The Power of Sacrifice | Hebrews 9

Welcome to Real Life. I'm thinking about sacrifice. A fitting topic for Memorial Day Weekend.
People who put themselves on the line and sacrifice their own safety for the greater good and for others, and anyone in any profession whose concern is the welfare for other people instead of the individual, are inspiring and important.
Chris Hemsworth  We’re a contradiction. In a culture averse to violence, it saturates our entertainment, and erupts all around us. Mass shootings are on the increase. Heroes emerge. Riley, a student at the North Carolina college.[1] Lori, a woman in the California synagogue.[2] Two ordinary individuals place themselves in harm’s way so others may live. We marvel at their bravery. In the same circumstances, would I be brave, selfless, willing to shed my blood?

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John the Baptist exclaims at first sight of Jesus. The crowd who overhears him understands the metaphor. For every year, the high priest …

Today, If We Hear His Voice | Hebrews 3

Welcome to Real Life. In a noisy world, we tune out voices. Politician. Parent. Boss.

At the sound of her voice, I switched stations. Nancy’s  Revive Our Hearts program replaced Elizabeth Elliot’s when she retired. Young Nancy couldn’t match Elizabeth’s wisdom and experience. I tuned her out.
Fast forward a few years. I work at Moody Radio. Revive Our Hearts airs on their network. At work, when I heard Nancy's voice, I couldn't switch stations. I grew to love and respect her voice. I even traveled to Indianapolis to attend Nancy's True Woman Conference.

Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness.
Hebrews 3:7-8 NIV 1500 BC. Israel is perched at the border of the Promised Land. “Go! The land is yours,” says the Lord.
“But giants dwell in the land. They’ll devour us,” Israel resists. God rescued them from Egyptian bondage, parted the Red Sea, showered manna from heaven. None of it mattered…

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…