Tag: John Ortberg

Nourishing Soul Food Friday During a Distasteful Election

Monday Nathan Hamm tweeted, “Halloween could never be as scary as Election Day.”

Instagram joked,



(In case you don’t have enough to worry about, read about Creepy Clown Sitings here)

But in addition to jokes, there are thoughtful Christians trying to bring salt and light and love to a dark, contentious time.


Willow Creek Community Church has mounted a campaign during this time of anger and divisiveness that has taken off. Read about it here. 

There are some excellent sermons being preached that bring a biblical perspective to this season. This is one of the best I’ve heard – by John Ortberg. He looks at several elections in the Bible and then offers some takeaways. Take a listen.

House of Cards – How Not to be Anxious During an Election

  1. Be Involved. Get information from people we agree with and disagree with. Vote.
  2. Be Civil.
  3. Be Confident (in God). God is not worried about November 8th.

And two minutes of gold from Andy Stanley!

Many people feel like they don’t have any good choice for president this election. I get that. But I’m distressed when people tell me they are not going to vote. This is a hard won privilege we have in the U.S. Please don’t take it lightly. John and I have already voted absentee – easy peasy! Cue the West Wing theme song!

Lastly, if you want some deliciousness to pass around while you’re watching the election returns (or a football game!) I want to share a great recipe from my friend Ally.

Cheesy Party Burgers

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 ts. salt

1 ts. pepper

1 ts. mustard powder

1/2 ts. smoked paprika

2 cups diced onion (that’s about 1 whole onion)

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 10 oz. can Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles, drained (I used mild)

12 slices cheddar cheese

12 dinner rolls (I used Pepperidge Farm slider buns)


1/2 cup butter

2 TB brown sugar

1 TB Worcestershire sauce

1 TB mustard

1 TB sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 and coat 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Brown the ground beef, onions, and add rest of ingredients.

Put half of buns in bottom of 9×13 pan.

Top with ground beef and cheese slices. Finish off with top half of buns.

Mix the ingredients for the glaze in a pan on the stove and pour over buns. Can let sit for awhile.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.



When God Sets Eternity in Our Hearts

Dear Baby David,

As I write this, John and I are in Malawi, but I’m thinking of you.

It’s been four months since you left us.

Thanksgiving is next week and you won’t be here to play football with the family, or cook the turkey on the grill, or sit at the head of the table. You and John won’t be cleaning up in the kitchen after the feast.


And soon we will enter a new season. Snow will softly cover the ground like a Mama quietly tucking her baby in with a comforter.

I want to stop the days and the snow and the Christmas season from coming.

It feels wrong to go on without you and I keep thinking of things I wish I had talked to you about before you died.

Faith is a gift, but it’s also a choice. We choose to continue to trust that God is good in spite of this very bad thing that has happened. Very bad for us, but you not so much.

People like to say “He’s in a better place…He’s with Jesus…He’s free from pain now” and I believe it’s true, but often they’re words we say without really understanding, because, well, we’re still here – alive, but not with you.

Here’s the thing…It felt like if we talked about “IT”, we didn’t have enough faith. Like we were giving up on OUR specific preferred prayer outcome.

If we discussed the possibility of death we were opening a scary door we didn’t want to crack. Because as wonderful as life in heaven might be, we’re basically a very selfish lot who want you here.

Yes, we fully knew as we prayed for healing, not only that God COULD easily heal you in this life, but also that He MIGHT not.

His healing might come on the other side. We believe that because we trust in Jesus, Life with Him forever in heaven is ours. But we really didn’t want you to go ahead without us.

So when I heard John Ortberg preach on death and heaven in the spring, I wanted to share it with you, and talk about it, but also… I didn’t.

Ortberg quotes Ecclesiastes: “[God] has also set eternity in the human heart…” And then he says:

Everybody dies. Every creature ceases to exist, but God has set eternity in the human heart.

I think about it like this sometimes. One of the most amazing aspects of nature to me is how God has placed in animals…a kind of built-in homing instinct of incredible accuracy….

Homing pigeons, I understand, can find their way home from places they have never been on the planet so accurately they were actually used by the ancient Romans and Genghis Kahn.

Dung beetles actually navigate home by the Milky Way.

Salmon leave the ocean and travel to the exact spot on the exact river where they were born.

And then my favorite part: Continue reading

Three Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Waiting

“Waiting is our destiny as creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for. We wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light; we wait in fear for a happy ending we cannot write. We wait for a not yet that feels like a not ever. Waiting is the hardest work of hope.” Lewis Smedes

The other day a young mom asked if we could meet for coffee.  I had no idea what she wanted to talk about so when she said, “I want to ask what you’ve learned about waiting.” I’m sure my expression must have conveyed the incredulity I felt.  I wanted to say, “What??! Waiting  is one of my WORST things!

Couldn’t you ask about Gilmore Girls trivia or how to hone spy skills so you’re ready in case the CIA calls?  Those are my good things!

But no, it was waiting she was struggling with.  At least I could empathize because I’ve done a lot of it.

I remember the time I got trapped in my OBGYN’s exam room, sitting in my lovely paper gown on a table for an hour “And NO PHONE!” to call and remind someone I was there. Tiptoeing paper-garbed to the front desk did not seem to be a reasonable choice, and I thought as soon as I got dressed the Dr. would show up.

Even if not stuck in a Dr.’s office, most of us are waiting for something.  Waiting for a job or a baby or a husband or healing or whatever.

Turns out a lot of us can relate to not being good “wait-ers”.  The Today Show talked about a recent study that said: Continue reading

Theology of Sleep

Tuesday night our small group met as usual at my house.  After dinner we were curled up in our usual places in my living room, discussing Lectio Divina, the practice of slow, contemplative reading of a passage of Scripture.

Ready to apply this practice, we agreed to a time of silence before the Lord first and then one person would read the verses.  We closed our eyes and the silence was delightful, rare, welcome. I became aware of myself in the presence of God.  The silence stretched on and I thought, “Here I am Lord. This is good, because it is so seldom we do this.”

Silence, silence, more silence.

I thought, “Did I misunderstand?  Was I supposed to read the passage?”


Finally I opened one eye and peeked.  Heather was trying hard not to laugh and pointing across the room to Molly who was fast asleep! Continue reading

What do you do When it’s April in Minnesota?

As I write this it is April 15th and I am sitting in Starbucks and it is snowing outside.


I’m convinced Hell isn’t hot and fiery.  It’s Minnesota in April when it is cold, dull steel gray and snowing. Still.

Eternally (it would seem).

Continue reading

At the Top of God’s “Do Not” List

It’s Fearless Friday!

Our family is one of list-makers.  We love them.  To-do lists of course, but also pro/con lists, goal lists, grocery lists…

And I’m thinking a “Do not fear” list would be a good one.

The list of verses in the Bible that have the phrase, “Do not fear…” is a long one. The longest in fact.

But so what?

The important part is what comes next.  Why in the world should we just obey that command willy nilly?

God is with you.

God is with you.

God is with you!

But who is the God who is with us?

A.W. Tozer writes,
“What comes to mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.”

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