Thursday, April 30, 2020


“We also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  (Romans 5:3-4 NIV)

God is not a distant Creator or impersonal Ground of Being, but a loving Father who shares our suffering and hurts with us.

On the cross Christ endured a suffering beyond all understanding: He bore the punishment for the sins of the whole world. None of us can comprehend that suffering. Though He was innocent, He voluntarily underwent incomprehensible suffering for us. And why? -- because He loves us so much. How can we reject Him who gave up everything for us?

When God asks us to undergo suffering that seems unmerited, pointless, and unnecessary, meditation upon the cross of Christ can help to give us the strength and courage needed to bear the cross that we are asked to carry.

-- William Lane Craig in “On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision”


Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Where did the path to the cross actually begin?

The path began, not in the court of Pilate, but in the halls of heaven. The Father began His journey when He left His home in search of us. Armed with nothing more than a passion to win your heart, he came looking. His desire was singular -- to bring His children home. The Bible has a word for this quest: reconciliation.

“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19 NKJV). The Greek word for reconcile means “to render something otherwise.” Reconciliation restiches the unraveled, reverses the rebellion, rekindles the cold passion. Reconciliation touches the shoulder of the wayward and woos him homeward.

The path to the cross tells us exactly how far God will go to call us back.

-- Max Lucado in “He Chose the Nails”


Tuesday, April 28, 2020


“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)

“Resurrection means the worst thing is never the last thing.”  (Frederick Buechner)

Frederick Buechner moved to New York to become a writer, only to find he couldn’t write a word. He tried to go into his uncle’s advertising business but wasn’t tough enough. He tried to join the CIA but didn’t have the stomach for it. He fell in love with a girl who did not fall in love with him. He writes, “It all sounds like a kind of inane farce as I set it down here, with every door I tried to open slammed on my foot, yet I suppose it was a kind of pilgrim’s progress.”

It was door closing because he was disappointed in options he wanted. It was progress because it led to him finding, or being found by, God. And in his faith he has written words that have inspired millions of others in their faith. But that door never could have opened if many other doors hadn’t closed first.

-- John Ortberg in “All the Places to Go: How Will You Know?”


Monday, April 27, 2020


“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”  (Luke 1:1-4 NIV)

In the training of the twelve for the work of apostleship, hearing and seeing the words and works of Christ necessarily occupied an important place. Eye and ear witnessing of the facts of an unparalleled life was an indispensable preparation for future witness bearing. The apostles could secure credence for their wondrous tale only by being able to preface it with the protestation: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard.” (1 John 1:3a NIV)

None would believe their report, save those who, at the very best, were satisfied that it emanated from men who had been with Jesus. Hence the third evangelist, [Luke] himself not an apostle, but only a companion of apostles, presents his Gospel with all confidence to his friend Theophilus as genuine history, and no mere collection of fables, because its contents were attested by men who “from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.”

-- A.B. Bruce in “The Training of the Twelve”


Friday, April 24, 2020


“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me, even though they die, will live.’”  (John 11:25 NRSV)

In Jesus there are no sunsets; they are all sunrises. He is the “bright and morning star” -- not the evening star. He heralds the dawn -- not the dark.        Rufus Mosely, a layman, called on to conduct a funeral, went to the New Testament to see how Jesus conducted a funeral and found that “Jesus did not conduct funerals. He conducted resurrections.” This, that I have in Jesus, does not have the feel of a funeral upon it; it has the feel of a resurrection…

A noted New Testament scholar says the “the “ can be omitted in both cases -- “I am resurrection,” not “the resurrection;” “I am life,” not “I am the life.” He was and is “the resurrection,” His own, but He is more. He is the principle and power of resurrection. If you have Jesus, you have resurrection. He is resurrecting your mind, your body, your spirit, your hopes, your outlook, your everything. In Him you are resurrected now. I shall salute the resurrection of my body as an old friend: “I’ve known you all my life. For life has been one long glorious resurrection. Welcome, friend, I knew you would come.”

-- Adapted from E. Stanley Jones in “A Song of Ascents”


Thursday, April 23, 2020


“One of the disciples, Thomas, ‘The Twin,’ was not there at the time with the others. When they kept telling him, ‘We have seen the Lord,’ he replied, ‘I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in His hands -- and put my fingers into them -- and place my hand into His side.’ Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them and greeting them. Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger into My hands. Put your hand into My side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!’ ‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas said. Then Jesus told him, ‘You believe because you have seen Me. But blessed are those who haven’t seen Me and believe anyway.’”  (John 20:24-29 TLB)

Thomas had his doubts. Didn’t matter to him that ten sets of eyes had seen the resurrected Jesus. Or that the women who had watched Him being placed in a tomb watched Him walk into the room. Let them shout and clap; Thomas was going to sit and wait…

Thomas was never the same. If the legends are true, he carried the story of God’s love for doubters and deserters all the way to India, where he, like his friends and Savior, died because of love.

--  Max Lucado in “Come Thirsty”


Wednesday, April 22, 2020


“How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?”  (Psalm 137:4 KJV)

Depression is widespread, but troubles are universal. People have always suffered, still suffer, ill health and broken hearts, bereavement and betrayal, financial and vocational woes. Sometimes these troubles keep us from praying. Often they drive us to prayer.

Our personal or social difficulties may be dramatic or extreme -- life-threatening illness, becoming unemployed, victims of crime. But there are many other circumstances, some of them curses of the present age, that can reduce us to states of desolation: the sheer overload of the lives of working adults, particularly if they are also parents, the despair of youth, the isolation of our elders, or the social dislocation that leads to loneliness and lack of a primary community. Many of us find ourselves in a strange land both figuratively and literally...

The prayer of lamentation is a venerable tradition: we name the suffering and groan prayerfully (or not so prayerfully), inwardly or aloud, because that is all we can do at the time. Sometimes there is no naming, only a moan…

We find hope inside our tears; yet only inside our tears could we find hope. “Have hope in God; I will yet praise Him, my everpresent Help, my God.”  (Psalm 42:12)

-- Adapted from “When In Doubt, Sing: Prayer In Daily Life” by Jane Redmont


Tuesday, April 21, 2020


“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”  (1 John 2:17 NIV)

The first five lines of the following prayer have become best known as the “Serenity Prayer,” recited in AA and other twelve-step groups. This is the full text of the prayer; it was written by the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971).

Grant me
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will,
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
(Reinhold Niebuhr)

-- Adapted from “When In Doubt, Sing: Prayer In Daily Life” by Jane Redmont


Monday, April 20, 2020


“Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant and boundless mercy has caused us to be born again [that is, to be reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] to an ever-living hope and confident assurance through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  [born anew] into an inheritance which is imperishable [beyond the reach of change] and undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, who are being protected and shielded by the power of God through your faith for salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time. In this you rejoice greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not even see Him now, you believe and trust in Him and you greatly rejoice and delight with inexpressible and glorious joy, receiving as the result [the outcome, the consummation] of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  (1 Peter 1:3-9 Amplified Version)

Do you need encouragement? Peter’s words offer joy and hope in times of trouble, and he bases his confidence on what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. We live with the wonderful expectation of eternal life. Our hope is not only for the future, eternal life begins when we trust Christ and join God’s family. No matter what pain or trial we face in this life, we know that it is not our final experience. Eventually we will live with Christ forever.

-- From the Life Application Study Bible


Friday, April 17, 2020


“Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb … Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’). Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to My brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.”’ Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that He had said these things to her.”  (John 20:11,16-18 NIV)

Mary’s encounter with the risen Jesus on that first Easter morning shows how His resurrection can give birth to a living hope in our lives, a living hope that our pools of tears will actually become opportunities for transformation and growth, a living hope that reminds us that at the heart of all things stands a resurrection love that will never let us go.

-- Trevor Hudson in “Hope Beyond Our Tears: Experiencing Christ’s Healing Love” 


Thursday, April 16, 2020


“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.”  (Psalm 23 NKJV)

The task of… Christian leaders is not to make a little contribution to the solution of the pains and tribulations of their time, but to identify and announce the ways in which Jesus is leading God's people out of slavery, through the desert land to a new land of freedom. Christian leaders have the arduous task of responding to personal struggles, family conflicts, national calamities, and international tensions with an articulate faith in God's real presence.

-- Henri J. M. Nouwen


Wednesday, April 15, 2020


"But we do see Jesus… now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”  (Hebrews 2:9)

"But we do see Jesus….” This is the first time the book of Hebrews mentions the personal name of Jesus. All along the way, we knew who the author was talking about, making references to God’s Son, but now we also see His name: Jesus.

So now we can also focus on the person of Jesus. In saying His name, we think of His human nature; we think of Jesus as a person.

Jesus became a human being, lower than the angels for a while -- but only until He entered again into the full glory of God in heaven. He was lower than the angels for a specific purpose: to suffer death and to “taste death for everyone.” In Philippians 2 the Bible speaks of Jesus humbling Himself to the point of death on a cross. Here the writer of Hebrews points out that Jesus was made lower than the angels “for a little while” so that He could suffer death for us. As a result, He is “crowned with glory and honor.”

Jesus, God’s Son who is superior to the angels, was made lower than them for a while so that He could suffer death for us by the grace of God. And now and forever we, who were once lost, see Jesus. God’s Son, Jesus, our Savior, lowered Himself to taste death for our sake so that we would not have to fear death and suffering.

-- Brian Kuyper, from the blog “Today”


Tuesday, April 14, 2020


“When I am afraid, I will trust in You.”  (Psalm 56:3)

We all have sleepless nights, don’t we? Tossing and turning. Looking at the clock and seeing it’s barely moved. Stressing because we know we need sleep if we’re going to make it through the next day.

How often do you lie there anxious about situations you can’t do anything about? Jesus tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubles. Trust in God; trust also in Me.” (John 14:1) The answer to fear… is faith. When you’re fearful for a loved one or fearful about some event coming up in your life, you can be comforted and calmed as you think about who God is. Then, as you focus on the attributes of God, your faith is planted in Someone bigger than your fears.

The next time fear overwhelms you, look for a Scripture verse that underscores God’s character. And consider who He is. Don’t look to your problem. Look to Jesus [“the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NRSV)].

-- Anne Graham Lotz in “Fixing My Eyes on Jesus” 


Monday, April 13, 2020


“Then Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.’"  (John 20:27 NIV)

As they were looking on, so we too gaze on His wounds as He hangs. We see His blood as He dies. We see the price offered by the Redeemer, touch the scars of His resurrection. He bows His head, as if to kiss you. His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended that He may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind: as He was once fixed to the cross in every part of His body for you, so He may now be fixed in every part of your soul.

-- Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD)


Saturday, April 11, 2020


“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.”  (Matthew 27: 57-61 NIV)

I have often wondered what the disciples must have been thinking on the Saturday after the Friday Jesus was crucified. They weren’t expecting this. “This shouldn’t have happened” may have been part of their bewildering conversations. “This wasn’t expected” may have run through their minds as they sat in their grief.  The facts of Jesus’ presence among them had been replaced by the fears for their own lives. They were sheltering in place, not knowing what might come next.

It sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it? This Covid-19 virus wasn’t expected. The hospitalizations and deaths shouldn’t be happening. Grief and fear are ever present, sometimes hitting too close to home. “This isn’t the April we expected.”

On this April Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday 2020 I thought I would share with you a blog post by Max Lucado entitled “Surviving April.” Go to

Please be safe and keep others safe. And remember that when the disciples went to the empty tomb on Sunday morning this wasn’t expected either.

-- David T. Wilkinson


Friday, April 10, 2020


“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, ‘This Man is calling for Elijah!’  Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. The rest said, ‘Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.’ And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.’”  (Matthew 27:45-50 NKJV)

Jesus died by a voluntary act of His own, and in a way peculiar to Himself. He alone of all men that ever were, could have continued alive even in the greatest tortures, as long as He pleased, or have retired from the body whenever He had thought fit. And how does it illustrate that love which He manifested in His death insomuch as He did not use His power to quit His body, as soon as it was fastened to the cross, leaving only an insensible corpse, to the cruelty of His murderers: but continued His abode in it, with a steady resolution, as long as it was proper. He then retired from it, with a majesty and dignity never known or to be known in any other death: dying, if one may so express it, like the Prince of Life.

-- John Wesley


Thursday, April 9, 2020


“Save me, O God,
    for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
    where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
    the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
    my throat is parched….
But I pray to You, LORD,
    in the time of Your favor;
in Your great love, O God,
    answer me with Your sure salvation.
Rescue me from the mire,
    do not let me sink;
    deliver me… from the deep waters.
Do not let the floodwaters engulf me
    or the depths swallow me up
    or the pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, LORD, out of the goodness of Your love;
    in Your great mercy turn to me.
Do not hide Your face from Your servant;
    answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.”  (Psalm 69: 1-3, 13-17 NIV)

We usually think of Jesus in the upper room as calmly and patiently preparing His disciples for their coming crisis; only in the garden are we shown His deep anguish over what lies ahead for Himself.  But if this verse -- "They hated me without a cause." (Psalm 69:4) -- occurred to Jesus as describing His enemies, surely He was also identifying with the rest of [Psalm 69] with its vivid description of overwhelming troubles and importune cries to God for deliverance.  What in the upper room was still under the surface was openly expressed in the garden.

-- John R. Cogdell in "The Humanity of Jesus Christ, as Revealed in Certain Psalms" 


Wednesday, April 8, 2020


“Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’”  (Luke 24:46-47 NKJV)

We want Easter without Lent.  We want Resurrection without Crucifixion.  We want to share in the victory of Christ without sharing in the suffering of Christ, and that's impossible.

We want to jump over that part about suffering, taking up the cross, entering into the suffering of others, repentance.  That's part of the dilemma of the North American church.  If we separate Easter from Lent, we are providing a theological and liturgical undergirding for imitating the wrong god.  The gospels never separate Resurrection from Crucifixion.

-- U. M. Bishop Kenneth L. Carder in “Alive Now”, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


Tuesday, April 7, 2020


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…”  (Romans 1:16a NKJV)

The story of Jesus' crucifixion for me is more than just the story of how the forgiveness of God is so supremely demonstrated in the death of this One who was "without sin." Even though I cannot put its meaning easily into human words and theological formulas, I have always found the story of Jesus' crucifixion to offer the hope that evil can sometimes be overcome in this life -- and that it has been overcome in some ultimate sense that we will fully understand only in the life to come.

The remarkable expansion of the Christian religion throughout Africa and South America today is occurring largely because of the hope that the story of Jesus brings to people living in devastating poverty and disease. I know this sounds mystical and mysterious, but I also know that the telling of the story of Jesus' crucifixion year after year during Holy Week has indeed been the "power of [God to] salvation" for those who respond to the story with belief that the God of creation has entered human history on our behalf -- and overcome evil on our behalf. And that belief is of course tied to the conviction that Jesus was raised from the dead as the ultimate sign of God's message that evil and death itself will ultimately be overcome.

-- Dr. Timothy Johnson in “Finding God in the Questions”


Monday, April 6, 2020


“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”  (Philippians 2:5-8 NLT)

Jesus was humble. Perhaps this was His most outstanding characteristic. Imagine if you were God -- equal with the Father, sharing glory with Him, having every privilege of being God -- and then you became a human and laid aside all those privileges. Imagine becoming the servant of all and being God hidden in the obscurity of humanity.

His humility was expressed most when He became a man and died on the cross. He never insisted on His rights and privileges to be honored, understood or viewed rightly, but He emptied Himself of His reputation. He was content to be seen as ordinary and did not seek esteem. Think about embracing a life of weakness, poverty, shame, homelessness, rejection, and pain. We realize this when we study Isaiah 53 and see Jesus as the suffering servant. Jesus had lowliness of heart.

It’s easy for us to say we’re humble and broken until the real test comes, and we are put in a humbling position. We wonder, “Why aren’t we recognized?” It doesn’t feel good. We react and don’t like it. We want to be important and are often so proud. But Jesus became nothing during His life on earth, and He gives us His example so that we may follow in His steps. In fact, the only character trait that He proclaimed about Himself was His humility. Jesus didn’t put on humility to just accomplish a task on earth. Humility is part of His eternal nature. As we understand His humility it should produce admiration, inspiration, and confidence in us. In His lowliness of heart we find rest for our souls.

-- Adapted from Debbie Przybylski in an article entitled “How Jesus Modeled Humility”


Friday, April 3, 2020


“Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.”  (Mark 11:8 NIV)

This was Jesus’ announcement that He was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. He chose a time when all Israel would be gathered in Jerusalem, a place where huge crowds could see Him, and a way of proclaiming His mission that was unmistakable. The people went wild. They were sure their liberation from Rome was at hand. While the crowd correctly saw Jesus as the fulfillment of these prophesies, they did not understand where Jesus’ kingship would lead Him. The people who were praising God for giving them a king had the wrong idea about Jesus. They expected Him to be a national leader who would restore their nation to its former glory; thus, they were deaf to the words of their prophets and blind to Jesus’ real mission. When it became apparent that Jesus was not going to fulfill their hopes, many people would turn against Him. A similar crowd would cry out, “Crucify Him!” when Jesus stood on trial only a few days later. It takes more than participation at a praise gathering to be a true friend and follower of Jesus….

Like the people on the road to Jerusalem that day, we have much to learn about Jesus’ death and resurrection. We must not let our personal desires catch us up in the celebration and shouting lest we miss the meaning of true discipleship.

-- From the “Life Application Commentary - Mark”


Thursday, April 2, 2020


Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5 NLT)

The branches of a vine live by just remaining connected to the vine. Permanently. Consistently. They simply rest in their position, allowing the sap of the vine to flow freely through them. There’s no effort. The fruit is produced by the life-giving sap inside.

When you’re completely connected to Christ, His Spirit flows through every part of you -- your mind, your will, your emotions, your words, and your deeds. The fruit that you bear is produced by His Spirit in you. [“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23a NRSV)] It’s not produced by any conscious effort on your own.

If you want to be fruitful, concentrate on your relationship with Jesus Christ! “Be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)

-- Anne Graham Lotz in “Fixing My Eyes on Jesus”


Wednesday, April 1, 2020


“Christ encourages you, and His love comforts you. God’s Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves.”  (Philippians 2:1-4 CEV)

John Wesley’s question, “How is it with your soul?” can help make sure that we still find life in things that we may have taken for granted because of their routine-ness.

Someone once told me that prayer is to our souls as breathing is to our bodies. Wesley’s question helps me to make sure my soul is breathing. Reminding me… to pause… to pray… to wonder… to be in awe… to laugh… to cry… to sing. It reminds me that it’s OK to be human. And that it’s more than OK to admit that I’m not doing well and need a little help from my friends.

Maybe you could benefit from asking yourself, “How is it with my soul?” Or maybe you could help someone by asking how their soul is and then genuinely listen to their response. It’s an important question that we should ask and answer frequently.

-- Adapted from Joseph Yoo in “Ministry Matters” Blog