Topic | Community

Posts Categorized: Community

Skinflint Stewardship

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Controlling Grip Maybe you’ve seen something like this: someone holds out a twenty dollar bill, but when the other person starts to pull it away, the first person holds on to it with a death grip. They only let go after an imposing glare or a final meaningful remark. The point of such an act is about control. Even when the money finally leaves their hand, the hovering presence of the giver still follows the money around, breathing down the neck of the receiver. This cash comes with strings attached. Scripture tells us plainly that the borrower is the slave. . .
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Don’t Be “That Guy” at Church

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Sure this is a blog post and not a “Dude Perfect” YouTube video, but in the spirit of that goofy group of friends who poke fun at “that guy” stereotypes everywhere from the basketball court to the movie theater, here’s a list of caricatures of characters that can be found wandering into churches and inflicting their clueless ideas and suggestions on unsuspecting saints. As you read this field guide to these rare (or not-so-rare) birds, you should start by laughing at the over-the-top descriptions, but then you should make sure that these stereotypes don’t describe you deep down. The Lineup. . .
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Staying Put: Sticking it Out When the Going Gets Tough

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The average American moves every five years. That’s a number that has stayed fairly stable for awhile. It includes everyone from the elderly who are not as prone to moving to the 18–24 year olds who are moving every year for college or first jobs or exploring. My experience in witnessing families around me is that this is fairly accurate. Whole families, all the pets and kids and stuff, out of here and on to there. New job, new church, new friends. Wipe your feet and move on down the road. The moves are financial, personal, going to something, going. . .
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For the Love of Food

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Human beings share a common love: food. I’m not referring to our common need of food, but of our common love for food. We relate certain foods to events, traditions, and people. When I think of Destin, Florida, I think of fish tacos. When I think of Crowder, Mississippi, I think of chicken and dressing. When I recall a trip to Zimbabwe, I think of grilled wart hog, a trip to Peru with cow heart and french fries, New York City with homemade mozzarella sticks, and Yemen with grilled lamb and flat bread. When I think of Tate County, (the. . .
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No One Wins at Whack-a-Sin

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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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Serving the Church & Community as a Family

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Mother and daughter serving by cleaning the floor together.

Are you too self-centered in your focus on your own family at the expense of the church community? How do we pursue serving within the church in balance with caring for our families? Does your rigid schedule keep you from flexing to meet the needs that your neighborhood and community have? Your children are an integral part of the church. How can you involve them in serving the community and teach them that the world doesn’t revolve around them? This episode we welcome special guests Mark and Andrea Robinette to join our conversation!

Basement Tape #174: Speaking into Each Other’s Lives

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Audio: Speaking into Each Other's Lives (Basement Tapes 174)

“But exhort one another daily,”

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers,”

“Warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”

Join us as we have a conversation about the biblical imperative to speak into each other’s lives.

Pursuing a Shared Life

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Growing in More than Knowledge When we live in an education-centric society, we tend to see the world through the lens of growing in knowledge and will filter our needs through an educational process. We look at the things we want to grow in, or the parts of our lives that we have a deficiency in, and we begin to seek out how we can better educate ourselves on this particular deficiency. I remember when our oldest son was just a few months old, I wanted to learn about what it’s like to have family worship. For me, this meant. . .
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Showing Hospitality to Strangers

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An Inhospitable Place I had a dream the other night. This isn’t a unique occurrence for me but my dreams usually tend to mirror my conscious fears—something disastrous happening to my children for example. This dream was different. I dreamed that I was in a strange city. I’ve traveled a lot around the country, so this would normally not mean much. However, this was a foreign city. More specifically, I am guessing that it was a city either in the middle east, north Africa, or the region known as Eurasia. It was predominantly Muslim, and non-English speaking. I knew nothing. . .
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What to Do When Sheep Act Like Wolves

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Are They Sheep or Wolves? It’s easy to distinguish in our minds between wolves and sheep: Wolves are the ones attacking and eating sheep, sheep are the ones eating grass and listening to the shepherd’s voice. It becomes complicated though when we have to reckon with the reality of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Having been whacked a time or two or twelve by the shepherd’s rod, a wolf covers himself for a time in behaviors and actions designed to help him blend in with the sheep so that he can devour them on the sly. Thankfully, shepherds know to watch. . .
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Ministry isn’t Just Your Pastor’s Job

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Imagine a lazy man who never gets anything done. He’s full of good ideas and noble intentions but his arms and legs stay pretty much right where they are. When you point this out to him, he responds that he has a fully functioning nervous system, thank you very much. Isn’t listening to the signals passed on from the brain enough? Or, if the brain really wanted things done, wouldn’t it do them itself? Hopefully that doesn’t describe any real people you know, but unfortunately, it is the attitude of some real churches. In Ephesians 4, Paul fires up his. . .
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More Than Facebook Friendship

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We Need Friendship The deep need of many in our world is the need for friendship. Our society is bent towards making and growing friendships because we are made in the image of the Trinitarian God, a God of friendship. While many, myself included, decry what Facebook has done to the nature of friendships and community, Facebook is trying to be at the center of humanity’s deep desire for friendship. We can’t escape our need of friends because the One who created us is a Friend. “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known. . .
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American Traveler, International Christian

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Having recently returned from a trip to Iceland and France with my two teenage daughters, I shared with the men of my church some of the benefits that I believe such an adventure can accomplish in the hearts and minds of those who travel. One of those benefits is the possibility of becoming more cosmopolitan than American and therefore more Christian. Now behind that statement there is no intent to denigrate my homeland; I only mean that the exposure to other places and people-groups helps to get the perspective that you and yours are not the center of the universe.. . .
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You Have the Power to Build Christian Culture

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There are lots of things in life that we cannot define, we just know it when we see it. When Wile E. Coyote sets some birdseed just below a large boulder and plans on dropping it on the Roadrunner, we laugh when it all goes wrong and he himself gets mashed. That’s called irony and few of us can define it but we know it when we see it. Culture is a lot like this. Every one of us humans has a myriad of built-in sensors that let data in, both as a way of offering protection, but also for. . .
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The Church is a Place of Wonder

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We Find it Hard to Believe The older we get, the more it takes to fill us with wonder. This is because it becomes increasingly difficult for us to believe in wonder-full things. Believing is easy for the heart that can hope anything is possible. But when certain possibilities have been chased away and certain glimmers doused, faith suddenly has to be worked at, and belief has to be practiced, and hope has to be memorized. Where do you go to practice something so sacred? To the brightest, most brilliant, spot of light you can find. Darkness might keep your. . .
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Loving Others the Way God Loves Us

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Loving Others the Way God Loves Us

The Love of God for David Throughout the Old Testament, a phrase or concept repeats itself over the course of the history of Israel. It almost serves as a frame or guiding principle for how God interacts with Israel, both in good times and in bad times. The phrase is this: For the sake of His servant David. God’s actions, in times of blessing as well as times of judgment, were all taken in light of His love for, and His covenant with, David. His covenant promises to David, and His love for His flawed but faithful servant, extended for. . .
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So, You Thought Philippians 4:8 Was About the Arts?

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Girl looking at painting. (So, You Think Philippians 4:8 is About the Arts?)

This article was originally published in Every Thought Captive magazine. Subscribe today!   Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.—Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Do you have art problems or do you have heart problems? Do you have philosophical concept problems or do you have personal conflict problems? Philippians 4:8 is a well known verse. For many years in my mind, it was the “Christian art” verse. “In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells Christians directly what to pursue in art. . .
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What if I don’t fit in at church?

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Woman & baby with fake mustaches. (What if I don't fit in at church?)

The following article is from a recent issue of Every Thought Captive magazine. Subscribe Today!  I am single, I attend worship regularly and want to be involved in my church, but I don’t fit in. Ministries are focused on parents, children, husbands and wives. It is difficult to connect with other church members. What should I do? You Are Not Alone Be assured that you are not the only one who feels out of place in church. When your life has taken a different turn than many of your peers, it is easy to get discouraged. You want to be. . .
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Let Us Journey Together

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Begin a Journey They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. That first step for me was listening in as my old friends R.C. Sproul Jr. and Laurence Windham held a powerful conversation on the subject of worldliness. That conversation, recorded as a Basement Tape, was the push that I needed to make a rather large step that began my journey. But to what exactly? Journey to Where? It has been a journey to something and away from something. A journey to the life spelled out in Scripture, that informs the motto of Highlands Ministries: to. . .
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