Wednesday, November 14, 2018

BONUS: TODAY Show Parenting Team Feature!


I'm excited to report that this week's post with best-selling author Laura Sassi was picked up by the TODAY Show Parenting Team for their Grinch/Kindness Challenge! Please visit me over there and click "Vote Up!" — and leave a comment to let me know you stopped by! Thanks, friends!

Read HERE

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Guest Post and Giveaway: Celebrate WORLD KINDNESS DAY with LOVE IS KIND

I'm delighted to welcome back author, educator, and dear friend Laura Sassi. Laura is no stranger to my show nor website. Here are her words for us in honor of World Kindness Day today as we celebrate her newest children's book, Love is Kind:


After reading LOVE IS KIND with children, one of the takeaways I share is that every day is a gift. As children and adults, we can choose to live that gift in a spirit of love and kindness (as Little Owl chooses to do in LOVE IS KIND) or not. The kids and I ponder what our choices will be and marvel at how wonderful it feels to both receive kindness and extend it to others. We also acknowledge that love can take many shapes and forms; showing kindness is MUCH bigger than just giving someone a box of chocolates (as Little Owl wants to do in the story). Kindness, we conclude, is its own gift and much better than even the tastiest box of chocolates!

Where does this gift of kindness and love begin? It begins in our hearts — and in the hearts of our children. And it’s never too early nor late to nurture it. One easy way to do that is to let children brainstorm concrete ways that they can show kindness each day.  

In celebration of World Kindness Day today (and really every day should be kindness day), here’s a list of ways to be kind — gathered just for this post — from kids from across the country! Thank you to each one of them for their ideas, and may they jumpstart a nice conversation with your own children!

50 (Almost) Kid-Thought-Of Ways to Show Kindness 
  • If someone is feeling lonely, I can go over and sit with them.
  • If someone needs a friend, I can play with them.
  • If I want something, I can say “please.”
  • If somebody doesn’t have a friend, I can say, “Come and play with us.”
  • If somebody is sad, I can can cheer them up.
  • Tell someone you love them.
  • If someone is feeling sad, I can go over and hug them.
  • I can be kind and clean my room.
  • I can smile at my worst enemy.
  • I can donate food to someone who doesn’t have any food.
  • If someone new moves onto my block, I can welcome them.
  • I can hug family.
  • I can help my Mom carry in the grocery bags.
  • When someone is sick, I can bring food or tea.
  • I can let my little brother pick the first piece of cake.
  • I can give someone a compliment.
  • I can stand up for someone who is being picked on.
  • I can help animals. 
  • If someone hurts themselves, I can go see if they’re okay.
  • If someone falls, I can help them up.
  • If someone is bleeding, I can get them a bandaid.
  • I can help my Mom and Dad around the house and garden.
  • If someone drops their school folder, I can help them put the papers back in.
  • I can help my little brother or sister reach something up high.
  • I can help my Mom and Dad make dinner. 
  • I can play with my grandparents.
  • If someone drops their trash, I can pick it up for them.
  • I can follow my Mom’s directions.
  • I can clean up after myself.
  • I can be a good listener.
  • I can help a friend if they fall and get hurt.
  • I can play nice with my dog (and my little sister).
  • I can share toys with others. I can take turns.
  • I can be patient and wait my turn.
  • I can do my chores and follow rules.
  • I can think of the feelings of others before I speak.
  • I can try to put others first.
  • I can encourage a friend to do their best.
  • I can ask someone who looks lonely to play.
  • I can include others.
  • I can help shovel the neighbor’s sidewalk after a snowstorm.
  • I can tell someone they look nice today.
  • I can give a friend a hug.
  • I can share toys with my friends in class.
  • I can share toys with my baby brother even when I don’t want to.
  • I don’t have to race to be the first to get everything. 
  • I invited a girl from school that others don’t really like to my birthday party. When they spent time with her, they had fun with her.
  • A friend of mine is having a lot of trouble at home because her parents are not happy, so I try to invite her to my house a lot so she can relax and have fun with my family.
  • I gave some of my birthday money to a fundraiser at our school for kids who don’t have fun things for their recess.

The latter few ideas are my favorite — so cute! Want to learn more about Laura's book that inspired this list? Watch here. And to win your free copy, register here. All entrants must be US residents with a street address (no PO boxes) for shipping purposes, please. I will announce the winner this coming Monday, November 19th, on my website! That means you will have until next week to register, and watch for bonus entry options! (Please note: I will not give your information away to any third parties, but you will receive an optional invitation to subscribe to my website!) Good luck! Want more encouragement on kindness? Don't miss my devotion this week. Thank you, Laura!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Growing Kindness: Devotion Five

Did you know that tomorrow is World Kindness Day? In honor of its international celebration, I have TWO special days planned for you this week!
First, enjoy this week's installment of our devotional series. Kindness often starts at home by what we model as parents, so I hope this devotion encourages you to tap into Christ's reservoir of support as we seek to grow kindness' fruit...it's not always easy, but Christ is here to help!
Second, I'm welcoming back best-selling author Laura Sassi to my website tomorrow to reflect upon ways that children themselves can be kind. She's polled children coast to coast for practical ideas in honor of her new book, Love is Kind, which I will be giving away to one lucky reader! Don't miss it!


Day 16
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
As parents, we often deal with fruit. Like the fruit a toddler has lovingly smeared all over the floor. Or the fruit a school-aged child refuses to eat and possibly hides in interesting places (such as the under the table, which happened to me recently). But this passage is about the intangible fruit that our actions produce. On bad meltdown days, I might not want to think about it! Ultimately, however, I want all that I do to edify the family I am working so hard to build. That means I want to consider the teachings of Jesus before I respond, even if that means locking myself in my bedroom for a brief minute of composure first! God will multiply every small act of humility. What’s more, God will provide us with the strength to do it in the first place. If we’re intentional, those actions will also trickle down into the choices our children make in their daily lives too, reaping an abundant harvest. Today, do at least one thing for your children specifically in the name of Jesus.
Further Reading: Psalm 90:17; Hebrews 13:20–21


Remember, if you are enjoying these devotions, you can receive my entire devotional series in ebook form sent right to your inbox for free by following the prompts here. And come back tomorrow to read an endearing post from Laura and win your free copy of her new book!

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Power of Habit Setting: Devotional Four

I heard a radio program recently highlight the most important indicator of success. It wasn't persistence, creative thinking, or excellent schooling or training. It was habit setting. Our habits demonstrate what we're regularly moving toward, and they should be reflective of our goals. If someone were to observe you for any given 24-hour period, would they discover what's most important to you?
The following devotion is about making regular scripture reading and prayer a habit. It's about soul time. It's a lifeline that God offers us, and that's important.

Day 9
“Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8
The only time chaos doesn’t exist around us as parents is when everyone is sleeping! Thus, even though it is very hard to wake up earlier, I try to be up every morning before my children. I treasure this time to intentionally begin my day and feed my soul before I need to care for others. I like to start by reading a devotional and Scripture and then end in a brief prayer time. I am amazed how God can magnify the benefits of this small sacrifice of time. I discover directives essential to making decisions that day. Or perhaps a word of God meets me exactly where I have been fearful, offering encouragement. One mom once told me that her best inspiration comes when she’s in the shower. When do you get yours? First thing in the morning, while snuggled up in bed, feels like a great time to start to me. Apparently, the psalmist agrees. At least one day this week, have a morning devotional and see what you discover.
Further Reading: Psalm 5:3; Mark 1:35



If you're looking for a devotional, try my free ebook by following the prompts here! This devotion is a sample from it. Another great resource for scriptural reflection is my 11 Affirmations to Build Your Faith from last week. I hope you are enjoying this series. Tune into my social media channels this week for more inspiration on this theme, and stay tuned next week for another devotion!

Monday, October 29, 2018

11 Affirmations to Build Your Faith

In last week's Devotion Three, I promised to share some scriptural affirmations with you this week. These affirmations are a nice segway in between devotions. They provide fodder to dream and step out in the spirit of last week, and they remind us of scripture's power, which I'll address in next week's devotion.
I've often heard it asked, "How can I get more faith?" Maybe you're going through a difficult time, and you want to believe but you're faltering. Faith isn't something you have to muster. Instead, it's something that needs to be fed. If you're facing discouragement or risk, you need to surround yourself with biblical affirmations of hope. Let statements like the below be your daily diet, and see what happens to your faith!

11 Biblical Affirmations to Build Your Faith:

1. I will not surrender to my fears. Isaiah 41:10
2. I will take one day at a time in obedience; I will live in the present moment and not worry about the future. Matt. 6:25-34
3. I claim the biblical freedom to trust that God is powerful enough to work all things for my good. I will not be preoccupied with worse case scenario thinking. Romans 8:28
4. God is my Provider. I draw confidence and strength from how he has provided for me in the past, and I continue to look to him for the future. Philippians 4:19
5. I will do what is within my control to the best of my ability and leave the rest to God. God's hands are capable and his promises are for ME. Hebrews 10:23
6. I am NOT alone. God sees my struggle and will come alongside me. I will look for signs of his presence and grace today. Deut. 31:6
7. I am LOVED by God. Romans 8:38-39
8. I will always remember who I am and WHOSE I am. If God is for me, what can stand against me? Romans 8:31
9. I do not expect my path to always be easy. I am equipped and well able, and I will grow through every experience. James 1:2-4
10. I am called to be brave. 1 Corinthians 16:13
11. I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 


Stay tuned next week for Devotion Four! And did you see my meme for affirmation #11 on Facebook? "Like" or "Share" it! Want more biblical inspiration? Check out my "Resources" tab for two free printables!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Dare to Dream: Devotion Three

We continue our devotional series this week with another sample devotion from my free ebook. Each week I've encouraged you to look inward; this week it's about your dreams. Watch my social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for an inspirational meme associated with healthy risk-taking. And if you want your own copy of this free devotional ebook, follow the prompts here.


Day 5
“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.” Ephesians 3:20–21
Are you in the habit of dreaming? Perhaps you dream for your children since, as parents, we want to give our children every advantage. But it’s also important to remember to continue dreaming for ourselves too. As weighty and wonderful the task of parenting is, it is not all of who we are. We are also children ourselves—children of God. Imagine the plans God has been dreaming for your life as his child. Naturally, we might shrink away from these plans if they involve change or risk. But these elements are often the food of faith. If things are certain, then we do not need faith at all. Rather, I believe God desires us to live an adventure. Prepare for surprises and to be amazed when you start taking the limits off of what God can do with and through your life. Today, take time to cast a dream for your life and consider the power of your example as your children observe it.
Further Reading: Joshua 1:9; Mark 10:27


Next week I'll be sharing a biblical mantra of important affirmations to remember whenever you are stepping out. If you're looking for more inspiration in the spirit of this devotion in the meantime, this a favorite and so is this. If you want to inspire dreaming in your children, read this. Finally, to find out how my dawdling toddler encouraged me to consider my dreams and call, read this!

Monday, October 15, 2018

What Are You Thirsty For: Devotion Two

In order to be grounded parents, we need to consider our own hearts. Our hearts inevitably affect family decisions, which was the devotion topic last week. This week's devotion invites us into honest reflection. Scripture uses the metaphor of thirst to inspire us to think about what we truly yearn for at the most basic level.


Day 3
“O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1
It’s easy to understand thirsting for water, but there are other things we thirst for that might not be so readily transparent. We must dig deeper into our hearts to discover our thirsts. Options might include popularity, approval, success, or wealth. While these things are not necessarily wrong, when they’re taken to the extreme as a measure of a person, they become chains rather than gifts. We can think less of ourselves, causing our self-esteem to falter based upon whatever rubric we envision as the ideal. Self-worth, by comparison, never falters because it’s based upon God’s approval of us. We are his intricately made creation, endowed with purpose and crowned with his unconditional love. Faith affords us the option to climb off the hamster wheel of comparisons and enter into a new kind of judgement of ourselves—one that is freeing. That’s something to thirst for every day! Today, consider what God says about you.
Further Reading: Romans 8:38–39; 1 Peter 2:9


Watch my social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for an inspirational meme associated with this theme! And if you want your own copy of this free devotional ebook, follow the prompts here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Protecting the Intangibles: Devotion One


Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing devotions from my ebook. My hope is that each devotion will spark further reflection. The ebook's goal is to open the spiritual reservoir of God's provision and guidance as we parent. That provision is waiting for you today. Feel free to share your responses and journey in the comments; I will respond to every one. And if you want your own copy of this free ebook, follow the prompts here.

Day 1
“You bestow on him blessings forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.” Psalm 21:6
Chaos in our lives can be driven by comparison games. It’s easy to become busier and busier as we compare our schedules with others. There are often good intentions behind these efforts. Schedule-wise, we don’t want our children to fall behind, miss out, or fail to reach their full potential. The problem is that these tangible activities can choke time for the ones with intangible rewards. Spending quality time and planting godly seeds in our families are not always activities that pop on a page, but their rewards are far richer. True inner fortitude can’t be measured by how firmly a child kicks a ball; lasting happiness can’t be found at the end of an expert recital. By investing in what God measures as worthy, we can experience greater blessings and joy, often when we least expect it ... and with no regrets later on. Today, tally three intangible blessings that you want to impart as you parent.
Further Reading: Psalm 1:1–3; Psalm 119:1–3

Monday, September 17, 2018

7 Tips to Get the Most out of the School Year


Another year brings another round of new experiences for our children. Ultimately, children are not at school to compete with one another, but to more fully discover who they are. They mature at different rates, and their learning arcs vary. As a parent, I want to walk alongside my children’s unique journeys and give them every resource and tool in their own becoming. To that end, here is a checklist of new adventures that I hope school children might tick off this year:
  1. Investigate sparks. Discover something interesting about a subject that you didn’t know before which sparks a desire to learn more outside of school.
  2. Get to know someone you’ve never really spent time with before, teacher or student.
  3. Find a special spot on campus. Realize what makes it special to you and return to it.
  4. Embrace character growth. Look out for an example of a sacrifice or tough choice you’ll make but that you feel proud of.
  5. Try a new food. (For some kids, this might be the hardest adventure of all!)
  6. Look for a new leadership opportunity. How can you use what you enjoy or are good at to help others by being a leader?
  7. Set a growth goal for yourself and later demonstrate how you reached it!
A friend of mine said that she was going to print this list out and challenge her children to do each of these things this year. I plan to do the same and hope you will too! For a specific prayer to pray for your child, check out this post. Cheers to a great new year!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Watch My Sermon, "Living Loved When You Feel Rejected," Now!


It's wonderful to be back writing you after taking a summer break to be with my family! While school schedules are now undoubtably busy, I wanted to pass along this link so that you can watch my most recent sermon. If you missed church recently or are just looking for a little inspiration, I invite you to tune in on this timeless topic!


Watch HERE

This June 2018 sermon draws insights from NYT bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst's newest book, Uninvited. It concluded my church's "Book and a Bible" series at its contemporary service called WAVE. You will find other sermons in this series (which included other NYT bestselling books) here near the bottom of the page or here on my church's Vimeo page.

P.S. Tune in next week for a back to school special post!


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Last Sermon of the School Year


The gift of a good friend is a beautiful thing. But what happens when instead of rejoicing in a deepening friendship, you find yourself feeling left out and lonely? In our hyperconnected digital age, this can happen more often than we admit. And it is real. Some have felt so alone and brokenhearted that they are even willing to end their life.

While I hope that the church is a safe place for all people who are suffering, even more powerful is the God who maintains it. Christ’s wounds have the power to heal, his promises are sure footing to stand on, and his unconditional love can inspire our greatest confidence in whom God made us to be. When the world robs and depletes, Christ offers us the free gift of abundant life through faith and community.

Join me as I preach my final sermon for this school year this Sunday, June 3rd at 5 PM at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ. My message will conclude the church's Book and a Bible sermon series as I pull insight from a third New York Times bestseller — Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited. You, friend, are definitely invited, whether in person or through my on demand sermon to come.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Watch May's Sermon on Life Purpose


Do you wonder what living your life purpose looks like for you?

How can you identify the steps toward identifying and actualizing that vision?

Where can one find encouragement for that often hard, but rewarding journey?

To answer these questions and more, watch my most recent sermon on demand through HomeTowne TV. I draw upon insights from my own research and acclaimed author Parker Palmer's book Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. Palmer's book continues our church's Book and a Bible sermon series.

Watch HERE

Stay tuned for my last sermon of the school year! I will be preaching on NYT bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst's newest book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. All are welcome at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ at 5 pm this Sunday, June 3rd!

Also, did you watch my recent Chaos to Calm episode with the NYT bestselling author Dr. Leonard Sax? Join the other 1.3K viewers and watch as we tackle tough parenting issues! Watch here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Watch My Sermon Response to "The Collapse of Parenting" Now!


If you watched my interview with the New York Times bestselling author Dr. Leonard Sax, or if you are curious as to what his book is about and how it connects to faith, I invite you to watch my most recent sermon:

Watch HERE

Dr. Sax is the author of The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups. He is a graduate of MIT who earned his MD and PhD in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. His book is based upon over 90,000 office visits as a board-certified family physician, and the data he’s gathered by speaking with children, parents, and school administrators from around the world. His data has led him to one conclusion: We are witnessing the full-blown collapse of parenting today. He cites rising anxiety, depression, obesity, medication, and dropout rates in children, for instance. Meanwhile, American schools and job placement rates are slipping in international rankings. Each of these effects can be statistically traced back to diluted parental authority, Dr. Sax argues. He offers parents a lifeline into how to counter culture's current trend and safeguard the future success of their families. Faith offers parents an additional lifeline to Dr. Sax's research too — watch to find out how!

Local friends, I'm preaching this Sunday evening, 5/6, at 5 PM at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit! I'll be continuing Central's "Book and a Bible" sermon series by talking about living our life purpose. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Watch the Newest Chaos to Calm Episode Now!

Dr. Leonard Sax and Me

Watch the newest episode special of my parenting TV series, Chaos to Calm, now! I sit down with Dr. Leonard Sax, the New York Times bestselling author of The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups. Dr. Sax bases his book on over 90,000 office visits as a board-certified family physician, his conversations with parents, school administrators, and students from around the world as a sought-after speaker, and scientific data. In this interview, you'll hear him address topics such as:

What is true success?
What can parents do to enable true success in their children?
What are the warning signs of where parents are going wrong?

If you live in the Summit, NJ area, you can watch this interview by tuning into HomeTowne TV. It is being broadcast to over a half a million homes through the Verizon/33 and Comcast/36 channels. Showtimes are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3 pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 am; and Sundays at 7 pm and 9:30 pm until mid-May. All times are EST. For those who are not local or who want to watch on demand:

 Watch HERE 

I can't wait for you to see it! Thank you for your support, and I hope you find this information as helpful as I did! Stay tuned for my faith-based response to Dr. Sax's book in my on demand sermon, which is coming soon!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Stay Tuned for Wisdom from Dr. Leonard Sax!

Wisdom from The Collapse of Parenting

For Dr. Leonard Sax, the parenting command has been replaced by a question mark today. In his recent New York Times bestseller, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups, the effects of diluted parental authority are sweeping. He cites rising anxiety, depression, dropout, obesity, and medication rates in children, for instance. Meanwhile, American schools, patent rates, and job placement statistics are plummeting in international rankings. In other words, we’re in trouble.

These effects are so sweeping because the current vacuum of healthy authority doesn’t stop with parents — it’s also spilling over into our schools and faith-based institutions. As a result, culture’s “Live for Now” mentality is going largely unchallenged, children are increasingly looking to their peers rather than to adults for approval, and parents are prone to preparing their children simply for more school, rather than life. In response to this collapse, Dr. Sax argues for a healthy reassertion of parental authority so that children can get the very things they might not even know they’re hungry for — grounding, humility, and most importantly, valuable character building.

This week, I’m delighted to interview Dr. Sax in a HomeTowne TV episode special for Chaos to Calm. Join me in understanding how we can navigate this concerning parenting dilemma with practical tips from an expert. Dr. Sax is a father, board-certified family physician, psychologist, and research-based author of several books who has been on multiple national media news outlets. You can watch this Chaos to Calm episode late month on demand via my blog or on HomeTowne TV (Channel 33/Verizon and 36/Comcast) in NJ.

Also, I will be preaching on Dr. Sax’s book this Sunday, April 15, at the contemporary WAVE worship service at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ, where I am Parish Associate. Local friends, please come to the auditorium at 5 PM and bring a friend! And stay tuned for the on demand link to watch the sermon here as well. You will not want to miss out on Dr. Sax's wisdom. It has deeply impacted my parenting!

My post will also appear on Central Church's website this week.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Giveaway WINNER!

Flowering Easter cross at my church

Happy Easter! I'm delighted to announce the winner of contest for the NIV Beautiful Word Bible this week! The lucky winner is Laura B. of New Jersey! So grateful for her support and readership, along with the many other ladies who registered — thank you! Contest entrants will be automatically added to my listserv, so watch for that email this week.

Also, don't forget to stay tuned on the blog this month for an exciting interview with NYT bestselling author Dr. Leonard Sax on his newest book, The Collapse of Parenting. I will also preach on his book as part of the Book and a Bible series currently underway at my church. Both the interview and sermon will be available on demand here!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Holy Weekend Faith Book Giveaway!

A Page from The Beautiful Word Bible
It's that time again. Every year, I like to give away faith-building resources for Easter. This year, I'm offering you one of my new favorites! I even asked a friend to help me vet it. One lucky winner will win their free copy!

Resource to Win:

The NIV Beautiful Word Bible for Girls: This is my new favorite Bible! As my friend with three daughters agrees, it's for older girls (think 8 and up) and women. From it's modern, beautiful illustrations to it's space for note taking in the margins, this Bible is one you can enjoy and grow with. I will treasure mine. Note: The pages are so beautiful that my friend's daughters wanted to tear them out, so they resorted to bookmarks lol!

Resources for All Ages:

God's Big Plans for Me Storybook Bible by Rick Warren, based upon The Purpose Driven Life: This Bible reads more like a devotional, and it's my new favorite in that genre for children. It walks sequentiality through the Bible in a thoughtful way and is interactive. At the end of each entry, readers are encouraged to "think, remember, and question" something having to do with the lesson.

The Adventure Bible: Book of Daring Deeds and Epic Creations. This book contains 60 faith-building activities for children. Some are simple and intuitive, some are creative and/or take more preparation. This book is an excellent resource for children's sermons or everyday teaching moments with our children.

Resources for Young Boys (3-5 years old):

May the Faith Be with You Devotional. This book contains 180 devotions. I found the devotions to be rather short and simple, but this might be just the trick with fidgety young boys!

May the Faith Be with You Bedtime Prayers. This is a board book with a glow-in-the-dark cover that's filled with short, rhyming prayers for younger children. That being said, there is one prayer that I want to teach to my older boys because it's easy to remember and rely on. It is a prayer to trust God, and it's beautiful:

When I am scared or feeling sad
Or don't know what to do,
I turn to God in prayer and say,
"I put my trust in you."

Deep in my heart, I know I am 
As loved as I can be.
With God, I am never alone.
He watches over me.

Enter to win your FREE BIBLE by clicking here. All entrants must have a US street address, no PO Boxes, for shipping purposes please. I will chose and announce the winner on Easter! Good luck! And thank you to Zonderkidz, the children's Christian publisher, for supplying me with copies of these resources to read and review!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

TV Announcement and Upcoming Schedule!

New York Times bestselling author Leonard Sax is coming to the set of Chaos to Calm this April!

Dr. Leonard Sax is a practicing physician, psychologist, and speaker for community groups and schools. He is the author of Why Gender Matters, Boys Adrift, Girls on Edge, and his newest title, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them like Grown-Ups. In the latter, Dr. Sax documents a pervasive youth culture of disrespect and how the erosion of parental authority is deeply hurting the success and well-being of our children.

I am honored to be interviewing Dr. Sax on The Collapse of Parenting at the HomeTowne TV studio for a Chaos to Calm episode special! Chaos to Calm is my parenting TV series on hot topics which shot seven episodes last year. The series continues through episode specials like this one, which will air in late April on HomeTowne TV in New Jersey (Channel 33/Verizon and 36/Comcast). It will also be available for on demand viewing via YouTube; click here to see past episodes.

I will be preaching on my interview with Dr. Sax on April 15th at the contemporary WAVE service at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ, where I am Parish Associate. The service will take place at 5 PM in the auditorium and will include a meal along with special crafts for children. WAVE is a unique intergenerational service where children and adults worship together and enjoy contemporary music along with a relevant message to today’s culture. This service will be available to watch on demand — stay tuned here for the link! 

Preaching on Dr. Sax’s book is a continuation of WAVE’s Book and a Bible series. For past sermons, click here and hereFuture preaching dates and topics are included below. All services are at 5 PM for local friends and will be televised through HomeTowne TV and available for online viewing through my website:

May 6 — I will be preaching on Parker Palmer’s acclaimed book Let Your Life Speak. The sermon will focus on his hard-won advice on the why and how of living your life purpose.

June 3 — I will be preaching on New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. The sermon series will be concluding with this book by an author who wears her heart on her sleeve and is an expert in relatable, applicable wisdom sayings — don’t miss it!

Note: Stay tuned next week for a special Easter giveaway for children's faith resources, an annual tradition on the blog thanks to the publisher Zonderkidz!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Watch My Sermon on Belonging Now!


I'm so excited to share the link to watch March's sermon on demand entitled, "How to Attain True Belonging." In this message, I continue the Book and a Bible sermon series with NYT bestselling author Brené Brown's Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. Discover what true belonging is, the risks to it in our divisive society, and how we can attain it with the church's help. 

BONUS: This WAVE contemporary worship service includes the first ever live performance of Adam Gilbert's new single, "I Want You to Know." Adam is an award-winning musician who wrote and performs this song that's so moving, it just might make you cry! Thanks, Adam!

Watch HERE

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Quest for True Belonging

This past week, I preached at my church's contemporary WAVE service on belonging. As part of our “Book and a Bible” series, I delved into Brené Brown’s newest book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. Some of you might be familiar with Brené through her New York Times bestselling books, interviews on Oprah, or popular TED talk on vulnerability.

As a sociologist and researcher, Brené interviewed numerous eighth graders on the difference between belonging and fitting in. Their answers were insightful and worth sharing:

* Belonging is being somewhere where you want to be, and they want you. Fitting in is being somewhere where you want to be, but they don’t care one way or the other.
* Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else.
* If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.

The delineation in their definitions is relatable. It’s also illustrative of the fact that true belonging requires authentic self.

As much as we’re wired for genuine connection, it requires courage to present our authentic self to others and honor it ourselves. Brené writes, “No vulnerability, no courage.” But it is precisely our vulnerability that can bring us greater joy and even has the capacity to heal our increasingly divisive society.

When we recognize what binds us as humans is greater than what divides us, when we believe in mutual love and respect, and when we come together for a purpose larger than ourselves, we begin to cultivate a community where authentic selves can thrive. And that is something I hope, friends, the church offers you through Jesus Christ.

Coming together for Lent and Holy Week is a time-honored tradition that celebrates the love that unites us all. In Jesus, we all belong and are welcome. I wish you a rich Easter season in worship. Please stay tuned for my sermon, which will be available on demand soon!

This post was also shared with Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Watch February's Sermon on a Book Not to Miss!



The contemporary service at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ, known as WAVE, kicked off a new sermon series, Book and a Bible, this month. You're invited to watch my recent sermon on demand here! In this service, I delve into acclaimed author Sara Hagerty's newest book Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed. Discover the redeeming, life-giving fingerprints of God in your unseen sacrifices and fallow seasons.

Watch HERE

Did you know? WAVE stands for Authentic Worship Experience and renewed Vitality through faith. Love that!

You can join us at our next scheduled service on March 4th at 5 PM in the auditorium. I'll be preaching on New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown's newest book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Watch January's Sermon



I invite you to watch January's televised service:

Discover the history and meaning of Epiphany, its importance for our daily lives, and the unique opportunity it offers each of us in the new year. This service is brought to you by the WAVE contemporary worship team at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit and features acclaimed musician/songwriter Adam Gilbert and a message by me. (Jan. 7, 2018)

Watch HERE.

P.S. I posted my first video teaser on Facebook for this service this week. Did you see it? Are we friends? And in the manner of New Year's Resolutions, I've finally joined Instagram. Find me here!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year and Preaching Sunday!


This Sunday I'll be preaching at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit at 5 pm! Come join us in the auditorium for another WAVE worship service. Hear an inspiring message to frame the new year: Now that Christ has been born, it's up to us to seek him in our daily lives. There will be food, contemporary music, and special crafts for children based upon the wisemen seeking Jesus. All are welcome!

As we enter into a new year, I am thrilled for its fresh beginning. I love how human history has weaved a new beginning into the fabric of our lives each year. And what's more, we celebrate its gift with friends and family and mark its opportunity as special.

Not only can we begin again, but we have the power to frame the new year intenitonally. In the past, that was the function of New Year's resolutions. But this year, I've heard a lot of people are choosing only one word: a theme word for 2018 to live by. Some choose for that word to start with the first letter of their first name, but it doesn't really matter. What matters most is its significance to you. This year, each individual in my family chose a word, wrote it down, decorated the page to make it personal, and hung it up in a special place to remind them.

Whether you're joining me in worship this week or perhaps choosing your own word in solidarity, I wish you a wonderful, prosperous, and blessed Happy New Year!

TODAY Video Clip