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Carl Simmons's Blog (51)

An Improvisation on Mercy

This post was inspired by Robert Gelinas’ impending book The Mercy Prayeralthough admittedly much of its structure owes more to his previous one, Finding the Groove. I’ve needed, in my own life, to see what God provides each day as mercy rather than as something I should have (and get bent at God or others…

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Added by Carl Simmons on July 19, 2013 at 1:08pm — No Comments

Do, Because You Are

We often talk today about the need to be “missional,” but the fact is, that’s what Jesus has called us to be all along. We’re not only called to be saved as individuals, but to live in the realization that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

However, with the rediscovery of the importance of serving others—of actually acting on our faith, of doing—we must not forget the…

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Added by Carl Simmons on July 14, 2013 at 2:45pm — No Comments

Feelings Are Not Faithfulness

Just a brief word today, but God gave it to me a month ago and I’ve found it really helpful, so I’m passing it on. I’m not sure how it may play out in your life specifically, but I suspect it does, and will.

And it’s this: Your feelings are not your faithfulness.

I’ve let this word percolate enough to see it play out in a couple general directions. First, when we’re down: It gets easy to want to “self-medicate” in any number of ways to avoid…

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Added by Carl Simmons on May 23, 2013 at 9:25pm — 5 Comments

In Defense of 1-on-1 Discipleship

A couple very different conversations this week got me thinking about this issue even more than I usually do…. In fact, this might be equally titled “In Self-Defense of Being a 1-on-1 Discipler”… :)

First, the backdrop: It seems like 1-on-1 discipleship has been getting a lot of abuse lately, and…

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Added by Carl Simmons on May 19, 2013 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Lay It Down: The Book

This entry's somewhat more personal/self-promotional than past entries, but a year and a half's worth of work will drive a man to push the envelope. And this is the right group to tell about it. So I appreciate your forebearance....

 

Jesus told us in John 15:13-14, “No one has greater love than this — that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends  if you do what I command you.” That’s really the heart of discipleship.

But it often comes in…

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Added by Carl Simmons on April 12, 2013 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Of Obedience, "Hidden Tendencies," and the Grace in Between

I'm currently in the process of my half-dozenth or so go-round with Watchman Nee's The Spiritual Man. If y'r familiar with the book (and even if you're not), it may not be Summa Theologica or Institutes of the Christian Religion but it's still a pretty hefty read. And I never fail to get something new out of it each time through. This time around, one of those things looks like this (additional emphasis mine):

"God's intent is not merely to…

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Added by Carl Simmons on February 17, 2013 at 6:29pm — No Comments

Living Out of Death

Let me eat when I'm hungry / let me drink when I'm dry / two dollars when I'm hard up / religion when I die... —"Moonshiner," traditional (via Dylan and esp. Uncle Tupelo, in my case)

Religion, in its truest form, is for when we die. But much of what passes for religion—and what's often perceived as "religion" from the outside—has gotten away from one huge fact, and it's this: That dying takes place the moment we receive Christ, and we…

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Added by Carl Simmons on February 3, 2013 at 2:49pm — No Comments

Power Is Not Fruit

True spiritual power comes in the wake of spiritual fruit, not as a predecessor to it. The trouble is, we often confuse power with fruit. We see an influential or charismatic leader, and assume that natural ability (and the numbers it often generates) are a sign of God’s blessing. Very often, it is not. Very often, power is just power.

Even those who witnessed Jesus’ “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem were looking for power, not fruit. And yet, almost immediately after pulling into town…

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Added by Carl Simmons on January 3, 2013 at 12:57pm — No Comments

The Power of Surrender

This is still kind of rough shards of thought, but bear with me; I think I’m onto something here… plus, it ties in to my other random devotional pieces as of late…

Everything God gives us is done with the goal—His goal—that it be spent for His glory. The thing is, maybe especially as Americans, we tend to think of giving only in terms of money. And to be sure, our money can represent a number of things lurking behind it. But what about the gifts, spiritual or…

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Added by Carl Simmons on December 15, 2012 at 1:39pm — No Comments

Children of the Promise

I’ve been coming across our title phrase—or rather, it’s been coming across me—a lot lately (Rom. 9:8, Gal. 4:28). How do we live like “children of promise”? One way to look at it also came across me lately…

As I’ve been working through the prayers in Dawn to Dark (review, for those who missed it, here), one of the exercises was to reflect on my baptism, nearly…

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Added by Carl Simmons on November 13, 2012 at 10:46am — No Comments

Love, Obedience, and Purity of Heart

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the “upper room discourse” lately, in John 13-14 in particular so far. It’s an interesting section, since it’s one of the few where you really see Jesus interacting with His disciples collectively, instead of just one or two at a time. Heck, we even get a line out of Jude/Thaddeus (aka Judas Not Iscariot) here.

It’s also a hard section to wrap your head around, and simultaneously kind of annoying because it sounds like Jesus is constantly repeating…

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Added by Carl Simmons on September 27, 2012 at 11:52am — No Comments

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