Lent: Day Fourty

Lent: Day Fourty

Friends, may we not lose sight of the blazing center of what the Easter story is all about. This season moves us to reflect on sin, death, crucifixion, confession, repentance and more. This is certainly appropriate. But dear friends! Do you hear it?! A bold and resounding declaration thunders at the cross and tomb of our Lord. Step back and gaze upon the glorious whole! Behold the banner unfurling above! Our Risen King stands in triumph waving with joy his banner that unapologetically and emphatically declares, “I LOVE YOU!”…

Lent: Day Thirty Nine

Lent: Day Thirty Nine

Do you ever struggle to know how to pray? To be deeply experience something so painful or heart-wrenching, all you can really muster is the name of the Lord? I’ve understood this more this year than ever before. On those really hard days, as a born-again believer, my head struggles with my heart as my heart struggles to put into play the truths I have read in scripture…

Lent: Day Thirty Six

Lent: Day Thirty Six

Let us not grow weary of doing good! We will harvest/receive as we have sown. Each gathering either corruption from the flesh or eternal life from the Holy Spirit (vs 8). So then, don’t give up, but instead let us do good to everyone as we have the chance, especially those saved through faith in Jesus. How do we do this?…

Lent: Day Thirty Five

Lent: Day Thirty Five

When I was in second grade I got in a fight during recess. I don’t remember what it was about or how it started. I do remember the other guy cried and I felt a little bad. Then later in class this came over the loudspeaker. “Travis Holtan, please come to the principal’s office”. I heard the low mumblings of my peers, and my face burned as I passed my classmates…

Lent: Day Thirty Four

Lent: Day Thirty Four

Our family waited impatiently on a crowded sidewalk in the monstrous city of Bangkok. We were attempting our first solo navigation across the sprawling foreign metropolis. We decided the night before that the bus was the cheapest mode of transportation, so that morning we had loaded up our backpack and strapped our daughter in the baby carrier, ready for our adventure…

Lent: Day Thirty Three

Lent: Day Thirty Three

Sports have always been a large part of my life. Some of my earliest and best memories have been in a pool, or on a baseball field. Even though athletics can be great for young people, there can also be adverse side effects. As an athlete, I was constantly bombarded with comparison. I was trained to compare myself to others, and to see myself in a negative way…

Lent: Day Thirty Two

Lent: Day Thirty Two

Harvest time for me, like most people in our area, is a wonderful season and also very stressful. I am a combine and tractor tech. About 8 years ago during harvest, I was working on a tractor that was on a tight deadline. I had to split it between the engine and the transmission to fix a leak. In the process of putting it back, it would get to within about an inch of being together, but NOT ONE BIT FURTHER!…

Lent: Day Thirty One

Lent: Day Thirty One

Some years ago, I was trying to put together a lesson plan for my Sunday School class. Easter was only a few weeks away and I wanted to focus on the cross, but I also wanted something that would make my high schoolers look at the passion in a new light. I had been praying on the matter but was frustrated at the apparent lack of response. As usual, I was wrong. God was simply waiting on me to be still and let him answer my request…

Lent: Day Thirty

Lent: Day Thirty

Over the past 6 months, I have become very aware that Wyatt, our 9-year-old son, has become zealous for all things NFL football. On any given day he can be seen streaking through the house making game winning touchdown catches, pouring over football history and trivia books from the library, and even laying a blindside hit on his unsuspecting dad when he is walking through the living room – all in the name of “sacking the quarterback”…

Lent: Day Twenty Nine

Lent: Day Twenty Nine

Approximately two years ago I was at a point where I was frustrated with my spiritual, physical, and emotional parts of my life. I have been a believer for over 60 years and you would think that I had it all together; nothing could be farther from the truth. I had been trying to change for many years by reading the word, prayer, attending church, being with fellow Christian, etc. So why was it not working and why was I so frustrated? In total frustration and guilt I prayed this simple prayer, “Lord, change me for I am not capable of changing myself”. Simple enough, but I had no idea what I was asking and what would be the out come…

Lent: Day Twenty Seven

Lent: Day Twenty Seven

I used to play a lot of baseball. I loved hitting in the cage. I could spend hours fielding ground balls. Most of the skills I developed as a baseball guy have conceded to aging tendons and ligaments! Most skills, that is, except one. There is one universal skill that all baseball players seem to master and one for some unfortunate reason I can still do today. I can spit. I can spit in a variety of ways. As tempting as it is to explain it to you, let me just tell you all you need to know. It’s gross…

Lent: Day Twenty Three

Lent: Day Twenty Three

In the early morning hours, Pontius Pilate stood in his palace. In a nearby room servants prepared decadent foods, costly wines, and luxurious furnishings. Soldiers guarded the entrance, willing to die for him. Pilate was the physical representation of the authority and power of the Roman Empire in Judea…

Lent: Day Twenty Two

Lent: Day Twenty Two

During the first years of having children, there were definitely some financially challenging times. Remembering back to our wedding vows when Jada and I said our vows “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer” those words would take on a whole new meaning. I remember hearing in one of my college classes the term ‘DINK’ meaning Dual Income No Kids…

Lent: Day Twenty One

Lent: Day Twenty One

We moved to Minnesota in the summer to a family member’s farm. Having never lived in the country before, I enjoyed watching the corn grow. With a toddler full of energy, we made many trips walking or running up and down the driveway. As Fall approached, I noticed an area a few rows into the corn beside the driveway with stalks flattened down…