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
The smell of Jesus
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I remember a time I walked into my high school dorm room with a greasy bag of leftover French fries. My roommate—fresh off a shift at McDonalds—just about gagged. But the same smell drew hungry, hopeful friends from halfway down the hall. Believers who “smell” like their Savior get a mixed reaction too. To some, we stink. To others, we couldn’t smell sweeter. “We are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those... Read More
Too much? Too little?
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Everybody would like to strike it rich. From the gold fevers of the mid-1800s to today’s sophisticated investors like arbitrageurs of Wall Street, from the tulip investors in Holland in 1637 to Carlo Ponzi in the 1920s to real estate speculators in 2006, people have dreamt and grasped and cheated and prayed for wealth. Not Agur, son of Jakeh, author of the marvelous 30th chapter of Proverbs. In fact, he prayed to God to keep him not only from poverty... Read More
You go first
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An important safety tip for early season ice fishing is to politely tell your fishing buddy, “You can go first. I’ll be right behind you.” Then if you fumble a bit with your equipment, you can buy some time and keep an eye on him as he heads out on the ice. Soon enough you will know if it is safe to follow. Everything about our lives is venturing out on thin ice. The ice is treacherous. There is always... Read More
Safe in God’s hands
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We live in a near-constant state of panic for kids’ safety. Some schools have banned kids from playing tag, and all balls have to be made of foam. Others won’t let kids walk home from school until they are in middle school. It seems we no longer let our children play, take risks, or explore life without adequate adult supervision. It’s almost as if we believe that to be a good parent you must always be in control, manage every... Read More
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“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:43). My kids and I often talk about heaven. It started with my girls when they were toddlers. When little girls in princess costumes hear that there are streets of gold and lots of gems, well, heaven sounds pretty great. As they got a little older, their idea of perfection involved wondering if they could eat all kinds of candy and not get sick.... Read More
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My wife and I had a milestone wedding anniversary. It’s one that makes you wonder how you made it this long. There has been the better and worse, sickness and health that seemed unlikely when we made the promise to endure it all together. There has been the grit and grind of building a long life together. How did we make it this long? I think it’s because we never stopped going on dates. We got married, but we never... Read More