Spiritual Formation
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Open Your Hand
Learn to let go of grudges.
Open Your Hand

I watched as Jude and Charlie got released from "time out."

"What do you have to say to each other?" Heather asked.

"I'm sorry I hit you," Jude said.

"I forgive you," Charlie responded.

"I'm ...

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Forming an Inclusive Community
God opens his arms wide and so should we.
Forming an Inclusive Community

We experience community when we are with others who think like us, believe what we believe, and maybe even like what we like. Community is good, right? We form groups without being aware of it. Mention a sports team and in seconds you will know who ...

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Learn to Listen
Listening is an important gift we can give others.
Learn to Listen

Have you ever been in a conversation with others and realized you had checked out? You see their mouths moving, but aren't engaged? Situations like this make me ask:

  • Why is it so difficult to stay in the present?
  • How can we remain engaged when we are in conversation?
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The "Zero Point"
Only when we get to the end of our selves do we find the beginning.
The "Zero Point"

"I'm at the end of my rope!" Have you ever felt like this? Maybe you've experienced what David was feeling when he wrote, "I am poured out like water … my heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me" (Ps. 22:14). Being at the end, at the ...

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Following Christ with Our Actions
Authentic disciples vote with their feet and not mere words.
Following Christ with Our Actions

Josh, Brian, and I had agreed to meet in a local coffee shop around 10 a.m. Brian and I chatted as we waited for Josh.

"Being a missionary in Alaska was both challenging and rewarding," Brian said as he summed up his three years among the Athabascan Indians. ...

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Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine
Max Lucado explains why we must embrace the whole truth about grace.
Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine

Q: What better way to start than with your definition of grace?

A: To put it very simply, grace is God's best idea—it's his decision to ravage a people by love, to rescue passionately, and to restore justly.

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Saving the Planet Is Part of Our Calling
We gave up the American dream for a world of happiness.
Saving the Planet Is Part of Our Calling

It all began with two simple questions.

A few years back, my husband was a well-respected physician at the top of his career—director of emergency services and chief of medical staff. He loved taking care of patients, and I loved caring for our ...

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The Economy of the Kingdom
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:33).
The Economy of the Kingdom

I was riding in a car with Dallas Willard somewhere between Colorado Springs and Denver. I asked, "Hey, could I get your advice on something?"

I told him the following story: "Three years ago, I invited a young man to speak at our chapel service. About ...

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Sanctuary of the Soul
Developing a "familiar friendship with Jesus"
Sanctuary of the Soul

In meditative prayer we are growing into what Thomas à Kempis called "a familiar friendship with Jesus." We are learning to sink down into the light and life of Christ and becoming comfortable in this posture. We experience the perpetual presence ...

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When God Fights Your Battles . . .
The good news is that you win.
When God Fights Your Battles . . .

Satan is good at being bad. Knowing our weaknesses, he camps out with bated breath just waiting for his chance to launch his missiles. And he does it with extreme accuracy. The good news is we can begin to recognize his tactics and watch his attempts ...

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An Extravagant Gratitude
Learn to give thanks in all circumstances.
An Extravagant Gratitude

Like many American kids, I loved Thanksgiving. But, like most of my peers, there was one thing I dreaded each year: The "everyone go around the table and say one thing they're thankful for" part before dinner.

On the one hand, my dread was sheerly utilitarian—there ...

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Busyness Is Not a Spiritual Gift
'Wait' is a tough word to deal with in today's busy world.
Busyness Is Not a Spiritual Gift

I easily become overloaded, overburdened, and go overboard with busyness. I've often thought to myself that life would be perfect if bad times had fast forward buttons and good times had pause buttons. I'd also like to clone myself to get more done and ...

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Grumble Halleluiah
Surprisingly, God welcomed my resigned, crabby, sigh-filled, grumbly praises.
Grumble Halleluiah

Confession: If you'd have told me a few years back, as I lay on the kitchen floor, a sobbing, weepy mess, that I'd be peddling advice on how to love the life you're living, I'd have laughed in your face. Or, to be more honest, I'd have thrown a shoe ...

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Fighting Sin
It's not time to rest yet.
Fighting Sin

Most of us know the feeling of being all tied up inside. We get stuck in sin or just stuck in turmoil. And when we've tried to conquer something for a long time, it feels impossible to conquer it by ourselves.

God grants us moments when we get to taste ...

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Is the Bible, or Your Perception of the Bible, Shaping You?
We have to guard against being bent by cultural winds.
Is the Bible, or Your Perception of the Bible, Shaping You?

If someone asked what you were doing as you surfed the web, you probably wouldn't say, "Oh, I'm being discipled." You probably wouldn't say you were "receiving moral instruction" while you watched last week's primetime ...

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Understanding Lust
There is a fundamental problem with using the term "desire" or "sexual desire" as the starting point when developing a suitable, practical definition of lust.
Understanding Lust

Use of pornography and other sexual sins are rampant in our culture and in the church. Many have concluded that such behavior or at least the lust—evil desires—that drives them is fundamentally an unsolvable problem, a sin that will not ...

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Creating Space for God
Where, when, and how has God tapped you on the shoulder but you missed it because you were too busy or distracted to listen?

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:6 NIV).

From the earliest days of Christian history, believers have developed ways of ...

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Willing to Be Weak
I always wanted to be the strong one …
Willing to Be Weak

Perhaps it's because I'm the youngest of five. Or maybe it's because I'm short and always looked young for my age when I was a teenager and in my 20s (although nobody says that anymore!). It could be because my mother really valued strong women. Or possibly ...

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Prepare for a Shock
The Resurrection is cause for celebration, but it should always shake us up a little too.
Prepare for a Shock

When I was 14, my church did something unusual for Easter Sunday. Instead of meeting in our building, we chose to hold our service on a hill overlooking the city. We wanted to watch the sunrise as we pondered the Resurrection.

Yet when we arrived, we ...

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I Gave Up Worry for Lent
Consider taking 40 days to give up a deep-seated sin.
I Gave Up Worry for Lent

I am not part of a church that regularly practices Lent, but the last few years I thought it would be good for me to give up something for 40 days, helping me to see my addictions and dependencies. In our indulgent, instant-gratification society, I saw ...

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