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May 2015 Blog Posts (15)

The Blessings of Hot Water

People and tea bags really do have a lot in common—you never fully know what’s in them until they’re in hot water. Although unpleasant, adversity is often exactly what we need to reveal our character and the true strength of our commitments.

When the heat is on, everyone can see what we’re made of, whether positive or negative. Attitudes and inclinations we’ve succeeded in hiding during pleasant circumstances suddenly become revealed for all to see.

The church in the book of…


Added by Jim Buchan on May 31, 2015 at 12:20am — No Comments

Thinkable: Whose hand is in the cookie jar?

Whose hand is in the cookie jar?

The following story is one of our favorites. As the mama returns after a few moments away, she is greeted enthusiastically at the door by little Tommy, who announces, “Mommy, mommy, Jimmy hit me back.” Let’s face it even when we are caught with our hand in the cookie jar and with crumbs on our face and hands, it is often very difficult to admit our own guilt. Today let’s do some thinking together about our common dilemma, and what can be done about…


Added by john hoelzel on May 30, 2015 at 5:13pm — No Comments

Thinkable: Preparation


As an Eagle Scout, I know and believe in their motto, “be prepared.” This slogan opens the door to a good example of the contrast between what we say we believe, and the difficulties we experience in putting it into practice. No one would argue against being prepared, but we all run into many pressures, schedule constraints, and excuses for shortchanging the time and effort required for good preparation. Today we will look at wonderful examples of results of good…


Added by john hoelzel on May 30, 2015 at 5:07pm — No Comments

Starting Any Age

I’ve been thinking a lot about the book of Ruth lately and the subject of “starting over.” The story describes two women, one old and one young, and both of them needed a new beginning.

Naomi and Ruth had experienced traumatic losses when their husbands died, and sometimes traumas like that can leave people “stuck” and emotionally paralyzed. 

But Naomi makes a radical decision—she…


Added by Jim Buchan on May 27, 2015 at 9:11pm — No Comments

Lay Down What's Done

Last week's entry was about you receiving forgiveness. This week, it’s about you extending it—to others, and ultimately to yourself as well. So yes, this week we’re still more focused on the “negative” pieces of our lives, but the bigger focus is on finding our way past those pieces.

So let’s pick up where we left off. This time, though, rather than dwelling on the things that have caused us deep shame—and for now, the need to forgive others in those areas—let’s go broad instead of…


Added by Carl Simmons on May 27, 2015 at 11:10am — No Comments

Avoiding Burnout

“To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, / is courage in a man. The coward despairs.” [Euripides, 422 B.C.]


Love’s eternal flame is inextinguishable—death’s horrors are unable to kill it; life’s busyness cannot suffocate it; demonic opposition will not quench it; fear never overshadows it; worry only intensifies it; hell’s…


Added by Johnny Russell Almond on May 26, 2015 at 12:13pm — No Comments

Out of Gas

Tis’ the season – baseball season, that is - my favorite season of the year.  One of the things I love about baseball is the unique jargon that is not heard in any other sport.  No other sport has “ducks on the pond” or a “bull pen” or “tools of ignorance.”  A few games ago, the pitcher had suddenly begun to give up hit after hit, in…


Added by Dan R. Crawford on May 24, 2015 at 7:14pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Shame

“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8, NIV).

One of the very first things Peter says to Jesus captures a huge issue for many of us. After a night of fishing and catching nothing, Jesus blesses Peter, James, and John with more fish than they can handle—and all Peter can see is how short he’s fallen of God’s perfection.

Which, in itself, isn’t a bad thing. It’s not unusual for us, either, to react this way when we first encounter Jesus; and we always need…


Added by Carl Simmons on May 13, 2015 at 10:39am — No Comments

Shaking off Your Failures

When you remember sports stars of yesteryear, you probably remember their finest moments. Babe Ruth is famous for hitting 714 home runs in his career, and few people remember that he also struck out 1330 times, almost twice as often.

I guess the moral of the story is that if you want to hit a lot of home runs in life, you can’t be afraid to strikeout from time to time. If Babe Ruth had spent time thinking about his strike outs, he would have become too discouraged to be…


Added by Jim Buchan on May 12, 2015 at 9:58pm — No Comments

Confession -- Good for the Soul

To review some reasons why confession is good for the soul, read my blog on this subject at

Added by Johnny Russell Almond on May 11, 2015 at 11:14am — No Comments

A Discipleship Practicum Retreat

Recently, 85 men and women from 7 military bases attended a Discipleship Practicum Retreat. There was no main speaker, there was no formal band, and there was no comedian to hype up the crowd before we got started. There was, however, a Testimony Scavenger Hunt, four workshops, a fun night and a close-out session.

Friday night we held a Testimony Scavenger Hunt where we practiced giving our Jesus stories to each other. Everyone was given a sheet of paper with twenty categories, being…


Added by Dave Nickerson on May 8, 2015 at 6:27pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Sin

No matter where you are in relation to Jesus, “sin” is an ugly word. Just saying the word causes problems, so let’s get on the same page before moving forward. In the days and weeks to come we’ll break this down into much smaller pieces. Today is about defining our terms—and our solution.

People define sin any number of ways, even within Christianity, and tend to subject it to their own ideology…


Added by Carl Simmons on May 6, 2015 at 11:54am — No Comments

Jesus -- Our Greatest Friend

“They should have known that he was God. His patience should have proved that to them.” (Tertullian)

“He wakes desires you never may forget; He shows you stars you never saw before.”

     (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

“Is it any wonder that to this day this Galilean is too much for our small hearts?” (H. G. Wells)

“When Christ came into my life, I came about like a well-handled ship.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)


Here is a…


Added by Johnny Russell Almond on May 6, 2015 at 10:38am — No Comments

A Strange Kind of Anchor

If you’re like me, the word “anchor” has some negative connotations. For example, dictionaries say an anchor is a device for preventing or restricting a ship’s motion. I certainly don’t relish the thought of having my motion prevented or restricted, do you?

Another undesirable connotation of “anchor” is that it either ties you to where you ARE (your present circumstances) or where you’ve BEEN (your past). In either case, that kind of anchor sounds very dreary to me. Who wants to…


Added by Jim Buchan on May 5, 2015 at 3:37pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Pride

Now that we know who we are in Christ and have our heads on straight, now we can begin to deal with laying down our sin. We’ll explore this more broadly in the next entry, but today let’s start with one sin in particular, and arguably the most basic: Pride.

Every act of pride is an act of rebellion. We’re not talking about taking pride in your work or being proud of your kids—we’re talking about…


Added by Carl Simmons on May 3, 2015 at 5:03pm — No Comments

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