Highlands Blog

Here you will find posts by the Highlands staff and friends of the ministry. This includes posts on Christian living from people we think will be helpful to you. We will also introduce you to new resources and special offers.

Evangelism & No Judgment Zones

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Unwelcome Evangelism The world desires safe spaces be maintained; spaces free of judgment, free of guilt, free of fear and shame. They love sin, and do not want their daily routine jarred by the Word of the Lord. Jesus said, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish”—He preached a jarring message. When we take God’s Word to the streets we see how disturbing it is to feelings of safety in secular spaces. Worldlings chafe under the proclamation of the only existing remedy for their guilt and shame, and as their consciences are rubbed raw they scorn the ones who. . .
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Settling In & Serving God

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Life Altering Changes In February 2010, there were two events which changed the course of my life. The first was finding out my wife Brittany was pregnant with Reid, our first child. The second was the next day, when we moved into our first home, which we lived in for six years. Now it may seem I’m over stating the importance of these events. After all, these are normal events in the life of most. Yes, they are important and special, but not unique, and in most ways quite ordinary, to which I would respond “precisely,” because these were the. . .
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Filed under Family, Marriage, Parenting

The Lord Reigns, Even in Dark Times

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I’ve been beset lately with a downcast spirit of sorts. It doesn’t feel like a storm raging, just dark clouds and a fog within me that blocks out the sun. It isn’t anything clinical or particularly intense, but a consistent feeling of sadness or frustration that many things in and around me simply aren’t as they should be. It might be a frustration with our current cultural or political climate, which is a total mess; I think we can all agree on that. In my memory, I don’t remember a time that our nation has been this divided and pessimistic. . .
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Filed under Faith, Sovereignty

Contention: Poison in the Field of Righteousness

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Growing Righteousness Where does righteousness grow? This is an important question for everyone who wants to reap a harvest of righteousness like James 3:18 talks about. But a harvest is an outcome and not every field contains the right kind of soil to produce that outcome. Many Christians sow seeds of righteousness only to find that the expected harvest never comes. James addresses this frustrating state of affairs by reminding us that soil matters just as much as seed, that righteous convictions must be combined with peaceful wisdom in order to produce fruit. Christians who share the same high opinion. . .
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Filed under Church, Relationships

Profiling

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When I was born They looked at me and said What a good boy What a smart boy What a strong boy When you were born They looked at you and said What good girl What a smart girl What a pretty girl We’ve got these chains Hanging ‘round our necks People wanna strangle us with them Before we take our first breath Names, descriptions, categories, We are born with them, gifted or cursed with them, as we move into and through life. Parents, peers, teachers, drill sergeants, friends, and enemies all play Adam with our lives, for better and. . .
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Filed under Character, Culture

Enjoying Things as They Are

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Here is a question for our modern world: Is it possible to enjoy something merely for what it is and not for its outcome or what good it serves? Or asked another way, are there some things that are enjoyable just because they are good and we need not explain why? More and more, our modern world answers this question “No.” Being happy and enjoying isn’t enough. The modern world not only needs a deeper purpose for value but we need that purpose explained to us. We want life broken down into working parts that make sense and if we. . .
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Filed under Culture

God, the Great Storyteller

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Writing a Good Story In the last couple of weeks, I’ve started taking an online video class in screenwriting taught by Aaron Sorkin, an Oscar and Emmy award winning screenwriter and producer. My writing efforts have, in the past, always been focused on essays, devotionals, articles, sermons, and blog posts. However, I’ve recently become fascinated with the particular skill set that enables one to tell stories and write dialogue, not merely for reading but for viewing In one of the first lessons, he made the point that in any good play, movie, or TV series, there has to be a. . .
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Filed under Faith, Sanctification

Growing Up Single {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Sometimes it seems like no progress can be made in life until there is a wedding band on your finger. In the church we have tried to morph marriage into a fairytale cure for all ills. Are you self-centered, immature, discontent, lustful, lazy? Get married, that will change you and finally vanquish these formidable adversaries. We want to apply a circumstantial cure to problems of the heart. When our story doesn’t seem to be working out on schedule much desperate advice is given, “You should try online dating, I know someone who married a guy she met online.” “There’s a. . .
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Filed under Sanctification, Women

Grass Rooted Politics

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Fading Like Grass The years of our life are seventy or eighty if we have the strength. A president’s years are four or eight if he has the votes. A supreme court justice has served anywhere from one year to thirty-six years, half a lifetime at most. From the Apostle Peter’s perspective, all of our politicking is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. Our candidates wither, our parties fall, but something far more important remains and it is far more important precisely because it remains. Maybe you can complete the quote from 1 Peter 1:24-25,. . .
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Filed under Culture, Politics

Finding Safety in the Flood

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Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Being overwhelmed is just that, you have no control of your situation. You have lost your grip, your footing, you haven’t even a toehold. Fear floods into your heart as your mind races—and that’s all it does because there are no solutions. Look at the passage again, the end of the earth is a remote place. The Psalmist is far away from rescue. He is. . .
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Filed under Faith, Personal Growth

22 Tips to Help Your Toddler Worship

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More than Just Keeping Toddlers Quiet As Christian families progress in training and teaching their children to love and worship God, we must make preparations for our children to participate with us in corporate worship. For my family and many that we know, our children have been a part of the worship service with us from their birth. We have good friends that have waited until their children were toddlers to have them participate in the worship service. No matter the timing, it is important that we begin by asking ourselves an important question: What is the purpose of your. . .
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Filed under Parenting, Worship

Where’s the Meaning in Senseless Tragedy?

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Where's the Meaning in Senseless Tragedy?

Disturbing News Nothing remains certain. Politics, economics, and even going to a parade all share the same level of insecurity these days in the minds of people around the globe. Many are left wondering why the world is experiencing such unrest. Why does it seem like the world is unraveling? The answer, in one aspect, is incredibly simple: Everyone is a sinner and we live in a fallen world. But does that mean that there is no hope for having peace of mind? Are the only options to simply wring our hands or distract ourselves through amusement while the lunacy. . .
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Be Hopeful {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Grasping the Wind “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:13). This is a common sentiment among us, though we may verbalize it in more subtle ways. “Live for the moment.” “Life is a collection of experiences.” “The joy is in the journey.” There is a residue of truth in these sayings which is appealing. We want our moments to matter. Of course we do, but the draw of the world to do what we feel in every moment is a message that is more convenient than it is true. The writer of Ecclesiastes, who is perhaps. . .
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Filed under Faith, Women

Are You Becoming Who You Didn’t Want to Be?

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Things I Didn’t Ever Want to Do I like to ponder from time to time about the things that I didn’t think I would ever do. It’s a sobering thought. You have an understanding of normal that only a teenager or recent college graduate could discern. Wisdom is ancient. Being teenage and young is fleeting. I do things I didn’t think I would ever do. I’ve become that person. I want to be comfortable in my clothes much more than I want to be fashionable. I’m almost completely out of touch with pop culture and my reasoning for this would. . .
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Don’t Give Evil a High-Five

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Avoiding Approval of Evil Evil demands your approval and it does not rest until it finds your level of complacency. It utterly ignores your disavowals of members of the evil genus and continues to press for approval at the species level. Evil doesn’t mind your hatred of categories as long as you make allowances for instances; “I know you’re against abortion, but surely not in cases of rape, right?” Evil loves to empty words of their meaning. Evil keeps changing the subject. Evil constantly blurs the lines. Evil will quickly stoop to deception, as long as it can get you. . .
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Beware of Bitterness {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Beware of Bitterness (woman tasting sour lemon)

Situational Bitterness Whatever it is we think we deserve; we don’t. It seems merciless to strip our presumed entitlements of their sympathetic narratives and leave them standing stark naked in such unforgiving light. Why be so brutal about it? Because cherishing feelings of entitlement is just the type of thing that nourishes the root of poisonous bitterness and bears an abundance of rotten fruit. When the Israelites were preparing to enter the Land, they received a warning: Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord. . .
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Filed under Character, Women

How To Break Bad Habits & Develop Better Ones

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In a word, the daily life of the Christian is described by, Walk. This simple term captures the idea of incremental routine, of ‘steps’. All of us generally ‘go’ somewhere everyday and usually it is the same places (duties/responsibilities) and at the same pace (again, think: routine). But how we do these things—these everyday things—varies in quality, but more importantly, in godliness. Personal evaluation is vital for sanctification. Growing in Christ and living out our faith is to be natural; habitual. But what if our living habits produce a substandard life compared to what we are offered in Christ? How. . .
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Transform Your Bad Attitude into Beatitudes

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Beatitudes Are Scarce These Days In this time of intense political debate, I have providentially been working through the beatitudes in Matthew 5. There are two beatitudes that are connected that have jumped out at me in our present political context. In verse five, Jesus pronounces His blessing on the meek, which is fundamentally an attitude of selflessness. The meek person consciously puts the interest of others before himself and does not seek to defend or vindicate himself before others. He only seeks to be faithful to God and to love his neighbor and leaves the rest to God. He. . .
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Glorious (and Secret) Kingdom Work {Building Culture}

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Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father,. . .
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Filed under Culture, Social Issues

5 Ways to Use an Elder

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Why Do We Need Elders? Many Christians know that 1 Timothy 3 is the place to go to look for the moral qualifications for serving the church as an elder. But sometimes we overlook the full reason why these criteria are there. Elders need to live godly lives, not simply to qualify for office, but in order to carry out the office. It is shameful when a church leader fails to live up to the standard of life that God expects, but God’s main concern isn’t avoiding embarrassment. He wants more people living lives that reflect His glory and so. . .
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