Practical Application

How to Trust God More

I was asked an important question. “Can you tell me how I can trust God more? Is there a book that would be helpful?” Psalm 9:9-11 tells us: “ The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. Sing praises to the Lord who reigns in Jerusalem. Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds” (NLT). What is trust? To trust someone means that we feel we can depend on their competence and character. We have […]

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Learning How to Overcome Procrastination

“I don’t have enough time.” “When I have more time, I am going be with my family more.” “I always procrastinate.” Our time is our lives. To manage our time well, means that we will manage our lives well. Failure to control our clocks and calendars will mean we are out of control in our personal and professional lives. But our 168 hours a week can be controlled and managed well. The key is to examine our use of time and then spend our time consistent with our true priorities. The unexamined life is not lived well. But how do […]

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Fun In the Son

“Hi, I’m Chris,” said the soft-spoken 20-something as he stood at our door. My husband and I had the secret charge of mentoring him as a first-time small group leader. As the host home for his group, we quickly realized this shy guy had a real ministry. Over the next 12 weeks, we nurtured his gifts, group leadership skills and talent. For our group Bible study, he chose a book by Louis Giglio on worship, and around this book he creatively designed a photography course. After Bible study, it came time to break out our cameras and iPhones. That’s when […]

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The Pause That Refreshes

Summertime is a time to get out of the grind, relax, re-energize and reconnect with family and friends. Vacation can be a time to indulge in the sweet spot of your life’s passions. Does this sound like your vacation? Or do you come back from vacation exhausted and depressed that you have to wait another year for your next one? Stress is the cause of many life problems. In our culture, most people run at a pace that outstrips their ability for renewal. This eventually leads to some type of major malfunction in life. We need more than an annual […]

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Do You Reward Mediocrity?

If you knew a substance was poisonous to someone else’s health, would you give it to them? Of course not, you’d give them a tonic to help cure what ails them. You’d do all you had in your power to make them better, stronger and healthier. And yet, in our culture today we dole out a toxic dose of average all the time, hurting the leaders of tomorrow.  When did excellence become D level? At times it seems we tolerate so much, that sameness and status quo are the only things that are rewarded. From 1st grade to the graduating […]

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Six Pillars of Parenting for Fathers

The first Father’s Day in the United States was observed on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. The day was proposed by Mrs. John B. Dodd, who wanted to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who raised six children alone after his wife died in childbirth. Clearly, Mrs. Dodd took seriously the Lord’s instruction, set forth in the fifth commandment, to honor your father.  I understand that not all of us have a father like William Smart, who seemed worthy of honor. But the commandment does not tell us to honor our father if he is honorable; […]

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Unburdened

In 1 John 5:3-4 John makes what seems, on the face of it, to be a ridiculous claim: the commands of God are not burdensome. What? Has John not read the Old Testament with its 613 commandments? Was he not there for the Sermon on the Mount, complete with Jesus’ proclamation that his followers are required to be perfect, just as their father in heaven is perfect? Self-imposed commandments As if those laws weren’t burdensome enough, we could add all of the self-imposed Christian commandments, like the kinds of movies we allow ourselves to watch (maybe a swear word or […]

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Spring Clean Your Soul

Anyone who has lived in the North has experienced the long cold grey of winter. Your home becomes the warm cocoon sheltering you from the harshness of the outside elements that seem to last forever. Then one day it happens — spring. The warmth of the sunshine parts the grey skies, birds sing, and life returns to the trees and flower gardens. It is the rebirth of a new world. The blue of the sky, green of the grass and bright yellow of the sun all speak of new life, hope, and beginnings. It is with this renewed mental outlook […]

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Has Your Family Altar Altered Your Family?

Members of our congregation often ask me about how to have family times of prayer, Bible study, and worship in the home. What they are inquiring about comes under the heading of “family altar,” which is a “spiritual” way of referring to family devotions—Bible study, prayer and worship in the home. As a pastor I would like to tell you that this is a daily practice and routine in our home . . . but I cannot. Oh, we were quite regular when we had our first child all alone for 20 months. When our second child joined the mix, […]

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Learning to Have Self Control

A question from my radio program, Ask the Counselor: Q: How can I gain the ability to control myself and not make a mess of things by just speaking and acting on impulse? A: Self-control is the most important ability for any human being. Without it, we cannot hope to succeed in any way or have any inner peace. To have self-control, we must increase the gap between something that happens, what we call a stimulus, and our reaction to that event. The smaller the size of that gap, the less self-control; the larger the size of that gap, the […]

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