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Monday, March 25, 2019

Watch NOW: Extended Chaos to Calm Episode Special!

I had the honor of sitting down with the New York Times bestselling author Dr. Leonard Sax for a second Chaos to Calm episode this month! This time, I interviewed him on his most popular book to date, Boys Adrift. We talked about barriers to boys' education and the effects of video games on boys' development—issues that are so important, we shot an extended episode special!

Watch HERE:

Dr. Sax delves into issues like:

What is the evidence that boys are lagging behind girls in school?
What can a parent do to advocate for their son?
What can educational experts do to make schools more boy-friendly by using the research?
How do video games really impact my child?
Are some video games more "dangerous" to my child's development than others?

For all of these reasons and for many more, you won't want to miss this expert's opinion and practical advice that you can implement right now to help your son, your school, or your community.

Next week, we'll be picking back up on our life purpose series with step three. Are you already a subscriber? If not, subscribe here to receive future exclusive bonus content from this series!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Watch My Newest Sermon: "The Best Legacy"

I'm excited to share with you my favorite sermon yet—one from the heart! I returned to preach at my church's contemporary service this March seven months pregnant. For the message, I shared my grandmother's miraculous faith healing from cancer. Her story challenges us to believe in God's continued miraculous work in the world and also encourages us to share our faith, which is her most lasting legacy to me. 

As a special treat, acclaimed children's book author Laura Sassi read her newest book, Love is Kind, for the children's message. Watch as she relates to the children in an endearing way to equip them to share their faith and love with others too! I hope you enjoy it!

Watch HERE:

The story of my grandmother's miracle reminds me of I Chronicles 16:8-12:

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles...

After watching, I hope you will consider all that God has done for you and feel inspired to tell others about it!

Stay tuned for another recording coming next week! I've also taped an extended episode special for my TV show, Chaos to Calm, with repeat guest Dr. Leonard Sax. I interviewed him on his recently updated and most popular book, Boys' Adrift, for this boy-centered episode. Hear this New York Times bestselling author hone in on the modern challenges to boys' success in education and the effects of video games on boys' development. He offers parents loads of practical advice that I hope you won't miss!

Our life purpose series will begin again in two weeks!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Sneak Peek into Bonus Material!

Next week, subscribers to my blog will receive the second installment of exclusive material relating to my newest series, "How to Live Your Life Purpose." In the series, I divide living your life purpose into six steps. The exclusive material relates to my own journey of living my life purpose for each of those steps. As a courtesy, I wanted to share what subscribers received as the first installment; it relates to longing. Next week's installment will pick up there and relate to surrender. Be sure that you have subscribed here to follow along!

The Day I First Thought Minister

I discovered the orienting principle of life purpose one day by a lakeshore. As I reflect on it now, it was a moment reminiscent of Jesus’ call to his early disciples by the seaside. Matthew 4:19-20 describes how they put down their nets at the sound of his voice. Centuries later, his voice calls on. I heard it call to me one spring afternoon.

I sat in prayerful tears by the quiet shores of Lake Michigan. I was experiencing longing and petitioning God like Hannah. I was in your typical college uniform — worn jeans and a loose T-shirt, and I was leaning against my pre-med backpack that was always too heavy. As the waves repeatedly crashed on the nearby shore and the winds softly stroked my cheek, it was as if I had climbed into the lap of the Father. My frustration was not your typical overworked, worn-out pre-med one. I was presenting my Father with a hole in my heart — I could sense that something was missing — but I knew that only he and I could understand it. That’s when my soul heard the word, “ministry.” It was not what I expected.

A divine word. The entire world came into being through them. Jesus was the living, breathing existence of them. And now the Creator had spoken one to my very spirit. Words of God bring direction, purpose. They turned a formless void into miraculous earthly life. They allowed us to see with clarity the incredible heart of God through the God-man Jesus. And now, one word had granted me a vision for my life. I only had a glimpse, I only had the notion, but this new seed sunk deep within and resonated with the soil of my past. I had wanted to heal as a faith-filled doctor, but God opened me to the possibility of healing souls instead of bodies. While my pre-med work was draining, the very idea of ministry inspired me.

I realized the One who knew me and shaped me had been guiding me all along. In that one word, I experienced God’s love and pleasure. In that one word, I felt overwhelming elation and awe as he revealed his purpose for me, a creation forged and covered with his fingerprints. Isaiah professes, “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (64:8). I was sticky with clay, opening my eyes as if for the first time. 

I left that lakeshore rock with my answer just as Hannah had left the temple. But little did I know this divine answer was just the beginning of my journey.

Questions to think about this week: Can you pinpoint a time that you have experienced answered prayer? Did the answer surprise you? In what ways, overt or subtle, have you felt God lead your heart in terms of your chosen life direction?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

How to Live Your Life Purpose: Surrender, Part Three

Have you ever wondered whether you are living up to your full potential, particularly as you straddle the doldrums of parenthood? If so, I invite you to join me in my newest series entitled, "How to Live Your Life Purpose." In the coming months, you'll discover how living your life purpose can be divided into six different movements or steps. We are currently exploring the second step, which is surrender. You can read the introduction or biblical discussion of this step from the past two weeks. Today, we'll explore the topic more biblically and theologically. 

Next week's post will conclude the second step. I will be sharing it exclusively with my subscribers; it will not appear on my website! Read about my own experience with surrender and my life purpose. Be sure that you have subscribed here so that you do not miss it! I am excited to share it with you. Thank you for your support!

Discerning the footprint of the Creator in our makeup is the first step of surrender; the second step is actively responding to what we discover. The idea of God’s call and our response is integral to theology. God starts the process with a call to faith. Our response is then two-fold: to believe and to act obediently to God’s direction in our lives. The latter certainly includes our willingness to assume our life purpose. It’s important to recognize that God is always the initiator in this process: “God in Christ is always the subject. God issues the call, the invitation, the summons. It remains for humans to respond.” * And our response to God matters.

A well-known biblical character receives a direct summons from the Lord and, instead of obeying it, runs away. God not only calls Jonah to a place where he doesn’t want to go, but to his worst enemy. God’s message for the people of Nineveh could in fact redeem them, and Jonah wants no part of it. As he is fleeing, his boat encounters stormy waters and he is thrown overboard, only to be swallowed by a whale. He isn’t spit out at once. Instead, he lives in the fish.

This kind of engulfment has spiritual resonance. We may not have been eaten by a fish, but we can certainly be mired in depression and longing when we do not surrender to God’s plan for our lives. In some instances, it feels like we are living in a self-imposed trap. The redeeming element of Jonah’s story is not only the deliverance he experiences from the fish through his eventual obedience, but an acknowledgment that sometimes this act of surrender can be hard—very hard. 

It’s no mistake that the first two Ten Commandments concern the primacy that God wants to have in our lives. I’m convinced God is aware of the strength of the forces that would pull us otherwise. God’s call and our surrender can challenge our comfort-level, security, need for social approval, and the expectations of our parents or boss, for instance. For Jonah, it even offended his sense of personal justice! Our willingness to obey and surrender despite the perceived costs not only effects our own deliverance of sorts, but it also unites us with other Christians who are resolved to do the same. No matter our different lives, different directions, or different challenges, we are all called by God.

Donald K. McKim, "The ‘Call’ in the Reformed Theology," Major Themes in the Reformed Tradition, edited by Donald K. McKim (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998), 336.

Questions to think about this week: What forces are particularly strong in your life that challenge your obedience to God's call? Have you experienced a kind of engulfment as a result? What would surrender look like for you? 

TODAY Video Clip