January 2007

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The 'Sin' of Humility

Theologians tell us that the quintessential sin is rebellion against God - or pride. The 16th century reformer Martin Luther described pride as "man bent in upon himself." Not unlike the little child who prayed: "Dear God: My dad thinks he's you. Please straighten him out." The sin of pride is thinking too much of ourselves, of thinking we're ...

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God’s Gift of Rest

When I first started observing the Sabbath 25 years ago, it wasn't by choice. My husband and I lived in Tel Aviv, Israel, at the time, and everything in our neighborhood - stores, movie theaters, and restaurants - closed from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. At first we struggled to find activities for Friday evenings and Saturdays. But after a few months, we ...

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Designed for Diversity

"I thought planning women's programs would be easier," sighs the leader of women's ministries as she sits down in the pastor's office.

"What seems to be the problem?" he asks.

"Well, the women in our church are so different. There's Barb, who runs her own company. We designed an evening Bible study for her and some others, but ...

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Do We Need a Space to Serve?

This week, I spoke to a woman who has been given a large degree of influence in an evangelical megachurch. Lately, this influence is increasing. Terry spends most of her time in hands-on direction of eight of the most visible, crucial ministry teams in the congregation. And you guessed it. She's so good at what she does, her "superiors" can give her the toughest ...

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Gifts, not Guilt

Having spent the majority of my working life in professional ministry, I can testify heartily to its rewards. Of course, the benefits of working in ministry don't come in the form of the hefty pay packages my friends in the "secular" world enjoy. The true payoff - at least for me - in ministry work has been the opportunity to use and sharpen my God-given passions, ...

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What Are You Waiting For?

Humans have found their vocal chords. Long silenced by the engineered anonymity of the Industrial Age, homo sapiens are now talking to each other at unprecedented levels. When we can connect globally by phone at the push of a button, when our e-mails can cross continents and language barriers in nano-seconds, when we can blog or pod-cast our most mundane thoughts to the ...

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Spirituality vs. Jesus

I don't like the word spirituality. It sounds so external, so optional. It isn't a concept I find in the first millennium, or anywhere in Eastern Christianity. As far as I can tell, what Christians today mean by "spirituality" is what St. Paul meant by "life in Christ."

This is a transformation that every Christian is supposed to be experiencing, ...

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Redefining Singles Ministry

When I moved to New York, I visited churches for a year. One of the reasons I settled at the church I joined is that it doesn't have a singles ministry. No one asked me to serve on the worship team of the singles service or teach in the singles Sunday-school class; my pastor instead asked me to serve on the education committee. And no one invited me to a singles mixer; ...

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Balance or Bust?

During a Mavericks game half-time show last season, I sat staring with my mouth wide open. With the rest of the breathless fans, I gawked at a tiny woman on an outrageously tall unicycle as she balanced a growing stack of bowls. She continued to toss them up, one by one, with her free foot (the other was pedalling, of course). I broke into a sweat because I was so nervous ...

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Too Busy Serving?

It was interesting to me that in the passage about the feeding of the five thousand, we have absolutely no record of the disciples eating. All it tells us is that they picked up the leftovers. The disciples were doing good thing by serving, but they were so busy picking up the leftovers of everybody else's blessing that they missed on being filled.

Now I don't ...

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