The most natural tendency in us all is to just try harder to act in a way that smells sweet. To dress ourselves up. To act the right ways with each group of people we interact with.  The problem with behavior modification is it leads to hypocrisy.

Jesus lived among us, and He knows from first-hand experience that we as people are messed up! I am! Do you realize that you need help, too?

How we "smell," how people experience us, is a direct result of our heart health. Good or bad. I’ve had the privilege of knowing a few cardiologists. Each of them would tell you, “as goes the heart, so goes the rest of the body.” Heart health is important!

This past week, as I walked into the garage, an offensive odor hit my nostrils. Ugh! Something was dead somewhere in the garage. I ended up being late for an appointment and didn’t find the dead critter until later that evening.

It makes me think. Would our believing and (even more important) not-yet-believing friends say that the character and disposition of our lives are a pleasant aroma that points people to Jesus?

I’ve been praying for friends across the country who are experiencing deep hardships. I’m often caught up with emotion for the burdens they bear. Jesus’ disciples must have felt similar emotions. When Jesus was about to depart this earth, He directed the eyes and expectations of His disciples to another Counselorthe Holy Spirit.

Much of our existence is spent in the in-between time, between our current reality and anticipated better future. In Haggai 2:4-9, the prophet gave three sustaining truths for living between the now and the not yet.

My wife, Pam, and I enjoy going to concerts. The beauty of the music comes not only from the notes, but also from the spaces between the notes. The pulse of alternating sounds and silence—the rhythm—can make it a hand-clapping march or a soothing ballad.

I was a sophomore in college when it happened. My life changed . . .

A number of years ago, I rushed into the house hoping to find things in order for dinner guests, but instead our 2-year-old was “being two,” and dinner wasn’t ready. I didn’t respond very well and was impatient with my embattled spouse.  Afterward, I looked in the mirror and asked, “Lord, does this Christianity really work? Am I really changing?”

Jesus’ calling applies to and empowers every believer. It’s not just pastors, cross-cultural missionaries and “super-Christians” who can really know Him and make a difference in the world. It’s you and me! God sent us as “missionaries” right where we live, work, and play.