Columns

Stepping Over the Barbed Wire

May 21, 2016 / Mackenzie Thompson

We came upon an empty house, broken and chipping, sitting behind a barbed-wire fence. The sign on the fence read "Posted: No Trespassing," resting at the top of a hill in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. Strong, bending, reaching pines stood surrounding the house as the property sloped down to the valley.

There's something curious about an abandoned old house where the window frames have shards of glass stuck in them and the broken wooden panes lie on the ground and the door is still locked. The wilderness is once again claiming the earth the house sits on.

Joy in the Journey

May 20, 2016 / Kimberley Schroeder

I have the pleasure of working with church members who have discovered the joy of giving, and it never ceases to amaze me how joyful these folks are. While attending a recent seminar, I learned why that is. Do you know that God designed us to be cheerful givers? With the advances in science, we can now verify that we are physically affected when we think about giving. And it’s no surprise to me.

Borrowing Trouble

May 20, 2016 / Seth Pierce

One of the most important roles in any group project, whether it be for work, school, church or even family, is electing someone to worry. While people inevitably volunteer to make phone calls, write up data, edit data or order lunch (usually my job), hiring someone to freak out really pulls everything together.

He Saved Others ... And He Saved Me!

May 20, 2016 / Martin Weber

Millions of Christians celebrate our crucified and risen Lord on one particular weekend each year. The world with its Easter bunnies considers this strange. Foolish, actually. How could the death of a peasant itinerant 2,000 years ago provide purpose for life today — with assurance of heaven for eternity?

For many unbelievers, the best thing to say about Jesus on the cross is that He was a very good man having a very bad day. But we Christians understand that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting our trespasses against us” (2 Cor. 5:19).

Pathways

May 20, 2016 / Steve Vistaunet

Long, long ago, and not so far away, I learned a memorable lesson from the joys and sorrows of Northwest berries.

My uncle and aunt lived on an Oregon farm surrounded by tangled blackberry bushes. Around the perimeter of their property, the berries were easy picking. After a few days, however, the immediate gratification of that bounty became harder to find. Deeper into the thorny thicket, I could spy larger, more luscious beauties. But, how to reach them was the question.

Little Sparrows

May 12, 2016 / Seth Pierce

In two weeks, 6-year-old Noah Alexander Russell accomplished more for the kingdom of God than most people who live to be 100. For my wife and I, the story began with texts and calls in the wee hours of a Monday morning. The messages let us know that Noah, who was thought to have a concussion, was rushed to the hospital with what actually turned out to be a pediatric stroke. Two weeks later, Noah passed away.

A Fresh Focus on Creation

May 12, 2016 / Max Torkelsen

If you take the words of Scripture as they read, without clever interpretations or complicated hermeneutics, it is pretty easy to understand what they say about the origins of life on Planet Earth. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth … for he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:6, 9).

Grace

April 23, 2016 / Steve Vistaunet

"God spreads grace like a 4-year-old spreads peanut butter — He gets it all over everything." Mark Lowry

It didn’t come naturally to him. It never had. The gray matter of teamwork was too sluggish for his black-and-white world.

The proverbial bull in a china shop, Peter had a questionable resume for a church leader. Inappropriate interference with supernatural events — check. Getting an earful because of wild sword play — check. Sleeping during prayer — check. And those weren’t the worst things on the list. How about betrayal?

A SWOT Analysis from Jesus

April 22, 2016 / Martin Weber

A time-tested evaluation tool for corporations and other secular institutions is the SWOT analysis. It summarizes significant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to that organization.

Corporations hire consultants to conduct a SWOT analysis of their operation. But some organizations have no interest in a searching and fearless inventory. Perhaps their leaders are too careless, ignorant, insecure or arrogant to care about the corporate good.

In Review

February 13, 2016

About the Author

Jennifer Jill Schwirzer has authored or co-authored 10 books and has published many articles that have featured in several magazines, including the Adventist Review and Liberty. She is an accomplished musician and over the last 30 years has recorded more than 150 original songs. Schwirzer holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling and has her own counseling practice. She is a frequent speaker at camp meetings and women’s ministries retreats.