Here I am! Send Me

Felix Theonugraha

Read: Isaiah 6:1-13 Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? (v. 8) Life as a pastor’s kid can be tough. I was expected to be a model for all the kids at church and felt pressure that my behavior was a testimony to my parents’ abilities as pastors. But life as a pastor’s kid can also be filled with memorable moments. When I was nine, I attended a revival conference. This was a conference for adults, but …

Living while Waiting

Sue Rozeboom

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2, 12-28 Hold fast to what is good. (v. 21 NRSV) Advent is the season of waiting. Waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Waiting for the day of the Lord. God’s people have done a lot of waiting. We’re waiting for the One who will put all wrongs to right so the whole world—every person, every bird, every blade of grass, every thing—may experience nothing but peace: calm, rest, shalom. We have been waiting ever since …

The Unrestrained Mercy of God

J. Todd Billings and Katlyn DeVries

Read: Psalm 40 Behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. (v. 9) At the age of 39, a politically hopeful New York lawyer fell ill, struck with fever, nausea, and pain. Eventually, the affliction deepened, paralyzing him from the waist down. He nearly died, and likely felt like the psalmist, in “the pit of destruction,” in a “miry bog” (v. 2). His name was Franklin D. Roosevelt, and though he recovered in part and went …

Getting It

Jeff Munroe

Read: Luke 7:28-35 [They] rejected the purpose of God for themselves. (v. 30) How did you “get it”? How did the good news of the gospel first come together for you? I was strongly influenced by the youth ministry of my church. I was bored silly watching filmstrips in Sunday school, and never quite understood what the pastor’s sermons were about in regular church. But in youth group I was with friends, and we sang cool songs, laughed a lot, …

The Gift of Hope

Gretchen Torres

Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 The dead in Christ will rise first. (v. 16) It has been a long journey! My husband, Javier, has been waiting for a heart transplant for two years. This is a matter for prayer, but it’s hard to pray because someone has to die for my beloved husband to receive this life-saving gift. We feel selfish asking God for a heart. Yet my husband’s lack of energy, the sense of his life slipping away little by …

The Language of Lament

Chuck DeGroat

Read: Psalm 102 In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones. (v. 5 NIV) I don’t lament well, especially compared to people in some other cultures and countries, where weeping and wailing are on public display. I subscribe to a keep-it-between-you-and-your-Kleenex theology. Wipe away the tears as quickly as possible. Clean up. Get it together. This isn’t really the way I want to be, but it’s what I was taught and what I’m prone to. …