Blogs

Our blogs offer thoughtful content from a variety of writers that will help you live with simple focus on Christ and His kingdom. This feed will give you all our newest content from all our blogs. These posts, we hope, will help to separate our thinking from the surrounding worldliness of our culture, and live deliberately at home, in the church, and in the world!

Links to each of our blogs may be found in the left sidebar. You may also browse all our blogs by topic by clicking the link in the right sidebar.

Tell Your Kids the Christmas Story . . . Then Celebrate It!

By in Highlands Blog on

Telling the Christmas Story Christmas is an event so wonderful and important that time and history are kept according to Jesus’ arrival. This is a story that must be told annually. American Christians are in a unique position because we simultaneously have a cultural and religious holiday mixed together, and we end up with manger scenes that have either Santa Claus flying overhead or Santa bowing down at the manger in worship of Christ. Certainly if the historical Saint Nicholas had been present at the birth of Christ, he would bowed before Christ, but Santa Claus bowing seems rather strange. . .
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Filed under Parenting
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Personal Rituals & Doing What Matters

By in Highlands Blog on

First I take the cream out of the fridge and pour a half cup into the bowl on the stove top next to the pot where the steel-cut oats will cook. This is so that the bowl and the cream will be warm after the oats are done. Walnuts, raisins, nutmeg, and cinnamon are also added to the cream (or sometimes eggnog instead of cream). The coffee beans are then ground and the French Press is also strategically place on the stove near the kettle and the small pot of oatmeal so that it too might be pre-warmed. Soon the. . .
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How Not to Lose Your Faith When Illness Strikes

By in Highlands Blog on

Haven’t We Done This Before? Have you ever read a story about the people of Israel and thought, “Why are they losing faith again? Didn’t they learn their lesson the last time?” Hi, I’m Israel. Have we met? I thought I had learned the lesson of God’s grace being sufficient in my weakness during my early years of mothering, but the Lord has shown me that I need this lesson again. I have struggled with health issues off and on for many years. With so many pregnancies, it is inevitable to have fluctuating hormones and my body seems to have. . .
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No One Wins at Whack-a-Sin

By in Highlands Blog on

Lessons from Whack-a-Mole Those clever little electronic moles! Just when you prepare to whack the one in front, he disappears and the rascal in the back pops up. You prepare to smite him and now he’s gone too. Look, over there! That’s the mole you should focus on now! Wait, no, that one! Mostly you just pound empty holes. The moles try to survive by alternating and distracting you, blurring your vision and confusing your aim. As a carnival game, it’s great fun. But when a sinful world adopts the same strategy and convinces you to play along, no one. . .
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Know Who Your Boss Is {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

By in Highlands Blog on

No matter how independent we imagine ourselves, we are not. Before we can toddle about on our own two feet, our hearts (if not our lips) impetuously bawl, “You’re not the boss of me!” to anyone with the audacity to order us about. Unfortunately, infantile outbursts against rightful authority are not outgrown as quickly as a two-year-old stretches the limits of her toddler clothes. When last season’s footie jammies are pulled out of storage it’s obvious they need to go, but we continue trying to outfit ourselves with positions of independence and autonomy refusing to acknowledge that no matter how. . .
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I Have Overcome the World

By in Highlands Blog on

Jesus has left the building . . . and that’s a good thing. I know that those two statements don’t seem to go together but that is basically what Jesus is saying to the disciples in what is commonly called the “Farewell Discourse” found in the Gospel of John, chapters 13–16. A Troubling Announcement In these chapters, Jesus isn’t healing anyone or speaking to the crowds or contending with the church leaders; He is spending the last hours of His earthly time with that rag-a-muffin band made up mostly of blue-collar men who have followed Him for three years and. . .
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Evangelism & No Judgment Zones

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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}

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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?

By in Highlands Blog on

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}

By in Highlands Blog on

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?

By in Highlands Blog on

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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