Sam

Invaded

Invaded

Growing up, I had two close friends: one came from a devout, Christian family, and the other came from a devout, atheist family. One family went to church Sunday mornings and prayer meetings Wednesday night. The other played golf on Sundays and watched TV on Wednesdays. Apart from Sundays and Wednesdays (and perhaps personal prayer times), the lives of my friends’ parents looked identical....

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The Deceptive Danger of Natural Gifting

The Deceptive Danger of Natural Gifting

I attended the University of Michigan in the 1970’s (like, before indoor plumbing). I joined a campus ministry that emphasized community, worship, and outreach.   It was a great group. About one hundred and fifty of us sacrificed to live in the dorms all four years for the sake of outreach—and believe me, living in those dorms was a sacrifice. We roomed with, did laundry with, and...

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Vandalizing God

Vandalizing God

I attended a magnet high school in Detroit, Michigan. Cass Tech was a university preparatory school that emphasized science and the arts. One night before an art showing, a vandal broke in, defaced multiple paintings, and took a hammer to dozens of sculptures.   Imagine the angry anguish of the victims: the lost hours of creativity, the shattered dreams of masterpieces. But the hours and...

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Hearing God in the Abundance of His Methods

Hearing God in the Abundance of His Methods

Most believers long for—desperately long for—God’s voice, but most of us experience silence. Scripture says, “God speaks in many and diverse ways, but nobody notices” (Job 33:14). We miss his voice because he’s not a paint-by-number God. He speaks in ways we don’t expect.   Well-meaning people often mislead us when they describe their conversations with God. Their...

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Betrayed

Betrayed

Last week I woke up in a nightmare. The dream seemed real, like an IMAX theater with heart-throbbing surround-sound and mountain-shaking sub-woofers. I dreamt of a friend’s betrayal from years ago, and I felt the naked fury, pain, and shame wash over me yet again.   Sooner or later—and most likely sooner—we will all experience a betrayal. I don’t mean a stab in the back: I mean a...

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I Was Ashamed of Myself

I Was Ashamed of Myself

I was small for my age. When I graduated from high school, I was 5 feet 7 inches and 120 pounds. (I added 2 inches and 25 pounds in the first two years of college.) In middle school, I was even smaller. When I was twelve, my younger (but taller) sister and a friend of hers began to chant, “Sam is short, shorty-pants, skinny-pants, dinky Sam!” And I slugged her.   My dad witnessed it. He...

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