I don’t feel like I’m wasting time. So when I watch a movie or TV show at home, I also find myself looking at Facebook, my email, or even playing an online game like Candy Crush.

Crossroads: The Good Samaritan

As a young teenager, I went with my youth group to a soup kitchen one Saturday morning to feed the homeless. Several of my friends were going, and I wanted to have fun with my friends.

Crossroads: But That’s Too Easy!

There are times when things seem too good to be true. Maybe it’s a test that you thought was going to be really hard but it was super easy. Maybe you hurt someone else and you feel guilty, and in order for them to forgive you, they ask you to do something that turns out to be really easy.

Justice, Kindness, Humility

One morning in my eighth grade social studies class, the teacher said, “The world is one-third Christian, twenty percent Muslim, and thirteen percent Hindu.” We thought that was the goofiest thing we had ever heard. Where I grew up in Mississippi, there were four religions—Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and heathen.

Crossroads: We Are Free

When I think of Jesus, I think of freedom. I think of the freedom grace gives us, the freedom to be ourselves, the freedom to be human, the freedom to mess up sometimes (because we are human).

Crossroads: Don’t Give Up!

When we were kids, my sister hated school. She didn’t want to do her homework or study, and so there were a lot of times when she didn’t understand things. But when she was in Middle School, she had a really hard time with math.

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.

Crossroads: Ascension

When I went away to college, I only moved to the other side of town. But even though I was still in the same town, my mother still had to leave me at Mercer. After we finished getting my stuff unpacked, there came a time when she had to go and I had to stay. She gave me a big hug and left me.

Pray Tell

American philosopher William James said of prayer, “Many reasons have been given why we should not pray, whilst others are given why we should. But in all this very little is said of the reason why we do pray.

Crossroads: My Shepherd

Most of the time, I associate this well-known psalm with funerals. I don’t like to read it because it brings to mind sadness and pain. And yet, this psalm is all about peace. It is also about being treasured.

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: Seeing Is Believing

Has something ever seemed too good to be true? Was it? Talk about a time when you didn’t believe something someone said until they showed you proof. Why didn’t you believe? Did the proof change your thinking?

Praise, a Lenten Devotion

I recently attended a session of my son’s Science Explorers club. The children were learning about rocks. Who knew there were so many different kinds of rocks?

Crossroads: Palm Sunday

I wonder if Jesus felt that odd mixture of anticipation and disappointment when he entered Jerusalem. He enters Jerusalem triumphantly, riding on a donkey, with people spreading out their cloaks on the road and others waving branches in the air, shouting, “Hosanna!”

The Praying Type

“I’m not the praying type.” This is what it boils down to when I ask some people about talking to God. These persons talk about prayer as if it is not for them.

The Bell Lap, a Lenten Devotion

In long-distance swimming, the last two lengths of the pool are called “the bell lap.” When swimmers reach the final 2 lengths of the pool in competitions, an official rings a bell.

Crossroads: The Lord Has Done Great Things

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” There are many times I can name when God has done great things for me. When I was in the sixth grade and I didn’t have any friends, God sent me a friend named Jessica.

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: Guilt and Forgiveness

When you do something wrong, the first thing you do is to try to cover it up. Maybe it’s breaking something you weren’t supposed to play with. You hide it under a sofa cushion and try to act like nothing ever happened.

Bear Fruit, a Lenten Devotion

“This is your last chance—1, 2, 3!” How many times have I shouted those words in order to correct my disobedient children?

Crossroads: Thirst

We went to camp one summer in the middle of July in the middle of Alabama. And man was it hot! The heat index was about 100 degrees every day.

God’s Grace in Change

We just finished cleaning out my grandmother’s house. Granny is 82 years old and has moved to my aunt’s house, ten hours away, because she can’t live by herself anymore.

A Fox and a Hen, a Lenten Devotion

Spending time on my grandparents’ farm in the summer was the highlight of my young life. My Granny and I would rise each morning and head to the chicken house to gather fresh eggs for breakfast. I learned to reach under the hens and remove 2 or 3 eggs, with great excitement!

Crossroads: Waiting on the Lord

I find myself anxious a good bit of the time. I worry about what will happen, whether or not something will actually occur, and if things will turn out okay. It seems like Psalm 27 was written for worriers.

Pray Like God Is Listening

“I don’t know what to say or where to begin.” This is a frequent response when I ask persons about their prayer life. This seems to settle the matter for them. They figure, “I can’t pray so I won’t.”

Turning Evil Away, a Lenten Devotion

The first time I remember being faced with temptation, I was 4 years old. I was in the checkout line at the drug store with my mom and sister.

Crossroads: Everyone

My granddad loved to fish. And I wasn’t a fan of fishing. In fact, I thought fishing was pretty boring. But one day he talked me into going fishing with him for a tournament. We have pictures to prove that I caught a fish that day (that I wouldn’t touch).

“Influencer,” a Lenten Devotion

“Influencer.” The bright yellow sweatshirt with blue font immediately grabbed my attention from it’s place on the sales rack. Before I could process the implications of being an “influencer,” an excited mother hastened to the garment

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: God Can Use Anything

My parents got a divorce when I was really young. And it was tough growing up without my dad close by. I was jealous of other kids who lived with both parents.

Crossroads: Blessed Are You

We all have times in our lives in things are just tough. Your parents seem to fight a lot. You’re having a hard time in school. There’s a bully who keeps picking on you.

Speak Up

No, I am not losing my hearing. This is not about my hearing at all. But, often times, we talk about prayer as if we are talking to each other. We think our prayers are bouncing off the walls, that the words just bounce around in our heads, that they have no place to land.

Crossroads: When God Asks

During my freshman year of college, my campus minister told me about a summer job he thought I was perfect for. It was being the children’s intern at a church in Macon. I laughed and told him I didn’t really work with children.

Healing

Sometimes it’s not just lemons life throws our way. Sometimes life comes at us with a Medieval flail. So, what do we do? Life is certainly no respecter of persons when it comes to trials and tribulations.

Crossroads: God’s Great Plan for You

As a child, I never liked to see people unhappy. I always wanted to do what I could to help. When I was about five, we went to a local nursing home to sing for the residents. While we were there, we met a lady in a wheelchair who really wanted to go home.

“Jot and Tittle”

Since 2004 I’ve practiced yoga off and on with a video instructor. My first yogi blew my mind. “Let go of all sense of effort, and rest,” she said. That notion had never occurred to me. It was certainly not something I’d heard at school, church, or home.

A View from the Pew: Resources for Daily Devotions

If you are doing your best to start 2019 with a renewed focus on your spiritual disciplines, then I would encourage you to consider what resources you use to facilitate a meaningful daily time with God.

Crossroads: The Body of Christ

Talk about a time in your life when you had to work as a team with others. Talk about what your role was and how each person had a different role. What were you trying to accomplish?

Crossroads: How Big Is God’s Love?

I can remember saying “I love you this much!” as a child, with my arms open wide. I’m sure you’ve seen children do this before: they open their arms as wide as they can and say “I love you this much!” Or they give you a bear hug and squeeze and say the same thing.