Sheep have a bad reputation, often seen as one of the dumbest animals on the planet. But a recent University of Cambridge study reveals they’re actually quite clever. The research proves that sheep can be trained to recognize human faces from photographs, and they can identify a picture of their handler without prior training. Given their relatively large brains and longevity, researchers are hoping the humble sheep can help in the study of neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington’s disease.
I’ve learned through various job and ministry experiences that being surrounded by others too long can often lead to exhaustion, anxiety, or stress. There are other relationships, however, that create a sense of rest in our lives even though the investment in those individuals makes demands on our time and energy.
Author and pastor Eugene Peterson has offered some profound cautionary words for those seeking to know God. In Subversive Spirituality, he warns seminary students that although theological education is designed to train hearts to pursue God, far too easily “human words about the divine Word . . . threaten to upstage the Logos [Christ] itself.” When that happens, students can become addicted to head knowledge about God instead of actually drawing closer to God. Seminary—a time designed to draw persons pursuing ministry closer to Him—can instead feel like a spiritual desert.
Brian Jackson lives for adventure. For years he’s led expeditions into some of the most extreme environments on the planet. Having trekked thousands of miles across many continents, he loves nothing more than setting foot where no known human has ever been before. In 2014, he and his team made the ascent of a previously unclimbed peak in the Himalayas, setting foot where no human has probably set foot before.
My friend Jen and I are looking forward to meeting in Atlanta for a much-anticipated reunion. Our friendship formed over a short span of time, but the bond has remained strong despite the distance that separates us. Anne, in the novel Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery said it best: “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” My friendship with Jen reminds me that true kinship is powerful because relationships were designed to reflect God’s kingdom.
Whenever I counsel couples considering divorce, I always start by asking them this question: What kind of relationship did your parents have? Children whose parents divorce are far more likely to do so themselves—in fact, men whose parents are no longer married are 35 percent more likely to divorce, and for women the likelihood is a startling 60 percent. Sometimes in order to heal our broken relationships, we have to look back at the relationships in our past.
During our lifetimes we might occasionally find ourselves uttering the words, “It’s finished!” For the student who just took a final exam, it means “I’m done with that class,” or perhaps even “I’m finally graduating!” For the project manager, it could mean, “The project is successfully completed.” For the husband ending a conflict with his wife, it could declare, “I was wrong, please forgive me.” For someone caring for a dying loved one, it might mean, “Your father has passed on.”
When people were engaged in a political spat on my friend’s Facebook page, my friend decided to turn the debate into something uplifting by suggesting that everyone who commented make a donation to the Uganda-based ministry I direct. What began as a contentious debate transformed into a collective act of generosity. In the process, hearts softened and—though political differences remained—those involved began speaking more kindly to one another.
Gales of laughter spill throughout the room as our daughter doubles over in delight after having bested her dad in their game of “got you.” Keeping points, they look for opportunities to scare each other. Though well into her teen years, my daughter finds great pleasure in scoring a point, while I find great joy in hearing the natural, unhindered delight of those I love.
When my wife and I chose her engagement ring, I suggested she pick out whatever setting she wanted. But I asked her if I could select the center stone, so that I could personally choose a special representation of my love for her. I wanted to demonstrate my commitment to her with a beautiful symbol of our life together that she would cherish—just as we both celebrate the relationship God has given us.
In the movie, The Sound of Music, Sister Maria sings: “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When you read, you begin with A-B-C. When you sing, you begin with do-re-mi.” Where do we begin in understanding what life is all about? Genesis, the book of beginnings, provides the answer.
My friend has a habit of asking God for signs. In doing so, His prayers tend to seek confirmation of his feelings, as in “God, if You want me to do ‘X,’ then please do ‘Y,’ and I’ll know it’s OK.”
Not surprisingly, this has created a dilemma. For my friend feels that he should get back with his ex-girlfriend,…
I saw this quote on a friend’s Facebook page: “It’s not that I feel alone because I have no friends. I have lots of friends. I know that I have people who can hold me and reassure me and talk to me and care for me and think of me. But they can’t be inside my head with me all…
The fight for godly marriages has raged since the fall in Eden, but in the past few years, my husband and I have become increasingly aware that the battle lines begin at our doorstep. Seeing some of our friends divorce and others separate has left us wishing for the innocence of days gone by. As we prepare to celebrate our…
My wife and I have been married for 16 years. But, to my own embarrassment, there have been times when I’ve taken her for granted. I’ve been so familiar with her presence that I’ve been insensitive to her needs and wants.
Just as it’s not healthy to take our spouses for granted, King David would say it’s not healthy to…