Monday, February 26, 2018

The Heart of Giving Series - Stewardship: What Does it Really Mean?

As a child in Sunday School, I learned the parable of the talents which goes like this: Before going on a trip, the master divided up his talents (i.e. a considerable amount of money) between three of his servants. Of his three servants, he gave one five talents, one two talents, and another one talent. The servant with the five talents invested them wisely and his five talents became ten. The same for the one with the two - his two talents became four. But the servant who got one talent hid it out of fear from his master and did nothing with it. The master was upset and gave that one talent to the servant who had the most.

This story was always used to exemplify the

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Will We Really Be Reunited When We Get To Heaven?

Yesterday I woke up to the news that Billy Graham had passed and my first thought was that he'd finally see Ruth, his longtime wife, again.

Currently, they are a number of people in my life that are elderly and/or near death and I keep thinking of the great reunion that will happen when they get to heaven. Then recently within our circle of friends, a family lost their second child at the age of three to a chronic heart condition. This is the same condition that took their first child at around the same age. That family is grieving but again, I keep thinking of the sibling reunion in heaven (among other things). And then I often ponder my mother's heavenly existence and if she has reconnected with her son (my brother) and other relatives.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Heart of Giving Series - Biblical Foundations About Tithes and Offerings

Do you have your offering? This was a question I heard every Sunday morning just before I left for church. My answer was usually yes but I can assure you that I had it only because my parents gave it to me and it was something that Christians did. I fear that many still have this limited understanding around their giving, so today we're going to dig into what the Bible says and hopefully come away with a better understanding around giving.

Before the Mosaic Law was established, there was an understanding that sacrifices or offerings should be given to God.

The first instance in the Bible was Cain and

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Labor of Love

After birthing four children, I know intrinsically what is to labor for love. There's the initial excitement, then the arduous waiting while watching your body go through so many physical changes. Then there's the inevitable delivery where you're slightly afraid but you know that at the end of the process a new life will emerge from you. Throughout the entire process this new life is front and center - whether you are uncomfortable or have an uneventful pregnancy your only concern is for the life inside of you.

Writing a book is also a labor of love. The conception and gestation period were much shorter than in the natural as the thought for this book came about when my eldest daughter was embarking on her marriage journey last year. As her mother, she sought out so much advice from me that her impending nuptials provided an opportunity to share what I have learned over the years. There was the initial excitement, the daily discipline of writing, working with others, and then learning new processes so that this book could come to fruition.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Heart of Giving Series - Joy

Giving to a church has gotten a bad rap in most Christian circles. Too many feel uncomfortable giving to a church so they just don't give. Instead, many hold on to their portion.

Typically on most Sundays at any house of worship, a collection plate is passed around near the end of the service, some short recitation is said, there's a prayer and then the collection plate is passed. Some churches play music and everyone kind of dances as they walk forward to give their tithes/offerings. I've even seen churches make a point of collecting money twice - one for tithes and one for offerings. (I have to say that this was a head-scratcher!) Sometimes there's a musical performance as the offering box is passed. Sometimes the atmosphere is solemn, sometimes festive. Some churches display weekly giving on a board or it's printed in the weekly bulletin. In my experience, if there's a particular need it's usually

Monday, February 5, 2018

Women of the Word - Jozanne Marie

When we first moved to Los Angeles in 2007 we attended cultural events as a way of getting to know our new city better. In 2013, I was reading the LA Times when I saw a review of the play Beautiful. Here's an excerpt from that Critic's Choice review:
"If Jozanne Marie can’t persuade you to let go of that old grudge you’ve been nursing, nobody can. In her stunning and courageous autobiographical one-woman show, “Beautiful,” produced by the Latino Theatre Company, she describes a childhood blighted by betrayal and abuse, redeemed by forgiveness.
Born in Jamaica, a child of rape, Marie had the luck to be taken in by her warm, fiercely protective grandmother whom she called Mummy. Other adults in her life proved unworthy, often monstrously so, of her trust."