October 2014

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The Sacred Gift of Listening

Are you missing opportunities to love?
The Sacred Gift of Listening
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“It might be cancer.” When those words were spoken, it wasn’t clear who was more stunned—Michael or me. He was our beloved small group pastor. A true people person, Michael was the lubricant which kept staff friction to a minimum. Quick to laugh, he loved good steak, good wine, and good conversation.

We sat less than a foot apart in the small dining ...

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3 Questions to Ask Yourself before Letting Go

What keeps you hanging on?
3 Questions to Ask Yourself before Letting Go
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“The sheer volume embarrasses me,” I admit to my husband while standing over piles of clothes on my bedroom floor. Coats, shoes, shirts, and pants pulled from my closet on a Saturday like leaves letting go of sturdy branches and falling in a heap. Outside, sun slants through a canopy of changing colors with invitation, but I’m choosing a shift in perspective ...

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Faithful through the Ages

A case for intergenerational communities
Faithful through the Ages
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Several years ago, we were invited to join a small group which met weekly on Friday nights. We arrived the first night with our young kids in tow, eager to connect with other couples in a similar age and stage. What we found was a much more blended group of couples, ranging in age from their thirties to their seventies. My first thought? Awkward! This is not what I expected. ...

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Can I Follow You As I Follow Christ?

People don’t want to hear your words; they want to see your actions
Can I Follow You As I Follow Christ?
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It is a privilege to serve as a leader in the kingdom of God. It is an honor to be entrusted with the gift to teach and disciple the people of God. Yet with this gift, leaders are held to a higher standard. James 3:1 warns us, “Not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

It is important that we teach ...

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Lead Me On: Brave & Bawling

What happens when we give God a chance to use our relationships to change us?
Lead Me On: Brave & Bawling
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A few years ago, Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler delivered Harvard University’s Class Day speech. In a fake Bostonian dialect, she joked, “Just because yah wicked smaht doesn’t mean yah beddah than me.”

Then she got serious.

“All I can tell you today is what I’ve learned, what I have discovered as a person in this world, and ...

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Build True Community through Service

Let’s live as if we belong to each other
Build True Community through Service
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What would it look like to build community with servanthood as the foundation, to shift from an independent mindset to interdependence?

Our culture values community with words, but individualism with actions. When the rubber hits the road, it’s often not about “we”; it’s about “me first.” If “we” becomes the end result it’s ...

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How to Really Serve a Community

It begins with listening
How to Really Serve a Community

Have you ever experienced someone trying to help you in a way that wasn’t all that helpful? As a new mom, this is something I experience often. Someone gives advice that’s more discouraging than helpful. Another person offers to pick me up for lunch—not realizing that having to transfer all the baby gear to her car really is more work than help. I know that ...

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Leading to the Ends of the Earth

How to reach beyond your church by investing within your church
Leading to the Ends of the Earth
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According to Acts 1:8, the last promise Jesus gave his disciples was that “when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

That promise was meant to comfort, but it can also be overwhelming at first glance. I recently heard ...

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Finding Communal Joy in Lament

Let’s sing the Lord’s song in a strange and troubled land
Finding Communal Joy in Lament
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ISIS. Ebola in West Africa. Syria. The recent Middle East conflagration. Flight MH17. I stand in front of the congregation. How does my denomination’s expression of Christian worship and life together, teased out over 90 minutes every Sunday morning, mean anything really, in the face of these problems that seem epic? Avoidance isn’t the answer. I wonder how ...

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