Theology
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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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"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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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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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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Weathering the Storms
The Virtue of Perseverance

William Faulkner wrote, "a man is the sum of his misfortunes."1

Faulkner's observation states a profound truth. We are the product of our sufferings. Our pains forge our souls. The grief we've borne drapes our mental landscapes, and ...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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7 Priorities that Guided Jesus' Decisions
They can help us in our daily choices.

I wear a bracelet on my wrist with four letters: WWJD—What Would Jesus Do? This saying has become a guiding principle for many Christians. For me it serves as a moral compass, helping me apply abstract elements of my Christian faith to the practical ...

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"Great to Good" Churches
For those who find trying to be great isn't good enough.

Jim Collins's recent book Good to Great has inspired both business and church leaders. It is a study of 28 good companies that became great as measured by their outperforming the stock market by at least seven times over a 15-year period. Countless companies ...

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Lean On Me

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)

In my public school class of first graders, some of the students were experiencing behavior problems. The other teacher and I were at our ...

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Teaching a Church to Pray
Steps to vital, life-giving times of group prayer.

The pastor who preceded me at Arcade served the church 40 years. Bringing change to this congregation would be either a supernatural work of God or professional suicide.

My first sermon at Arcade stressed the importance of learning to pray in community. ...

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