Christmas card cartoon

Perfect love at Christmas

We've come to the final week of the Advent season. If you've missed the previous posts, you can check them out now. I've written about hope, peace, and joy in the past three weeks. This last week focuses on love. I'm sharing one more cartoon from my Christmas card archives. The one shown above pokes a little fun at all the trouble we go to in the name of love for our friends and family. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just don't work out as planned. And...

Christmas card cartoon

Perfect love at Christmas

We've come to the final week of the Advent season. If you've missed the previous posts, you can check them out now. I've written about hope, peace, and joy in the past three weeks. This last week focuses on love. I'm sharing one more cartoon from my Christmas card archives. The one shown above pokes a little fun at all the trouble we go to in the name of love for our friends and family. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just don't work out as planned. And...

Snowman family at dinner

Plastic peace?

Artificial, plastic trees. Artificial icicles and artificial snow. Maybe even artificial smiles amid the stress of the holiday season? And all of it with the goal of somehow generating genuine peace. But all the plastic, and glitter, and presents in the world can't conjure up peace at our dinner tables or in our own homes, much less for the whole earth. There is someone, though, who is able to bring real peace. Angles announced His birth more than 2,000 years ago with the proclamation, "Glory to...

Stay on the wheel

Have you ever watched a master potter forming a new piece of work on his wheel? He'll take a lump of clay, plop it on the wheel, add water, and turn the wheel on. That's when the magic happens. His masterful fingers remove clay from where he doesn't it want and apply pressure in just the right places to transform the lump of clay into the form that he has planned for it. The metaphor of the potter and clay has long been applied to the human...

Salvaged wood sculpture by Stephen in progress.

New series inspired by “Amazing Grace!” in the works

This fall I'm excited to return to a project that I began, and put on hold, last year. I'm working on a series of sculptures based on Amazing Grace!. Once complete, there will be a sculpture for each of the six verses of the 1779 hymn by John Newton, plus the verse from Uncle Tom's Cabin, which is described below. Probably the most well-known and beloved hymn in all of Christendom, Amazing Grace! is about being salvaged or saved. Amazing Grace! (Original words) Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)That sav'd...

Wire crucified hand set in white pickling-washed salvaged barn wood with hand transferred text.

No greater love

The story is told of a little girl who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to fight it. As best he could, the doctor explained the situation to her brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for a long moment and then took a deep...

Finding forgiveness

What's the opposite of unforgiveness? Forgiveness? Well, grammatically, yes. But simply adding the "un" doesn't help us get at the core questions—and answers—about unforgiveness. Why do we harbor unforgiveness? Why do we struggle to forgive? Why is it sometimes so hard to genuinely let something go? Volumes have been written and preached on this topic. In practice, where actions, emotions, and life-altering events impact our present circumstances and potentially shape our futures—just as we impact others and shape their futures—it can seem complicated. The Secret of Gratitude salvaged wood,...

salvaged wood sculpture with the word "Grace" and a Bible verse imprinted on it

A little bit of grace

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it's the small things that can be the most powerful reminders of God's grace? A small child reaching for your hand, a brilliant sunset igniting the evening sky, a simple meal on a clean plate when you're reminded of the many millions who don't enjoy that. A humble piece of barn wood reminded me of grace. My daughter, Hannah, and I took a trip a few summers ago to the mountains of Southwest Virginia, to collect some wood from my uncle...

salvaged wood sculpture with the word "Grace" and a Bible verse imprinted on it

A little bit of grace

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it's the small things that can be the most powerful reminders of God's grace? A small child reaching for your hand, a brilliant sunset igniting the evening sky, a simple meal on a clean plate when you're reminded of the many millions who don't enjoy that. A humble piece of barn wood reminded me of grace. My daughter, Hannah, and I took a trip a few summers ago to the mountains of Southwest Virginia, to collect some wood from my uncle...