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Inside Out

Where You Were Born Matters

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathaniel asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. – John 1:46 While reading Psalm 87, my attention was caught by the fourth verse. God speaks: “Among those who know me, I mention Rahab and Babylon; Philistia too, and Tyre, with Ethiopia – ‘This one was born there,’ they say.” (Some scholars think Rahab in this verse is a reference to Egypt.) The psalm ends, “Indeed, it shall be said of Zion, ‘This one and…
George Brown Jr.
April 23, 2015
Inside Out

Getting Away

At Standing Stone State Rustic Park near Hilham, Tennessee, they ought to have a sign: No Internet Access No Cable Television No Phones No Cell Tower No Microwave No Seafood Buffet. If You Came Here To Keep Up, Turn Around. The only sign they do have is one that says “No Pets,” a rule, as far as I can tell, that almost everyone ignores. But it is possible that I have mistaken the strays that populate the place for family…
Thomas B. Phulery
February 28, 2015
Inside Out

Lift up Your Hearts

INSIDE OUT For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. – 1 Corinthians 11:26 My wife, Jody, once worked for Christian Horizons, a group home for adults with developmental disabilities. The residents of House 6 were all considered nonverbal. They spoke few, if any, words, though a couple understood some sign language. When Jody worked on Sunday mornings, we often took some of her residents to church. We…
January 10, 2015
Inside Out

The Great Assurance

I came to know Christ through a parachurch ministry when I was a freshman in high school. To help me grow as a disciple, I was handed a copy of Charles Sheldon’s 1896 classic “In His Steps.” This also was right around the time the What Would Jesus Do? movement erupted, and I wore my WWJD bracelet proudly. My friends and I were determined to try to be like Jesus in everything we did. While I am grateful for those…
Brian Keepers
October 30, 2014
Inside Out

To Not Look Away

All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations – a people who continually provoke me to my very face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick. – Isaiah 65:2-3 The poet Marie Howe instructs her students to make six observations about the real world they encounter each morning before coming to class. She’s in the business of retraining their attention. It…
Julie VanderVeen VanTil
October 30, 2014
Inside Out

Saul Cannot Get a Break

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, seeing I have rejected him from being king over Israel?” (1 Samuel 16:1) Poor King Saul. He can’t get a break from God. He didn’t ask to be king – it was God’s idea, not his. He wasn’t cut out for it, not really, not even being head and shoulders above the rest. He didn’t have the knack for it, despite that first success that earned him the…
Daniel Meeter
September 1, 2014
Inside Out

Humbled by Her Habits

Helen Luhrs On our way out of town that Sunday morning, we decided to stop at the nursing home to say goodbye to my mom before we headed back. When we got there, she was in the activity room folding bibs and towels. "Wow, Mom, " I said. "You're dressed up." She was wearing a summer dress, flowing and colorful, in sharp contrast to her fl esh-colored support hose and sensible white tennis shoes. She smiled. "Church starts soon. Right…
Helen Luhrs
March 1, 2014
Inside Out

Numbering Our Days

Daniel Meeter The lifespan of a dog is about 4,400 days. A mouse gets six hundred. Human beings get 25,560 days, or by reason of strength, 29,211. Tortoises get 40,000, and sequoias get 365,000 and more. Why aren't we content with our number? Why do we, of all creatures, expect to live forever? The biblical Hebrews did not believe in human immortality. There is not one word in the Torah about life after death, which is remarkable when you consider…
Daniel Meeter
January 1, 2014