Renewed Strength

By |2020-07-03T08:31:20-04:00July 5th, 2020|

Psychiatrist Robert Coles once noticed a pattern in those who burn out while serving others. The first warning sign is weariness. Next comes cynicism about things ever improving, then bitterness, despair, depression, and finally burnout. After writing a book about recovering from broken dreams, I once entered a busy season of conference speaking. Helping people find hope after disappointment was richly rewarding, but came at a cost...

Dancing Before the Lord

By |2020-06-12T16:38:26-04:00June 17th, 2020|

A number of years ago, my wife and I visited a small church where during the worship service a woman began to dance in the aisle. She was soon joined by others. Carolyn and I looked at each other and an unspoken agreement passed between us: “Not me!” We come from church traditions that favor a serious liturgy, and this other form of worship was well beyond our comfort zone...

The Man Who Couldn’t Talk

By |2020-05-05T16:02:54-04:00May 8th, 2020|

Sitting in his wheelchair at a senior citizens home in Belize, a man joyfully listened as a group of American high school teenagers sang about Jesus. Later, as some of the teens tried to communicate with him, they discovered he couldn’t talk. A stroke had robbed him of his ability to speak. Since they couldn’t carry on a conversation with the man, the teens decided to sing to him...

Let Us Praise!

By |2020-04-22T13:05:49-04:00April 28th, 2020|

When the alarm on Shelley’s phone goes off every day at 3:16 in the afternoon, she takes a praise break. She thanks God and acknowledges His goodness. Although she communicates with God throughout the day, Shelley loves to take this break because it helps her celebrate her intimate relationship with Him...

Amazing Skill

By |2020-03-13T16:08:05-04:00March 16th, 2020|

The leader of our college singing group directed the group and accompanied us on the piano at the same time, skillfully balancing those responsibilities. At the close of one concert, he looked particularly weary, so I asked him if he was okay. He responded, “I’ve never had to do that before..."

Pure Worship

By |2020-03-04T12:17:03-05:00March 8th, 2020|

Jose pastored a church known for its programs and theatrical productions. They were well done, yet he worried the church’s busyness had slipped into a business. Was the church growing for the right reasons or because of its activities? Jose wanted to find out, so he canceled all extra church events for one year. His congregation would focus on being a living temple where people worshiped God...

When Life Is Hard

By |2020-02-12T12:05:26-05:00February 14th, 2020|

Physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, I curled up in my recliner. Our family had followed God’s leading and had moved from California to Wisconsin. After we arrived, our car broke down and left us without a vehicle for two months. Meanwhile, my husband’s limited mobility after an unexpected back surgery and my chronic pain complicated our unpacking. We uncovered costly problems with our new-to-us, old home...

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...

A Lifestyle of Praise

By |2020-01-10T13:37:18-05:00January 12th, 2020|

Wallace Stegner’s mother died at the age of fifty. When Wallace was eighty, he finally wrote her a note—“Letter, Much Too Late”—in which he praised the virtues of a woman who grew up, married, and raised two sons in the harshness of the early Western United States. She was the kind of wife and mother who was an encourager, even to those that were less than desirable...

When We Praise

By |2019-10-10T07:45:43-04:00October 18th, 2019|

When nine-year-old Willie was abducted from his front yard in 2014, he sang his favorite gospel song Every Praise over and over again. During the three-hour ordeal, Willie ignored the kidnapper’s repeated orders to keep silent as they drove around. Eventually, the kidnapper let Willie out of the car unharmed. Later, Willie described the encounter, saying that while he felt his fear give way to faith, the abductor seemed agitated by the song...