• New Year's Resolutions
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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?…

  • measuring cup
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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…

  • Heartprints

    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…

  • Heartprints

    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?…

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    Warm and Fuzzy Feelings do not Equal Faith

    There I was walking that long path to the university yet again. I knew every crack in the side walk. I knew where the weeds had finally broken free and where the deep puddles would collect after a hard rain. I could gauge how late I was to class based on the faces I met scrambling along the way. Guys and gals who drank way too much the night before drug their inanimate bodies to their 7:45 classes. The skaters, which was still a thing then, weaved in and out of the crowd, I had to fake left and fake right to escape them. Every day I would walk that…

  • 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…

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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…