Lamentations & the Steadfast Love of the Lord

I glance over and see my four-year-old daughter sitting on the couch. Still in her pajamas, she’s coloring happily, a spray of multi-hued markers in reach of her right hand. She’s healthy, she’s safe, she’s here with me. Glancing over to my computer screen I gaze at a photograph of a four-year-old girl in a…

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Will We Eat and be Satisfied?

Five barley loaves and two fish—not much to feed more than 5,000 hungry people. But in Jesus’s hands not enough is transformed into abundance. Not enough, it turns out, is more than enough. The feeding of a crowd of 5,000 men, along with women and children, is the only one of Jesus’s miracles other than…

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Fellowship: Can a spiritual reality draw us together even when we feel miles apart?

If I say the word “epiphany,” what immediately comes to mind? I think of a bright, startling moment of understanding or inspiration. I imagine an unexpected insight in which the contours of a truth once hazy snap into place. Once seen, they can’t be unseen. In this sense, epiphany is revelation—something made manifest to us…

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Along the Silk Road—Book Design

There are flashes of startling beauty along the Silk Road—the golden glow of a sunset illuminating the cliffs of Bamian, Afghanistan; the languid movements of a Uighur dancer; the sheen of an Ushak carpet; the lush green of tea fields above the coast of the Caspian Sea. Along the Silk Road is a 172-page full-color…

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When a Blessing Breaks Your Heart

“Blessed are you among women, ” Elizabeth ecstatically exclaimed to Mary, but I wonder. In the run up to Christmas this year, I’ve been thinking about Mary, about her experience of motherhood, about what it means to say that she was “blessed among women.” How could a mother who would one day witness the suffering…

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Come to the Waters—Stained Glass Design

One of the most evocative images in Scripture is the river of life flowing from the throne of God in Revelation 22. The waters are clear as crystal. They flow with restorative powers, a sustaining force that cleanses and renews. This stained glass window for the Hemphill-Craft Center at North Greenville University marries the image of the river of life with Jesus’s teaching that he is the living vine and we are the branches.

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How to Visit an Art Gallery with Kids without Losing Your Cool

Looking at art with kids is a way of exposing them to the marvelous diversity of artistic expression and to a range of cultures. A visit to an art gallery or museum can be an opportunity not just to cultivate self-control and attention, but also to nurture creativity and curiosity.

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A Blessing for My Daughter on Her Birthday

Blessing is prayer as gift. When my oldest daughter turned twelve, this is the blessing that I wrote to send her into the next decade, the decade of becoming a woman.

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When Wedding Gifts Become Blessings of Presence

Sixteen years ago today I was staring out a window in Texas watching torrential rains flood the garden where I was supposed to be married later in the day. I learned then, what I’ve learned many times since, that a marriage takes improvisation and the willingness to change course, sometimes at a moment’s notice. We…

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From Curse to Blessing: How grace gets the last word

“The last word of the Old Testament is ‘curse’ (Mal. 4:6), and it is meaningful that the opening sermon of our Lord’s ministry commences with the word ‘Blessed.’” —Charles Spurgeon   “What have you got in here?” I ask my son, slinging his backpack over my shoulder. “Did you fill your bag with rocks?” He’s…

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