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Showing posts from June, 2015

Is Following Jesus Hard or Easy?

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“Only the one who follows the command of Jesus single-mindedly, and unresistingly lets his yoke rest upon him, finds his burden easy, and under its gentle pressure receives the power to persevere in the right way. The command of Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it. But for those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy, and the burden is light.”   -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Four Secrets for Effective Communication

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Communication is to love what blood is to the body. When it ceases to flow, love dies, and rigor mortis of resentment sets in.

The ancient prophet, Amos, asked the rhetorical question, "Can two walk together except they be agreed?"

Bob, walking by his neighbor's house, saw him struggling with a couch halfway in the front door. He walked up to his friend and asked, "Hey Fred, need a hand?"

"Sure!" came the reply, "I'm glad you stopped by. This has been a real challenge,"

So, he grabbed the end of the couch and started pushing -- but it wouldn't budge an inch. For about twenty minutes, both men struggled and strained as hard as they could, but made absolutely no progress.

Finally, dropping the couch from exhaustion, Bob said, "You know, Fred, this is just crazy! I can't understand why it's so hard for us to get this couch into the house."

"Into the house??" Fred replied, "I've been trying to push it OUT o…

Prayer Doesn't Bring Revival

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Samuel Chadwick is one of my favorite holiness authors.  His little book, The Way to Pentecost, is a classic.  Lately I've been pondering this observation from Chadwick: "Prayer doesn't bring revival."   At first glance, that doesn't sound right. Anyone who knows anything abour revivals says that prayer is essential to every great movement of God.  

But, prayer, alone, does not bring revival.  If it did, then the Pharisees would have been the greatest renewal leaders in history -- they prayed a lot. However, their prayers were mostly perfunctory.

The secret is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then they shall hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land."

So, there we have it -- some important things that need to go along with our praying if we are to experience significant spiritual breakthrough.
1) Humility (Realizing o…

Praise Changes Things

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Before You Give Up, Read This

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We all feel like giving up sometimes. It comes with the territory of living.  When stress is high and energy is low. . . When frustrations multiply and patience ebbs. . . When conflicts abound and peace evaporates . . ., When the outgo exceeds the inflow. . . it makes us feel like quitting.

But throwing in the towel is seldom the best answer. I have discovered that hardship, endured with patience, faith and the best attitude you can muster, brings tremendous personal growth.  As my old football coach used to say, “No pain, no gain.”

So, what should you do when you feel like giving up?

1.  Face up to reality.
It pays to know the facts. Problems don’t usually disappear by ignoring them. A clear picture of reality – even if it’s bad – is better than an unrealistic hope.

Discern between a problem and a fact of life. If you can do something about it, it’s a problem. If you can’t – it’s just a fact of life. We need to fix the problems, and accept the facts of life.

2. Reach up to God 
God is our r…

Stop Whining and Start Mining

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I have some bad news and good news.

The bad news is that you are going to have big troubles.  It's pretty much a guarantee that problems are headed your way.  Sometime, somehow, somewhere, you are going to experience difficulty.
Problems are a part of the human experience.  We shouldn't be so surprised when they show up.
The good news is that you don't have to let your troubles get the best of you.  If you process them right, you will grow and become a better as a result.
A few years ago, a buddy of mine called and told me his wife left him.  This terrible ordeal was the most painful and discouraging period of his life.   Someone else made an unfortunate choice that caused his life to crash.
I was impressed with how he handled this heartwrenching situation.  Instead of caving into dispair and giving up on life, he decided to become a railroad engineer.
Even from early childhood, he always wanted to drive a train.  But, life got in the way and circumstances brought him to a…

When You Need a Little Space

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Behold us, Lord, a little space from daily tasks set free,
and met within thy holy place to rest awhile with thee.

Around us rolls the ceaseless tide of business, toil, and care;
and scarcely can we turn aside for one brief hour of prayer.

Yet these are not the only walls wherein thou may'st be sought:
on homeliest work thy blessing falls, in truth and patience wrought.

Thine is the loom, the forge, the mart, the wealth of land and sea;
the worlds of science and of art, revealed and ruled by thee.

Then let us prove our heavenly birth in all we do and know;
and claim the kingdom of the earth for thee, and not thy foe.

Work shall be prayer, if all be wrought as thou wouldst have it done;
and prayer, by thee inspired and taught, itself with work be one.

I Will Rejoice and Be Glad in It

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Many morning, before climbing out of bed, I repeat Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!”  I do this especially on days when there are major challenges before me.

This simple little practice, is like hitting a spiritual/emotional reset button, and has  proven to be a helpful “faith lift."

THIS IS THE DAY -- It reminds me that today really counts. In fact, it’s the only day I have.  I don’t have yesterday. It’s already gone. There’s no guarantee about tomorrow. But I do have this golden opportunity called today! It’s important to treasure and make the most of it!

John Wesley encourages us to “redeem the time, for that’s the stuff life is made of!” Moments are precious. Every breath we take is a special gift.

This is the day to live! Some folks live in the memories of the past. Others live in the anticipation and fear of the future. But, we are called to live today!

Make it count! Make it count!

THE LORD HAS MADE -- I realize that I’m not in …

Praying the Library Nature Trail

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I have used the Library Nature Park Trail as a prayer pilgrimage on several occasions and felt prompted to share this experience with you.   It will take approximately an hour to complete this prayer journey, depending on how long you spend at each station.
Station 1:  Family Sculpture Pray for each member of your family, using the five large stones as a guide to B.L.E.S.S. them. B - Body (for health, strength, and energy) L - Life (or livelihood -- the concerns of  their everyday life) E - Emotional (for love, joy & peace) S - Social (relationships) S -  Spiritual (their relationship with God)
Station 2:  Bookends Sculpture Pray for beginnings, endings and transitions.  
Station 3:  Library Nature Park Sign (Birds Eye View, Knowles-Nelson Stewardship) Pray for a broadening of your perspective and that you will be a good steward of what has been entrusted to your care.
Station 4:  Tree Cookie Prayers for healing and strength.
Station 5:  Outdoor Amphitheater Pray for your friends, neighbors, co-…

Much Given, Much Required

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"Much will be required from everyone to whom much has been given." -- Luke 12:48 ISV
"There is not one saint in the Old Testament who received a fraction as much as you have in Jesus Christ.  Yet, we act as if all God wants from us is 'Oh, hi Lord', then we go about our way.  And we count millions of converts who have done nothing more than salute the Lord and continue in their wicked ways." -- Richard Owen Roberts

Squishy Faith

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Have you noticed that American Christianity has gone squishy? 

Perhaps it’s the consumer culture. Maybe it’s the “Me Generation” coming of age. It might be that the Bible has taken a back seat to the entertainment industry in the recent decades. It certainly has something to do with a lack of sound doctrine being preached and taught in our churches.

A lot of people are now under the impression that it doesn’t make any difference WHAT you believe, as long as you believe something. Of course, that is faulty logic. For instance, you might believe it’s safe to step out of a flying airplane without a parachute, but you’ll come to a rude awakening in a few seconds. WHAT we believe is vitally important.

We need to know the Truth in order to be set free. (John 8:32) Hosea 4:6 says, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.”

The average church member knows less about the Bible today than the average non-believer did a hundred years ago. When Christians decry the demise of our culture, we must und…