Posts by Marcia Lebhar

Subscribe to the RSS Feed
  • Featured Posts
  • All Posts

Hospitality and Heartbreak

Neil likes to say that for many people, their living and dining rooms are designed solely for when the president stops by unexpectedly for dinner. Our western notion of hospitality is drawn more from gourmet columns than it is from any biblical notion of hospitality. Biblical hospitality is entirely different. It requires vulnerability and it can inconvenience, even hurt ...

Keep Reading

Growth by Imitation

Is everyone out there brimming with confidence, or, like me, do you find the following exhortations of Paul hard to imagine saying to another disciple yourself? I urge you to imitate me. (1 Cor. 4:16 NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. (Phi. 3:17) Our adventures in discipling the young believ...

Keep Reading

Risking Obedience

Risking Obedience The 'OH-NO!' Principle For parents, and anyone who disciples others: What's one, sure-fire thing you can do to help root the faith in those you are leading . . . to protect them from falling away later in life? I learned the oddest statistic a few years ago. Research was conducted over several decades to discover which factors led kids who grew up in C...

Keep Reading

Dear Friend...On Anxiety

As a frequent retreat speaker, I often find the conversations that follow a gathering to be the most fruitful. This month I'm taking a break from the Fine Fire topic to share a bit of post-conference correspondence which seems particularly relevant to our current stressful cultural climate. Dear Friend...On Anxiety, It was great to see your name pop up in my inbox again,...

Keep Reading

Pray Scary Prayers - Part 2 (The Prayer Lab)

The picture of Jesus surrounded by children is in all our Sunday school books. It's a tableau so familiar and so tame. Yet somehow in its tenderness, we have lost the sense of what a radical point Jesus was making by welcoming such young ones. Why were the disciples so disturbed by the presence of children? The Gospels record that they rebuked people for giving children a...

Keep Reading

Pray Scary Prayers - Part 1 (God's Got This)

You think you've learned something. You think you know something . . . only to discover that you'll be schooled in the same truth, over and over, all your life. Our lessons in praying scary prayers began when our family was new, yet the power of this one truth still surprises us, and the Lord often reminds us that we still haven't learned it sufficiently. The icy Februar...

Keep Reading

One Warning and Two Anti-Virals

I'm constantly intrigued with the threads of plot or character that run through the whole of the Scriptures. Like repeating melody lines in a symphony, or themes in a novel, they speak to the unity of the text and the sovereignty of its Author. One of those threads feels particularly pertinent to me as we endure this traumatic Covid-19 season. God frequently renders his p...

Keep Reading

Let Them See!

Psalm 78 voices the strangest declaration. The people of Israel are rehearsing the wonders the Lord accomplished in the Red Sea parting, and in their sojourn through the wilderness. Yet they begin with such an unlikely resolve: "We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mi...

Keep Reading

Now Watch

When the car door closes, anxiety rises. The experience of being sent home from the hospital after the birth of a baby is practically universal, at least in the West where most babies are born in hospitals. And to new parents, it all seems perilously close to criminal negligence. The time comes for the new family to take their baby home, and the staff is so concerned to ke...

Keep Reading

Vision

Wait For It Vision. We want it. We need it. In a way, the God of the Bible promises it. God declares, "I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying,'My counsel shall stand,and I will accomplish all my purpose . . .'" (Isaiah 46:9b-10). The whole biblical story begins with a promise that the e...

Keep Reading

Signpost #10 - Rehearsing Helplessness!

It's almost over. Moses has died, and so has the generation of Israel who failed to take the land of Canaan when God wanted to give it. This time for sure! Joshua sends in spies again, just two, secretly this time, seemingly hoping to avoid an instant replay of the first disastrous community panic attack and refusal enter the promised land. What do the spies learn? Rahab,...

Keep Reading

Signpost #9 - Almost Home!

In his important book, Being Mortal, Atul Gawande unpacks some unexpected results of research about what makes for peace and stability at the end of life. He first reports on a study which found that "far from growing unhappier, people reported more positive emotions as they aged . . . they found living to be a more emotionally satisfying and stable experience as time pass...

Keep Reading

Signpost #8 - Fear Lies

We are hearing the wordliesevery day now in the news. Charges and counter charges. Are certain political leaders lying to us? Or is it the media? Most of us, if we're honest, have a gnawing sense of uncertainty about what's really going on. But the issue of lying itself is not news at all, rather it is a sign of our fallen state, and the presence of the "father of lies" i...

Keep Reading

Signpost #7 - Identity Idolatry

Do you ever wish, as I do, that God would hand you His personality inventory assessment of you, kind of like a divine Myers-Briggs report? King David cries out for it in Psalm 139:Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (v. 23-24 NLT)I feel this espe...

Keep Reading

Signpost #6 - Remember!

Eleven troubling habits of chronically unhappy people. Five ways to spice up your marriage. Seven reasons to stay single. Eight steps to managing stress. Ten reasons twenty-somethings are returning to traditional worship ... Is anyone else weary of endless lists in the blogosphere or social media? Yes? So why would I offer you another one? Give me credit for this: the lis...

Keep Reading

Signpost #5 - Vent Rightly!

There's an almost comical sameness to the way God's people respond to the difficulties God allows them to experience in the Wilderness. They wail. They rail. They rage and accuse. For some reason this reminds me of old TV comedies. I picture Jackie Gleason or Archie Bunker bellowing at their wives. Then there's Lucille Ball, often unable to wheedle what she wants from husb...

Keep Reading

Signpost #4 - Just In Case!

When our three daughters were small, they invited a neighborhood boy to our church's Friday night children's program. Jay came, and loved it. The next day he appeared at our back door, face alight, eager to return the kindness. He invited the girls across the street to his house, "to meetmy god!" Jay's family was from India, and he led the girls to his family room where hi...

Keep Reading

Signpost #3 - Just Do It!

It's over! The deliverance has been accomplished! The people God has chosen and made his own have walked through the sea, with walls of water standing back for them on both sides (Exodus 14:22, 29). All through the night the people crossed the dry seabed. And just before dawn the last incredulous Israelite climbed up on the far bank of the Red Sea, the soles of his sandals...

Keep Reading

Signpost #2 - Assume Deliverance

So here are the people of Israel, a million strong. Having experienced the miraculous deliverance of Passover and hurriedly left their homes in Egypt, they have been driven in to a desolate and fearful dead end by the God who has pledged his love to them. Now they are caught in a chasm where there is an idol to a demon god. They are in full view of an enemy watchtower at M...

Keep Reading

Signpost #1 - Helplessness is Helpful!

THE FIRST SIGNPOST The first signpost to catch my attention is the one our Zin Canyon hike underscored. It might read:HELPLESSNESS IS HELPFUL! Saved from the final plague of the angel of death by the blood of the sacrificial lamb over their doorposts, the people of Israel set out in haste to finally escape their slavery in Egypt. God himself leads them on their way by me...

Keep Reading

Faces (Invisibility)

We say he is the image of the invisible God, (Col. 1:15) but even in his coming to us and taking on flesh, Jesus is still invisible. Willing to be invisible... unrecognized... unacknowledged. You can hear the incredulity in his young friend, John's, voice, can't you? "He came into the very world he created, but the world didn't recognize him." (John 1:10) I try to imagine...

Keep Reading

Know That I Know

A year of grieving loss is about to close for our family. We sat beside two dying loved ones a year ago this summer. First was my husband's mother, and then my sister. Both times we wondered what each woman knew, or remembered, of spiritual realities. Every death serves as a reminder of our own mortality. As we watched and waited, twice, I thought of the teasing request I...

Keep Reading

Do...Then See

One of the most oft repeated principles taught at the recent ACNA conference at Ridgecrest was Bishop Todd Hunter's reminder: obedience precedes understanding. The phrase is variously attributed to the church fathers, George McDonald, and a host of others. And I thought I discovered it! In the years when a large group of young adults met weekly at our house, the question ...

Keep Reading

Lists

I make lists. To-do lists. And then I feel so much better, even before I have actually done a thing. I make lists with paper and pen. Then I can see the progress of items crossed out. Neil makes lists in cyberspace, but I think it must be far less satisfying to have the accomplished task simply disappear from the screen. It vanishes without a trace to remind him of the mis...

Keep Reading

Wait!

There's something about having to wait that challenges each of us, and the way we wait tends to be pretty revealing. Neil seems to wait patiently for elevators. Why not? We can't make them come any faster. I tap my foot, turn in circles, and punch the button again and again. I multi-task in the kitchen. Why not? It is possible to do three things at once. Just watching Neil...

Keep Reading

White Hot Faith

Canon Jim Hobby prayed such a radical prayer on our recent clergy day. Referring to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego facing the furnace to which obedience in Babylon took them, Jim prayed, "Lord, would you give us that white hot faith that, without calculation and without hesitation, we would be bound and thrown into the furnace rather than displease You?" My friends know t...

Keep Reading

Supernatural Specs

Can those of you who are near-sighted like me recall the first time you ever put on a pair of prescription eyeglasses? I will never forget the shock of discovery, at age six, that the rest of the world could actually see individual leaves on a tree across the street from where they were standing! Other people have been seeing like this all along??? Perhaps because of this...

Keep Reading

What's Your Empty Stable?

OK. A little glimpse of Lebhar family history. Neil's fastidious mother and I were once working side by side in the kitchen of his childhood home. Neil was looking on. I was apparently being extra particular about whatever I was doing, because his mother suddenly teased me, "Marcia, you are so neurotic!" Neil howled at the irony and immediately broke into the chorus of tha...

Keep Reading

Eavesdropping

This summer Neil and I had the decidedly unhappy task of admitting to ourselves that the shrubs to one side of our front door were dead and must be removed. A small team of people with hatchets and shovels made relatively quick work of the removal. Then we had a lovely, empty patch of dirt, all raked and ready to be replanted. But we were interrupted by the daily afternoon...

Keep Reading

Bike Riding...Bible Reading

We spilled into our last sabbatical tired and out of shape in every way, physically, emotionally and spiritually. "There are bikes in the shed," they told us. "Help yourselves". Hmmm. Maybe. One day we ventured out, deciding to ride to another town, but, carelessly, not calculating the distance. I remember how grueling it was... on how many hills I had to dismount and push...

Keep Reading