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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Society

A Minecraft Fable

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I could hear the yelling from my room. My oldest two children were playing Minecraft in the living room, and I had no doubt the yelling was related to the game. Sighing deeply and thinking to myself (not for the first time) that video games are more trouble than they’re worth, I went out to play referee. Turns out one of my boys had blown up his brother’s house and his stash of diamonds. Having never played the game myself, I didn’t know what the big deal was, but my son insisted he’d worked really hard to build his house and accumulate the diamonds. Then, just like that, it was gone, and he couldn’t get it back. One thoughtless (malicious, perhaps?) action had undone everything he’d worked so hard to build.

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What Pro-Lifers can Learn from the Other Side

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Last weekend I saw Unplanned. This past weekend I was privileged to hear Abby Johnson speak at a pro-life fundraiser. Both events were thought-provoking and eye-opening, and a few of the insights I’ve gained have little to do with the actual topic of abortion. One of the main concepts that struck me is the mentality of those on both sides of the issue. Those who fight for womens’ “reproductive rights” are clearly “all in.” They display a commitment that puts most pro-lifers to shame. And although my stance on abortion is quite different from theirs, I appreciate and admire their tenacity and the passion with which they defend their cause.

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Santa Sightings

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I saw Santa Claus in the post office the other day. He ended up in line behind me as we waited for the postal clerk. Now, my kids don’t believe in Santa, but my three-year-old was gawking at him, so I decided to have some fun. “Is that Santa I see here?” I asked my son. “What’s he doing here? I didn’t think Santa mailed stuff from this post office! Isn’t he supposed to be in the North Pole?” The pretend Santa smiled,  but otherwise remained silent. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I’d hoped for an obligatory, “Ho, Ho, Ho!” After all, he was wearing the costume. The least he could do was play the part.

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A Modern-Day Good Samaritan Story

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I groaned as I saw the flashing construction vehicles and the line of red brake lights ahead of me. I was taking my son to school, and we hadn’t left early enough to allow for delays like this. Some cars were already doing U-turns, presumably to go another route. But our detour option was a much longer way, so I decided to wait a few minutes before making a knee-jerk reaction. Sure enough, a minute later the cars ahead of me slowly started inching forward. Whew. But as I approached the cause of the backup, I could see this wasn’t just construction. There was a car with a smashed front end sitting in the middle of the four-lane road, and there was a man lying on the ground next to the driver’s side, two construction workers kneeling beside him. Clearly, the accident had happened very recently, since the emergency workers hadn’t yet shown up. It was a horrifying feeling to pass right by the man on the ground, not knowing his condition or even if he was alive. My son and I prayed for him and for the others involved in the accident, and we were fairly silent the rest of the drive, until my son said, “You know, Mr. Smith would have stopped to see if he could help.” It was an innocent observation; he didn’t mean it as a guilt trip, but I was convicted nonetheless. I should have stopped, but I didn’t. It was a modern-day parable of the Good Samaritan, and I was the priest passing by on the other side.

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The “Lazy” Days of Summer

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Whoever coined the phrase “lazy days of summer” obviously didn’t have a summer like mine. I could make my own version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Between five kids home from school, four summer reading programs, three weddings, two sets of houseguests, and a cross-country vacation just before school starts again, there’s nothing lazy about this summer. This past week was a real doozy. I played for a wedding last weekend, and the rest of the weekend was devoted to an out-of-town baseball All-Stars tournament. Monday ushered in VBS week, for which I led music. Friday was the final day of VBS, plus the closing program, as well as my daughter’s birthday. To say it was a crazy week is sort of an understatement. On Saturday, when we all finally had nothing going on for once, my three-year-old, who never naps, was so exhausted he just fell asleep on the couch. Clearly the busy pace had caught up to him at last. He needed rest.

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Life is Hard and Then You Die

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Life is hard and then you die.

While the exact origin of the quote may be debatable, it’s a sentiment that resonates with many people. When I was a kid, I wanted so badly to be an adult. In my mind, I’d really be free then. Free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I could stay up as late as I wanted, eat chocolate whenever I wanted, buy whatever I wanted. I’d get married and have kids and be a perfect mother and a perfect wife with a perfect husband, and we’d all live happily ever after. Basically, I’d have it made. But then I became an adult and realized that adulthood wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I discovered that I’m not a perfect wife or mom, and neither are my husband or kids perfect. As a child, I never considered things like financial struggles, job loss, relationship difficulties, sickness, or the challenges of parenting. Despite my high hopes for adulthood, my adult self knows something my younger self did not: life is hard.

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Calling All Adults: Grow Up

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My middle schooler’s band concert was quite possibly the worst concert I’ve ever attended. Oh, don’t get me wrong. The middle schoolers did a great job. They’ve worked hard all year, and their songs were terrific. It was neat to see the progress they’ve made, and I was proud of my sixth grader and his classmates. No, it wasn’t the kids who made the concert so terrible. It was their parents.

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Lambs Among Wolves

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It’s a familiar enough scene: Jesus is sending out the seventy-two into towns and villages ahead of Him, and His words to them are well known. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2). Ahhh. Lovely, iconic scene. We all know those words well, and we pray in church that God would do just that—send workers into His Church. What could be more rewarding than working as a laborer in God’s field? This verse is often quoted at installation services, and rightly so. But we often stop with that verse and fail to read Jesus’ very next words. “Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3). Wait, what? What did You just say, Jesus? You do know what wolves do to lambs, don’t You? They eat them. That’s not exactly something You ought to put right there in the job description. On second thought, maybe I don’t want to be sent into the harvest field after all…

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Where is God, Anyhow?

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It was a confounding problem. It was dinnertime, there were over 5000 hungry people, and they were in a desolate location with little to no food immediately available. So the disciples naturally urged Jesus to send everyone away to fend for themselves. They looked to Him to make things right, and He did. But not at all in the way they were expecting. He told them calmly, “You give them something to eat.” Um, Jesus? All we have here is five loaves and two fish. That won’t even feed the 13 of us. Still, Jesus meant what He said. He directed everyone to sit down on the grass, blessed the food, and had the disciples distribute it to everyone there. Incredibly, everyone was fed, and there were 12 baskets of leftovers. Way to go, Jesus! And clearly, yes, He deserves all the glory for the miracle. But there’s something we’re missing if we stop there—the role the disciples played.

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