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Bob Robinson

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False Pro-War Propaganda about Children Being Beheaded Used on Christians

Christians, Muslim Extremists, and Lies in E-Mails Americans are on edge with the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) advancing through Iraq and killing people in mass executions, taking over city after city. This includes two of the country’s very important cities, Mosul and Qaraqosh. Mosul is ancient Nineveh and Iraq’s second largest city. It […]
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Amy Sorrells

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On peace, left with us. An autumn poem.

all around, grace cathedrals the liturgy longed for in the whitewashed clapboard weary world all around, mercy symphonies the dry bones of summer finally finding technicolor hope all around, peace preaches eschatology reserved for rough hewn pews under azure skies … Continue reading →
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Tom Volkar

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Delightful Work Rides Again at a New Location

Copyright © 2014 Tom Volkar. Visit the original article at http://coreu.com/delightful-work-rides-again-at-a-new-location/.This post is for all of you faithful Delightful Work subscribers. I’ve been wrtiing again at Coreu.com. Please join me to subscribe to my blog there.  Here are some recent posts if you want to know what I’ve been up to. How to Live a […]

Duane Scott

Visit Duane Scott ~ Scribing the Journey

lost in love

Someone once said, “Let my heart be broken by the […] The post lost in love appeared first on Scribing the Journey.
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Glynn Young

Visit Faith, Fiction, Friends

Does it always have to be this painful?

This week at The High Calling, Mark Roberts has had a series of daily reflections that speak directly to what has been creating considerable turmoil for a considerable period of time for many churches – the worship wars. He started the week by asking a fundamental question: Who is the audience for worship? On Tuesday, he talked about avoiding the temptation of audience worship, and today he continues that discussion.Before we older church members get too smug, “audience worship” isn’t only about worship services that seem more like rock concerts (usually aimed at being more relevant to a younger “demographic”).  It’s also about getting caught up in thinking that worship is about whether or not the pastor had a good sermon today, the quality of the playing of the organ and the singing of the choir, and why was the order of service slightly different this week, since the congregation sang three hymns instead of the usual four.Yes, the worship wars have two sides. And both can be wrong, especially when they forget that worship isn’t about being culturally relevant or how good the pastor’s sermon was. Reading Mark’s reflections happened at the same time I was reading chapter five of The Cure: What if God Isn’t Who You Think He Is and Neither Are You, by John Lynch, Bruce McNichol and Bill Thrall. The chapter actually has two titles – “Two Healings” and “Two Solutions.” It addresses a very real issue – when Christians hurt Christians, and how Christians can sometimes make a cottage industry of their hurt by other Christians.I know; I’ve been there. My expectations of Christians have always been higher than for non-Christians. I forget that Christians are sinners, too; Christians fail and Christians screw up. And I am a Christian, too.The Cure has what is almost a cookbook recipe for what happens (which tells me this happens a lot). You get hurt, and it causes pain. You become preoccupied with the event. You become a “prosecuting attorney, consistently building your case.” You become obsessed with the record getting set straight. You become unable to love well and neglect the needs of others. And the steps go on as your anger builds, alienating others and finally questioning God’s motives.The authors are directly addressing what happens when a Christian is hurt by another Christian. But reading those reflections by Mark Roberts, I understand that it isn’t just a problem between individuals; the local church itself can be the offending party.The cause may be the worship wars. It may be part of someone’s idea to be more culturally relevant and become more attractive to younger people, “because we’re aging and losing our future.” It may be that a handful of people (usually including the pastor and a few elders) decide the church needs a “new model for growth” and communicate that vision badly (or, in some cases, with stealth, because they know they will meet opposition). Or someone decides that the church has much to learn from the management and marketing of corporate America.We attended a church that we loved for 15 years; the last five were difficult and the last two were agony. All of these things were happening. It didn’t end well, for us, other members of the church, and the church as a whole. We found a new church, and experienced the pain of breaking relationships from our old church (leaving a church in these circumstances always has a cost). But we worked our way into an adult Sunday School class, and began to meet people. I joined the ushering team and then was elected to the deacon board. Six months into my three-year term, I attended a Saturday training seminar. About two hours into it, I realized the same thing was happening all over again. There was a “new vision.” There were outside consultants. Not everyone in leadership or the church staff knew this was happening. We didn’t leave this time, but I can say that no one at our church today would say it ended well. It was corporate vision, “demographic relevance,” worship wars and bad communication all over again. And it was painful all over again. The cost to the church has been huge. But what happened has been recognized; there has been confession to the church. We’re still not out of the woods. And we may never be out of the woods.I’ve heard similar stories from friends and people all over the United States (and some in Canada, too), so many that it suggests that this is all too common and that something larger is in play.The church – the North American church evangelical church – is being split apart and refined. Sometimes it worship wars; other times it social and cultural issues. This “sundering apart” can be seen not only in individual church problems but in popular Christian books, blogs, conferences – everything we associate with the church at large. And it’s easy, too easy, to get caught up in that cycle of pain and personal turmoil the authors of The Cure are describing.There’s a better way. We’ll talk about it in the second part of this chapter discussion next week.Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been reading and discussing The Cure. To see other’s posts on this chapter, please visit Sarah at Living Between the Lines.Illustration by Junior Libby via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.
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Jim Lange

Tip a Canoe and Humility Too

Yesterday around Noon, I had arranged to meet a group of people I did not know to go kayaking. They had formed a kayaking club and I heard about it...

Sheila Lagrand

Visit Godspotting with Sheila

Weekend Reflection: Hungry

Children Have the Advantage of Knowing That They’re Hungry. I, the Lord, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10 (NASB) Shhh. It’s the weekend. Remove your shoes and step into the stillness. Stop by Sandra Heska King’s place for Still Saturday. […]

Michelle DeRusha

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When You Are Called Beyond Your Comfort Zone

It was Day One. I sat at my desk, a typed list of 50 women at my side, my laptop open in front of me. I was ready, poised to embark on an eight-month research and writing project for a book about women in Christian history. I glanced at the first woman on my list […]You just finished reading When You Are Called Beyond Your Comfort Zone! Consider leaving a comment!
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emily wierenga

Visit in the hush of the moon

An Open Letter to Mothers Who Have Miscarried

Dear Mothers Who Have Miscarried,I've lost two, and it's near torn me apart, this longing to be in heaven with my babies, but I've learned the secret to staying on earth.I learned the secret, just weeks ago, and I want to share it here with you, if I may?It was December, a cold afternoon and I was meeting in a church with a prayer team. They asked me about the babies I'd lost and I wept so hard I couldn't speak because this past spring, God had told me my Madeleine would live. And then she'd died. He'd told me about her personality, and then she'd slid from my body, and I gave birth to Stillborn Faith that day.I've been grieving ever since and sometimes it's just a white lace shoe that undoes me. Or a pink dress.  Or the sight of a woman's rounded womb.And I met with the prayer team and they prayed over me, that the Grief would end. I nodded tearfully.Following the prayer, one of the women pulled me aside and told me she'd heard a pastor speak once, on miscarried and aborted babies, and that this pastor had received a vision of a nursery in heaven. In this vision, the pastor saw a nursery filled with miscarried and aborted babies, angels watching over them, and upon reaching heaven, mothers who'd lost their babies would be given a second chance to raise them.Now, friends, I don't know that there's anything in Scripture that talks about a nursery in heaven but I also know that heaven is mysterious and unfathomable and eternal, and that a nursery is something akin to the loving character of God the Father. He may just give us a second chance to raise our babies.I breathed long and hard and fast after she told me this. Because if this nursery does exist, then suddenly God's words to me in the spring made sense: his words saying that my baby would live (even though on earth, she died); his words describing her personality, as though she were already alive.Because no life is lost to Jesus.The night I lost my first child, I had a dream, even as I slept: a little girl with golden curls sat outside my bedroom door playing with toys, and when she looked at me, she had her father's eyes. And then I looked down at my arms and there was a little boy asleep in them, but I couldn't see his face.If this nursery exists, that dream was of my daughter, playing in heaven (and the baby in my arms? My eldest son, who was conceived months later).And my daughter's waiting for me--even as your children are waiting for you.13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139)Friends?Our God does not lie.If he's told you that your baby lives? She does. Maybe not on earth. But nothing can separate us from the love of God--not even death, Romans 8 tells us.May you be filled with hope. This world is not all there is.Hallelujah.Your sister,e.*** Hey guys--I hate asking this, but I guess it's part of being a "professional" writer; I created an Author page yesterday and am wondering if you'll consider Liking me? Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/emilytwierenga. XOXOSubscribers that had been using the RSS method may have tore-subscribe and choose the non-comments feed. Old (dead) link: http://canvaschild.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/defaultNew (working) link: http://www.emilywierenga.com/feed/

Tod Bolsinger

Visit It Takes a Church

Google and Jesus Agree on At Least One Thing

Google might be on to something. But then again, Jesus had it long before Google did. Earlier this year in a New York Times article, a top Google executive said the company’s hiring had moved from typical resume highlights toward something more abstract. “Intellectual humility,” they called it. Without humility,...

Jeanne Damoff

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The Lulu Tree

Isn’t this the cutest handmade hat you’ve ever seen? Well, guess what! You can order one. Or twenty. Because today is launch day for The Lulu Tree Boutique. And when you buy this hat (or any of the other wonderful items for sale in the boutique), all the proceeds will go to help mamas and […]
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Susan Jones

Visit Just ... a Moment

Seated ~

"I would rather sit on a pumpkin,  and have it all to myself,  than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”  Henry David Thoreau *  *  *  preparing to rest awhile *  *  * I do appreciate all of you who stop by and the  comments that you share
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Brock Henning

Visit Lifesummit

Paying Yourself Extra for Free

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.comAt 4:30 a.m. on a snowy December morning, all I had on my 13 year-old mind was getting each nearly-frozen newspaper off my sled and onto each customer’s porch. The faster I could unload papers, the sooner I could melt back into a toasty bed. But I stopped after ten houses, glancing back.Four newspapers had missed their targets by a mile, each sticking out halfway in the snow. Hey, I was paid for delivering newspapers to the premise, not customized handling. And besides, my toes were cold.I thought of the elderly couple who lived at one of those homes. The next morning I returned to my usual route. This time every newspaper landed on a porch, and I placed a few, the ones I'd went back to the day before, just inside the storm doors. And for the elderly couple, whose storm door was locked, I deposited a plastic bag-wrapped newspaper in the mailbox adjacent the door, same as I’d done the day before. But when I opened their mailbox this time, I found a small package wrapped in Santa Claus gift wrap, with my name on it. Inside was a pair of wool gloves that fit perfectly, and a note shakily written to match the writer’s voice. Thank you for placing the newspaper in our mailbox. Sometimes it’s hard for us to pick it up.And when I got my first real job on a payroll at 16, at the local hardware store, I pushed the shopping cart for a middle-aged woman and loaded paint cans and houseware items into her car. She couldn’t walk very well.I was paid to work in the store, and to load heavier items like bags of sand and mulch and salt rock, and to only go out to the parking lot to retrieve empty shopping carts. I wasn’t paid to push a customer’s cart, but I did it anyway. She thanked me and offered a five for my trouble. I politely refused.I think of the numerous times during my professional career, when I’ve stepped outside of my hired job role to fix a problem that was not my responsibility to fix, but I took a shot at it anyway, foregoing my own work for another. I didn’t always fix the problem, and I certainly didn’t get paid extra for the effort, but it was a chance to communicate something that always pays off, and in some cases can change another’s life. Somebody cares.When a person says ‘no’ to something they are not paid to do, is that wrong? No, it is not. Then should we only say ‘yes’ to those things we are paid to do? After all, we need to make a living, and we’re all limited by time. We can’t be all things to all people. But didn’t Jesus Himself say “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28 NIV)? How do we know where to draw the line?I think you’ll know.I never hand-delivered every customer’s newspaper to their door or mailbox. I couldn't finish my job if I did. I’d offer that 9 out of 10 newspapers flung 30 feet from the curb to the door every morning, most largely missing the doormat. But that 1 out of 10, the one I knew I should help, I gave extra for free.This post is part of The High Calling's Community Post topic, "Working for Free". Click here to read more insightful posts on this topic!

Heather Holleman

Visit Live with Flair

You, Like This

For several years now, I've noted my favorite spot in the neighborhood in autumn. It's this tree right here:This tree stands out against all the others. It seems whipped up with golden butter, layered with sunshine, and spun with gold. Imagine it on a bright, clear day (instead of this gloomy, dark one).All week, I've been talking to my daughters about how they can "shine like stars" from Philippians 2:15. As I read this section of scripture, I know that when we choose not to argue or complain, and when we "hold fast to the word of life," we stand out like bright lights in a cynical generation.I also think about those women in my life who are those shining lights for me. Finally, I think about that one shining star of a moment that comes every day, without fail, in the midst of whatever is going on in life. There you are, driving down the dark road, and the golden moment rises up in view, spun with gold and layered with sunshine.That's what this tree invites in my heart year after year on this very week.

Marilyn Yocum

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Dumping My Blog

I’M THINKING OF DUMPING MY BLOG - been thinking it a while - but is it one more step away from writing? Or toward it? Unsure. I admitted to these very thoughts while riding to church a few weeks ago and wouldn’t you know it? The morning’s passage included “immediately they left their nets.” I […]

Marni Arnold

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Who’s My Target

In just a couple of short months, I will be hallmarking something I never thought I would say… …that I’ve been publicly writing for 4 years. 4 years! Golly, where has the time gone…and why have I floundered the last year with my writing? It’s frustrating, because deep down…I know this is what I am […]