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The quality of its leadership is one of the most important criteria for the growth and health of any organization, and that includes the church. St. Paul wanted congregations to be slow and cautious in lifting people up and investing authority in them. Bad leaders can damage an organization, perhaps cripple it permanently. Even worse are leaders who go off-message and spread false teachings. That can cause eternal spiritual harm to people. St. Paul wrote three letters to some younger... Read More
Ministry to the wealthy
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Church workers tend not to have a lot of money, and so they are often uncomfortable around people of wealth. Jesus’ teachings about mammon (filthy lucre) and camels going through the eyes of needles stick in people’s minds. Some pastors have the philosophy that they should treat all members exactly the same, especially when it regards the subject of generosity. St. Paul trained his younger pastors to have no such reluctance. In his view, people whom God had blessed with... Read More
Get a guide. Be a guide.
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My husband and I took a bike tour in Chicago. On it, I learned how the neighborhood was formed, how Chicago reversed the ways its river drained, and how architects put their stamp on the area. Now, I had been to Chicago before. It’s a great city and a great place to explore, but not until I went with a guide did I learn some of the little details. Ultimately, I enjoyed the city more when someone explained it and... Read More
Adoptive placement courage
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When some children learn at some point in their childhood that they have been adopted, there is bound to be some trauma. How could the child not feel some measure of rejection? The very word adoption has a negative vibe, and that’s unfortunate. Adoption is a marvelous solution to serious problems. If managed well, it can be win-win-win. A decent adoptive home provides a safe, loving, and secure place for a child at risk. It fills the empty arms of... Read More
You’ll make it
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The incarnation of Jesus is the centerpiece of human history for many reasons. God taking on human flesh sends a powerful message of how valuable we are to our estranged Father, the lengths to which he would go to win us back. It honors our humanity that Christ now shares it and kept it via his ascension! Through his human body Christ lived for us, suffered for us, died for us, and rose again for Through his humanity Christ also... Read More
Planning for marriage
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As many brides are putting the finishing details on their dream weddings, two economics professors from Emory University are sounding a caution. In their research, they discovered that people whose weddings cost $20,000 or more were 3.5 times more likely to end up divorced than those who spent $5,000 to $10,000. Coauthor Andrew M. Francis said, “Industry advertising has fueled norms that create the impression that spending large amounts on the wedding is a signal of commitment or is necessary... Read More
Turn your life around
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At age 15, Frank Abagnale started his six-year stint as a con man. (The movie Catch Me if You Can is based on his life story.) When he was 16, he posed as a pilot, passed the bar exam, masqueraded as a doctor, and became a master at forging checks and embezzling. After being caught at age 21, he spent six years in prison. He was paroled with the condition that he would turn his life around, using his powers... Read More
Spring cleaning
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If you live in a part of our country where there is winter—I mean real winter, with snow and ice and subzero temps—one of the sweet rituals of spring is the sheer pleasure of opening the windows of your house. It is so wonderful to let the fresh air in and the stale air out. We drag the rugs outside and shake and beat five months of dust out into the free air. Carpets get shampooed and floors scrubbed. Everything... Read More
Consider the cost
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“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Nothing is free. A buy one get one free dinner means the restaurant is willing to take 50 percent for two meals. A free day off of work means the company is willing to absorb the loss of your hours. When you consider that, what’s free to you actually has a cost. It makes a difference in your perception, doesn’t it? That’s why... Read More
When can I get the glory?
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Getting all the glory means taking the stage, along with the spotlights, away from every other performer. The audience focuses nowhere else, and the world stops just for a moment. It could be a masterful solo piece during a concert or a thunderous alley-oop dunk during a NBA playoff game. The gospel writer John announces, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).... Read More