Theology
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Building a Balanced Christian Education Program
Five measurements of spiritual growth.

I believe there are five measurements of spiritual growth: knowledge, perspective, conviction, skills, and character.

These five levels of learning are the building blocks of spiritual maturity. Any strategy designed to help people reach spiritual maturity ...

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Three Questions to Determine, "Is This True?"
Three Questions to Determine, "Is This True?"
Guidance for Christian discernment.

While taking the message of Jesus to the towns of his world, Paul came to Berea, and went to the synagogue there. The people's dual response is perfect: " … they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every ...

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Cultivate a Secret Life with God
It has to do with standing still.

One of the best kept secrets of our faith is the blessedness and joy of cultivating a secret life with God. Imagine the sheer delight of it even now. You're tucked away in a quiet nook; the door is shut; you're curled up in a comfortable position; ...

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Spiritual Health Made Visible
The theological underpinnings of joy.

Winston Churchill was not only an inspirational leader against the terror of Nazi Germany, but he was also a humorist.

Adolf Hitler had announced at a Nazi rally during the Battle of Britain that Germany would wring England's neck like a helpless chicken. ...

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Deep Down from Heaven
Deep Down from Heaven
Why we'll never get to the bottom of God's love.

Several hundred feet beneath my chair is a lake, an underground cavern of crystalline water known as the Edwards Aquifer. We South Texans know much about this aquifer. We know its length (175 miles). We know its layout (west to east, except under San ...

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Faking Church
Do we really want to serve God—or is it more rewarding to just look the part?

Ned sits down next to his wife, Tanya, in the church his family has called home for many years. He smiles, waves, jokes, and engages in friendly banter with everyone around him. He is a fixture in the church, having been involved in leadership for many ...

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The Secret of Radical Obedience
Radical obedience does not seek to comply to the minimal standards.

Hearing God in the secret place is one of the greatest keys to living the Christian life. However, it must be linked with its corollary: radical obedience. We hear, and then we do. "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" ...

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Passion Lives Here
What we can learn from the Olympics.

The 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy features the phrase "Passion lives here" on walls throughout the Olympic complex. As you watch skiers, skaters, and curlers, this phrase permeates their competitive arenas.

There is no doubt as you watch ...

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"Why, God, Why?"
"Why, God, Why?"
Facing the painful questions that life keeps asking.

My mother's pale, gaunt face was transformed into wreathes of joy when I walked through the door of her hospital room. Although her eyes seemed sunken, they sparkled with the zest for life that is her own special trademark. With IVs dangling from ...

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Cultivating the Soul
Spiritual formation can happen without saying a word.

Thirty years ago, when real estate in this part of New Hampshire was cheap, my wife, Gail, and I purchased an old farm and called it Peace Ledge. During the 1800s the land's valuable timber had been clear-cut and transformed into pasture where enormous ...

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Draw Near to God
Hungering for God's presence in worship.

In order to know God, you will need to put forth some effort. But if you love Him, it won't seem like any effort at all. When you met your spouse, did it seem like effort to get to know him or her? When you became friends with someone you really ...

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Meet the Holy One
Take time to settle your mind as you pray.

As a child I had the privilege of spending a month on the farm with my grandparents each summer. I learned to drive a tractor, feed chickens, and herd cattle, but the most important lesson I learned came before dinner each evening. As we assembled around ...

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Be Considerate
Be Considerate
The virtue of kindness.

Mark Twain reportedly said, "Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read." His remark is a testament to the power of kindness which we all admire in people and would like to practice more consistently. But as universally ...

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Prayer Scandals
Prayer is an encounter with the living God.

Mark reminds us in his first chapter that Jesus was a man of prayer: "In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed" (Mark 1:35). This characteristic of our Lord is noted in all the Gospels, ...

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What's Happened to Me?
Exploring what it means to be part of God's kingdom.

You may have gone forward at a Billy Graham rally and accepted Christ. You may have responded to an invitation at the end of a morning service. You may have prayed with a Sunday school teacher or parent years ago. You may have listened to a TV evangelist's ...

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Hope for the Christian
Hope for the Christian
How to build a life of hope.

It is a wonderful thing to be a child of God, a Christian. You have made your apology to God, believed on the truth of the resurrection of Christ, and by faith he has saved you. Somehow, however, the joy of the Lord has not become your strength. You ...

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The True, the Good, and the Beautiful Christian
Beauty is making a comeback in science and theology. Will it find its place in the lives of believers?

The very idea of beauty makes many sophisticates cringe nowadays. It seems utterly out of touch with postmodern ambiguity, since the notion of beauty implies absolute standards widely agreed upon that address an objective reality: "That is beautiful." ...

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Too Much Stuff
Too Much Stuff
If clutter's got you down, try these secrets to simplifying.

Several years ago while on vacation, our family ate at a restaurant that claimed to have the largest buffet in the United States. We swarmed the mind-boggling array of culinary delights as though we'd never seen food before. By the time we finished ...

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Guilt Good and Bad
Guilt Good and Bad
The early warning signs.

Love means never having to say you're sorry," proclaimed a sappy romance novel from the 1970s. I have come to believe the opposite, that love means precisely having to say you're sorry. A sense of guilt, vastly underappreciated, deserves ...

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The God Who Can't Be Tamed
Could we be losing more than the land when we destroy it?

In what she later called "the most transporting pleasure of my life on the farm," Isak Dinesen went flying across the unspoiled plains of Africa with her friend Denys Finch-Hatton. In the film version of Out of Africa, the character playing Denys first ...

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