In lieu of New Years resolutions or three words for the year, a Psalm for 2018

A half-decade or so ago, I swapped out three words for the usual (and useless) annual exercise in futility known as resolution making. No more big promises and grandiose aspirations for me, just simple, short, and sketchy — broad-stroke descriptors of the kind of person I want to be versus boldly stated declarations of intended […]

Rusty pleasures and heaven-stored treasures

I don’t know that he meant to, but organizational theorist Seth Godin has done it again. He’s provided yet another argument for encouraging God’s people (all people, for that matter) to live generously. This time around, Godin contrasts pleasure and happiness – concepts that many folks confuse one for the other. But as Godin tells […]

Words of the way

We don’t need carefully crafted 3-point sermons to point us in the direction of right living. If as the adage suggests, brevity is the soul of wisdom, a couple of words can be sufficient to instruct us in the way we should go. So choose which of the following word pairs you’ll pursue this day. […]

God in the brokenness

A magazine from Temple University isn’t where I’d go for a sermon illustration if I were looking for one, although I’ve heard preachers reference more unusual sources. But there it was, a too-good-not-to-use metaphor for God’s redemptive work in the world. “Broken Instruments are Reborn” the headline read, followed by a short article detailing efforts by […]

Crying for Omran

As a teen-ager, I glibly committed to letting my heart be broken by the things that break God’s. However, the older I get, the less my heart is able to deal with all this world holds. There are times when challenges within a ten-mile radius of my home are enough to overwhelm me, let alone […]

With abundance, it’s de ja vu all over again

Back in the early 2000s when Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry hit the bookshelves, Thom Jeavons and I were chided for under-selling the all too real limitations faced by nonprofits large and small, secular and faith-based. But what a difference 15 plus years has made. These days, abundance thinking is touted as good […]

Whatever your “this” is today, give love a try

This month, the guide I use for daily scripture reading has me in the book of Exodus and this past week, in a lengthy section detailing the laws by which the ancient Israelites ordered their lives. It’s not been the most inspirational of reading, the eye-for-an-eye instructions especially. “I’m glad such times are behind us,” […]

Family according to the Bravermans . . . and maybe the church

For America’s tissue companies, the series finale of Parenthood was a bonanza as millions of fans, myself included, said a tearful good-bye to the Braverman clan. Over the past six years, Zeke, Camille, and their boisterous brood entertained, sometimes annoyed, and regularly endeared themselves to a viewing public hungry for glimpses of family life as […]

Generosity in borrowed words

To borrow a phrase from Queen Elizabeth,  2014 was an annus horribilis on my calendar of life, with one tough thing after another. If I were to paint a portrait of the past twelve months, gray would dominate the color palate. I know God was there with me, but the God light was faint most […]

It’s okay to label yourself as generous. Really, it is.

I’m fascinated at how people are comfortable applying all sorts of labels to themselves – extrovert or introvert, energetic or laid-back, punctual or habitually late – but balk at generous. I noted this hesitancy most recently at a gathering of Christian stewardship leaders – the very folk I expect to be comfortable with the moniker. […]