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    For My Name’s Sake

    I will never forget the day I met the persecuted church face-to-face. Eight pastors entered the humble living room, relief written on their faces. Their forty-eight hour train ride from the heart of Orissa, India had brought them to a place of safety. In 2008, mass killings and church burnings plagued Orissa. These eight pastors survived, but not all in their congregations had. I stood quietly in the doorway and listened as they recounted the horror. Their story began the previous Sunday as Pastor Noah surveyed his ransacked and smoldering church. The cross that once hung at the front of the church lay amid the ashes, now nothing more than…

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    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…

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    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…

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    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…

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    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…

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    Garissa

    5:00 AM, April 2, 2015, Garissa University College, Garissa, Kenya. For sleepy heads it’s time to roll over and get a few more hours of sleep. For all nighters it’s time to grab another cup of coffee and push a little harder. For serious students it’s time to get up and review for today’s exam. For party types it’s time to find a bed somewhere and sleep it off once again. For committed Christians it’s time to gather for prayer. For al-Shabaab it’s time to kill. For Josephine, student leader of the Cru movement on campus, it’s time to die… The Christians gathered at the appointed time, 5:00 AM, under…

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    Chores, Lent, and Discipline

    My mother used to say she had a hard time disciplining me. "Send you to your room? You would be thrilled to have an excuse to read books uninterrupted. And it seems somehow wrong to take away books from a kid…" I’ve always understood discipline in two basic lights, one negative and one positive. You either get disciplined, or you are disciplined. Both can result in positive change, but one is somewhat less painful than the other. Getting Disciplined Like my mother years ago, my husband and I now wrestle with creative and effective ways to discipline our four children. Timeouts, spankings, grounding, withholding electronics or books (yes, I went…