In a previous ministry position, I was responsible for directing pastoral care at a church. My job was to remind people of God’s presence through my presence and prayers as well as to oversee those offering care to others. When someone was sick or dying, a family was going through a crisis, or a newborn baby was brought home, I was there to offer care, as well as discover if and how our church family could help further.
While dying of cancer, a seven-year-old Ugandan child named Okello Dikens became a leader. Though he wasn’t at the helm of a company, he exercised a profound influence through his example of faith, kindness, and service.
In his short story “The Hurt Man,” Wendell Berry recounts how Nancy Beechum welcomed a complete stranger into her home after he stumbled up the street, bloodied, with a crowd of fierce, angry men chasing him. Nancy opened her door and washed the clotted blood from his body. She pressed the white rags, now crimson, onto his cuts. The hurt man trembled as Nancy spoke gently to him: ”You’re going to be all right.”
The Swedish writer Fredrick Backman’s 2012 debut novel A Man Called Ove is the tale of a man who sees no reason to live. After the death of his wife (the one person who brought him laughter, intimacy, and joy) and after losing his job, Ove plots his suicide. But then he’s drawn into the larger story around him: There’s a pregnant woman who needs his support, a neighbor in conflict with authorities who are trying to force him into a nursing home, and a young man estranged from his father. Ove discovers reasons to live as he moves beyond himself and toward others.
In his landmark books Soul Searching and Souls in Transition, sociologist Christian Smith surveyed American young adults and found that most held to what he called “Therapeutic Moralistic Deism.” They’re deists because they believe God doesn’t interfere in our lives unless we need His help to solve a problem. They’re moralistic because they believe God wants us to be good and kind to each other. And their view is therapeutic because it makes them feel good about themselves.
There was a season when my son Wasswa and I had 12 little guests at our dinner table in Uganda every night for 3 consecutive years. Previous to our sharing dinner with them, the children had often gone entire days without food. They began coming to our house when they heard that I would feed them. Many of the boys and girls—some as young as 3 years old—walked nearly 5 miles to reach our home, so I gave them a ride home each evening.
The late film director Krzysztof Kieslowski was once interviewing actors for a film. During an interview, a young actress described to him how she’d go out and walk the streets of Paris when she felt sad.
In the spring of 2013, North Korean church leaders requested that believers around the world pray for their country and the Christians who live there. They called for this intercession due to the saber-rattling of North Korea’s government, which had been conducting military exercises with war written all over them. One North Korean church leader stated at the time, “I would like to thank the many brothers and sisters around the world for their continuous love and support. We know that our journey will not be an easy one. . . . Please pray for us.”
Q: I pray for people at my church. How long is too long to continue praying for someone? If you constantly feel the need is it okay to continue? —Donna
A: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for,” Jesus promised in Matthew 7:7. Knowing that we lack endurance and can be easily distracted and often discouraged, Jesus…
On a recent visit home to the United States, I got my first taste of D-BOX—motion theater seats that pitch you forward and backward, side to side, and up and down in sync with the action depicted on the screen.
On November 23, 1835, George Müller wrote, “Today I have had it very much impressed on my heart, no longer merely to think about the establishment of an orphan house, but actually to set about it, and I have been very much in prayer respecting it, in order to ascertain the Lord’s mind.”
As someone who has logged a lot of time in the coastal waters of Florida, I’ve always enjoyed seeing bottlenose dolphins up close in the wild. That’s one reason I was particularly drawn to the movie Dolphin Tale.
Two nights before I moved to Africa 5 years ago, I panicked. As much as I believed the Lord was calling me to Uganda, I feared that by going there I would forfeit my friends back home. I thought they would forget me and that we’d quickly share nothing in common after I journeyed to a new continent, culture, and life.
The High Five Choir is not your typical choir. Teens with developmental disabilities such as Autism, Down syndrome and Noonan syndrome have banded together and perform with a group of disability-free classmates. They don’t always sing in tune or move together in perfect unison. But the High Five Choir is so inspiring that they receive standing ovations during every performance.
A friend recently shared the following true story that illustrates the importance of having others pray for us. A man in his church was riding his bicycle along the side of a road when he was hit by a truck traveling nearly 45 miles per hour. As he was lying there bleeding, in pain and unable to move, some concerned…