• When God’s Plan Doesn’t Make Sense

    By Staci Focht

    As Christians, we tend to make the false assumption that the indication of growth in our Christian walk rests in our attempts to broaden our understanding of God and His ways. Rather, it is found in the slow realization that God’s perspective is so completely contrary to our human understanding in the first place. The year is 1912. William Borden, a 25-year-old graduate of Yale and Princeton Theological Seminary, waits to board a ship that will take him to China. There, while living in abject poverty, he will minister to a large group of immigrant Muslims, hoping to bring them the same everlasting joy and peace that he himself experiences on a daily basis. At the back of his mind, the memory of his father demanding him to stay and take on his multimillion-dollar silver mining business still plays. “Think …

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  • Trusting God

    By Staci Focht

    I was seated in Barnes and Noble across from Randy Simmons and Merlin Weaver, two men working to change the face of the fight against homelessness. Simmons, the founder and head of We Agape You, was in the midst of telling me his story. His pastor had challenged him with the question:  do you trust God or fear man?  It served as a barometer for him ever since. When I drove home, it stayed with me. As God often does, He speaks to us through everyday conversations. Did I trust or did I fear? Six months before that conversation, I had started writing a book about the effort to revitalize the city of Reading and combat the poverty that had pushed it to the poorest city in the United States. I’d interviewed community leaders, charity organizations, shelters, and government officials. I’d …

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  • The Rhythm of Rest

    By Staci Focht

    The shallow breathing I was experiencing should have been a red flag. You know there’s a problem when you must remind yourself to breathe. Breathing should be as mindless as our hearts beating. I wanted to embrace the squeals and outbursts of laughter, yet, I found myself suffocating because striving and doing everything in my power left me breathless. My inner being could not keep up with my outer world realities. My soul was restless. I was so tired and worn out, overwhelmed by the pressures of life. My insides wanted to breathe and enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the next thing to do. And then the Holy Spirit filled my lungs with fresh air when He spoke to my heart saying, “Stop striving and take a rest.” It had been so long since I had been rested …

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  • Ash Wednesday

    By Staci Focht

    I grew up in a fairly liturgical church.  Somewhere in the midst of elementary school, I learned that the forty days leading up to Easter, the Lenten season, meant a time of giving something up.  I never really considered the why behind making a small sacrifice during that time, and while I observed the practice, it really signified nothing more than that I couldn’t eat ice cream (or whatever food item I had inevitably chosen) for the forty days. When my family started attending GT, I remember feeling some confusion over the lack of recognition of this season in the church calendar, but ultimately, I didn’t feel a huge sense of loss over it.  Lent, after all, was just forty days to me.  While I was saved at a young age, the liturgical church calendar didn’t hold a big significance …

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