2012

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How a Calling Should Change Our Lives

I’m consumed with what it means to be called

As a preacher's kid, my youth was all about church. We discussed ministry the way some families discuss sports. When a new pastor or leader gave his first sermon, we hoped it would include an exciting story of his "calling." In fact, we were never as concerned about his resume as we were about his calling. We didn't want a businessman. We wanted "God's man." We were confident ...

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Chasing God

I want to live the way David did, pursuing God’s heart

When I was 18 years old, I felt paralyzed in my relationship with God. I knew God was real, but my fancy prayers and daily devotionals were not cutting it. I was doing everything right, but it felt all wrong. Yet I still thought I was giving God what he wanted.

I began to question it all—and this good little Bible-belt girl somehow missed the rules for wrestling with God. ...

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Undaunted

I learned that God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called

The Greece I found that Wednesday afternoon in March 2010 was not the one I remembered from my honeymoon fourteen years earlier. There were no stunning, whitewashed buildings. No lapis-blue tile rooftops. No festive music. No outdoor market with vendors selling freshly pressed olive oil, mouth-watering feta cheese, fresh cantaloupe.

This afternoon, the streets were empty, black, ...

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The Sacrament of Evangelism

A book review

I have read a lot of books over the years, many of them on spiritual topics. I read books on Bible study methods, prayer, small-group leadership, and sharing your faith. I thought they would help me build skills that, as a nerd and introvert, don't come naturally. Most of them had steps to follow, goals to set, and acronyms to remember. Those are great tools. They give me ...

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Confessions of an Adrenalin Addict

What I learned in weaning from the rush

Yes!" I pounded the wooden desktop as I rushed from my office into my boss'. "Lynn, I got it all: bonus spots, the discount we talked about, four extra weeks, guaranteed no charge. That's at least $50,000 right there!"

Lynn glanced up. "Great!" She continued typing.

Adrenalin Junkie

I'd grown accustomed to Lynn's "Of course. That's what we pay account directors like you to ...

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Private World, Public World

In an age of social media, perhaps more than ever, what is whispered in the dark will be brought into the light

"Imagine if every thought that ever passed through your mind were projected up on a movie screen for all to see." Ever hear a pastor bring up that idea in a discussion of sin? Me too—more than once.

A couple of months ago, that image came to mind when word broke that Facebook had accidentally posted old private messages on users' public walls for all to see—amid widespread ...

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A Counterculture for the Common Good

How the “next Christians” offer light to the world

In contrast to countercultures that separate, antagonize, or copy culture, the next Christians are a counterculture for the common good that is centered and immoveable. They don't concern themselves with popularity, what they can achieve for themselves, or whether the masses are following. Instead, they boldly lead.

Preserving Agents in a Decaying World

Christ said, "You are ...

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Changing to Love Our Neighbors

How one church reshaped a program to serve its community

We were a pastoral-size church (150 or less in attendance on Sundays) seeking to grow and trying a programmatic model to do so. We felt pretty good about our "if we provide it, folks will come" method. Who wouldn't want to come and check out (and hopefully join) a loving and unassuming group of Christians like us?

Except the programs didn't do what we hoped they would.

We hired ...

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We Can’t All Be Beth

I’m called to oversee the corner of influence God has given me

Nearly 10 years ago I sat in an Atlanta, Georgia, arena packed to the brim with college students. I was attending an annual conference hosted by Passion, and Beth Moore was about to take the stage.

In case you have never experienced Beth Moore's teaching outside the realm of women's events and teaching videos, it is an awesome thing to behold. I don't know if the co-ed environment ...

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Five People Who Need Your Prayer

A challenge to partner with God’s power

"My daughter's in a rough place; can you pray for her?" says one Facebook message this week.

The man with sad eyes at church stops me Sunday with a hand on my elbow. "Our marriage is in trouble. Will you pray for me?"

The requests come in person, in email, on the phone. As leaders, the needs around us can be overwhelming. But there are five people in your life—who probably ...

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