Turn on the TV or open a paper and the financial news can be unsettling. “A recession is coming!” says one expert.  “No recession,” argues another.   “Save more, spend less, just in case!” cautions a third.  And with all the conflicting reports, our joy level sinks lower and lower. But does financial security equal personal joy? Does our economic status serve as an accurate barometer of our happiness level? In a classic study psychologists determined that recent winners of the Illinois State Lottery were no happier than recent accident victims who were consequently disabled. The two groups were asked to … Read More

I don’t care how tough you are. You may be a Navy Seal who specializes in high altitude skydiving behind enemy lines. You might spend each day making million-dollar, split-second stock market decisions. Doesn’t matter. Every parent melts the moment he or she feels the full force of parenthood. The semi truck of parenting comes loaded with fears. We fear failing the child, forgetting the child. Will we have enough money? Enough answers? Enough diapers? Vaccinations. Education. Homework. Homecoming. It’s enough to keep a parent awake at night. Fear distilleries concoct a high-octane brew for parents, a primal, gut-wrenching, pulse-stilling … Read More

More bad news. Killings in El Paso. Shootings in Ohio. All this on the heels of a violent weekend last week. All this violence adding up to too many mass shootings in just 216 days. Is our society coming unraveled? How are we to respond to this dark season of bloodshed? Anger is the choice of many. Anger at politicians. Anger at the NRA. Anger at God. We become bitter and sour toward this world; toward one another. Fear is another option. Lock the doors and close the windows. Avoid every shadow and dark alley. Yet, do we want to … Read More

So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.  Genesis 1:27 The perk of having a father who writes children’s books is that as you grow older, you have access to your father’s most treasured words in illustrated, bound form. For me, these words are recorded in a book he wrote way back in 1992 called Just in Case You Ever Wonder. The book was written to my two sisters and me as a promise that our dad would always be around and that he would always love … Read More

The ministry of Tommy Hays has meant so much to Denalyn and me.  He touches hearts through healing prayer and preaching. The following segment is especially strong.  Thanks, Tommy for writing it! — Max July 26, 2019 – Morning by Morning Daily Prayer with Tommy Hays Good morning, Lord Jesus. I seek You with all my heart — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of God — and wait expectantly for Your leading. … “Likewise all the men of Israel who had hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, they also followed hard after them in … Read More

You drive a hybrid; he chugs around in a gas guzzling, air-polluting truck. You vote red and she likes donkeys. You love your husband and she lives with her wife. You and your “opposite you.” “Opposite yous” can drain your joy tank. There is a tension, an awkwardness. Anger, low-grade or high flame, can flare. Inability to manage the relationship can lead to isolation, prejudice, and bigotry. What if your “opposite you” is your boss? Your next-door neighbor? Your coworker? What if your “opposite you” is your parent or child? How do we respond? Ignore them? Share a meal with … Read More

The harrowing photo of a drowned immigrant and his nearly two-year-old daughter stirs outrage.  These are human beings; a dad and his child, a family. We scarcely have time to process the emotion before we read about sick, hungry, migrant children who are at risk in detention centers. Children? Combing lice out of each other’s hair? Oh, my. My, my, my.  We want to look away.  But let’s not. Let’s not turn away. Let’s not return too quickly to our summer activities. Let’s let these reports and images prompt the deepest form of prayer. Let’s groan.  The groan is the vernacular of … Read More

Can I share a thought about writing? I spent yesterday with my editorial team reading through my 2020 book. We’ve followed the same process for over 25 years. We sit in a circle, each with a copy of the manuscript. We read each word out loud. Only when everyone is 100% convinced that the chapter is in best possible shape do we move on to the next. The process can be grueling, but it is worth it. Are you a writer? If so, can I urge you to take the craft seriously. We need great Christian books. We need fine-tuned, … Read More

Happiness happens when we give it away. Be the family member who offers to wash the dishes after dinner. Be the colleague who serves the staff by arriving on time for each meeting and listening attentively. Be the church member who supports the pastor with prayer and notes of encouragement. Be the neighbor who mows the grass of the elderly couple.  Can you imagine the joy-giving benefits of these decisions? Contrast the situation of Moe and Joe. Moe expects everyone to serve him. The moment he awakens he thinks, Is someone going to bring me coffee? He leaves the house … Read More

“One of my favorite people in the world is Bob Russell. After serving the Southeast Christian Church in Louisville Kentucky for 40 years, he continues to minister to people around the world with his unending encouragement and wisdom.He recently posted an article about China, reminding us to pray for that wonderful country. With his permission I am re-posting it here.” Pray for the Persecuted Church in China Written on March 31, 2019 by Bob Russell Thirteen years ago I visited Beijing, China with eleven other Christian leaders from across America. Our purpose was to petition the Chinese government to curtail … Read More