Saturday, September 14, 2019

We Have Moved!

Greetings everyone! Just in case you missed the memo I shared back in May of this year, my blog has officially moved to Please join me there for more Christ-centered, biblically based, practical posts (along with uplifting interviews with other authors) that will inspire you and strengthen your faith walk. Thanks for following me over to my new and improved site!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Moving to New Website & Blog

Hello, faithful and loyal readers! Well, the time has come, at long last, for me to move my blog to a new, WordPress integrated site that includes my both my website and blog in a one-stop shop. I've been looking forward to this for a while now due to the stream-lining and simplification of my writing ministry that this transition represents. My new web address is I encourage you to join me and my friends there and to subscribe if you find my content of personal relevance and value to your life.

On my new site, you can learn about my forthcoming book, Overcoming the Blues: Finding Christ-Centered Hope and Joy through Serving Others. The work will be released by Skyhorse Publishing (New York) on September 3, 2019 and distributed worldwide by Simon & Schuster. I'm extremely humbled and excited about the possibilities and for the healing God has in store for those sufferers of depression the message of this book will reach.

Thank you for keeping up with my work over the years. I truly mean it! And I hope to continue providing worthwhile, biblically-based, practical, and inspiring content for you in the years to come. May the God of peace be with you always!

Release Date: Sept. 3, 2019

Available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and many other sites now!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Will Our Children Have Faith?

In the last forty years, out of all the books written in the field of spiritual development (or faith formation), few texts have exerted as great an influence as John H. Westerhoff III’s work, Will Our Children Have Faith? (Seabury, 1976). This seminal work, now in its third edition (2012), has been translated into six languages and studied by thousands of seminarians worldwide. Westerhoff’s concepts have guided many churches, parishes, religious conferences, seminaries, and universities in their Christian education programs.

During his illustrious career as a practical theologian in Christian education, Westerhoff offered two separate theories of faith development. His initial four-stage theory was later reduced to three stages in A Faithful Church (1981). In his original four-stage theory, Westerhoff describes faith as growing like the rings of tree, with each ring adding to and reshaping the tree while building on previous growth. The four proposed “tree” rings involved in the growth process include the following:

First, there is Experienced Faith
The core of a person’s faith is that which we experience from our early years of childhood (or through exposure and reorientation to a new faith system). We are beneficiaries who receive the faith of those who nurture, teach and indoctrinate us. At this stage we are very impressionable and moldable. It shapes us in a particular spiritual way, leaving an indelible impression on our faith core.

Second, comes Affiliative Faith
As an individual gradually internalizes and exhibits the various beliefs, values, and religious practices of his/her family, social group or faith community, another ring is formed. During this stage, the person mimics the characteristics of the nurturing individuals and receives acceptance as a member of that particular faith tradition. This participation and self-identification may be formalized through a religious rite/ritual such as baptism, confirmation, placing church membership, or may simply be understood. 

During this stage of faith development, the individual often experiences a time of testing as peer expectations may either converge with or diverge from that of the religious group. When traditions, practices and values are similar, there is generally a good match and the person will merge his or her identity with that of the church or faith community. Little room exists for personal differences or preferences due to the group’s persuasive power and emphasis on unity and conformity in theological beliefs (orthodoxy) and practice (orthopraxy). 

The deep psychological need to feel accepted, to belong, to feel secure, and to have a sense of power and identity that are derived from group membership are important factors in forming one’s faith during this time-period. It is usually during adolescence, at the earliest, that this level of faith is demonstrated.

Third, there is Searching Faith
The process of faith development reaches a pivotal juncture when an individual becomes aware that his or her personal beliefs or lived experience may no longer be consistent with the faith community, or when one starts questioning certain fundamental beliefs, doctrines or religious practices. This uncomfortable, albeit growthful, dynamic occurs as one becomes aware of the reality that one’s faith has been shaped by others perhaps more than by one’s own personal study and conviction. Therefore, a decision must be made whether or not to buy-in, live out, and accept responsibility for a personal interpretation of one’s faith rather than merely accepting the religious community’s interpretation. During this stage, there is often experimentation in which individuals explore viable alternatives or make commitments to other persons or causes that may be appear potentially promising in establishing greater personal conviction and active practice of one’s faith.

Fourth, and finally, there is Owned Faith
This stage represents the culmination of the faith development process, and it finds fulfillment in the authentic expression of a personal faith. The person is no longer merely convinced, but they are truly converted to a particular religious system. By this point, the individual has reoriented his or her life, is fully invested, and now claims personal ownership of and responsibility for beliefs and practices. They are committed to not only believing, but also practicing and sharing their faith in a mature, faithful manner.

From my own limited perspective, five important factors seem to coalesce that influence a person’s faith development:

(1)   Emotional climate (at home)
(2)   Exposure to religious teaching (education/catechesis) and spiritual disciplines
(3)   Examples set by parents, guardians and role-models
(4)   Experience of God (i.e., lived experiences of answered prayer or disappointment)
(5)   Engagement in a faith community and its mission

Clearly, these five factors are difficult to quantify and measure. Also two people may come from the exact same family of origin and end up in totally different places when it comes to their faith commitments. 

Spiritual formation is no doubt a challenging process. Let us fervently pray that our children will indeed develop a healthy and robust faith.

I'm proud to have contributed a chapter to a recent book on the general topic of spiritual formation entitled, Owning Faith: Reimagining the Role of Church and Family in the Faith Journey of Teenagers. The work is edited by Ron Bruner and Dudley Chancey, and it was published by Leafwood Publishers (2017). 

The book is "a road map for parents and other adults who want to walk alongside youth on their spiritual journey and experience the amazing ways God empowers teens and adults to shape each other spiritually." My particular chapter is entitled, "Adoptive Parenting: Coming to Understand the Heart of God."

The book is available here on Amazon!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Build Him Up! (Guest Post by Danielle Foisy)

I'm excited to introduce Danielle Foisy to you this week! It's a real blessing to have her as my special guest on HeartPoint. She has such a poignant and powerful message to share with individuals and families struggling with mental illnesses. I hope her wise suggestions will reach many people who need an extra word of encouragement and hope.

About Danielle Foisy
For years, Danielle worked in the secular workplace until God asked her to take a leap of faith and leave her career to start following God’s plan for her life. In the darkest and hardest times, while living with a husband who struggles with mental illness, she found there were not a lot of resources for the person who is supporting someone who is struggling. 

Her goal is to change that situation and start the conversation. She discovered writing to be a healthy coping mechanism to deal with the stress that comes with the role, and now she is using her platform to help others who are in the same role she is in. 

Danielle lives in Haliburton, Ontario with her husband and family. When she is not wrangling her monkeys, namely two adorable young daughters, a son and puppy, they are out exploring the world. She enjoys adventures like ice climbing, rock climbing, and other exhilarating sports that give you grey hairs. 

So, without any further ado, here's Danielle!

Build Him Up!

My husband struggles with a chronic depression and has been making such amazing progress. The other night I told him how much progress he had made and it hit me how long it had been since I built him up. That, my friends, for a successful marriage should not be a foreign feeling!!

What I believe is so important is to build up our spouses. No matter what; when they look back, they need to see you as their biggest cheerleader throughout life. They need to feel your support because yours is the one that matters.

The hardest part of this marital commitment is that there are many times they are undeserving of that support and praise, many times we are angry or fighting and the last thing you want to do is say something nice. But that’s Grace; that’s what we are called to do regardless of how we feel and regardless of how deserving they are. (I am by no means claiming to be good at this!)

I heard once that men’s deepest desire is to be respected and women’s is to be loved. And the command that Christ gives us is to give what they need even if we are not receiving what we need. What this means is Respect even if you are not feeling the love you need. (I wrote another post about going to God to get our needs met…this may help here.) I am not saying to go on with your needs not being met, but what I am saying is we as individuals in this marriage are called to do what is right regardless of the other person. That is where our character is defined.

So what are some practical ways we can tangibly do this? Here are a couple areas to start.

Always Support Their Dreams
One of the best pieces of advice I got from one of my mentors was this. She said 90% of them don’t come to fruition but they need to feel safe to dream around you, and supported by you while they do.

Try and compliment or build up your spouse ONCE per day at minimum.
It’s important to be intentional in your daily interactions with your spouse. The enemy will plant lies in your head and your spouses, but you building them up, it can squash those lies right in their tracks before Satan gets a real foothold.

Trust Him
As the leader of the home, we need to allow that leading to be supported. In our home, I have the strong personality and my husband is a lot more timid. It’s really easy for me to overshadow and take over that leadership role. I constantly have to humble myself and give back the reins. By trusting him, for example in decisions about our family, our finances etc. I can allow him to lead us, but also show him I trust where he will lead us. I’m not going to get into submission in this post because that is a whole other can of worms. I am just saying and asking that you give your husband opportunities to lead your family and show him you trust that leadership.

You are the opinion that matters most, your criticism hurts more than anyone else’s. Keep this in mind with your words, they have power especially to our spouses. There are many times I have said damaging things while angry to my husband that were not worth the pain they caused him during a moment of weakness I fell into. I encourage you to build up each area of your spouse and continually remind them.

Remember how important you are, remember your words matter and remember you have the power to build up or tear down but the choice is yours alone.

About Danielle's Book: The Other Side of the Struggle: Supporting a Spouse Who Struggles with Mental Illness or Depression

Danielle’s spouse battled an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness that was taking her family down and almost destroyed it. During this time, she started a blog where she wrote about their struggles and journey. Danielle found it to be therapeutic as well as it becoming a voice for so many silent sufferers of mental illness and their supporters. 

Since writing this book, they have learned more about mental illness and how to manage and control it, and believe God allowed them to go through such a difficult time to relate to others in similar circumstances and to bring people who are suffering back to him with their testimony. 

The goal of this book is not only to reach other supporters of those who struggle with mental illness, but to raise awareness that mental illness needs to start being talked about within churches and Christian communities. The goal is to challenge the church to be a safe place for those who are struggling or supporting those who are struggling, and to advocate for those face the shame and stigma within the church for struggling with mental health issues.

#TheStruggleIsReal Blog: