christmas bluesIt’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistle-toeing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
(lyrics by Andy Williams)

Yeah yeah yeah… we’ve heard it on the radio… we’ve see it in the movies… we even hear about it at church during this time of year.

We know that it’s supposed to be a season of joy, a season of laughter and a season of good cheer… the “hap-hap-happiest time of year” right?

But there’s just one problem….IT ISN’T!  The holiday season reminds us of everything that ISN’T right in our lives and highlights all the areas that AREN’T going according to plan.

It’s a season where the feelings of loneliness that exist all year long get magnified.

It’s a season that every year is less and less joy and cheer, and more and more anxiety, stress and fear.

It’s a season where we’re flooded with images of families having fun and people being happy and we’re left to just wonder…why not me?

Why doesn’t my life match?  Why can’t I have that too?  Things were supposed to be different by now; this circumstance wasn’t supposed to still be here.  Why God, why?

What happened to the Christmas spirit?  Where is it?  When did Christmas go from “the most wonderful time of the year” to the most miserable/stressful/lonely/depressing time of the year?

What happened here?  The answer, I believe, is simple: we stopped focusing on GIVING and started focusing on RECEIVING.

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It’s week 2 in our latest series, IN THE WAITING ROOM, and we’re still trying to answer the question: what do you do when there’s nothing you can do?

We all know someone who’s done it – someone who’s made it through the waiting room (those unchangeable/unalterable circumstances of life) and come out stronger than when they entered.  How do they do it?  What’s their secret?  What am I doing or not doing that stops me from reaching that point of peace/trust in my waiting room?

It all comes down to one decision – one choice that you can make in your waiting room – that will unleash God’s power and grace/ in your waiting room in extraordinary ways.

What is that one decision?  Check out the video above and find out for yourself.

in the waiting room

Sanctify Ye A Fast

December 12, 2014 — 4 Comments
Today’s guest post comes from Coptic Rx – a Coptic medical school student who seeks to support other medical students going through the same challenges.  And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.


One spiritual discipline that I have encountered the most difficulty in maintaining during medical school has been FASTING.  With the Fast of the Nativity upon us, I thought it an opportune time to share how medical school has affected my fasting.

Why do I fast on Wednesdays and Fridays?

This is something I’ve done since I was 8 years old.  That’s because I belong to the Coptic Orthodox church and it’s part of our tradition to fast every Wednesday and Friday throughout the year.  My mom did it.  My sister did it.  My friends did it.  So when I was 8, I just wanted to do it too!  And that meant following a weird food diet. So I started fasting. And eventually it became a habit that I never saw any reason to break.

But there was a period of time in medical school when I started to break my fast on Wednesdays and Fridays quite a lot. Partly due to my inability to maintain a decent supply of vegan food for myself, partly due to the fact that I was surrounded by some people who didn’t fast and was influenced by them, and mostly (99.999%), because I got lazy and didn’t care.

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Trying to Earn God’s Grace

December 10, 2014 — 10 Comments

“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”  Galatians 3:3

Every now and then, I come across a passage in the Bible and it’s as if I’m reading it for the very first time.  Those are the moments I live for… when the Word of God comes alive in a very real and personal way.

This morning was one of those moments.  I read St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians and even though I’ve probably read those words hundreds of times, today was something special.  It finally clicked!

First things first, as I mentioned above, I read St. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians (epistle = letter).  The whole thing.  Not a chapter, not a set of verses…THE ENTIRE LETTER!

Now that may seem daunting at first but let me tell you that if you want to make more sense of the Bible – especially the epistles/letters – you need to try reading them in larger chunks.  In other words, when possible don’t read a chapter from Galatians or a chapter from James or a chapter from Hebrews…READ THE WHOLE THING!

Why?  Because that’s how they were written.  They were written as letters from one person (Paul) to a group of people (the believers in a city called Galatia).  The letters weren’t meant to be read in chapters and verses (imagine if I wrote you a four page letter and you decided to read one paragraph a day for 12 days – not quite the same is it?); they were meant to be read as a whole.

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What do you do when there’s nothing you can do?  

When you’re waiting for solutions that don’t seem to be coming?  When the problems just won’t seem to get any better?  When the more you try to fix them, the worse they get?  What do you do when there’s nothing you can do?

That’s goal of our newest series at The Well called IN THE WAITING ROOM.  What do you do when you’re in the “waiting room” seasons of life – waiting for an answer that doesn’t seem to be coming?

If you (or someone you know) is going through one of those waiting room seasons of life, check out the video above.  I won’t say that it’ll solve all your problems; but hopefully it will help you find hope within them.

in the waiting room

Hot and Humid on Christmas?

December 5, 2014 — 5 Comments
This is a guest post from Jason Ayres – a teacher in Sydney, Australia who has guest posted on this blog before.  Jason – who suffers from cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects brain and nervous system functions – gives us a wonderfully uplifting and encouraging perspective regarding our own circumstances as we approach this Christmas season.  And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.

santa beachFor most of you, the journey to Christmas will be a cold one.  I’ve been reading that parts of the USA have been received immense amounts of snow, much earlier than usual.  Also, throughout Europe, it’s been a cold and wet winter so far as well.

But that isn’t a problem for me.  That’s because I live in Sydney, Australia.  And especially with the “climate change” that everyone’s talking about, it’s even hotter this year than usual.  So all we can do is dream of having a “white Christmas.”

But here’s the thing: even though it doesn’t look like Christmas or feel like Christmas, it’s still Christmas.

It may not look like it’s supposed to look (no snow) or feel like it’s supposed to feel (it’s hot and humid); but IT’S STILL CHRISTMAS!

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Going Beyond the Motions

December 3, 2014 — 32 Comments
Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is officially here!  Over the next few weeks I plan to blog/speak/think a lot about what God is giving us during this season (His Incarnation into the world) and then in response what we are going to give Him back.  But before we focus on WHAT we should give Him, we need to first understand HOW we should give it.  As you’ll see from the post below – originally written 2 years ago – HOW is more important than WHAT.

I’m about to ask a dangerous question.  I am asking forgiveness in advance from all the men who read my blog that this question will cause problems for.  The question is for all the married women out there and it’s a simple one.  Ready?  Here goes.


(I think a collective “Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!” was just heard out in cyberspace by husbands everywhere)

Wives, what do you want from your husbands?  If I asked you to make a list, what would you write? (assuming of course that you don’t already have this list handy and hung on your refrigerator).

“I wish he’d help with the dishes.  I wish he’d do the laundry.  I wish he’d pick his underwear off the floor up and put it in the hamper.  I wish he’d stop burping.  I wish he would put on a shirt for goodness sake!” 

Ok, that’s a good starting point.  But let me ask you this ladies: if your husband did all those things and even more, would that alone be enough to satisfy you?  If he did everything on your list, is that all you want?  Would you be satisfied?

Regardless of how you answer that question right now, the correct answer is NO.  No way would just having those things done satisfy you.  You need/want much more.  I can go through the motions and do all those things for my wife – I can help with laundry, take out the trash, do the dishes, change the diapers, etc.  I can do all those things.  But if I’m just going through the motions and doing them out of duty, that doesn’t do anything.

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