A Risky Detour

By |2020-09-22T09:06:03-04:00September 22nd, 2020|

What a waste of time! thought Harley. Her insurance agent was insisting they meet again. Harley knew it would be yet another boring sales pitch, but she decided to make the most of it by looking for an opportunity to talk about her faith.

Noticing that the agent’s eyebrows were tattooed, she hesitantly asked why and discovered that the woman did it because she felt it would bring her luck. Harley’s question was a risky detour from a routine chat about finances, but it opened the door to a conversation about luck and faith, which gave her an opportunity to talk about why she relied on Jesus. That “wasted” hour turned out to be a divine appointment.

Jesus also took a risky detour. While traveling from Judea to Galilee, He went out of His way to speak to a Samaritan, something unthinkable for a Jew. Worse, she was an adulterous woman avoided even by other Samaritans. Yet He ended up having a conversation that led to the salvation of many (John 4:1–4, 39–42).

Are you meeting someone you don’t really want to see? Do you keep bumping into a neighbor you normally avoid? The Bible reminds us to be always ready—“in season and out of season”—to share the good news (2 Timothy 4:2). Consider taking a “risky detour.” Who knows, God may be giving you a divine opportunity to talk to someone about Him today!

Speak Up!

By |2020-09-04T09:05:03-04:00September 4th, 2020|

Brittany exclaimed to her coworker at the restaurant, “There’s that man! There’s that man!” She was referring to Melvin, who first encountered her under different circumstances. While he was tending to the lawn of his church, the Spirit prompted him to start a conversation with the woman who appeared to be a prostitute. Her reply when he invited her to church was: “Do you know what I do? They wouldn’t want me in there.” As Melvin told her about the love of Jesus and assured her of His power to change her life, tears streamed down her face. Now, some weeks later, Brittany was working in a new environment, living proof of the power of Jesus to change lives.

In the context of encouraging believers to be devoted to prayer, the apostle Paul made a twofold request: “Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Colossians 4:3–4). Have you prayed for opportunities to speak boldly and clearly for Jesus? What a fitting prayer! Such prayers can lead followers of Jesus, like Melvin, to speak about Him in unexpected places and to unexpected people. Speaking up for Jesus can seem uncomfortable, but the rewards—changed lives—have a way of compensating for our discomforts.

The Ultimate Wave

By |2020-08-29T09:05:02-04:00August 29th, 2020|

People love doing “the wave.” At sporting events and concerts around the world, it begins when a few people stand and raise their hands. A moment later, those seated beside them do the same. The goal is to have one sequential flowing movement work its way around an entire stadium. Once it reaches the end, those who started it smile and cheer—and keep the movement going.

The first recorded incident of “the wave” occurred at a professional baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees in 1981. I love joining in “the wave” because it’s fun. But it’s also occurred to me that the happiness and togetherness we experience while doing it is reminiscent of the gospel—the good news of salvation in Jesus that unites believers everywhere in praise and hope. This “ultimate wave” started over twenty centuries ago in Jerusalem. Writing to the members of the church in Colossae, Paul described it this way: “the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it.” The natural result of this good news is “faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for [us] in heaven” (Colossians 1:5–6). 

As believers in Jesus, we’re part of the greatest wave in history. Keep it going! Once it’s done, we’ll see the smile of the One who started it all.

“God Stuff”

By |2020-06-08T13:22:45-04:00June 10th, 2020|

Most of Mike’s co-workers knew little about Christianity, nor did they seem to care. But they knew he cared. One day near the Easter season, someone casually mentioned that they’d heard Easter had something to do with Passover and wondered what the connection was. “Hey, Mike!” he said. “You know about this God stuff. What’s Passover?” So Mike explained how God brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt...

Tell Me a Story

By |2020-05-11T11:52:36-04:00May 16th, 2020|

Once upon a time. Those four words just might be among the most powerful in the entire world. Some of my earliest memories as a boy contain a variation on that potent phrase. My mother came home one day with a large, hardcover illustrated edition of biblical stories—My Good Shepherd Bible Story Book...

God Is Worth More

By |2020-04-07T14:22:31-04:00April 7th, 2020|

Having been hurt by believers in Jesus in the past, my mom responded in anger when I dedicated my life to Him. “So, now you’re going to judge me? I don’t think so.” She hung up the phone and refused to talk to me for a whole year. I grieved, but eventually realized a relationship with God was even more important than one of my most valued relationships...

The Full Reveal

By |2020-04-06T15:54:47-04:00April 6th, 2020|

Moviegoers heard the beautiful voice of Emily Blunt as the starring role in Mary Poppins Returns. Amazingly, it was four years into their marriage before her husband discovered her vocal talent. In an interview, he revealed his surprise the first time he heard her sing, thinking, “When were you going to tell me this...”

Every Opportunity

By |2020-03-11T12:03:11-04:00March 12th, 2020|

Ever caught a dragon? I hadn’t until my son convinced me to download a game on my phone. Producing a digital map mirroring the real world, the game allows you to catch colorful creatures near you. Unlike most mobile games, this one requires movement. Anywhere you go is part of the game’s playing field. The result? I’m doing a lot more walking...

Raise Praise

By |2020-02-06T12:31:57-05:00February 8th, 2020|

You can generally tell where a map was drawn by what lies in its middle. We tend to think our home is the center of the world, so we put a dot in the middle and sketch out from there. Nearby towns might be fifty miles to the north or half a day’s drive to the south, but all are described in relation to where we are. The Psalms draw their “map” from God’s earthly home in the Old Testament, so the center of biblical geography is Jerusalem...

Perfectly Placed

By |2020-01-04T15:52:48-05:00January 4th, 2020|

Scientists know our planet is precisely the right distance from the sun to benefit from its heat. A little closer and all the water would evaporate, as on Venus. Only a bit farther and everything would freeze like it does on Mars. Earth is also just the right size to generate the right amount of gravity...

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