Sample Chapter: Casseroles


I believe Christ is calling his church to a great outpouring of love, overflowing from the bottomless well of living water he has placed within each of his people. I believe he wants that love to reach people with mental illness and lift them in a great wave of healing and hope–right where they are, among those our society considers untouchable, avoidable and justifiably condemned to the fringes.

—Amy Simpson, Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission

It is sometimes called the “no casserole” illness, because when a loved one has a severe bout with a mental illness, no one from the church brings over a meal, like they do for gall bladder surgery, cancer treatments or even childbirth. The fact of the matter is, though a pastor is often the first person turned to when a mental illness begins to surface, the church is typically the last responder to this kind of family crisis. Why is that? Continue reading

Sample Chapter: Sparks of Redemptive Grace

Dearest Lord, may I see you today and everyday in the person of your sick, and while nursing them, minister to you. Though you hide yourself behind the un-attractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you and say, “Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.”

Mother Teresa,  A Gift for God

When I was a kid and when my kids were children, we played with sparklers. We waited until all around us was night. Then we would ignite the slender stick and watch the wild display of tiny sprinkles of light. The sparks burned out as soon as “Ooh” left our lips. But, for a short second, we could see. Continue reading

Sample Chapter: Introduction

From Sparks of Redemptive Grace

My husband, Nelson, once said if we ever write a book the title should be, It Wasn’t Supposed to be Like This.  And surely the words are true. But I wonder if that phrase isn’t actually already the subtitle for the Bible. After all, there are only two chapters at the beginning of the Scriptures and a few at the end that tell how things are “supposed to be.” The rest of the Bible is about how things really are and about the unfolding story of God’s redemptive grace to set things right again. Continue reading