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Puerto Rico lies devastated by the destructive force of Hurricane Maria. Monsoon flooding has decimated parts of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Three hurricanes at the same time left islands demolished and major portions of Florida without power. Houston continues to recover from the floods of Hurricane Harvey. Two powerful earthquakes measuring 8.2 and 6.2 hit within two weeks in Mexico, burying people alive in some of the poorest areas....

A recent Facebook post caught my eye: California is on fire, Oregon is on fire, Montana is on fire, areas of Canada are on fire, Texas is underwater, Idaho had a 5.3 earthquake, North Korea just tested their 6th nuclear bomb causing a 6.3 explosion quake, and Irma is now the most powerful category 5 hurricane in over a decade....

It was the end of the school year, fifth grade, no less. A year of “lasts.” Last talent show, last STARS concert, last science fair. Last school lunch with my daughter in the cafeteria surrounded by her giggling friends. Sniff, sniff. One last assignment and then off to middle school. Spring fever was in high gear and my daughter wanted to rush through her work and be done with it....

I have been turning five words over and over in my mind. They are nestled in the middle of the third chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi: I want to know Christ (v. 3:10). God has been teaching me something profound in those five words, so let’s read them one more time, slowly. I want to know Christ....

In John’s Gospel, Jesus uses a metaphor that rings true for anyone with a green thumb. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener,” He says. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Jesus goes on to explain that we are His branches. If we want a fruit-producing life, we must...