Good read: Parables

I have to admit, it took me awhile to get through this book – life has been crazy. But one of the things I’ve loved about reading Parables is that it is really enjoyable in small segments. I’m not usually one to read a book over a long stretch of time and take breaks to read other things, but this is definitely perfect if that’s you’re reading style. I’d compare it best to being like a devotional. And seriously, how great is this cover?! It makes for great reference material whether you are a scholar of the Bible, or just wanting to start a deeper dive into Jesus’ teachings. There is something for everyone in this book. The way MacArthur explains the intentions behind Jesus’ use of parables was so eye-opening. He doesn’t shy away from addressing the controversy about why and how Jesus taught through parables. As MacArthur says, “A parable is an ingeniously simple word picture illuminating a profound spiritual lesson.” A parable always makes a comparison between something commonplace and some truth in the spiritual realm. Jesus did not invent the form, though certainly he mastered it like no one else before or since.

If you find time to read this book, I hope you find it as informative and illuminating as I did!



How we can help bring hope

While I was traveling in Europe a few weeks ago, it was nearly impossible to escape the news stories about the refugee crisis. The initial reaction I had was “this is so overwhelming!”. It seems like an insurmountable situation. It is hard to imagine that there will be enough resources to meet the vast needs. But then a story would arise of people taking in migrant families, or people meeting them on the streets with diapers and clothes. These people are fleeing unspeakable evil and for all they know, it won’t be over even after they cross the many borders to the places they are trying to seek refuge. I have been reading “Counterfeit Gods” by Timothy Keller the last few days and was struck by his explanation of hidden idols outside of our hearts – these are the idols of our culture and society. He quotes an American theologian named Reinhold Niebuhr who wrote about the corporate egos of entire nations and the idolatrous power of pride and prosperity. When we let our national pride and striving for prosperity become so important in our lives that it is an idol, something we put before God, then it leads us so far from God’s call. So when I ponder why European countries and America have such a trepidation about openly accepting these people who need our help, it stands to reason that our fears that we will lose our national identities or the security of our lifestyles are what makes us want to push this off as someone else’s problem and hope that our lives won’t be effected.


We can sit around and hope that politicians and governments will solve the problem, but we need to realize that this is a humanitarian emergency. Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing the Middle East, many on the run for a year or longer, and they lack basic resources. The majority are women and children, and most are Christians. Thankfully there are organizations like World Help who are set up in key areas to help provide food, water, shelter, and basic medical care. As they leave their homes and jobs to try to avoid death or capture, most having witnessed horrific and traumatizing events, they are starting to lose their hope along with their dignity. As Vernon Brewer wrote

I cannot relate to being brutally persecuted for my faith. I won’t even pretend to know the kind of suffering they endure. But as the body of Christ, we are all part of the same family.

If one part hurts, we all hurt. This is a sign of solidarity…of unity…of hope in a God who is strong enough to comfort and protect His people.

It reminds me to pray. It reminds me to trust. It reminds me that I cannot afford to be complacent in my faith when my brothers and sisters are dying for theirs… When people are dying you don’t need to ask more questions or weigh the cost of inconvenience — you simply need to help

Even if we can’t understand the massive struggles these people face, we can’t be complacent and hope someone else will act.

I strongly encourage you to check out the various ways in which you can be part of returning hope. Prayer is a vital component of this.

And also read some of the stories to better understand just how dire this is:
Defeating ISIS with the word of God

Fleeing ISIS: One Woman’s Firsthand Account

The Christian story is one of hope. We share the Gospel when we are bearers of hope. When we restore hope to the hopeless. By being the hands and feet of Jesus, lives can be changed and the impact is eternal.

Another great read: For The Love by Jen Hatmaker 

For The Love was such a fun read! Especially when you know that a bunch of your girlfriends are all reading it at the same time. No matter your phase of life, Jen’s honesty and wit connect all of the dots for a picture of actionable ways to live out the love of Jesus, particularly as a woman in America where our good fortune frequently blinds us and the snares of things like social media often turn us into the worst versions of ourselves. As Jen eloquently states “We are not good gods over one another; we are better humans beside each other.” Even though it’s geared toward women, I think men would really enjoy this book as well. In a time where it seems that everything seeks to divide us, it is refreshing to see voices like Jen’s ring out and encourage us to find unity in our messiness. Jen quotes John 1:4-5 which says of Jesus “in him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” I highly recommend this book, and suggest you send a copy to your best girlfriend too! After all, there are some amazing looking recipes in here too!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

We rung in this fall this past weekend with a total winner of a recipe! Stuffed acorn squash! Easy and delicious! 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Yield: 2 servings


  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed (or ground) sage, divided
  • 1/2 lb turkey or chicken sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • ½ a celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ cup peeled and chopped apple
  • stale bread, cubed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg, beaten


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the squash halves cut side up on the baking sheet. In a small dish, combine the melted butter, minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the rubbed sage. Using a silicone pastry brush, brush the butter mixture onto the inside and outside of each squash half. Roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes until tender.
  2. Bring a large skillet over medium heat and add the sausage. Cook, breaking up with a spoon, until meat is cooked through. Remove meat to a mixing bowl and place the pan back on the burner. Add the onion, celery and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the apples and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the burner and add the onion mixture to the sausage in the mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of sage, the panko crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add the egg and stir until well combined.
  3. When the squash halves are finished roasting, evenly pile the sausage stuffing into the two halves. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 18-20 minutes.

#whysponsor: Giving hope, one life at a time.

In the last year and a half, child sponsorship has been something I have grown to be so passionate about. I decided to start sponsoring a child in Ghana last year and now nearly 2 years later, I sponsor 3 children around the world. These are real children, in real places, with real needs.

In addition to helping meet the physical needs of the child you sponsor, you also nurture their emotional needs. While it’s not a requirement by any means, there is so much joy to be had from exchanging letters and photos with him or her! I even hope to meet my sponsored child in Guatemala when I am there in October! And of course prayer. Praying for your child, their family, their city, and their country not only connects you deeper to them and helps them, but it’s amazing what a powerful filter it is through which your own personal prayers pass.

I love this quote from a woman in the child sponsorship community about her connection to the child her family sponsors:

“Just because you don’t know someone doesn’t mean you can’t minister to them . . . and just because you’ve never met doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t genuine. These children love their sponsors even though they’ve never met them. I think it’s very symbolic of our relationship with Christ—we love Him even though we can’t see Him.

“What I’ve realized is that it’s really not about money,” Joy said. “For the child, it’s about knowing there’s someone out there who loves them and cares about them . . . even if it’s someone they’ve never met.”

Sponsorship-Uganda-4_Photo-PackSponsorship-Guatemala -2_Photo-Pack

I encourage you to visit World Help’s website and see the children who are available for sponsorship. Invest in a life. By making a small monthly donation, you are saying to this child, their family, and their community, that they are not alone, their needs are not being ignored, they are loved by you and by our Lord, and that there is hope today and hope for tomorrow. Your small monthly donation becomes an investment in a life. I couldn’t say no to that and I hope you won’t be able to either.

Another great read: The Colson Way by Owen Strachan

After reading this book and discovering what a bold life Chuck Colson lived for God in this country and throughout the world, I am ashamed to say I didn’t really know anything about him. But I think that is exactly the intent of this timely and very passionately-written book. Strachan gives the perfect blend of a biography of this dynamic man’s life and actionable guidance about how we (particularly Millennials) can and should carry on his legacy. The book takes the reader through Colson’s incredible life – his childhood, education, the rise and fall of his career, serving his prison sentence, when he came to faith, and the fearless way he lived on mission in the public arena until his final day. Realizing all of the ways in which Chuck Colson’s legacy is still a part of our Christian lives today is such a testament to how far-reaching his voice was. He sought to speak the Gospel in every opportunity – to boldly and courageously spread truth and justice. He knew it was a message for everyone on earth. By striving to bring others along with him whenever possible, we can be thankful that there are many people able to carry the torch he passed along, and this book invites us to take hold as well.







Italian Orzo Salad: The Summer of Salads continues

Rejoice!!!! Broccolini Season is upon us!!!! I had to grab some right away and then figure out what to make with it. We’re well into the Summer of Salads (#summerofsalads) and last week featured the broccolini!

(I love how it is described: “A delicious cross between broccoli and Chinese kale”)

Broccolini Glamour Shot!

Italian Orzo Salad

(makes 6 meal size servings)


8 oz (1/2 box) of Orzo, prepared according to package instructions (rinse after prepared to wash off excess starchiness, and also to help cool to room temp)

1 lb fresh broccolini

8oz container of small baby mozzarella, chopped into small pieces

2 cans of white beans (Great Northern or Cannelini), rinsed and drained

1 package baby spinach, cut into thin strips

1 pint grape tomatoes, seeded and quartered

1/3 cup olive oil (or a little more if needed to thin it out a bit)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp shallot, finely minced

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper


1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt. Add broccolini and allow to boil for 2-4 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes. After broccolini has cooked, drain water from pot and put broccolini into the ice bath. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then lay out on paper towels to dry. Chop into small pieces, both head and stalk.

2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, shallot, parmesan, salt, and pepper.

3. In a large bowl, combine orzo, broccolini, mozzarella, beans, spinach, and tomatoes. Add dressing and toss until fully incorporated.

4. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate – enjoy for up to a week!