Sunday, February 18, 2018

Withdraw to Connect

What Jesus teaches us about time alone
A guest post from Kimberlie Kessler

One of the biggest challenges for me these days is taking time—without feeling guilty—to be alone. I struggle with the idea that I need to be constantly “doing” because simply “being” seems not enough and feels lazy. 

Recently I was convicted of the absolute necessity of quiet time. Not alone, nap time (though that surely has value), but alone time with Jesus. I was talking to my kids about the importance of making time for Him and was reminded of this repeatedly in my own quiet time and readings.

Irony? Coincidence? 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Dance or Drown: Distracted Living

What we can learn from Peter in Matthew 14:22-24
A guest post from Kimberlie Kessler

     As with the weather, I’m certain most of us would prefer to be in control of our “life” seasons; feeling less like we are drowning and more that we are precisely in the place we have calculated ourselves to be in any given moment of time. Financially, physically, professionally.
     To our dismay, but ultimate best, that’s not quite the way things work.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Casting Bread

“Cast your bread upon the waters ...” (Ecclesiastes 11:1)

At my book signing last month, I received a beautiful note from a dear friend. She knows me well—my anxieties, introvert personality, and God’s call to put all that aside and use the gift he has given me to write for him.

She wrote, “the bread is being cast upon the waters ...”

As the New Year is upon us, I have been contemplating what this curious message from Ecclesiastes truly means.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Baby is Born

Silent night, holy night,
While shepherds watch their flocks,
And innkeepers lock their doors,
And donkeys nuzzle the hay,
A baby is born.

Silent night, holy night,
While angels hold their breath,
And demons prowl the shadows,
And a young mother contracts in pain, 
A baby is born.

Silent night, holy night,
While shepherds observe the skies,
And innkeepers extinguish their lamps,
And donkeys warm their noses,
A baby is born.

Silent night, holy night,
While angels sing with exultation,
And demons shriek in fear,
And a mother pushes out life,
A baby is born.

Silent night, holy night,
While shepherds gather to worship,
And innkeepers turn in sleep,
And donkeys bow their heads,
A baby is born.

Silent night, holy night,
While angels guard with mighty wings,
And demons watch light banish dark,
And a mother gathers her infant close,
A baby is born.

Silent night, holy night,
While shepherds meet a king,
And innkeepers serenely dream,
And donkeys gaze in wonder,
A baby is born.

Silent night, holy night,
While angels wait in expectation,
And demons plot retaliation,
And a mother cries with joy,
A savior is born.

Copyright 2016 Sara Nelson O'Brien 
All photos courtesy of

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Incredible

Based on Matthew 1:1-24

“‘I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore…and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:16-18) 

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) 

     The promise came to Abraham first, and was passed down, generation to generation. From father to son, mother to daughter, year after year after year. From kings to servants, farmers to field hands, notorious sinners to courageous heroes, until finally it passed to a young engaged couple. “Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (v. 18).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Your Story

It often feels like cancer keeps taking, taking, and taking. It strips away the things that were important in our previous life. It takes away our appearance: hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, body shape. And leaves scars, stubble, bruises and access ports.

It takes away our personal recognition and leaves a changed face in the mirror. It takes away our health, pain-free mornings, and the ability to walk or move without discomfort. It takes away energy, the “to do” lists of daily activities, our work and hobbies.

It takes away our confidence that things are “fine” and “everything is going to be OK.” It takes away parts of our identities, our daily association with our profession, and our roles and responsibilities in our own home. It takes, takes, and takes.

HOWEVER, there is something it can’t touch. It can’t remove, budge, slow down or change it. What is this amazing behemoth that even cancer can’t reach? God’s love. God’s love for you.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Everyday Jesus

The people described in the Gospels were ordinary folks going about their everyday lives, until they met Jesus. Some were people of influence, some average, some insignificant and nameless—but not to him.

Their interactions are intriguing to me. What were they thinking and feeling when their lives intersected with his? What were their worries, hopes and expectations? Some experienced wondrous events. Others had the opportunity to speak with him face-to-face. What did they ask him? How did he respond?

It’s easy for me to imagine these conversations. People haven’t really changed.