When My Basketball Became an Idol

SUE HARRIS|CONTRIBUTOR I play basketball every Friday with a group of women who also love to play. When the shutdown hit in 2020, we had no place to go. We were devastated. I had access to a gym, but no one was allowed to play with me. Nonetheless, I bought a brand-new beautiful leather basketball and played on my own about three times a week for exercise and to get out of the house. I loved that ball. In some ways, it became a companion to me during a lonely season. If you ever saw the movie, Castaway with Tom Hanks, imagine Wilson, his volleyball. Unlike Tom Hanks, I didn’t have full conversations with my basketball, but I loved it. I spent time with it. I began to adore it...

When My Basketball Became an Idol2022-05-12T16:09:17+00:00

John 17: Lord, Make Us One

AMANDA PETERSON|GUEST “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:23 John 17 is a glimpse into the heart of Christ as we get to see His final prayer to the Father the night of His arrest. He is burdened for His disciples and for all who would believe in Him through their word, which includes us, His people! Jesus repeatedly prays to the Father that His people would be one. He is not just praying for comradery, but He is praying for all believers to be perfectly one as a witness to the world of the love of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the oneness of His people was so heavy on His heart and mind, we then should seek to rightly understand how we can live as one Body to the watching world...

John 17: Lord, Make Us One2022-05-04T14:44:59+00:00

When Life Feels Like Constructing a Puzzle

JESSICA ROAN|GUEST It happens every Christmas vacation. The anticipation, the buildup, the excitement. My boys can hardly stand it. They are so excited to sleep in, have time off, and do what they want to do.  Then reality sets in. They don’t sleep in but awake at 6:30 am and are bored to tears by 8:30. Then the pestering starts. “Mom, I’m bored. What should I do?” Now, I can’t translate in any language well, but I can read pre-teen and teen boy well. They don’t really want me to tell them what to do. They know the options. They want me to tell them they can have screen time and watch television or play video games. Ugh. Raising kids in a virtual world is a daunting task. So, this year, on a whim in the aisle at Barnes and Noble, I asked my son to pick out a puzzle. It was beautiful, a picture of an idyllic Mediterranean setting. So, hoping to provide some screenless family time, we broke open the bag and started putting together the puzzle’s boarder. We have completed a few larger puzzles a before this, usually with my mother’s expert help, but I’m sorry to say that two months later, our scene is missing more than a few pieces. We are getting there, and we will finish it, but our “holiday puzzle” has sadly outlasted the holidays. A Puzzling Life Life is a bit like an unfinished puzzle. Sure, we have the promise of “everything we need for life and godliness,” but that doesn’t mean each day doesn’t require trial and error, just like constructing a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. For example, sometimes a piece simply doesn’t fit where I think it should. In our recent puzzle adventure, we complained that pieces didn’t fit in spaces where it seemed they ought to fit. This is true in our spiritual lives as well. I often have specific plans and expectations for the way God should do things. More specifically, I think I know who I ought to minister to and what that ministry should look like. Often, however, God brings me a person I wasn’t expecting with a ministry opportunity I didn’t plan for at all...

When Life Feels Like Constructing a Puzzle2022-05-03T21:39:29+00:00

John 17: One with God and Others

SARAH JEFFERSON | GUEST “ … that they may be one even as we are one …” (John 17:22) Beginning in November of 2019 and in the 18 months that followed, a tsunami of hard, unexpected events crashed into our lives. My husband and I lost a very close friend as well as both of our mothers. As I sifted through the ashes of our lives, my father reached out to reconcile after ten years of our relationship being broken and estranged. Overwhelmed by it all, I wanted to blow the whistle in the game of life and scream, “Time out on the field! Unsportsman like conduct, Lord!” Wading through so much grief while trying to wrap my mind around the work of reconciliation felt like a hard “no.” But I never want to linger in resistance to God’s word and will. When suffering guts your life so deeply, to whom will you go? How will you respond when waves of hard threaten to steal your very breath? When obedience in the hard circumstances of life beckon, what will you do?

John 17: One with God and Others2022-05-04T00:21:02+00:00
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