Tithing for a Party?!

Did you know that part of God’s plan for our financial giving includes setting aside money to build joy in our families and communities?   An unexpected command A few years ago, I discovered an astonishing Bible passage that radically changed the way I think about tithing. And now I find that same passage also […]

Why Shame is Good for Us

You ought to be ashamed of yourself! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! I’m serious. It’s good for you. In the right way at the right time, shame is valuable and necessary. It’s true that in the wrong way at the wrong time, shame is toxic. We’re used to hearing about toxic shame. In […]

Abraham's Rare Skills

  I was reading from Genesis 22  – the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac – and I noticed that Abraham says, “Here I am” three times in the passage. It stood out to me as the same words Samuel says when he thinks Eli is calling him (1 Samuel 3), and the same […]

Bad Eye, Good Eye

You may have heard the term “evil eye.” Perhaps you think of a mom giving her disobedient child “the look.” Or the great fiery eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings. Or maybe you even know about the evil eye charms many in the Middle East wear with their jewelry to ward off bad luck […]

The Word…Moved into the Neighborhood

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, The Message) My step-Dad has a beautiful picture book about Jesus’ life called He Was One of Us by artist Rien Poortvliet. I can stare at the faces for hours, paging through scenes of Mary, Nicodemus, Peter, the woman caught in adultery, and the crowds […]

Resurrection: What it Feels Like Know God is With You

In my last post, Jesus Loves All of You, I wrote about the incarnation, about Jesus meeting us in every aspect of our humanity. Today I write about the resurrection. Revelation 1:12-18 presents us with a vision of the radiant, resurrected Jesus: I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And […]

Jesus Loves All of You

In Immanuel Prayer, we pay attention to a number of things: not just our thoughts and God’s thoughts, but also our emotions and body. Then we share our stories with others, incorporating the community. As you also know, the name “Immanuel,” given to Jesus, means “God With Us.” Jesus is the image of invisible God […]

How to Initiate a Conversation with God

Someone recently asked me why we start every Immanuel Prayer session with a connection experience – either a time we felt close to God or a time we felt gratitude. As he asked, I heard a song from Vacation Bible School begin playing in my head: “I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my […]