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    Finish Strong Day-By-Day

    The start of your life journey doesn’t define you, and it will forever remain behind you. Our “finish” has yet to be written. Finishing strong begins with one good, God-centric next step. Start here: What do you want your “finish” to look like?

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    Living in Limbo

    Normal. Where has it gone? A few months ago my boys romped on playgrounds daily and bounced into their church classrooms on Sundays. Today we watch church online and debate whether it’s safe to start pre-k this fall. The routine we once enjoyed feels years removed. In its place we navigate endlessly changing regulations, mask mandates, and shifting data. As much as I want to believe this will be over soon, I know the end isn’t quite in site. So I’m learning to live in limbo. It’s a hard lesson, isn’t it? Letting go of the past and embracing the present—however messy and uncertain it feels. Here are a few…

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    Eyes on Eternity

    Perspective is everything. The lens we use to see will determine how we prioritize our activities, our necessities, and our indulgences. Recently a friend shared with me an illustration used by Francis Chan. He pointed to a rope on the stage where he was standing. It began on one side of the stage and extended across the stage and off the other side as though it went on forever. The beginning section of the rope was dyed red. It was just a tiny little section of a very long rope. He asked the audience to imagine that this was the extent of their life on earth. The rest of the…

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    A Dog In A Tree

    At a recent session of the Wednesday Morning Men, a men’s Bible study I teach every Wednesday morning (what else would the Wednesday Morning Men be except a gathering for men and when else would it meet except on Wednesday morning) one of the regular guys, Wayne Mitchell, talked about something his grandmother said to him when he was in his late twenties. Wayne questioned her about prominent pastors who promote themselves, become well known, and then fall. She said, “They’re like a dog in a tree.” Wayne had never heard that phrase before so he wondered what she meant. She replied, “You will never see a dog in a…

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    From Zenith to Zero

    I appreciate Bill Lawrence’s recent blog post here at Bible.org titled, ‘The Giants Are Going and the Pygmies Must Take Over’. I especially welcomed his grounded, theologically astute observation that, “No leader, man or woman, makes himself or herself a giant.”   Lawrence’s piece brought to mind a 2010 journal article I wrote for Conspectus titled, “From zenith to zero: a historical-theological analysis of the demise of the kingdom of David and Solomon.” In that essay, I made modified use of Jim Collins’ study titled, How the Mighty Have Fallen. My intent was to leverage the conceptual framework Collins put forward to assess the collapse of the Davidic-Solomonic kingdom.  …

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    The Giants Are Going And The Pygmies Must Take Over

    Recently one of my former students sent me an e-mail about a current article in Christianity Today on Karl Barth, one of the most influential theologians in the early part of the twentieth century who had an adulterous relationship for much of his married life. The article was revealing, penetrating, and distressing as it spoke of such terrible sin in the life of one of the most significant thinkers in the past one hundred years. My former student, now a man with thirty years ministry experience and a key theological thinker in one of the largest evangelical countries in the world, reminded me of a time when he came to…

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    When God Forgets You

    How do you respond when God forgets you? He forgets your cell phone number, your e-mail address, and your Face book page. He doesn’t recognize your picture or recall your address or even your long unused landline. How do you feel?   As far as you can tell God has forgotten He even created you let alone had a plan for your life. All of those identity defining expectations He once gave you are long gone and never thought of—at least by Him.   Perhaps you’re like Moses who defended one of God’s enslaved people only to have to flee for his life. Once he was a member of the…

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    When a Leader Stops Leading

      It was the spring of the year when leaders took their troops out to defend their territory and protect their country. But this spring David, Israel’s leader, did not take his troops into battle. He had spent seventeen years on the run for his life from King Saul when he lived in caves in the wilderness though he was no risk to Saul. He had opportunities to take Saul’s life, but he would not touch God’s leader.   Now he was king and established in Jerusalem with a new and beautiful house, a gift from a very dear friend, and seemed to have no desire to live the hard…

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    How do we speak from failure with integrity?

    We who follow Jesus have a high calling. And often a high privilege of telling others about him and his way of life, equipping or simply encouraging them on their journey. But we are all sinners, desperately in need of God’s saving grace. So when our lives haven’t aligned with the way of Jesus how do we decide if we still should speak (or write) about following Jesus in that way?   For example, How can we best honor Jesus and speak with integrity to our children about sexual purity if we were not sexually pure?   Or should we counsel and minister to other couples about how to have…

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    Live Out Your Purpose

    Do you want your life to make a difference? Look around you. How satisfied are you with your life? What about purpose? Do you seek to live out your purpose?   My drive to succeed as a college student was solely to find purpose in changing the world. I wanted to have an impact on others so badly that I worked really hard. Never mind my pursuit of excellence in my education, I served at church and I even adopted a child from Guatemala—okay not really, I just sponsored one. Even though I barely had enough money to eat in college, I still made sure Manuel had his monthly donation.…