• Nika Spaulding
    Engage

    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…

  • Engage

    Discernment for Our Time

    “These are the numbers of the divisions of the armed troops who came to David in Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul over to him, according to the word of the Lord….Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” 1 Chronicles 12:23, 32 (ESV) Truly we live in a day where believers should seek to be like the sons of Issachar – to understand the times and act accordingly. In this passage, the tribes of Israel are coming to David, to establish him as the rightful king of Israel. Saul’s reign was over and now the time had come for David,…

  • Hands over eyes
    Engage

    Two Sides to Every Story. Especially Now.

    Please, please, please, make this powerful Proverb the filter through which you process information, especially during this Corona-Crazy time: The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.Proverbs 18:17 We HAVE to remember that there are two sides to every story, particularly now when we have to navigate a slippery slope of opinion, and fake news, and deliberately skewed news, and trustworthy reporting of facts. Many people are grabbing one compelling-sounding video or article or even just a meme on social media, and they stop thinking there. We need to be asking ourselves the power questions that help us think: What do they…

  • Engage

    The Importance of Self Awareness

    “Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” Ann Landers There are a number of skills that lead to success in life. Self awareness is one of them, although it is not often seen as a critical trait. However, understanding who we are, how we think, and how we operate is vital to knowing who we are and who God has called us to be. What exactly is self awareness? Self awareness has been defined as the ability to make an accurate assessment of your own personality, strengths and weaknesses. It is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, emotions, desires, and motivations. The…

  • Engage

    Fake News Isn’t New

    Fake news isn’t new. It’s been going on for years. You can find several examples in the Bible even. In fact, fake news is sprinkled throughout the books of Ezra and Nehemiah—always with the purpose of discouragement to stop or distract God’s people from doing the work He gave them to do. Ezra 4:16, 22 — a letter to King Artaxerxes from those who had power over Judah before the exiles and their leaders returned to the land to rebuild. “We inform the king that if this city is built and its walls are restored, you will be left with nothing in Trans-Euphrates…Why let this threat grow, to the detriment…

  • Impact

    Blessed are the Bankrupt

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . (Mt. 5:3) What stunning, shocking words! What king announces his rule by calling the poor in spirit to him, the bankrupt, those with no resources who bring nothing to him? Only one. The King who is lowly in heart, who offers a light burden because He is not bent down by the weight of pride. Amazingly these are the first recorded words of discipleship Jesus uttered. Jesus requires bankruptcy to enter His kingdom… That’s what it means to be poor in spirit: spiritual bankruptcy, a total lack of resources to do what ultimately…

  • Impact

    Last Things First

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken The Great Commission was the last words Jesus said, but it was among the first thoughts in His mind as He began His ministry. Why was it that one of the first actions He took was to choose disciples (Mt. 4:18-22) if He did not have a purpose in mind for them? He certainly did not intend to spend the better part of three years preparing followers for nothing… And why did He persevere so relentlessly with them when they rejected His message and thought like Satan (Mark 8:33) or created more confusion than clarity when a father sought their help for…

  • Impact

    Start With the End in View

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Jesus started with the end in view. From the first day of His earthly ministry to the last, He had His two-fold purpose before Him: redemption and preparation, the cross and the commission. He came to provide redemption for dying men and women. But what good would His redemptive death be if there were no one to tell others what it means? How could He establish a redemptive movement if He had no one to start it? That’s why He declared to His Father before the cross that He had accomplished His will by making the Father known to those He had…

  • Impact

    The Beatitudes Attitude: Introduction

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Today we start a new series drawn from the Beatitudes which describe the abounding blessings of Christ in us. We start with the introduction this week, go to a preview with our next entry, and then we will look at each of the Beatitudes to see what these blessings mean to us as we seek to grow in the Beatitudes Attitude. Blessed are . . . (Matthew 5:1-12) The first recorded words of Jesus to His future disciples were words of blessing, and what blessings they are! These blessings are the essence of life that have endured through the ages and define…

  • Impact

    The Ultimate Wilderness – Series Finale

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Wilderness Wanderings Series Finale: Learning to Live the Zigzag Life AD 33, 9:00 AM Passover Friday, the Place of the Skull, a public place near Jerusalem.   Many people are coming and going, some stopping to see what was happening, observing three men on crosses, two criminals with Jesus in the middle.   A large crowd had followed the crucifixion detail out of the city to the place of execution, the place of the ultimate wilderness…  No one knew it was the ultimate wilderness on that spring morning. Not the Pharisees or the Sadducees, the instigators of the crucifixion. Not the high…