July 16, 2018

A Letter from Gilead

By Chaplain Mike My dearest children, This weekend I had the profound pleasure to visit with the Rev. John Ames, a Congregational minister from Gilead, Iowa. He came to my attention and told me his stories through Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gilead. Hearing him speak and weave his tales was a revelation, I […]

“Big” Decisions and God’s Will

By Chaplain Mike When I was a Christian young person, I heard a lot about “seeking God’s will.” This question was especially prominent at Bible college, where young men and women training to go into ministry were trying to discern God’s leading in several key areas. First and foremost, we were trusting God to lead […]

Sick Days

By Chaplain Mike I had to take a couple of sick days this week. That’s unusual for me. Our entire family has been blessed with good health, and even the sicknesses we’ve had have not been serious. It becomes easy to take that for granted. Two years ago I had an experience that opened my […]

It NEVER Helps

By Chaplain Mike …the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. (James 1:20, NASB) In my experience, it never helps. Anger never improves a situation. Anger doesn’t work. Anger always make things worse. And anger has a multitude of unwanted consequences besides. Anger does not enable us to take forward steps in […]

Surrendering To His Teeth

He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. (Psalm 91:15,16 NIV) It was turning out to be one of the hardest days in what was the hardest […]

Fear Not, Little Flock

By Chaplain Mike Last Sunday, my wife and I entered the side door of the old church building. The small entryway had a few steps that led up to two vintage oak doors. The one on the left led to the back corner of the sanctuary. Next to it, the right door led to an […]

The God of Second Chances

In the early 90s, when I was a fairly young seminary student, I was working on a paper for one of my New Testament Greek courses. I had gathered up all the commentaries and journal articles that I could find on the topic, and was starting to write my paper. While reading one journal article, […]

One Last Gasp

A few nights ago, I passed through the room where my husband sat watching television. I stopped and stood mesmerized – gripped by the depiction of a woman drowning. It was so graphic that I had a sense of struggle within me as I saw her fight against the sea that wouldn’t let her surface. […]

iMonk Classic: Jesus, Mom and Michael

Classic iMonk Post by Michael Spencer Originally posted Oct 22, 2005 Note from Chaplain Mike: In the light of recent posts about life’s messiness and ministering to people with unimaginable stress from the problems they face, I was struck when I went back and read this profoundly insightful article Michael wrote about caring for his […]

Depression Is Selfish

Can someone tell me what a sign in front of a church means that reads “Depression is Selfish”? –from a Facebook post This was the “status update,” or whatever it is called, posted by a good friend of mine on his Facebook page the other day. At first I just wanted to chalk it up […]