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    New Year’s Resolutions and The Slow Process of Change

    I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. On the one hand, I’m enamored by the idea of a fresh start and a clean slate every time that big, jeweled ball drops in Times Square. Reflecting on the past and looking to the future with anticipation and hope – who wouldn’t enjoy that euphoric sense of optimism?  And yet – I’ve been around the block for enough countdowns to know that, though I may have my sights set on a handful of goals in the new year, life has a tendency to distract me from those ideals, often before Ryan Seacrest wishes us all goodnight.  Apparently I’m not alone.…

  • Heartprints

    NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS FOR TEACHERS

    Many people make New Year resolutions. Some are personal goals but others focus on work and ministry. I would like to challenge us, as teachers, to make one New Year resolution that will empower our teaching. This new method will not only change the lives of our children but is guaranteed to change our lives too, as we hear, believe and live out the truth of our position in Christ. When I was being trained by Child Evangelism Fellowship, I was taught that every lesson should contain a PAS (personal application the saved) and a PAU (personal application to the unsaved). These thoughts are just one sentence of truth drawn…

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    Embracing Mystery

      I once found it everywhere— the tufts of a dandelion, that belt of Orion, eerie shadows and earthy mole holes. I found it without even tryin'.   Then, when exploration I’d outgrown, explanation I honed. Mystery was judged, feared, despised. Certainty was justified, loved, adored. Everything categorized and defined in the modern mind. Think on this: human reason resists the detached, distant feel that mystery conveys. But is mystery far away, per se? The shingles of a snowflake falling here on my chin puzzle me more than the staging of Stonehenge in south England. The intimate stillness at the Lord’s Table confounds me more than the tower of Babel.…

  • Impact

    A New Year’s Benediction

    The book of Numbers reports the account of the Israelites’ breaking camp at the foot of Mount Sinai and renewing their wandering in the wilderness. The opening chapters tell about the priests who served at the tabernacle and about the regulations the priests and people were to follow.   Number 6:24–26 records a priestly blessing directed toward the Israelites. As God’s spokesperson, the Aaronic priest first made atonement for the covenant community in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle. Then, the priest offered the benediction on behalf of God’s people.   This blessing is also an appropriate New Year’s benediction for contemporary believers, especially as they navigate the uncharted…

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    What’s Next?

    It’s quiet here. Maybe it is where you are too. The Christmas tree stills stands in the corner, but no one rushes to turn on the twinkling white lights anymore. Its trunk, once adorned with gifts, is bare. With the hustle of Christmas coming to a close, our homes grow still. Often our souls do too as if to take a deep breath. And in the silence, we ask questions. What’s next? It’s a question I’ve asked a hundred times this year and one that I’ll ask each day leading up to New Year’s. Perhaps you’re asking questions of your own. Maybe it’s been a year filled with joyful surprises.…

  • Impact

    From The Hardest Year To The New Year

        . . . fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand. –Isaiah 41:10   At the beginning of 2017 I faced the hardest year of my life after a fall and severe brain injury that required 80 days of hospitalization and several months of rehabilitation. I am now recovered and entering one of the most challenging years of my life. I have gone from near death to greater life than ever.   God is proving himself to be my strength, my help, my support as…

  • Heartprints

    Why the Gospel Matters in 2017

    As 2016 came to an end, several of us found ourselves grieving over the harsh realities of our fallen world — mass shootings, Zika, civil unrest, terror attacks, Aleppo, corruption in politics, the refugee crisis in Europe, and lives over far too quickly. To sum it all up one woman made a “dumpster fire ornament” and tweeted “Dear 2016: I made you this ornament. It’s a dumpster fire.” People identified with her sentiments, and it went viral. Many of us are relieved 2016 is over. Some of us are fearful over what 2017 may hold. As believers, we weep with the world as it groans under the tyranny of sin,…

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    Can you spare 15 minutes?

    Do you read the newspaper for at least 15 minutes a day? Do you watch at least 15 minutes of television daily? Do you spend at least 15 minutes a day on Facebook? Do you surf the internet for at least 15 minutes a day? Do you check your email for at least 15 minutes a day? If you answered “yes” to any one or more of those questions, let me tell you a story and offer you a challenge? A friend of mine recently diagnosed with serious cancer is fighting for his life.  For the past several years he chose to read the bible through each year.  In addition,…

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    Making New Year’s Resolutions as a Family

    January has long been heralded as a month of renewal and a time to set goals for the coming year. We make resolutions concerning all kinds of things. Maybe you want to get a better grasp on your finances or pay off the loan on a car. Or perhaps it’s more spiritual sounding like developing a deeper prayer life.    Regardless of the goal, don’t make your resolutions a solitary event. Take some time this month (if you haven’t already) and sit down with your family to discuss goals for the coming year and the motivation behind the goals.   As Christians, all goals should ultimatly honor God and draw…

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    Wilderness Wanderings 2016

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Wilderness Wanderings 2016: Learning to Live the Zigzag Life Happy New Year and welcome to Broken Leadership, the blog of Leader Formation International (LFI).  My name is Bill Lawrence, founder and president of LFI, and I want to take a moment to greet you and inform you concerning our early 2016 blog plans. I want to write a series of blogs on the subject Wilderness Wanderings: when a zigzag line is the shortest distance between futility and fruition. If you’re in any kind of leadership position, whether business or professional, educational or governmental, or—the most important—parental, you surely have wondered at times…