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out of season

One year, spring in the US arrived with unseasonably balmy temperatures that broke records and elevated spirits. But the mid-80 temps (30 C) came with a price. Soon a cold snap hit, freezing all the blossoms. The budding flowers withered. Fruit farms were devastated. Food prices rose... read more »

sacrifices—good and bad

Jess likes money. In her brief 4½ years on the planet, she has already learned that she can play her aunts and uncles for spare change. Cuteness and intelligence comprise a formidably lucrative combination. Her parents, quite naturally, are concerned over this. “Don’t ask for money,” they... read more »

good conflict

Many Christians are masters at conflict-avoidance. Perhaps we confuse “blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9) with “blessed are those who avoid unpleasant situations.” But conflict and confrontation weave their way throughout the fabric of the Bible. As the children of Israel prepared to... read more »

shea butter promises

Pastor Kofi has helped to plant 25 churches in Ghana and Burkina Faso, as well as a home for orphans and a school with 1,000 students. But he doesn’t have much money to manage all this. So he welcomed an opportunity to provide a family member with shea butter for sale in the US in exchange for a... read more »

leaving church

Poised at the door of the church auditorium, I hesitated. Why? I realized that I didn’t want to go to church. It’s not that I didn’t want to go to any church at all. I simply no longer wanted to go to this church. My wife felt the same way. A few weeks later, after 20 years as members, we made... read more »

exclusively inclusive

Was Jesus a nice guy? Consider this: He made some shockingly exclusive claims about Himself, and nice guys just don’t do that. When Peter told Him, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” Jesus blessed him (Matthew 16:16-17). To a Samaritan woman, Jesus plainly declared, “I AM the... read more »

no fish story

Why is God so big on judgment? Perhaps a better question is: Why is God so patient with us? Nearly everyone knows the story of Jonah. He was swallowed by a big fish and was then spit out onto dry land. Many people also know that Jonah warned the Assyrian city of Nineveh about the judgment to come.... read more »

unlikely gifts

The 166 female inmates at Davao City Jail in Mindanao didn’t have much. But as they saw it, others had even less. Typhoon Pablo had just swept over the southern Philippines, killing more than 1,000 human beings, splintering houses, annihilating crops, and leaving nearly a million people... read more »

it’s not about me

Tim Keller asks, “Is the Bible basically about me and what I must do? Or is it basically about Jesus and what He has done?” The pastor and author asks us to consider the familiar account of David and Goliath. We tend to view that story as an example of how God can help us slay the metaphorical... read more »

peace work

As we bumped slowly down the rain-ravaged, two-track “road,” we inched past weathered dwellings where skittish chickens dodged barefoot children. Simple fences framed gardens that sprouted low-yield corn and tomatoes. Wiry farmers prodded lumbering carabao as they tilled larger fields. Suddenly... read more »
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