The Blog

14 Feb

Finding the Thread of Your Calling

We spend a lot of time helping people figure out what they want to be when they grow up—and I’m not just talking about the 20 year olds—because we all circle back to that question multiple times over our lifetime. Some would even argue it’s an issue that will naturally emerge every 10–15 years. 

We often approach this from the career angle, but I’m not convinced that the question of what “job” is the best place to start. When people come to us ready for a change in role, we start by helping them to articulate their calling. 

07 Feb

What's Your True Identity?

There is a lesser-known Disney film from 1963 that tells an adapted story of King Arthur. The movie is called The Sword in the Stone. In it, we meet a young, orphaned Arthur. He is shy and unsure of himself, but wants to do his best at whatever task is set before him. His foster family constantly barrages him with verbal abuse, telling Arthur that he’s nothing more than a lowly attendant for his foster brother.

It’s a far cry from the king and leader of legend.

31 Jan

Abiding Prayer: Deepening Communion With the God of Love

Every follower of Jesus is called into Love—to receive love from the Trinity and return it with our whole being (John 14:21, 23). Our "first order calling" is to be in relationship with him, as his children, his friends, his Bride (John 1:12; 15:14; Isaiah 62:5; Ephesians 5:32). Then out of the overflow of this transformative relationship in love flows the "second command like it"—the love of neighbor in all areas of life (Matthew 22:39–40). 

Abiding prayer focuses on our first order love relationship with God; it’s any method or aspect of prayer that is intentionally focused on loving communion with him. 

24 Jan

What Conflict Can Reveal

We are taking time on our blog to delve into deep places of the soul. Relationships are a unique mirror that show us areas where we need to grow and seek God’s healing. May this week’s post be a prompt to look in that powerful mirror and invite God to be at work in you...

For the first decade of our marriage, we had many, many conflicts in the car as we were driving somewhere. I had a knack for slamming on the fake brakes and dramatically grabbing the dashboard. But apparently what was most annoying was my running commentary (I viewed them as helpful insights) on how we might 1) get there faster, 2) pass that person, 3) take a shortcut, 4) stop and squeeze in an errand to make things more efficient.

Driving became an increasingly stressful source of conflict.

17 Jan

Key Questions to Ask Yourself When Facing a Tough Decision

When we got a call from Bill’s mentor that cold, winter day in 1987, I knew things were probably about to change. Don asked, “What would you think about moving back to San Diego and planting a church with me?”

We were living in Massachusetts at the time, enjoying the fruit of our labor at our first church plant. We loved our city, our people, the snow (kinda), good friends, Dunkin' Donuts and life on the East Coast. Why in the world would we move? God.

Why is decision making so hard? Especially the big ones that cost us a lot.

10 Jan

Spiritual Guidance in Unexpected Places: Dante and the Helical Journey

In my work as a spiritual director, I am privileged to accompany people on their spiritual journeys. Along the way, I have learned that help and guidance can come from unexpected quarters. One such example is Dante Alighieri, the 14th century Italian poet.*

Dante’s most famous work is The Divine Comedy, in which he takes an extended tour of hell, purgatory, and heaven (Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise). Dante was probably the first person to write from this perspective and certainly influenced many who followed, including C.S. Lewis and his book, TheGreatDivorce.

Dante helped me frame some core principles that have been a tremendous help on my spiritual journey and may be helpful to you:

03 Jan

Entering the Inner Sanctuary: An Invitation to  Contemplation

In Minnesota, where I was born and raised, we would joke that we experienced only two seasons: winter and road construction. January and February were the coldest months, with temperatures well below zero degrees keeping us indoors at all times, even during recess at school.

Despite my dislike of the intense cold, there was something about winter that I loved. My perfect picture of serenity was to sit by a crackling fireplace, wrapped up in a cozy blanket, sipping hot cocoa and reading or contemplating life, while soft flakes of white slowly and steadily blanketed the ground in snowy insulation. Those heavy snows would create a kind of quiet that was almost palpable. The silence was deafening—and wonderful.

26 Dec

Don't Forget Prayer: A Story of Unexpected Transformation

“God, why are hearts hard here? Why are people generally not open to hearing the gospel?”

When my husband and I began our ministry in a Muslim-majority neighborhood in the US, we talked to other missionaries about the spiritual climate. They all agreed there was a consistent hardness; people were almost never open to hearing the good news of Jesus. When we heard this, we asked God why. Why were people who had been investing here for 5–7 years not seeing fruit?

18 Dec

Dewi's Story: An Encounter With Peace

Dewi (pronounced De-vee, not her real name) was just a young teen when our CRM / Novo staff members in East Asia first met her. Dewi was a bit quirky, quiet but creative, an artist, and a real thinker. She was from a Hindu family, the majority religion in her area.

Teenager. Hindu. Quiet. This might seem like a surprising profile for someone who would become a key player in a gospel movement that would touch her family, her city, and her country. But that’s exactly what was about to unfold in God’s plan for this young woman.

11 Dec

God's Plans Are Bigger: How a Rejected Church Pastor Brought Holistic Transformation to His Nation

Ivan came to our first training in Bamenda, Cameroon in 2013, and he really got it. He left with a passion to create real disciples who could hear God’s voice and study scripture deeply. Ivan’s decision to apply what he learned in his church-plant came at a high price: his conviction cost him his church and his job. However, this was the springboard God had to launch Ivan into a whole new level of impact in the country of Cameroon. This is his story.




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