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December 2015 Blog Posts (15)

Out with the Old, in with the New

A new year typically is a time of “out with the old, and in with the new.” Inevitably, there are some things we must let go of, while reaching out toward new things ahead.

I recently found myself humming an old tune, which is an apt prophetic picture of where many of us presently find ourselves as a new year begins:

He flies through the air with the greatest of ease,

The daring young man on the flying trapeze.

Just as a circus trapeze artist must let…


Added by Jim Buchan on December 31, 2015 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Lay Down in Peace

We can get so worked up whenever someone criticizes God or Christians. We want to run to God’s defense—or honestly, much of the time, our own—and say just the right thing that will shut that other person up (in love, of course). But God can defend himself far better than we can. We are called to stand and deliver, then take what comes—just as Jesus did.

Let’s consider that for a few more moments. Take off the table the idea that Jesus was the Son of God—that Jesus is God.…


Added by Carl Simmons on December 30, 2015 at 1:14pm — No Comments

Your Title Deed to a Better Future

What are you hopes and dreams for the coming year? I was journaling about that question today. My conclusion was that I have many small hopes for next year and one big one.

What about you?

When I was discussing this with a friend recently, he made an interesting prediction. “Jim, I feel as if we’re about to ‘turn a corner.’ Many of the things God wants to do for us aren’t even visible right now. We’ll have to turn the corner in order to see them.”

My friend’s…


Added by Jim Buchan on December 29, 2015 at 3:16pm — No Comments

Lay Down in Safety

As we walk according to the Spirit, we do not fully know where we he is taking us. But we do know that the Spirit is in front of us, leading us, and ready to guide and protect us as we travel in his wake. If we don’t expect to find freedom and protection within the kingdom of God, where would we expect to find it?

However, as we’re sent we’re also very much, in a human sense, taking the lead. We’re leaving the security of the known, the tangible, the familiar, and…


Added by Carl Simmons on December 23, 2015 at 10:56am — No Comments

Plan to Make Disciples

What is your plan for making disciples? Do you have one? 

The reason I ask is because as I lead churches through church health assessments, the one challenge that continually comes up is, “Our church does not have a clearly-defined discipleship process for moving a person from salvation to spiritual growth to significant ministry.”

Why is that important? In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commanded the disciples to go and make disciples, and that same command applies to the…


Added by David Ludwig on December 21, 2015 at 5:07pm — No Comments

Gifts: Wanted and Unwanted

Some jokingly say there were actually four wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus, but the forth was rejected because his gift was a fruitcake.  Have you ever had a Christmas gift rejected?  The expression on the face of the recipient tells you the gift is not what they wanted, or needed.  Maybe it was the wrong color, incorrect size, or unacceptable model.  Perhaps they tried to cover their disappointment, but you knew. If so, you have some small idea of how God must have felt when Jesus…


Added by Dan R. Crawford on December 19, 2015 at 6:34pm — No Comments

Lay Down in Silence

As we examined last week, we’re often slaves to our own agendas without even realizing it. We can become so paralyzed by self-analysis and self-inflicted hurry that we forget how to simply be obedient in the things God’s already called us to—and to realize that is all God asks of us.

And as last week’s assignment suggested—and you’re doing it, right?—we’re going to spend much of this week practicing the discipline of silence, and in a variety of venues. Because…


Added by Carl Simmons on December 16, 2015 at 12:43pm — No Comments

  “The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. You have that power too.” - Luke Skywalker     Friday, in theaters everywhere, “The Force Awakens”, Episode VII of …


“The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. You have that power too.”

- Luke Skywalker



Friday, in theaters everywhere, “The Force Awakens”, Episode VII of Star Wars, will begin with familiar words written in blue against the…


Added by Johnny R. Almond on December 15, 2015 at 12:25pm — No Comments

The Downside of Being a Futurist

We’ve all met people who seem to live their entire lives focused on the past. Within minutes of starting any conversation, they’re talking about some childhood trauma…their ex-spouse…their past health challenges…a loved one who has died…or a job they lost decades ago.

And then there are people like me, who tend to have the opposite problem. We continually tell you about our dreams for the future…our goals for the coming year…or the bucket list we want to accomplish before we…


Added by Jim Buchan on December 13, 2015 at 11:48pm — No Comments

Preparing our Heart for Christmas

There is a story about a group of tourists visiting the Vatican. Their tour guide had told them about the famed Sistine Chapel—the place where the College of Cardinals meets to choose a new pope, the room whose ornate painted ceiling is Michelangelo's masterpiece.

One aspect of the Sistine Chapel surprises most first-time…


Added by Johnny R. Almond on December 11, 2015 at 12:13pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Agenda

We’ve had to lay down a lot so far. Some of it has no doubt been difficult; maybe it’s even felt unnecessarily negative to some. But we have a much longer journey ahead, and we need to travel light—especially since our journey takes us even further upward.

So when I encourage you to “lay down the law—and leave it there,” I’m not just asking you to admire my mild attempt at cleverness. What I really intend to encourage you to do here is live a life where you’re not only walking in the…


Added by Carl Simmons on December 9, 2015 at 11:35am — No Comments

What's Wrong with Our World?

What’s Wrong with Our World?


"Refuse to be discouraged by the many signs that planet earth is the insane asylum of the solar system." (Anonymous)


It was calm just before the storm. Shortly after sunrise, December 7, 1941, the peaceful security of a sleepy Sunday morning was shattered as the unwelcome monster of war intruded into tranquil Pearl Harbor. While negotiations were going on…


Added by Johnny R. Almond on December 8, 2015 at 9:12am — No Comments

Thank God for Late Bloomers

Most people my age seem to have concluded that their best years are behind them. As a result, they’ve put their life on cruise control, content to grab a few fleeting moments of gusto amid years of decline and purposelessness.

Although I can sympathize with these sleepwalking friends, I’ve chosen to reject their unhopeful mindset. I’m still idealist enough to believe my final third of life can be the most enjoyable and impactful time I’ve ever had on this earth.

Perhaps you…


Added by Jim Buchan on December 6, 2015 at 7:54am — No Comments

Lay Down Your Fears

A great deal of the sin in our lives is little more than a lame attempt to protect ourselves from the possibility of being sinned against. Whether it’s a preemptive strike or a full-scale retreat, we’ll do just about anything to avoid the hard work of loving others. But the way to God is through loving others. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). We…


Added by Carl Simmons on December 4, 2015 at 5:13pm — No Comments

Success Secrets of History's Greatest CEO

By any measure, his accomplishments were astounding and unparalleled:

  • With virtually no start-up funds and only a handful of staff, he established an organization that has seen annual growth for 2,000 years.
  • He led the organization for just three years before leaving it in the hands of his handpicked successors.
  • Without any of the benefits of modern technology, his product was marketed in every known nation on earth in less than a century.
  • From its…

Added by Jim Buchan on December 2, 2015 at 8:36am — No Comments

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