My Week in Honduras

Every year, the week before Spring Break, our school takes students on missions trips. Some groups stay local and serve in the Tampa/St. Pete area, others go to a different state, and the rest go overseas. I had the privilege of going with 20 students to Orphanage Emmanuel in Guiamaca, Honduras. We lived in Costa Rica for a year, so I thought I was prepared for what we would see when we landed in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. I was not. Honduras is far poorer than Costa Rica – we passed a community who lives in a dump, houses made out of materials gathered on the mountains. As we drove the two hours to the orphanage, we saw village after village of literally dirt poor families striving to survive. Then we pulled into the gate of Orphanage Emmanuel. It was...

The Wrong Kind of Prayer

In my almost-30 years as a believer, I have prayed for all kinds of things– from requests as seemingly insignificant as a parking space in the rain to literal life-and-death issues. Right now, though, I feel like God is teaching me to take a step back from the way I’ve always prayed. In the past, I have prayed very specifically — not that praying that way is wrong. In fact, God used the answers to specific prayers to bolster my faith and encourage me that He is there, He is listening, and He cares for me. But specific prayers can be very selfish (“Lord, give me that job, that house…”). And I can often confuse real prayer with wishes. Though I know God isn’t a genie, I treat Him like that when I am constantly bombarding...

Did God REALLY Say…?

Life today is quite different from life in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve would surely be shocked to see cars and planes, televisions and cell phones. They would probably be disgusted at what we eat and wear, but impressed with what we have built and invented. Despite all those differences, though, the first couple would likely recognize that, in our hearts, we are still just the same. In Genesis chapter 3, we see that Satan’s tactic with Eve was to question God’s sovereignty. “Did God really say not to eat the fruit of the tree?” And, once he gets her questioning that, he assures her that God’s warnings (“You shall surely die”) are not true. God is, in fact, tricking Eve, Satan argues, because He doesn’t want...

Listen!

I hate when my students don’t listen. I give instructions in several different ways: talking, writing on the board, emailing, inputting on the online lesson plans, repeating… Invariably, though, there is “that” student: the one who, after all of the instructions, raises his hand and asks, “What are we doing today?” And, worse, he acts shocked if the plans for the day include a test or quiz. “What?” He asks, eyes wide with shock. “I didn’t know we had a test today!” *Groans* *Pulls hair out* “Seriously?!” I was thinking of that today, as I got frustrated – again – for being ignored – again. And God gently reminded me that, far too often, I am “that” student. He has told me to expect trials (James 1:2); He has warned me that I...

To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo

Tattoos are incredibly popular. There are tattoo parlors all over the place – in storefronts, in malls, in the city and the country. There are upscale tattoo parlors, non-smoking tattoo parlors, tattoo artists working alongside make-up artists and hair stylists. Tattooing is a statement, it’s art, its fun, it’s meaningful… But it’s not for me. I’m not saying it’s wrong. Lots of people I know and love have tattoos. I’m just letting you peek in my head (be careful, it’s messy!) and see how I came to my conclusions. You, of course, are free to  make your own choices. Unless you’re still living at home or being supported by Mom and Dad. Then you need to do what they say, whether you like it or not. When you’re making your own money you can go...