Being Consumed

By |2019-04-09T16:22:44-04:00April 12th, 2019|

In his book The Call, Os Guinness describes a moment when Winston Churchill, on holiday with friends in the south of France, sat by the fireplace to warm himself on a cold night. Gazing at the fire, the former prime minister saw pine logs “crackling, hissing, and spitting as they burned. Suddenly, his familiar voice growled, ‘I know why logs spit. I know what it is to be consumed...’”

Through the Valley

By |2019-04-08T12:10:58-04:00April 10th, 2019|

Hae Woo (not her real name) was imprisoned in a North Korean labor camp for crossing the border into China. The days and nights were torture, she said, with brutal guards, backbreaking work, and little sleep on an ice-cold floor with rats and lice. But God helped her daily, including showing her which prisoners to befriend and share her faith with...

Good News to Tell

By |2019-04-05T13:35:02-04:00April 9th, 2019|

“What’s your name?” asked Arman, an Iranian student. After I told him my name is Estera, his face lit up as he exclaimed, “We have a similar name in Farsi, it’s Setare!” That small connection opened up an amazing conversation. I told him I was named after a Bible character, “Esther,” a Jewish queen in Persia (present-day Iran). Starting with her story, I shared the good news of Jesus...

Unexpected Winners

By |2019-04-05T13:29:20-04:00April 8th, 2019|

Perhaps the most preposterous, spellbinding moment in the 2018 Winter Olympics was when the Czech Republic’s world champion snowboarder Ester Ledecka won an event in a completely different sport: skiing! And she took the first-place gold medal even though she had the unenviable position of skiing 26th—a feat believed to be basically impossible...

Change Is Possible

By |2019-04-04T13:10:56-04:00April 7th, 2019|

One Saturday afternoon, some youth group members from my church gathered to ask one another some hard questions based on Philippians 2:3–4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others...”

Need a New Heart?

By |2019-04-03T16:23:50-04:00April 5th, 2019|

The news was grim. My father had been having chest pains, so his doctor ordered a test to peer into his heart. The result? Blockage found in three arteries. Triple-bypass surgery was scheduled for February 14. My dad, though anxious, saw that date as a hopeful sign: “I’m getting a new heart for Valentine’s Day!” And he did! The surgery went perfectly, restoring life-giving blood flow to his struggling heart—his “new” heart...

Watch Out!

By |2019-04-03T14:00:45-04:00April 4th, 2019|

I grew up in warm southern cities, so when I moved north, it took me a while to learn how to drive safely during the long, snowy months. During my first hard winter, I ended up stranded in a snowdrift three times! But after several years of practice, I began to feel comfortable driving in wintry conditions. In fact, I felt a little too comfortable. I stopped being as vigilant...

Situational Awareness

By |2019-04-02T16:20:37-04:00April 3rd, 2019|

My family, all five of us, found ourselves in Rome over the Christmas holidays. I don’t know when I’ve ever seen more people jammed together in one place. As we snaked our way through crowds to see sights like the Vatican and the Coliseum, I repeatedly emphasized to my kids the practice of “situational awareness”—pay attention to where you are, who’s around you, and what’s going on...