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    Christ Has Died. Christ Is Risen. Christ Will Come Again.

    Christ Has Died. Christ Has Risen. Christ Will Come Again. These are the words I repeat with our community of Christ-followers each time we gather to observe communion. They have come to mean something endearing to me, more than ritual recitation. They echo what has happened, and they speak to what will happen. This Thursday my mind dwells on the last supper our Lord had with His disciples and the events that took place Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so long ago. I grew up hearing the stories of faith from my family and another community of believers. Friday morning coffee brought the story of Jesus’ suffering. How He’d been…

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    Clear Summer Days

    Ah, the first weeks of summer vacation—a blissful time in the life of a mother and her children. Kids have finally finished the school year and moms have hung their chauffeur hats for a while. The Monday morning rush has come to a halt, the emails from school have completely ceased and at the end of the day, mothers across the country can finally stop asking, “Did you finish your homework? Did you study for your test?”    The beginning of summer brings such sweet hopes. It gives mothers and children an opportunity to commit their time to each other. Mothers make endless promises of fun and the kids—especially teens—realize they…

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    March Madness

    March madness has ended. The NCAA tournament is over for another year. Today many will feel a little bit of sadness that the momentum of the unpredictable, drama infused and entertaining madness has concluded. Do any folks who sacrifice for the tournament ever say, “Yeah, that was so worth it?” Like this past tournament, I had my own nerve-racking experience. My March madness began with an annual trip to the breast center for a mammogram. That’s what I do to celebrate my birthday each year. It’s weird, I know, but I never forget to schedule it. So I went, complained a whole bunch, and thought nothing of it. A few…

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    My Shirley Temple Moment

    Almost everyone I know has a Shirley Temple moment in his or her life. Whether it happened forcefully or unexpected, many of us have a story to tell that includes a Shirley Temple movie or song. I think that’s why most of us feel a sense of loss in her passing. My Shirley Temple moment lasted for just a little while, but the lesson I learned from it has persevered.     I performed On the Good Ship Lollipop in a church talent show to raise money for something—I can’t remember what, but I know it involved a high-school trip. Anyway, right before taking the stage, I got sick and…

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    Megachurch Myths

    Denominations. Leadership structures. Worship styles. All are descriptors of local churches meant to help us categorize and identify what that particular church body believes and prioritizes. But size? Does knowing the size of a church really tell you what to expect from that church body?   We all know the myths. In small churches everyone is on a first-name basis, the Sunday School teacher is also the janitor and choir director, and the fellowship around the casseroles and Crock-pots is where true community is formed. In megachurches you can expect the skinny jean-wearing worship leader to be a former guitarist for Chris Tomlin, enjoy watching the sermon on your iPad…

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    2014–Time for a Respectful Compelling Christian Voice

    In 2013 too many Christians and conservatives have asserted their views with well-meaning but hostile, combative rhetoric. I've engaged in some myself as I observe my Christian heritage slipping away. But I'm praying that in 2014 new Christian voices will be characterized by a more respectful, compelling style that invites engagement, even when we disagree. Will a different communication style woo desperate people to Christ in the long run?       I believe it will. I'm not advocating that we abandon our principles. In fact, I believe we need to stop trying to be so relevant and begin living a lifestyle that looks radically different from our neighbors. But that lifestyle…

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    Philippians and the Big Story

    For this post I’m delighted to have as my guest Dr. Lynn H. Cohick, author and Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. I require Dr. Cohick’s terrific work, Women in the World of the Earliest Christians, for students in my Role of Women in Ministry class at DTS.  Today Zondervan released her latest book, a work on Philippians in The Story of God Bible Commentary series. I'm enthusiastic about this new series because of its emphasis on narrative. Before we talk specifically about your writing on the book of Philippians, what can you tell us about this new The Story of God Bible Commentary? The commentary…

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    Time to Take Inventory?

      Imagine you’ve invited all your relatives and neighbors to a banquet. Instead of serving turkey or ham with pie for dessert, what would happen if you emptied the garbage onto the table where the platter of meat goes? And after that, what if you told your guests to “dig in”? Think they’d like it? Think they’d say, “What a fine feast—let’s invite the president next year”? What would your actions say about how much you regarded your guests? We wouldn’t think of treating other humans that way, yet these actions come close to those of the children of Israel during the prophet Malachi’s lifetime. They offered their wilted stuff…

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    Bonhoeffer on Quieting Our Inner Critic

    How do you respond when people frustrate you? When their vision is smaller, their personalities grate, their pride annoys, their fears quash progress? German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew how to speak truth. As the Lutheran Church of Martin Luther fell under the spell of Adolph Hitler, he boldly joined the dissenting “Confessing Church,” becoming one of Hitler’s earliest and staunchest critics. But his commitment to speaking truth was tempered by great love. In his book, Life Together, he challenges our Western penchant for radical individualism, even (especially!) in the church, and shows us, better than anyone I’ve ever read, the beauty and freedom of a ministry of forbearance to others…