church planting family

Advent

Every Sunday, the children are invited forward at our church. It’s one of my favorite parts of the service. Squiggly kids. Tentative ones. The bosses. The boisterous. The people-pleasers. Their unabashed traits shining in all their glory. No time-crafted mask covers that beauty yet. Sigh.

What does Advent mean? the children are asked. It’s one simple question. One simple answer. Coming. And the first purple candle of Advent is lit.

This year, John and I mailed Advent candles [...]

Does God Really Use Our Brokenness?

“Everything is broken. That’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

John and I are often surprised that God delights in working through us. Yet like most humans, we are still bent towards the belief that God only uses our gifts and abilities.  So last night’s dinner conversation was especially encouraging.

New York City is full of beautiful old church buildings that serve a handful of congregants at best and that’s only if the church is still used [...]

By |November 22nd, 2017|Shari Thomas|1 Comment|

The End of the Rope

I picked up my Bible and hurled it out the tiny window of our basement apartment. The thin pages wrinkled. The leather cover folded.  But there it hung, caught between the iron bars of our city window. “I can’t succeed at anything, I thought, not even throwing my Bible away.”

I was at the end of my rope. Finished. Disillusioned. We were church planters in a foreign country, in a global city, in a language [...]

By |September 28th, 2017|Shari Thomas|21 Comments|

The Sting of Messing Where You Shouldn’t

Yesterday, we ended a lovely family weekend with a walk to The Museum of Natural History. Hidden behind the museum is a small water fountain park. Our grandson excitedly ran through the soft green grass towards the water and right over a swarm of yellow jackets. Surprisingly he didn’t get stung. But like all New Yorkers, I expected at minimum a warning sign to be posted about the danger.

Penny’s yellow jacket experience turned out [...]

Raising Kids In The City

‘What’s up with my kids? They climb on everything. And our furniture is so cheap, it’s always breaking.’

‘I regret now buying what we did when we moved here. It’s not holding up with our boys.’ Another woman added.

Before you think this is a discipline issue, this conversation came from our Brooklyn cohort this past Wednesday night. They are raising kids in small city spaces. 650-square-foot is the average size of a NYC family apartment. We [...]

Living With Stress?

 

At one of Parakaleo’s early training events, we came up with a mnemonic device to help us remember some components of healthy living for a profession that can suck us dry. Obviously, we could add more, but when living with stress we need simple. So here you have it. Our Five S’s that can be listed on one hand.

Sun

While you might enjoy a good tan, we’re referring to the effects of light. Are you [...]

The Joys of Church Planting

One Sunday, John and I walked to the #2 subway line, headed to Penn station, caught a train to Flushing and arrived in Asia in less than 45 minutes.  Actually, we were visiting Kings Cross Church, a church plant in Queens. Only the travel time belied the fact that we were still in NYC.  It’s one of the things I love about living in this city and that I [...]

Help! How Do I Deal With My Contempt?

My last blog elicited quite a few responses asking how we should handle our contemptuous hearts. Remember, contempt is the number one marriage killer. It’s not something to take lightly.

Tackling an answer in a blog doesn’t do the problem justice. One size does not fit all. Still, I’m going to offer an approach by sharing what’s helped identify and root out contempt in our marriage. Bear in mind that this was after [...]

By |February 15th, 2017|Shari Thomas|4 Comments|

The Number One Marriage Killer

He dropped a heavy bag on the train seat next to mine. I commented on the black velvet suit draped over the top. “That’s from another life, another time,” he said with a sigh. “Besides, it’s a long story.” I told him I had an hour and half.

He had just been released from rehab and was a Christian who had journeyed far from his true home. He was getting his life back on track [...]

Hillary and Donald Aren’t Coming to Thanksgiving

There was an eerie silence in Times Square November 9th. In the city that never sleeps, you could hear a pin drop at 1:00 am. No one spoke.

“God has given us another chance” I read in a post the next day. “I don’t think I can forgive them for voting for Trump,” said another. “How can we possibly believe in the same God while holding such opposing views?” “Maybe they aren’t really Christians.” “81% [...]

By |November 18th, 2016|Shari Thomas|5 Comments|