Encouragement


16
Jan 2018
Faith in a Hurry

I have made it through the first 11 Chapters of Matthew (the first 9 days of reading through the New Testament).  Here are a couple of things that have stood out to me over the past couple of days of reading: Matthew seems to write in a fast pace.  It almost feels like Jesus is in a hurry.  As soon as he was baptized, his teachings, healings, and other parts of ministry begin with a lot of momentum.  After reading through the Sermon on the Mount, it felt like Jesus was on......

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10
Jan 2018
Freedom & Purpose

If you have grown up in the United States as a citizen, you have no doubt been taught you are free and that freedom is the sine qua non of life. We love freedom. We write books and make movies about freedom. We teach our children about freedom. We craft laws and policy to protect freedom. We fight for freedom. Freedom probably has the top place on the list of priorities for most every American. So, listen to what Paul has to say about freedom in our lives: I have the freedom......

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09
Jan 2018
Listening (Or Not)

Have you ever gotten caught not listening? I have, especially as a child (Okay, yeah as an adult, too!) I can recall so vividly being a kid and getting to sucked in to a television show that I unintentionally tuned out the entire world. And, of course, my mom would start calling for me: “Jason. … Jason? … JASON?!?!” And I never heard her. I was completely oblivious. It’s not that she was calling too softly. By the third or fourth time she was practically yelling and the whole house could hear......

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02
Jan 2018
A Spiritual Shower

Joanie and I recently purchased my grandmothers home in Angier and this past week we started renovations. We’ve begun pulling out all the old cabinets in preparations to completely remodel the kitchen, dining and living rooms. Everything in the kitchen dates back to the 1960s when my grandmother and grandfather built the house. So, needless to say, there was some good old 1960s dust behind the old stove and underneath the old cabinets. While it wasn’t the dirtiest job I’ve ever done, it most definitely left me with a dusty, sticky, 1960s......

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13
Dec 2017
The Art of Waiting

I’ve been reading a wonderful Advent collection from the writings of one of my favorite German theologians Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And I want to share one of these devotions with you today. Many of us are experiencing some intense situations of waiting this Advent season – waiting on family to come home for the holidays, waiting through the journey of grief over the loss of a loved one, waiting on medical tests, waiting in hospitals, waiting for answers, waiting for strength and pace…and so much more. I found this piece encouraging within my......

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11
Dec 2017
Belonging to Love, Joy, Peace & Hope

Yesterday during worship, I asked our church family to consider how Christmas is about belonging. Immanuel – God With Us – is a message of belonging. As I said in a blog article last week, Immanuel is a phrase that connects God and us through the little word with (im in Hebrew). To summarize, the Hebrew word im can mean: Being by or beside someone (approaching) Dwelling in a place or with someone (inhabiting), or Being together with someone (belonging). This third meaning is all about belonging. And when we look at Immanuel......

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05
Dec 2017
Preparing for Christmas

Are you prepared for change? So many people don’t like change. Others enjoy it – or at least tolerate it – but never really prepare for it. But here’s the truth: we should always be prepared for change! And here’s another truth: Christmas is all about change! We change our homes by adorning it with decorations. We change our budget – setting aside money for gifts and travel and parties and special foods. We change our radio stations to the “All Christmas All The Time” stations. We change our eating habits as......

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22
Nov 2017
Bless Your Heart (and I really mean that)

“Count your blessings” “A blessing in disguise” “Bless you” (after you have sneezed) “Bless your heart” These are just a few of the ways we use the word bless or blessing in our everyday conversations. I have a minister friend that served as a mentor to me in high school.  Jokingly, he shared a piece of advice with me one day that I will never forget.  He reminded me that in the south we have overused the phrase “Bless your heart” . We have sometimes gotten in a habit of saying it or sometimes we......

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20
Nov 2017
Bridesmaids and Talents

On Sunday, I encouraged you to reflect on the characters in the Parables of the Bridesmaids and the Talents. They are real life, real world characters. They all have flaws. None are perfect. There is some right and wrong in each of them. And because the characters in these parables are real life characters, they offer us an opportunity to see ourselves in them. That is, you and I have sometimes struggled with the things they struggle with in these stories. We have faced similar situations, decisions and consequences. So, as a......

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15
Nov 2017
Home

What is home to you? Better yet, who is home to you? You are probably thinking about a house, a city, a neighborhood, family members or maybe even a roommate or really good friend. Listen to how Israel answers the question in Psalm 90 through Eugene Petersen’s translation called The Message: God, it seems you’ve been our home forever; long before the mountains were born, long before you brought earth itself to birth, from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God. (v1-2) God is their home. God has been their home for......

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