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silent words of worship

called and capable

called and capable

I have been singing worship songs to Jesus in languages that I don’t speak for close to half of my life. Today, I am cozied into the back of a packed-out women’s conference in Hungary. We are singing a tune that I know, but I cannot voice the words to this particular ditty in today’s language nor in my mother language. I learned this song in Bulgarian years ago and that is the praise that my heart raises to the heavens today. Continue reading

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5 practical ways to grow your church

In the Dohanyi Synagogue Museum, Budapest

In the Dohanyi Synagogue Museum, Budapest

In the Synagogue’s museum, there is a photo of a Jewish man and boy behind a fence in the Ghetto. A sign reads, ‘No Christians beyond this point.’ The irony of that sign punched me in the stomach yesterday, because, if there is anywhere the Body of Christ should be, it is beyond that point, right there with the hurting, the hated, and the walking dead.

I understand the cultural context, how that sign made sense to the ones who posted it, and perhaps that is what makes it all the more frightening. It made sense to the Nazis. It made sense because anytime we use ‘us and them’ as language, we enter into dangerous, self-serving waters.  Continue reading

Jewish Quarter Budapest

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As we weave through the streets of Budapest, the menorah catches my eye – a beautiful green that has been re-figured into a door. The breath fights to escape the prison of my throat for the symbolism there. Ancient reminders of a 20th century truth – we are the doorway for the next generation, we are the light though our wicks burn for only a minute in this pause before eternity. It is our responsibility to seek peace, to live holy, to be God’s people no matter the cost. Be the doorway for someone today.

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IMG_0046_2‘You are sad.’

She did not ask me. She told me. I was astounded. Silenced. Humbled.

‘Why are you sad?’

I was just 10 minutes into an English lesson with Bea.  We communicate in broken syllables of English and Hungarian with Google Translate, but Bea did not need words to hear my pain. She is a mother with 10 children who has nothing in terms of worldly wealth, living in a shelter that is the last stop before homelessness, but her radar works. Finely honed. Tuned in. God made Bea that way, with extra-sensory apparel. Continue reading

the stupid daniel fast

Krakow

Krakow

The Daniel Fast is stupid.

I know – we don’t criticize a fast being observed by thousands of Christians, but I am really annoyed.

In fact, the Daniel Fast has grown into such a sudden global phenomenon, it might be dangerous to voice my criticism. That Daniel story has been happily hanging around Sunday School for decades. Why did some some recent theological mastermind have to mess that up by setting into motion this particular fast? The stupid thing is now trending with pathetic recipes and blog posts, and devotionals, and entire churches and denominations advocating the Daniel Fast.

It is like Christians across the world suddenly read the same book. Continue reading

give it away

IMGP1378My little slips of paper were huddled together, folded and shivering for a turn to reveal their message.  Outside that warm cabin up on Bulgaria’s Vitosha mountain, there was a sunny crispness to the air and the satisfying crunch of iced snow. It was the sort of winter new that leads you to believe that there is hope for this broken world.

Those slips of paper? They were holy revelation – a declaration of truth. Continue reading