• Impact

    Mary, the birth mother of Jesus

    Luke 1:46–55 forms part of the optional lectionary readings for the third Sunday of Advent, which is December 13th. The focus is on Mary, the mother of Jesus. A short time after Gabriel departed, Mary made preparations and quickly traveled from Nazareth to an unnamed town in the hill country of Judea. This is where Elizabeth and Zechariah lived (Luke 1:39). Mary possibly journeyed 50 to 70 miles by herself, which would have been a considerable distance for a single, pregnant teenager in her day. Perhaps Mary went to stay with Elizabeth to be secluded from inquisitive friends and neighbors. The privacy would give Mary an opportunity to reflect on…

  • Sad girl
    Engage

    The Game You Will Never Win

        Why do we torment ourselves by playing The Comparison Game?      It’s part of human nature – evaluating the looks or accomplishments of others and comparing them with our own. We may not even realize we are doing this, until the dark emotions of discouragement and discontentment begin to churn within us.  As someone once said, “To compare is to despair.” We can quickly determine how we measure up with another in importance, our giftings, accomplishments or the Cute Outfit Quotient. It’s been called the “sidelong glance” – instantly sizing up someone out of the corner of our eye, or being sized up ourselves. Social media doesn’t help us…

  • 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…

  • Impact

    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…

  • 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…

  • Impact

    The Lucky Wilderness

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Wilderness Wanderings Series: Learning to Live the Zigzag Life John Paine calls himself “the luckiest man in the world,” and most agreed with him some years ago.   When John was in the seventh grade he decided he would be physically strong, and he worked until he became a superior athlete who played for college football. Then he decided to transfer to a top ten engineering school and strive to become intellectually strong, and he succeeded by graduating Summa Cum Laude. Upon graduation, John married his high school sweetheart and started his family.   At the same time he decided he would…