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    May I Take Up Your Trash?

    During a recent training event, I sat with fellow leaders chatting over lunch. Our meal filled us with necessary sustenance, but what now remained on our plates was unconsumable, gross substance. As lunch came to an end, Douglass, one of the leaders, stood up, glanced around the table, extended his hand, and asked, “may I take up your trash?”

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    Fresh Perspectives on Women in the Bible–Phoebe by Lindsay Ann Nickens

    Augustine of Hippo. Martin Luther. Billy Graham. Three giants of the Christian faith, and they each have this in common: God chose to hinge their salvation experiences upon the courage of a woman named Phoebe. This is because each of these men had salvation experiences through reading or hearing the book of Romans, which Phoebe faithfully and courageously delivered from Paul to Rome in the first century AD.         “And though she be but little, she is fierce.”    Phoebe is mentioned in only two verses, Romans 16:1-2, out of the 7,957 verses in the New Testament. However, these two little verses pack a big punch, revealing the…

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    Living in Obscurity: Am I Missing God’s Plan for Me?

    Today I'm grateful to have guest blogger Seana Scott here to share her heart with you:  Friends from college are abolishing slavery. Neighbors are fostering to adopt. A family’s church planting in Poland, and the mom with a van full of kids is launching a book. Meanwhile, am I missing God’s plan for me? Because I shuffle through my ordinary day—a grocery run, teaching my toddler shapes with a Melissa and Doug puzzle, ready-to-cook stir fry tossed in a pan, bedtime reading of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  And I try to push aside the feeling of missing out on “bigger” things for Jesus.  The kids now lie asleep, and I settle…

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    Never Underestimate the Price and Prize of Peace and Quiet

         Guest blog by my stellar student Lisa White In childhood we constantly hear, “What do you want to be when you grow up.” At 52, I still ask myself that question. Today, we live under the impression and pressure that the sky’s the limit. We create great expectations for ourselves and for others. Fears of not measuring up or of missing out on the prize often inflate our answers and our egos. One of my favorite novels, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations tells how bigger-than-life ambitions have the power to crush joy. Dickens’ title references a poem by Philip Sidney who nicknames our great expectations “friendly foe.” These expectations…

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    Women, Submission, and Work

    Recently I heard someone speak about how a woman is to interact with males in a vocational context, and the word “submission” kept coming up. Now, that would have been fine if this speaker had meant an Ephesians 5:21 kind of submission—in which everyone serves everyone else mutually and reciprocally. But the submission she described was a one-way kind of service that applied only to the women serving the men in the office. And that is wrong. Some say women are made for submission and men are not. But every one of us is called to live in submission to our Creator (James 4:7). And we are all also called…

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    What’s Your Superpower?

    If you could choose a superpower, which one would it be? When asked this question as an icebreaker, I’ve heard some people say they’d love to fly; others say they would choose mindreading. Some would love to be invisible. But for the believer in Jesus, the idea of having superpowers isn’t a fantasy. It is the reality of being indwelled by God Himself, the source of actual and real supernatural power. And He gives gifts, spiritual gifts, that consist of supernatural enabling. We find the spiritual gifts in four places in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4. Consider these spiritual gifts—superpowers,…

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    Around the Table: Why Gathering Matters

      Gathering is nothing new. All throughout sacred history, women and men have been gathering around tables to celebrate, reflect, feast, and remember. From Israel’s inception the sacrificial system ushered people into God’s presence and then around a table as they often enjoyed a meal as part of their offerings and festivals. In the book of Ruth, Boaz sat around the table with his workers, inviting an unknown Moabite woman to eat of his bread. In Psalms David celebrated God’s banquet table. And in the New Testament, Jesus gathered around tables with friends and sinners, and then he instituted his memorial supper around over the Passover meal as he and…

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    Memories, A Legacy or Lifeline?

    A popular storyline recurring regularly recounts the tragedy of a person who loses their memory due to some tragic event. Then, beset with amnesia, the hero searches for what has been lost and the story unfolds.  Remembering and recovering becomes a victory.  In a similar way, the devastating illness of Alzheimer’s robs a person of their memories and devastates those who love them. Losing the lifeline of memories becomes a living heartbreak. Memories represent the legacy of a life and become a lifeline .  Yet as I was reminded by a young pastor some years ago Jesus knows we are a forgetful people.  He instituted a special meal to jog…

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    They don’t call it work for nothing!

    War and turmoil, conflict, anger and moral decay confront us on every side.  The words of Francis Shaffer echo in my heart, “How then shall we live?” As we groan at the darkness, how can we make a difference for eternity? Where shall we turn today? What "works?" It helps me to recall that Jesus walked our planet in the flesh at the height of Roman rule. The Greco-Roman world was rife with idolatry, immorality, and all manner of depravity.  His own people, Israel, were hard-hearted and resistant to His message. How then did He live and how did He instruct His followers to “make a difference?” My mind returns…

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    Lead by Loving

    If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any one of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. . . A negative term has been substituted from a positive . . . The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point.  —  C.S. Lewis The poignant words struck my soul. What if we lived and led by Lewis’ observation? What if…