Grace

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|

Living in a Time of Trauma

By Guest Blogger Dr. Penny Freeman

Barbara Brown Taylor says “Pain and suffering makes theologians of us all.”

It’s true. There is no shortage of trauma these days. This summer our eyes have been glued to the devastation of hurricanes. Harvey left Houston in a state of disrepair that left me slack jawed. Irma wiped out Barbuda (an island I didn’t know existed until three weeks ago) and Maria totaled Puerto Rico the same time an [...]

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|

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 [...]

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 [...]

Longings, Losses and Limitations

By Dr. Penny Freeman

Today I planned my garden…

Not the one I usually do…

In fact, I pulled up to the outside of my scraggly house and assessed the outside beds and grass. Usually, as soon as we have a few good weekends in the 70s, I migrate outside as my neighbors do into the yard to rake and bag leaves or sticks blown down by the winter. I attempt to start weeding beds that are [...]

Is It Supposed To Be This Hard?

Once a month my staff meets on a virtual site for our soul care hour.  We call in from around the world. I like seeing glimpses of each person’s backdrop:  Ruth Ann led us from Japan last month; Lorrie came on line from Berlin; Cristina called from her car, where the internet connection is better than in her apartment.

While our literal backgrounds shift each month, we’ve been sharing a common theme lately: suffering.

Betrayals, [...]

How Do We Experience Inner Soul Rest?

Is it possible to live with rhythms of work and rest in today’s society? More importantly, how do we experience inner soul rest? These questions surfaced after my last blog post, “Too Much.”

We’re not the only ones asking these questions. Time’s cover story last week was dedicated to the rising depression and anxiety in teens. The drama in junior and senior high school is magnified to a tipping point as teens struggle to [...]

Too Much….

This summer I began writing on a life-long interest, survival and resiliency, only to discover that my friend Penny Freeman was doing the same. Here are her thoughts:

I am learning about resiliency for my new life stage (sixth decade of life, fourth decade of marriage, having less energy, a weaker body, and grandchildren who expand my heart and my desire to run until I am dead).  Resiliency fascinates me because I am staring down [...]

Longing for the Perfect World

September 2001 was the beginning of another church calendar year, school year, car pool schedule, fall sports, children’s church, new member lunches and the revolving door of people who came through our home. We were heading into the fourth year of our church plant drawing a unique group of skeptics, de-churched and addicts. Visiting families didn’t usually come back. Our struggling children’s ministry experienced more kids leaving then joining.

And I? I was the frantic [...]

By |September 12th, 2016|Shari Thomas|1 Comment|