Ministry Spotlight: Bob Hershey, Cleveland Pregnancy Center

Welcome to Real Life. Join my conversation with…

Bob Hershey, Executive Director
Cleveland Pregnancy Center

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
and that you may love the Lord your God,
listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
Deuteronomy 30:19–20 NLT

I’m a junior in high school. I’m pregnant. My parents don’t know. The man involved doesn’t care. Abortion seems to be my best option. What would you tell me? (This was my friend’s situation when we were in high school.)

First, I listen—well and with compassion. Then ask, “Are you certain you’re pregnant?” If not, we schedule an appointment to confirm the pregnancy.

If she is pregnant, we (CPC) help eliminate the crisis—not the child. Most women want to have their babies. But they can’t see beyond the crisis. They believe abortion is the only solution. “I was pro-life before I got pregnant. Now that I’m pregnant, I don’t know what to do,” many will say.

“What is abortion?” I ask.


The Cleansing Power of Grace | Titus 2

Welcome to Real Life. Our world sorely lacks grace. Lines are drawn. Judgment is swift. We hear without listening. Decide before seeking to understand.

While grace listens, understands, loves.
Grace issues a warning instead of a ticket. Grace wipes the spill with a smile. Grace likes us—even tired and crabby. Grace finds beauty beyond wrinkles.Grace hugs a rebellious child.Grace hears the hurting heart behind harsh words.Grace is a gift, never earned, most appreciated when least deserved.
We want grace, don't we? I want you to like me even tired and crabby. But we don't always want to give it.

“Grace isn’t fair. Evil people should be punished,” someone once told me. A terrorist falls on his knees, begs God’s forgiveness, and trusts in Christ. He doesn’t deserve grace. Until I see. I am the terrorist. I can be cruel, arrogant, ugly. None of us deserve it. That's grace.
When we don't get what we deserve that's a real good thing
When we get what we don't deserve

Ministry Spotlight: Bill & Cathy Goodrich, God Cares Ministry

Welcome to Real Life. In today's Ministry Spotlight, join my conversation with . . .

Bill and Cathy Goodrich
God Cares Ministry

And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.
Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.
(Psalm 71:9 NLT)

In 1984, at the age of twenty-six,
I felt the desire to visit with residents living in a nearby nursing home
to bring happiness to those who were lonely.[1]“Why did God create us? What is his purpose for us?” Chaplain Bill asked. He holds a weekly church service for residents in a skilled nursing facility where he’s ministered since 1989. “Our purpose is to enter into a loving, nurturing relationship with God. He did not create us to do something. He created us to receive something—to live forever with a heavenly Father who loves us.”

Bill, why do you minister to the elderly, why nursing homes? 
“Where is the greatest need?” we asked. My late wife and I were involved in many ministries. “If we weren’t at the soup kitchen, someo…

A God-Full Day

Welcome to Real Life. Occasionally, my to-do lists backfire.

It's January. A fresh year's before us. I want to make it count. So, I begin writing to-do lists. My desk is scattered with them:
Goals for 2019To-Do TodayPrep for MentoringWriting Projects to Complete  In the morning, I feel fresh, inspired, and ambitious. I tend to crank out these lists. I thrive on productivity. When you finish something, doesn't it feel good to cross it off a list?
And yet, our strengths can also be our weaknesses. Because I’m driven to go-do-accomplish, this morning, my lists overwhelm me. I’m pulled in too many directions. My mind scattered like my desk full of lists. It’s difficult to focus. So, I pray.

Calm me, Lord.  Quiet my noisy thoughts so I can hear your heart.  And enter your Holy Place.[1]
There, I hear his still small voice.
You are placing importance on things unimportant. Before the work, Peggi, comes you—your heart, mind, and spirit. 
Until our hearts are right, our actions are sim…

The Miracle of Christmas | Luke 1

Welcome to Real Life. In the midst of this festive season, I long for the supernatural to invade my natural.  “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”
—The Grinch He pulls aside the heavy curtain and silently slips inside. “Don’t hurry,” Zechariah tells himself. “Savor this. It may be the only time you enter this holy place.” His eyes survey the room, taking in the detail of resplendent gold articles. “Lord, you are present,” he whispers. The thought disquiets him. But then, he hears his fellow priests praying for him beyond the curtain. His courage rises. He approaches the altar and lights fresh incense. As its sweetness adorns the room, Zechariah is overcome by a sense that he is not alone. 

Zechariah serves as a priest in the Temple of the Lord. Though every priest is intimately acquainted with the building, not every priest has entered the Most Holy Place. Each morning and evening, a single priest is chosen by l…

Be Thankful... In All Circumstances

Welcome to Real Life. It’s November, the month of Thanksgiving.

I was young, only married a year, when my first husband left. When I told my mother, she cradled my hands in her own and said, “Peggi, we’re supposed to thank God in all things.” Then, she prayed and thanked God.

Definitely not the reaction I expected! 
God had prepared my mother's heart. She had been reading a book on praise and thanksgiving.[1] I felt immense relief at her reaction. Even a bit hopeful. And I sure did love my mom in that moment. She taught me the power of giving thanks . . . in all circumstances.
Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 NLT A thankful person is conscious of a benefit received.[2] Everything we have—life, breath, strength—are God’s gifts.[3] Let’s recognize them and be grateful.

It’s easy to give thanks for good things—sunshine, friends, weekends. Being thankful in all c…

Remain in Me | John 15

Welcome to Real Life. Where was God today?
“Prayer is a moment of incarnation—God with us.”
–Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life “Where was God today?” Anna wondered. She'd had a busy day working as a court reporter. That evening, when our group met for Bible study, she confessed she hadn’t thought of God all day.

Remain in me. Like Anna, I have yet to learn the secret of staying vitally connected to Jesus in the midst of busy days, weeks, months. Recently, I’ve been meditating on “I am the vine, you are the branches” passages in John 15. The timing was perfect. Because it was an especially busy month. Every day, I was running out the door, praying on the road, distracted by a flurry of activities. I needed Jesus more than ever. Repeating three simple words “remain in me” helped me stay connected to my God.

. . . as I also remain in you.Jesus’ words wrap a warm, fuzzy blanket around my soul. He’s with us. Not only on the days we’re aware of his presence. He’s with us on the running-out…