The Reward of His Sufferings

In the year 1700, a wealthy family in Germany gave birth to Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Though raised in a Christian stream of pietism, little Ludwig adopted the standards of the noble class he grew up with, becoming a spoiled nobleman unconcerned by the plight of his poor countrymen who served his estate. But once when he was 16 and visiting an art museum, he saw a painting of the

Storm Chasers

FLAGSTAFF, AZ. Someday when my hands are trembling so that I can’t even manage to wipe the drool off my chin, and I am left alone with nothing but my memories, I will know that my life moved no further than the summation of my dreams.   My life’s work has given me a chance …

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BEYOND DESPERATE, SHE WAS FOUND BY HOPE   Earlier today, I walked with my ten year old son Stephen through the National Gallery of Art here in Washington DC. I was amazed at Stephen's ability to feel the art, and to easily identify which pieces touched him and why. Both of us were mesmerized by a certain painting …

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Gifts of the Spirit ACTIVATED

I LOVE IT WHEN CHURCHES send short term workers here to Southeast Asia. It’s our chance to serve those in America who have sacrificed for us to be here. We are committed to giving the folks back home a life-changing glimpse of the world beyond America’s borders. Over the years, we’ve seen some Spirited teams, and one group stands out in recent memory.

Transforming Worship

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN EMBARRASSED to hear yourself laughing exactly like a good friend laughs? Our voices often imitate someone we love and admire. This is because God has created us, his image bearers, to adopt the mannerisms of the objects of our worship. The Creator designed us to be worshiping beings. We simply can’t

How to Live Before You Die

THIS WEEK OVER FOUR HUNDRED children and youth from around our city converged on our school Charis. And so, a new academic year begins. Over 400 stories being created in the fusion of our CREATOR, his creativity, and his creation. Every sentence spoken, every kick of a ball, every conversation, and warm greeting another stroke of holy ink scrolled across the Creator’s canvas.

Let Me Tell You a Story

From the time my children were very small, they begged me to tell stories. No matter what story I conjured up, nor how improbable the events in my stories, Katie, Josiah and Stephen were enraptured. My stories rarely had much of a plot. They went nowhere. They were created spontaneously. But my kids clung to every word. Why?

The Truth Will Set You Free to Improvise

Today is Sunday, my day of REST. So its time to have some fun and think about something unusual, out of my normal life pattern. Rarely do I get to listen to some of history’s greatest creative prodigies talk freely about the creative process. This interview with Bill Evans (1929-1980) is worth watching. He was a brilliant and innovative jazz pianist, and one of the most influential creative forces in the history of jazz. His insights into the creative process extend way beyond music. In this video he is talking about jazz technique, but I’m thinking about my life, relationships and work. Notice his persistent idea that the jazz innovation emerges from truth. Here, an artist talks about truth in the realm of music much in the same way that a theologian talks about truth in theology. To me that’s

The Anchor of the Soul

 In “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for …” (Hebrews 11:1) In the closing weeks of World War II, the American cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis was churning westward in the Pacific Ocean en route to the Philippines.  Just after midnight, an enemy submarine emerged into the balmy air and launched two torpedoes into …

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Improv, Creativity and Resistance

THE GREATEST IMPROVISATIONAL ATHLETE in my generation was Ervin “Magic” Johnson, the great point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers. When Magic was gliding down the court no one in the world had any idea what he was about to do with the ball. Whatever he did usually shocked everyone, including his teammates, and it almost always generated baskets.

As great as he was, it would be impossible for Magic Johnson to