Category  |  mentoring

A Clam & A Gray-Haired Man

Ming lived for more than 500 years before her demise in 2006. The quahog (large clam) had been nestled near Iceland when researchers plucked her from the ocean floor. After prying the creature open—ending her existence—they initially thought she was a record-breaking 402 years old. But further research revealed that she began life in 1499 and made it to the ripe old age of 507! Fortunately, scientists learned much from Ming, including data on changing sea temperatures over the last half-millennium.

no lazy river

One of our favorite family vacation sites is a beautiful beach community located in an adjoining state. We like to go there during the “off season” when few tourists are around. Though the ocean water is a little chilly, we enjoy swimming in an indoor pool. Also, there’s a lazy river that surrounds the pool and holds a special appeal for our kids. They’ve tried to swim against its current over the years, only to be carried in the opposite direction.

better than myself

Charles complained to his friend about some lower back pain. He was seeking a sympathetic ear, but his friend gave him an honest assessment. “Your back isn’t your problem,” he pointed out. “It’s your stomach. Your stomach is so big it’s pulling on your back.”

September 2, 2014

"If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself" (Galatians 6:1). What are some practical ways for us to live out this verse?

great expectations

Most of us have an innate desire to help others. We work overtime to ensure that the company meets an important deadline. The sound engineer makes sure the new church sound system is ready for the Sunday service. A young man loses his job and his father offers to pay his rent. These stories remind us that we occasionally underestimate our influence. In contrast, we can also use our positions or authority to negatively impact those who love and respect us—sometimes even inadvertently.

August 25, 2014

What advice would you give to someone who’s going through a major transition in life?

the source

For the past 2 years, I’ve served in a church in the urban heart of a large city. It’s a difficult ministry that calls one to have deep compassion and an open heart for others—things that don’t come naturally to me. I often feel woefully unqualified and wonder how I can be the person of grace and compassion that I need to be.

not mine

My husband and I believe that the most influential people in a child’s life are his or her parents. But we wonder at times if our parenting decisions are having the impact we hoped for. Now that our kids are adolescents, friendships no longer consist of playing with toys and learning to share. Likewise, because they’re not always within sight, our kids have more experiences on their own than when they were younger. These days, instead of searching for a lesson to deposit in their hearts and minds (Proverbs 3:1), I find myself looking for a place to kneel and pray for them.


Pastor guilty of bilking money from elderly woman . . . Church elder convicted of accounting fraud . . . Pastor of megachurch accused of financial misappropriation.


Many years ago, sin-eating was practiced in parts of the UK and the US. A sin-eater was normally a poor, hungry person who was brought to the home of a dead person, where he was given some bread to eat and a drink to consume. After having his fill, he would then ritually pray over the deceased. This curious custom supposedly absolved the dead person—and sometimes a whole family—of sin. The sin-eater would then be shunned by the local community until he was needed again. Why was he shunned? He had “eaten” (taken on) the sins of the dead.

learning from each other

Our young daughter Katelyn enjoys playing solitaire, but she lacks the patience to persist through the difficult points in the game. Instead of trying to solve being “stuck,” she’ll simply start a new game. I’ve challenged her not to give up but to seek the next available move.

a gentle Father

During a difficult season of life when I questioned God’s kindness and care, many believers in Jesus came alongside me. They allowed me to be real with my struggles, but refused to let me dwell on them. They pointed me to Scripture, prayed for me, and helped meet my needs. Their compassion helped me experience Christ’s gentle love (Deuteronomy 32:2). Rather than judge me for my weak faith, my confidants proved that “a friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need” (Proverbs 17:17).

be patient

If you had the opportunity to handpick the members of your local church or small group, would you choose people who always . . .

March 31, 2014

What advice would you give to a new believer in Jesus?

not too young

Recent research has revealed what teenagers truly desire from the adults in their lives. The Search Institute study found that teens want parents and other older influencers to do the following: 1. Look at us. 2. Spend time talking with us. 3. Listen. 4. Be dependable. 5. Show appreciation for what we do. 6. Relax. 7. Show that you’re interested. 8. Laugh with us (and at yourself). 9. Ask us to help you. 10. Challenge us.