Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla? In this issue of Activated, you don’t have to choose! We present a collection of articles on a variety of topics you might be interested in.
You’ve probably heard the statement many times, “If you don’t like the weather in Whereverville, just wait a few minutes and it will change.” Having lived on several continents, I’ve heard something similar many times. There are places that enjoy a fairly constant climate year-round, but it seems like most places on earth experience a variety of weather conditions—even, as the saying illustrates, several in one day—and to me, that diversity shows an aspect of God’s personality.
I’m a big fan of Mike Donehey, the lead singer of Tenth Avenue North, and host to their video journal on YouTube. He often shares how he receives inspiration for songs he has written, or funny stories that help him better understand God and His ways. One of my favorites is where he talks about how “God is not an elephant.”1 He knows this, he says, because he met him—not God; an elephant.
—A retelling of Acts 8:26–40
I could never forget the day of the operation, when I was only seven. That was when I became a royal eunuch, destined to serve in the palace of the kings and queens of Ethiopia. I would never have my own family, never be looked at as “normal”—and I would always have to abide by special rules, and would not be allowed to do the things that normal people do.
It never ceases to amaze me how Jesus shows up in the dark and difficult places of our lives. One such example is told in Luke 8.
Jesus, already being thronged by crowds of people eager to hear His words, is begged by Jairus, a cleric and a man of some importance, to come to his home and heal his dying daughter.
I was sitting in a wheelchair in the lobby of the hospital, waiting for the taxi to come. My shoulder was still swollen from the operation, and my entire arm was mottled with black and blue marks.
To top it off, it was raining, adding to my dark mood. Great! Rain! I thought. Just what I need!
How about playing a game where you compete only with yourself and get to do some good in the process? How about the “Game of Hearts”?
Last year, my daughter discovered her breast cancer had returned, and I found my mind becoming mired in depressive and hopeless thoughts night after night.
Jesus has a special place in His heart for children, and, as Christians, we are called to follow in His footsteps and try to raise our children with the knowledge of God and His son. Jesus showed us to lead by example and use kindness and understanding to teach children and remind them of God’s ways. This requires that we have patience, a close relationship with God, and a personal commitment to His ways.
A few months ago, on a muggy Saturday, our family made the much-anticipated trip to a big theme park. Our teenagers, undaunted by hot sun and crowds, were looking forward to a day adventuring on roller coasters and other adrenaline-surging rides, so as soon as we entered the park, we headed straight for the biggest, loopiest roller coaster of all.
Have you ever wondered why the sky is blue and why that specific color gives you a feeling of peace when you look at it? Have you ever wondered why the scent of a pine forest or the grass after rain brings calm and refreshing to your spirit? Is there some magical reason why the simple sound of a bird singing makes you feel happy inside?