My wife and I learned to speak Swahili in the DR Congo using a self-directed language learning method which helped us learn a second language the same way we learned our mother tongue when we were babies. The method is simple: Learn a little, and use it a lot. This approach is the exact opposite … More Tablet of the Heart
I love the picture Psalm 1:1–3 presents: A man who meditates on God’s Word day and night is pictured as a fruitful tree that has put down deep roots near life-giving water. In much the same way, author Henri Nouwen has challenged me to meditate and “chew on” short phrases of Scripture throughout each day. … More Roots and Fruit
Many people go to church each week and snack on the Word of God by listening to a sermon—then go home and put their Bible on a shelf until the next Sunday rolls around. This behavior is why there are so many weak, malnourished Christians walking around today. If you eat once a week, you … More Spiritual Food
I want to learn to be grateful for all the Lord has given me. I don’t want to take God or anything he has given me—which is everything!—for granted. Brennan Manning says that people who have difficulty trusting especially need to learn gratitude; he calls it leading a doxological life, which is to say a … More Wealthier than Michael Jordan
When I lived in the DR Congo, my Congolese brothers and sisters taught me the importance of gratefulness by how they prayed every morning. In the Swahili language, they prayed, “Asante Mungu sababu niliamuka,” which means, “Thank you, God, that I woke up.” Sometimes they added another sentence: “Usiku jana nililala kama wafu, halafu leo … More Thank you God I woke up!
The Bible is full of joy and celebration. The Old Testament contains lots and lots of parties—just think of all the feasts the Lord wanted Israel to enjoy. If you have ever been to a Jewish celebration, you’ve experienced celebratory singing, dancing, and shouting. The New Testament shows Jesus performing his first miracle at a … More Pride and Joy
I admit to being overly serious much of the time. I spend a lot of time thinking about serious things, such as reaching the unreached with the gospel and fighting injustice in the world. But I am trying to learn not to take myself so seriously. There are serious things in the world, but I … More Choose Joy!
Celebration is a major theme in the Bible. Yet I have heard a preacher describe sour-faced Christians who look as if they have been “baptized in vinegar and weaned on a pickle.” Life can be serious—and we need to be serious about serious things—but life can also be very funny. We need to learn to … More What’s so funny?
There are, of course, many different kinds of suffering in life. Some suffering comes as a direct consequence of our own sinful choices or other people’s sinful choices. Other suffering comes directly from Satan and his demons or indirectly, through people used as Satan’s pawns. Still other suffering is a result of God’s discipline, as … More He could have walked away
Several years ago one of my university faculty colleagues was looking through his mail. He had just received a catalogue featuring religious jewelry. As he flipped through the catalogue, he started making fun of all the different kinds of crosses, asking me, “Hey, Mike—would you like a sterling silver cross, a gold-plated one, or maybe … More Jewelry or Torture?