• worshiping at church
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    Why Go to Church?

    According to The Institute for Family Studies, “religious attendance has declined significantly in the past two years. The share of regular churchgoers is down by 6 percentage points, from 34% in 2019 to 28% in 2021.” A friend told me recently that the singles group at her church had lost 60% of those who regularly participated before Covid hit. I’m among those who stayed home for months during the worst of the pandemic—from March 2020 through most of 2021—opting to catch services online because I was high risk. So I totally get how easy it is to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and relax on Sunday morning, leisurely watching it online…

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    What’s Missing in Discipleship?

    Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly alarmed at the actions of Christians as they engage with various cultural and political issues. Social media has revealed that too many of us lack concern for truth, treat others unbiblically or believe arrogantly that we have a monopoly on biblical truth. Fear seems to be motivating too many of us to act in ways unbecoming to Christians, especially to our brothers and sisters who disagree on non-essential beliefs or political answers to the country’s problems. Hopefully you don’t spend much time on Twitter, which seems to reveal the worst of us. I’ve certainly been guilty of labelling people without understanding, arrogantly…

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    The Problem with Grumbling

    Grumbling! We hate it in our kids but do it ourselves. Moses’ leadership was met with grumbling throughout the forty years that the Israelites were in the wilderness. It if wasn’t about food, it was about water or Moses’ leadership. We all know how grumbling works. We’re angry or fearful and start complaining about the people in charge to our friends. Then there are groups upset and confirming each other’s complaints. Grumbling is contagious. What bothers one person soon becomes the issue of a mob. It was grumbling about entering the Promised Land that got Israel stuck in the wilderness for another thirty plus years. I’ve certainly been guilty and…

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    Longing for Fall & Bible Study

    I love the fall, especially because I live in Texas where the summers are downright hot. I’m looking forward to the change of weather with cool days and chilly nights. This time of year is perfect to read a book or host friends on our patio. I not only long for the promise of cooler weather, but also for a return to digging into God’s Word with the community of faith at my church’s women’s Bible study. We’re coming off of a long break that always serves to remind me of my need for the company of other women who also seek to know and follow Jesus. We had our…

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    This Is the Way

    On a recent road trip our GPS app suddenly changed our route, suggesting we get off of the interstate. We found ourselves on a state highway with lots of traffic, stopping and starting at the many lights for an extended time. Following its instructions we eventually wound our way through small side streets back to the interstate. I’m sure you know how we felt. Our original route was fast and easy while the new route was slow and stressful. My companion was sure that we would have been better off ignoring this app and swore to never use it again. But I trusted it and believed there was something worse…

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    Seeing As God Sees

    As I’ve grieved over this time of civil unrest, God has reminded me of my constant prayer years ago. I’m not a naturally merciful person and I don’t have the gift of mercy, but God graciously burdened me to see people as he does instead of through the lens of my culture and human nature. As God is loving and merciful to all, I wanted to be also. I really hadn’t thought of this prayer for many years, but as I look back now in this time in history, I see that God has been answering it.  The polarization in the United States calls us to see everyone as either…

  • Nika Spaulding
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    Reading Well

    I’m thrilled to welcome one of my favorite millennials as today’s guest blogger. Nika Spaulding is a proud graduate of both the University of Oklahoma and Dallas Theological Seminary, and she currently serves as Resident Theologian at St. Jude Oak Cliff, a church plant in the Dallas area. As I type this article from the comfort of my kitchen table, I can see a pile of books on my couch, three full bookshelves in my living room, two books on the crowded table, and one behind me on the island. Right before sitting down to type, I passed two more bookshelves in my bedroom and hit pause on my audiobook…

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    A Time to Lament

    I look around and see rancor, ignorance, division, tribalism, nationalism, dishonesty, and sin in the midst of many crises—racial injustice and a pandemic that has sidelined the sick and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and economic loss leaving millions unemployed. Hurricane season is on top of us, and apparently the forecast suggests a busy year. And last year’s issues haven’t gone away—#metoo, #churchtoo, the future for Dreamers (DACA) and the treatment of asylum seekers at the southern border.  I believe that God wants our attention. You may be like me—troubled by groups of hurting people, appalled by the lack of moral leadership in government and even the church,…

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    The Cost of Ignoring Injustice

    There is a cost when Christians ignore injustice—we suggest to the world that God doesn’t care about those who experience it. When we’re apathetic about the murder of a young African-American man by a pair of white vigilantes, we fail to image God who is just and calls his people to advocate for justice: Seek good and not evil so you can live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies just might be with you, as you claim he is. Hate what is wrong, love what is right. Promote justice at the city gate. (Amos 5:14–15a) Take away from me your noisy songs; I don’t want to hear the music…

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    Are We Losing Our Souls?

    I’m been very disturbed the last few years by the types of posts I’ve seen on social media coming from Christians. Full of lies and hatred, they divide Christians from one another and paint those who disagree as monsters. Jesus famously said, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and because of the gospel will save it. For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:34-36). In context Peter has just…