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bridging the chasm

When a supervolcano erupts—and thankfully that’s extremely rare—it leaves behind a massive basin known as a caldera. But they are so huge we tend to overlook them completely. As geophysicist Bob Smith described the 45-mile wide Yellowstone caldera, “The size is so immense that people don’t... read more »

the gift of time

Our 5-year-old son lives by a simple credo: Never, ever be bored! He’s always investigating, always testing, usually grubby, never still—not even in his sleep. Liam doesn’t share his father’s fear of heights or snakes, nor does he possess his mother’s good sense. His favorite phrase... read more »

focus

I was enjoying singing with others during the worship service. Then a woman sang a solo. I don’t recall the song. But I do remember thinking: boring lyrics! Predictable religious clichés! Ah, just give me good old, Christian easy-listening music. (I confess my inappropriate sarcasm and... read more »

eyes for fireflies

Just 5 and 7 years old, Liam and Elias eagerly awaited darkness and a fireworks display. Dancing with anticipation in a meadow, they pacified their impatience by marveling at the pyrotechnic sideshows of fellow holiday celebrants. Cherry bombs, sparklers, Roman candles, and fireworks of dubious... read more »

coffee house

A pastor wanted to break his church out of their formal traditions and nudge them in a fresh direction. He sensed that the congregation’s formality was discouraging the local community from walking through the church’s doors. So he began to take small steps to help them change. One Sunday... read more »

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 »
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