"We can finally sleep horizontally"

Watch this 1-minute video from a thankful refugee family!

Victoria from Kyiv

“We have three children. We left Kyiv yesterday (March 5) as the situation in the city was becoming more dangerous. The children were in constant tension from the sounds of shots and explosions. Most shops are closed. There are few products left in the shops, there are huge queues everywhere. Pharmacies do not all work and it is also difficult to get there. We decided that the children and I would leave. The husband stayed in Kyiv.

We arrived at the train station and there were a lot of people, children, elderly people. People get on any train. We managed to take two seats on the train Kyiv to Lviv (where one of our partner churches have two refugee centers). People also rode standing or sitting on the floor. When a child is small, it is doubly difficult.

Arriving in Lviv, we spent two more hours on the street near the station, as there was nowhere to go to warm up, and the curfew had not yet ended. We were very cold and a little confused. Thank God we were received by brothers and sisters from our network of churches. They gave us beds in a warm room, fed us, offered everything we needed. We are very, very grateful that you are not indifferent and have the opportunity to give us shelter. Huge thanks to everyone who is taking part in helping us!”


We fled our small, cozy, and beloved city of Izyum

“We are residents of the city of Izyum (a city situated on the Donets River in Kharkiv Oblast of eastern Ukraine). We lived, studied, worked in this city. But war has come to our country.

At first, it was just scary from everything that we saw on television and on social media. But the day came, or rather the night, when they began to bomb our small, cozy and beloved city. Until that day, we did not go to shelters, basements, but every day we prayed and hoped that they would not shoot in our city. But that night has come. We were in our apartment, I put the children to bed and prayed, but anxiety and a sense of fear began to appear, and for good reason. I prepared a place in the corridor, put chairs, took off the mirror, etc. And at 12:00 a plane flew over our house; I immediately woke up the children and we ran into the corridor. It was very scary, we prayed to God for help and protection. There was a very strong explosion, then the second and after it the room was filled with lime dust. The children were crying, we were in panic and horror, and the explosions continued.

My little son was trembling with fear and his teeth chattered just terribly. We sat shivering all night in the cold hallway. When it started to get light, things calmed down a bit. We went into the room, it turned out that the balcony door had been torn out by the wave from the explosion, the kitchen and bathroom had been damaged. We spent the next two nights and two days in the basement because we were bombed day and night. In our city there is no gas, water, electricity. Now almost our entire small town has been destroyed, houses, schools, a hospital, a bus station.

In multi-story buildings there were many victims of adults and children, wounded bloodied people lay on the street and screamed in pain. My mother did not want to leave the city, and every day I am afraid for her life. There is no way to buy food in the city, there is nothing in the city anymore!!! How to live further??? Living in such conditions is simply not possible, we had to leave the city.

Thank the Lord that there are people who, in such a difficult moment, lend a helping hand and support.”


Over 260,000 Ukrainians have fled to Romania

According to Romanian news outlets, over 260,000 Ukrainians have fled the war and entered Romania in the last week. People come by foot or by car, and the queues at the border vary from 5 hours to 2 days, in winter conditions.

Romania does not have a very good infrastructure for such disasters and a lot of the help comes from individuals and churches.

We are working on the ground with Dan Iacob, a missionary who has been involved in work in Ukraine since the war broke out in 2014 in the Donbas. He coordinates drives back and forth across the border to help people out of Ukraine, housing in Romania, distributes food packages (in Ukraine and Romania), gives hygiene kits and buys bus or plane tickets to those who want to travel further to Western Europe.

Most of the refugees want to travel further to Western Europe and the US but many do not have the funds or connections yet to leave Romania.


5 Key Lessons I’ve Learned from the Latest Mission Trip

It’s been a few days since we’ve come back from Lebanon after an extremely fruitful week of ministering with the Syrian refugees. I would like to give you an update via 5 key lessons I’ve learned from this last mission trip:

1. God is still at work in miraculous ways in peoples’ lives. We shared the gospel with 78 children over three days of summer camp and saw more than 10 Muslim kids receive Christ into their hearts. We also visited 13 families in Zahlé and heard testimonies of adult Syrian refugees who have encountered the saving grace of Jesus since the eruption of the war and rejoiced in how God is working in the global church.

2. Prayer doesn’t prevent opposition but protects us from it. Don’t assume that just because you’ve prayed you won’t encounter problems. Satan hates it when Jesus is lifted up. What prayer does is ready us for the battle and fills us with the spirit of God to love victoriously. The trials are sometimes nuisances like missed flights, other times painful like arguments among team members. I’ve learned that no matter what we’re facing, prayer heals us and gets us back on God’s page!

3. God’s resources are limitless to accomplish his purposes. We needed $10,000 to support the camp aside from the travel costs of flight and housing. It seemed daunting and almost kept me from saying yes to the opportunity to run this kids camp. Yet God proves himself faithful again!!! He provided above and beyond what we imagined. If you’re facing financial strain today, pray. Ask God to provide for your need and watch Him do what only he can do!

4. The word of the Lord is what accomplishes the work of the Lord in the world. I love God’s word. What a joy to teach three bible stories to children who had never heard much of Jesus before and see God’s word literally melt hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh. If you haven’t been in God’s word in some time, and feel dry, open it up and ask the Lord to refresh you with His word of truth! It works!

5.  There is tremendous joy and satisfaction in living out the gospel in your life. I am thrilled to get to do what I’m doing in this season of life. As a single woman I never imagined I would find the joy and satisfaction in my life without a husband and family to enjoy. Yet there is a closeness that comes from living out our lives for the gospel. Are you leading a life of purpose? What needs to change in your life for that to happen? Are you ready to step out in faith and do it?

I want to end by thanking the amazing team who came to Lebanon with me last week. They were awesome!! I can’t wait to invite more of you to join us!

And to all of you who supported us in prayer and in resources, a huge THANK YOU!! You are a part of this story and only heaven will reveal the fruit of your labor.

Much love,

Lina (1 Cor 15:58)

P.S. Watch this 1 minute video summary of our trip & share it with your friends.

Now That We Know

Ignorance is bliss – until you’re no longer ignorant.

I walk into a patient’s room. The chart says it’s a 3 year old girl with a rash. I check the rash and notice a bruise in an unusual area. I try to ignore the bruise since, after all, the family came in for the rash. The little girl is precocious, though, and can’t help oversharing. “My father likes to kiss my booboo away” she says. She doesn’t understand the significance of what she just told me.

But now I know. I am fully aware of the bomb this little girl has dropped in my lap.

I am no longer an ignorant bystander and my knowing changes everything.

I now have to decide: will I be an ally to the little girl, or will I ignore her statement by awkwardly laughing it off? Will I simply try to explain it away?

Mind you, she’s only 3. What do little 3 year-old little girls know about kisses and booboos? Her mother acts like she didn’t hear. I almost convince myself that I didn’t hear the girl’s statement correctly. But I know deep in my heart, I know what I’ve heard, and I know that it’s true.

I am a mandated reporter of child abuse. I am a pediatric Emergency room physician. I look for signs of abuse. I listen and watch and never assume the best or the worst about anyone or anything. But I am called and have vowed to be an advocate for children. I will do whatever needs to be done, so help me God, to stop any pain wrongly inflicted on a child. Or an adolescent. Or any man or woman who has been wrongly touched, abused, or hurt in any way.

It’s my job to know. It’s my privilege to know. It’s my duty to report.

Up until now that privilege and duty was restricted to a few professionals: school teachers, counselors, doctors, social workers etc. Sunday school teachers were exempt. Pastors were exempt. Friends and family were exempt. Which means that if you weren’t looking for signs of abuse, you didn’t think about it, you didn’t look for it, you didn’t see the world with the filter of the reality of abuse.

Up until now, ignorance was bliss.

And then the Catholic Church scandal of abuse broke out. How could such a cover up last for so long? Why didn’t anyone believe the children? And then the US gymnastic team scandal broke out. We watched in horrified agony as women stated to have reported the abuse, only to be ignored by the very professionals that should have protected them. This year the Southern Baptists are facing their own dirty secrets.

We no longer live in a world blissfully ignorant. And thank God for that.

Now that we know, we must decide. Will we believe the 3 year-old girl who tells us that daddy kissed her booboo away in a place he should almost never touch? Will we believe the many who have voiced their pain, much to their shame and embarrassment?

Now that we know, we must decide. What kind of people will we be?

Will we give victims the benefit of the doubt, or will we assume the best about the abusers?

Now that we know, will we seek justice where it’s needed and protect the weak?

Now that we know we must decide how we will live going forward.

Now that we know, our knowing changes everything.

Why I Left Harvest Bible Chapel

So many people have recently asked me why I left Harvest Bible Chapel when I did.

I attended Harvest Bible Chapel for over 8 years and served as the Women’s Ministry Director at the Rolling Meadows campus for three of those years (that’s the flagship original campus by the way). I left the church 4 years ago, the week after 3 elders were publicly ex-communicated on a cheap home made movie not worthy of one wasted second of the worship service.

By then there were so many small things that weren’t so small and added up to big things that could have explained my leaving, but to me, that video was the tipping point.

Mind you, I didn’t simply walk out. The day I watched the video, I emailed my campus pastor and asked for an explanation. I was brushed off. I then called an elder who was a friend and someone I trusted. He did the same. So I called one of the elders in the video and got his side of the story. I am ashamed to say that after being a member at Harvest for 8 years, that was the first real conversation I had had with an elder about the state of affairs of the church at that time.

A year or so before leaving Harvest I had written a blog post about holiness in which I had referenced the growing fad of tattoos in our culture. I hadn’t realized that James had gotten a tattoo that week. My blog had indirectly undermined James. As a result, I was asked to meet with the elders, pull the blog piece and write a new one that James would first approve. James ended up sending me a copy of the new approved blog post, and out of fear, I complied. I didn’t want to be rebellious against authority. I also managed to write an apology to James for the pain I had caused him. I regret staying at Harvest after that meeting with the elders. I should have left that week, but I was too afraid to cause damage to Jesus and His kingdom and the women I was leading at that time.

By the time I left, I had discovered something dark about myself: I was a woman ruled by fear. I didn’t want to upset James. I didn’t want to risk any negative impacts on my own growing ministry. My first two books were scheduled to be released smack in the middle of that summer, and I didn’t want to impact their potential – not to mention that James had agreed to write the forward on my first book. Still, even I knew when enough was enough.

There is no question in my mind that what I did see and experience increasingly at Harvest was a culture that functioned and was sustained by fear and the desire to please James at any cost. The higher the leadership level was, the more protective of James they were. I was counted as one of the privileged ones and considered it a great honor to know James personally and even be considered as part of his inner circle at that time.

The more I think about the demise of Harvest Bible Chapel and James MacDonald, the more I believe that fear is the cancer at the root of it all – specifically the fear of James MacDonald. I did not fear God as much as I feared James and longed for his approval.

Until recently, I thought I had escaped my fear by leaving Harvest, but I was still afraid. Perhaps my fear had its legitimate reasons. I still had friends on the inside that I longed to remain friends with. With my life and schedule, my friends are few and far between, and have always been aware that my saying anything publicly about Harvest or James would jeopardize those friendships that I still love and value so much.

After leaving Harvest no one from the church reached out to me to see how I was doing, to ask why I left. Were they afraid? Were they unaware of what was happening behind the scenes? Did they not find that video shocking? Yet their silence hurt me and sometimes made me question the validity of my reasons for leaving. I wondered where God was in the narrative. I kept thinking people would wake up and see the truth and understand that my leaving was not a betrayal to James but a stance against his leadership style, and the leadership style of the XLT, and James’ sons, and most of the remaining elders.

I was wrong in hindsight. Leaving without speaking up was still an act of cowardice and self-preservation.

I regret my own weaknesses, my love for the approval of others. But as every Christian knows, we walk and we live by grace. Christ’s grace saves us and sustains us.

I have wondered if Harvest Bible Chapel (the organization) is worth the cost it’s taken to try and save it? Will James not wake up and realize that the Church of Jesus Christ is not the organization or nonprofits we create, but the men and women that God calls and saves by the sacrifice of His Son? We are the Church! When the Church becomes the organization instead of the people, then it ceases to be the Church.

The Church of Jesus Christ is not the organization or nonprofits we create, but the men and women that God calls and saves by the sacrifice of His Son. We are the Church! When the Church becomes the organization instead of the people, then it ceases to be the Church. 

Many might wonder why it all still matters to me so much. I have since moved on and seen God do some pretty amazing God-sized miracles in my life and ministry (evidently, God does work outside of the walls of Harvest Bible Chapel!).

Yet a week ago I posted on FB an invitation to open my house to anyone who needed to talk about their pain as it related to what was happening at Harvest. That night changed me. While only a handful showed up, the range of their pain was wide. Some women were still in the middle of the trauma and were still currently attending Harvest. Others had old wounds that had resurfaced and were hurting, having never felt closure to their stories. For years, they had been made to feel like the outcasts, but finally vindication in its godly form was working its way out. And still some came because their loved ones and spouses have abandoned the faith completely and now refuse to go to church – and they long to understand why.

While regret can’t look back, we now live in a different era than we did four years ago. God is purifying His Church. Hidden things have come to light. Christ followers are saying enough. We won’t let fear overcome the freedom we’ve been given in Christ. And I won’t stand in the way of Christ’s work.

The current leadership at Harvest Bible Chapel including Luke and Landon and Rick and Mo and Jeff and the CFO are infected by the cancer of fear and control. This cancer must be excised and as often as is the case in cancer treatment, months of treatment must be involved for health to take place. While I have no say in the future of Harvest, it is ridiculous to think that any healthy future can take place until the cancer is removed.

We are taught in God’s Word that it is Christ’s love that ought to control us. I pray that moving forward, His love will control me no matter the consequences. I pray that no stench of fear be found in any space occupied by Christ’s love.

The confidence I hang on to today is that whether I am approved or critiqued for this opinion, it is Christ’s love that will catch me and his arms that will continue to sustain me when I close my eyes at the end of each new day.

Grace and Peace.


Ministry Summary 2017

Ministry Summary 2017

At the start of 2017 God gave me a word for the year: expectation. I think I can confidently say that God has indeed exceeded my expectation and you have been a huge part of our story. Allow me a few minutes to remember all God has done here at LWP in 2017:

This year was the year of our app launch. What a huge milestone this has been for us. Our resources are now literally available at your fingertips. The potential in this app is awesome and wait until you see all that’s coming here next year. I am so proud of Irina for making this happen.

This was also the year we launched Morning Minutes. We’ve studied three books of the Bible together so far: James, Ruth and Esther. We’ve gotten more positive feedback about this Bible study format than anything we’ve done to date. Around the same time Morning Minutes started we dropped our first FaithBooster which has been such an awesome project to encourage many of you guys.

In the books department: ‘Resolved’ came out in Arabic in October. I also got to contribute to “Utmost Ongoing,” honoring the legacy of Oswald Chambers.

In Bible study production: we recorded a 5 week video Bible study series of the book of James that will launch next year. We also put together the Change Series which continues to impact so many.

Today’s Single Christian continues to air on over 180 Moody affiliate stations in the US. Speaking of Moody Radio, their support of me has been overwhelming. I’ve been a regular on many featured shows including Chris Brooks who highlighted Resolved as his October resource of the month, Chris Fabry and Karl Claussen.

The speaking ministry has been busting at the seams: I honestly can’t keep track of all the opportunities I had to speak all over the world in 2017. Many of you were present at the conferences/retreats. I hope we got to meet in person. I can testify of thousands of lives impacted for the Lord through the speaking ministry and so many who gave their lives to Jesus for the first time.

The global ministry continues to expand and get stronger in focus. We had the honor of serving thousands of Syrian refugees in 3 medical mission clinics last year in Lebanon. This wouldn’t have been possible without your support and donations. Thank you!

This last year has been special as my team has continued to grow. Irina continues to be a huge support and basically makes everything happen. Kim Klaver joined our team recently too, heading up the prayer ministry. I also hired an agent this year: Karen Hardin. I am so grateful for her. She has been a huge help to me and was the reason Thrive made it to YouVersion. I’ve also been working with Dave Jones at M is Good marketing. Dave is behind so much of the focused messaging at LWP. You might have noticed the Dave effect on some of the positive changes on the website. Oh, and I joined the Judson University board in 2017. I love Judson.

As for me personally, this was a year of major transition as I moved from Emergency Medicine to Telemedicine. This is the year I became debt free and able to dedicate more time and focus to the ministry. What a gift to be able to write this. I have had no regrets in my decisions and continue to figure out how to balance all the balls God has allowed me to juggle. And in case you’re wondering, nothing has changed for me personally personally! Still single and loving it.

Finally, as I wrap up this short summary of a very busy year let me confess to you that there is nothing greater than living a life fully surrendered to Jesus. I feel like I’m on the most thrilling adventure I could ever ask for. This year God has strengthened my resolve to reach even more people with the hope of the gospel. I feel energized for what’s to come and excited about the future like never before.

I love each of you and hope we’re serving you well. We read every email you send us and pray for you as personally as we can. We are grateful for every word you’ve sent to encourage us, every prayer you’ve prayed on our behalf and every dollar you’ve sacrificed to allow us to do more for God’s kingdom!

Please let us know how we can better serve you in 2018. We have so many awesome things coming for you in 2018.  Let’s do this together! Let’s keep pointing to Jesus. He’s the reason we do it all and He’s the reason we breathe. I hope you love him more today than you did this time last year!

Your friend,





Do you ever wonder what God thinks about sexual assault and harassment? The Bible is clear, God hates it! But there is hope in the darkness.

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, I can’t help but share a few thoughts on what we as Christians can do to support victims of sexual assault.

The Miracle Of John 11

Miracles. We all love them, hope for them, wait for them, pray for them.

How many of us haven’t been inspired by the story of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus in John 11, and hoped for God to move the stone in our life and bring our Lazarus back to life?

Why do some see their miracles come to life while others stare on with painful longing? Why does Jesus seem so far when you want him to be near? Why does he seem so silent when you want him to speak?

What I have learned in my life is that there is a greater miracle than the miracle of getting what I want. And it is the miracle of receiving exactly what I need.

Listen to this talk I recently gave at Simply Jesus Gathering. I hope it will encourage and comfort you greatly.