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    Kids, Critical Thinking and Christianity

    My five-year-old rushed into my room after finishing up a bible study with my husband to proclaim, “Mommy… you are breaking the law of God!” My first inclination was, What in the world is my husband teaching the kids? My second gave away my pride. Who does this kid think he is? It would have been so easy to reprimand my son for calling into question my righteousness before the Lord. I could have sent him away and told him that he cannot disrespect mommy like that. Earlier that morning I disciplined him for making a wrong choice. In doing so, I hurt his feelings. My husband has been going…

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    Breathing Love’s Sting

    It takes conviction to step out into a bitterly cold morning. With that first deep inhalation, icy oxygen pierces your lungs. To breathe at all invites a stinging pain, yet breath must be taken if life will continue. So it is when stepping beyond the warmly regulated interiors of prominent western evangelicalism—beyond the recycled air of moralism which is held at a stagnant temperature of churchism so that everyone comfortably conducts their volunteerism. Admittedly, the space once provided basic protection as we began our relationship with the Lord. Gradually, though, as our intimacy with him grew, we noticed the interior’s walls closing in and limiting movement. The curtains were often…

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    What’s Your Plan for 2021?

    With our personal vacations postponed, schools turned virtual, conferences cancelled, and employers and employees settling into work from home routines, the yearly planner became almost farcical by the second quarter of 2020. I think most of us threw our 2020 Planning Calendars in the trash by mid-April. Perhaps your Bible reading plan also got discarded as well. Life was (and still is) chaotic.  But do you have a Bible reading plan for 2021? Have you already picked one and are cruising along? Or are you still looking for the right one? If the latter, here are some ideas to help you decide: Hard/Softcover Bible Reading Plans For those of us…

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    Training the next generation to seek Jesus; the call to intentional parenting

    I am an experienced camper.  Growing up, my family camped across the United States from the Mexican Border to New York City. We tent camped during tornadoes, temperatures above 100 degrees, and flooding rain. I remember hunkering down in a bathroom during a tornado warning only to share the bathroom with the biggest scorpion my little eyes had ever seen.  As a child, I couldn’t decide if I would rather suffer through the storm in the tent or cower in the corner with the scorpion. Included in my memories of these cherished family adventures were Sundays on vacation. My Dad always traveled with a suit. His mother was elderly, and…

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    What to do when you’re tired of online church

    It’s Sunday morning, I’m washing the dishes and my mind is racing. There are literally thousands of church services to stream. I can sample a sermon from here, and listen in on worship from there all at the touch of a button. I should be thriving in an atmosphere flushed with Biblical teaching but my experience has been quite the opposite. I know that life-changing content is out there but the problem is, I don’t really want to see any of it. In fact, I think I may burst if I have to look at another live stream or hold yet another prayer meeting over zoom. I am just over…

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    Instead of New Year’s Resolutions

    Fill in the blank: New Year’s __________. You probably either supplied “Eve” or “Resolutions,” right? Resolutions are intentions that may last days or weeks, but so often they peter out before we even get used to using the new year in our dates. May I suggest that instead of forming resolutions, we spend time asking some powerfully insightful questions that will help us evaluate ourselves truthfully and helpfully? Here are three questions that many community/accountability groups ask each other regularly (as in, weekly): What am I doing to feed myself (spiritually)? How am I spending time in God’s word and other sources of spiritual truth and wisdom such as books?…

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    Small Beginnings

    “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” ‭Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬   KIDOGO KIDOGO HUJAZA KIBABA. It’s an African proverb that a Kenyan friend recited to me often when I, as a newly arrived missionary, would become discouraged at my very slow pace in learning basic Kiswahili, or when I would get confused over the local currency or make embarrassing cross-cultural social blunders. He would say the proverb to remind me that great things start out small and mastery happens gradually over time.   KIDOGO KIDOGO HUJAZA KIBABA. Little by little fills the measure. I…

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    Praying for Heroes

      Everybody loves a hero. We watch the stories of public heroes unfold on the news and in docudramas and our hearts are moved so that we long to be one. But what of the unsung heroes of the heart? They seldom make headlines.  Even fewer of them become known to anyone other than their own family.  Heroes of the heart are the men and boys in our lives that live and work among us as dependable husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers. These heroes are our heroes because they belong to our hearts. Their selfless love has changed our worlds. True Heroes of the heart make a difference not just…

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    Christian Parenting Mistakes: #2 We Settle for Obedience

    As I began my adventure of parenting I thought that obedience was the goal. If they were in danger, obeying immediately could save their lives. Unlike animals that are trained to follow orders, people by God’s design were created to obey in the context of relationship. In the great commission, Jesus doesn’t just say, “go and teach them all that I have commanded you.” He tells us to go and make disciples. Then we are to baptize and teach them His commands. The word “make” means we will invest time and ourselves to build a relationship. Obedience is meant to come from a willing heart. Who better to disciple than…

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    Bloom in the Right Climate

    I grew up in Southeast Texas, where azaleas bloom in abundance. My husband has enjoyed only limited success with them here in North Texas because of harsher winters. The record snow and ice and consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures in 2011 resulted in near death to those in our yard. With sadness we replaced them with other plants that thrive here. If you find yourself struggling as a believer, consider whether you are in the right climate to bloom. Look at these factors for your present community (not just your church but your go-to friends): Do you feel free to share your sins and failures because you are given grace?…