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I’m a little paranoid when I’m on the road and have an early business meeting. If I forget to bring my personal alarm clock, I will try to set the alarm on the contraption next to the bed, but to be safe I will have the front desk give me a wake-up call as well. I don’t want to miss the meeting. Jesus will return to earth without warning. Of all the metaphors that he might have chosen, are you... Read More
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In the circles in which I move, nobody much envies dead people. “Poor Benny,” they say. “He was sick for so long.” “Poor Louise. She had a hard life. Actually you would do well to be one of the Christian dead. If you died a believer in Jesus Christ, the book of Revelation calls you blessed: “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the LORD from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the... Read More
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The last book of the Bible intimidates Bible rookies. It is couched primarily in the language of visions and dreams and needs some care in interpreting and understanding. And the content of those visions is so scary! Things do not look good for the church until Jesus comes back. Even the rookies, however, can see that there is an unbelievably happy ending for Christians. In the meantime, to give encouragement and hope to the believers as we struggle along, waiting... Read More
The eyes of your heart
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Richard Peck’s novel A Year Down Yonder is set during the Great Depression. Fifteen-year-old Mary Alice is sent downstate to live with Grandma Dowdel while Ma and Pa scratch out a living in Chicago. Problem is, Mary Alice’s grandma is tough as nails. Turns out, though, that Grandma Dowdel’s crusty exterior hides a tender wisdom that allows her to see her granddaughter with the “eyes in the back of her heart.” It’s a poignant phrase, isn’t it? The eyes in... Read More
His eyes are on the workplace
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Where does worship happen? Well, in church, of course. In your home, when you sing and pray together. In your quiet place, when you read Scripture and talk to God. But don’t forget about your workplace. Seriously—God is intensely interested in what goes on in your place of employment. He wants to see how you treat your customers and your fellow employees. He wants to see how you treat your boss and the quality of your work when nobody is... Read More
What does God want of you?
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Remember the old WWJD rubber bracelets that people used to wear? “What Would Jesus Do?” Those bracelets served a good purpose if they kept people more mindful of God in their lives. But they could also provide a lazy person’s shortcut to behavior decisions. Can I be a little direct? I think it’s hazardous to assert that you know what Jesus would do in all situations. In the three years of their ministerial training, Jesus’ disciples were astounded over and... Read More
Lift us up
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The mark of good coaches is that their teams get better the more coaching they do. Not perfect, just better. They see potential in each player and coach ’em up to get better individual performance and good team results. Effective parents, pastors, instructors, directors, managers, and other shepherding types have the same knack for upping people’s game through the way they interact with them. They know that everything they do has the potential to elevate admirers whose silent plea is... Read More
Your bucket list
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Do you have a bucket list? My kiddos make one each summer, and we complete about 75 percent of it. Not bad, considering we have diverse personalities and interests. We watch movies, paint faces, have water fights, and go to the beach. Most grown-ups set their sights higher: swim with dolphins, visit European cathedrals, see the majesty of Alaska. God has a bucket list for his family members to do on this earth too. “Now we ask you, brothers and... Read More
Stripping away pretense
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That tearing sound you hear is God stripping away pretense. He allows only so many layers to build up before he rips them off our politics, our piety, and our personas like grimy old bandages. It hurts when God strips away pretense because we have to look at our own delusions and rev up our consciences to leave the gravitational force of groupthink. God strips away pretense so we can be wise and recognize that the truth is staring back... Read More
Simple. Powerful.
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Should I do it now? Is now the right moment to share my faith? No . . . I’m so bad at explaining things. She’d probably take offense. Or worse, she’d scoff. Have those thoughts ever flashed through your head during that suspended moment after an unchurched friend vents about some mess in her life?  Perhaps, like me, you’ve chosen to murmur words that steer clear of anything too theological, afraid that you lack the wisdom and eloquence to do... Read More