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The World Needs Your Words “How have you experienced God working in your life?” the Bible class teacher posed. I recall a growing lump in my throat, as I tried to choke out words. The gratitude welled up, the tears pooled, but the words didn’t come. Overcome by the grace of God, I could not yet speak of it. Words... Photo of Debbra StephensDebbra Stephens
How My Dad’s OCD Trained Me for Ministry Although I went on to study theology, I started out studying psychology. I got my bachelor’s in psychology and went onto the University of Florida to work on a clinical psychology doctorate. I got about halfway through the PhD program, however, when September 11 reframed my priorities. I decided to go into the ministry and... Photo of Matt DabbsMatt Dabbs
This Is How the Ancient World Received Grace, Part 1 *Editor’s Note: Matthew Bates will be speaking at the Renew Gathering on November 6, in Franklin, TN. To understand what follows, you’ll need to keep in mind that the ancient concept of “return gifting” is different from “gift returning” (something you do at Target on December 26). In Gospel Allegiance, Matthew Bates explains the ancient... Photo of Renew.orgRenew.org
Solving Arguments by Pointing to Context I recall a dialogue I had with a high school classmate of mine. It remained friendly, but it was also a tense conversation regarding the similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam and between their respective texts, the Bible and the Qur’an. At a particular point in our dialogue, this old friend of mine shared... Photo of Brett SeyboldBrett Seybold
Baptism is Beautiful Baptism is probably the most beautiful thing we will witness this side of heaven. I’ve been in the church for a long time, and I’ve heard a lot of sermons on baptism. Most of them go something like this: “The Bible says you should get baptized, so get baptized.” This is true, and we need... Photo of Joel SingletonJoel Singleton
Synthesizers, Chariot Races, and Instant Obedience Recently, my family and I were in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, and stopped to visit an awesome spot called Moog Music. In 1964 Dr. Robert Moog introduced an entirely new kind of instrument with the modular synthesizer. We played with some of the equipment as a family and had a lot of fun making the... Photo of Stan RoddaStan Rodda
How Not to Ruin a Legacy There are certain and specific moments in the life of leaders that reveal their truest nature. Events that can expose their hidden hatreds, or uncover their basest desires. These come in many forms. Sleepless nights can corrupt moral vigilance. Encroaching deadlines can hasten procrastination. Loneliness invites unguarded conversations. Defensiveness sours vulnerability. For King Saul, the... Photo of Jared EllisJared Ellis
See if You Can Catch the End Result of the Gospel *Editor’s Note: Matthew Bates will be speaking at the Renew Gathering on November 6, in Franklin, TN. See if you can catch the end result, the ultimate purpose of the Gospel, according to these passages. Hint: Look for what the Gospel is meant “to bring about.” Romans 16:25-26 Now to him who is able to... Photo of Renew.orgRenew.org
Stressed Out? Try Celebrating. Most Americans are stressed out. Maybe it’s a tight schedule. It’s a looming deadline. You wake up to a dead battery. It might be an illness you face or a relationship that’s gone bad. A business failure. A new school.[1] Back in the 60s, when technology was just beginning to explode, there were scientists who... Photo of Buddy BellBuddy Bell
Sex Work and the Church’s Job Sex has been an economized commodity since early human history, and in many parts of the world sex work remains thriving business. How should Christians respond to sex workers? One religious response to sex workers has been to see such people as worthless because of the immorality involved (e.g., the Pharisee in Luke 7:36-39). Yet... Photo of Taffeta ChimeTaffeta Chime
The Joker’s Smile Anne of Green Gables dyed her hair green, but it didn’t wipe anybody out. I’m pretty sure Grandpa Munster wore white face paint, but it didn’t cause any chills. If not the green hair or white face, what is it that makes the Joker look so evil? I argue that it’s got to be the... Photo of Daniel McCoyDaniel McCoy
Your Church May Have a Board, But Does It Have True Elders? *Editor’s Note: I (Daniel McCoy) recently got to talk to Jared Johnson, director of operations for E2 (“Effective Elders”) about what it means to have a healthy team of elders. Gary Johnson and Jared will be facilitating two Effective Elders workshops at the 2019 Gathering. Let’s start with a hypothetical. Let’s say a church has... Photo of Jared JohnsonJared Johnson
A Focused Definition for an Out-of-Focus Church There’s a meme that says the only thing more exhausted than the mom of a boy who doesn’t stop moving is the mom of a girl who doesn’t stop talking. It’s true. Our three-year-old daughter talks from sunup to sundown, a running narrative about everything. The other day, she was having me put boots on... Photo of Sy HufferSy Huffer
The Mission of God: the Long and Short of It “I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter. Up vistaed hopes I sped; And shot, precipitated, Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears, From those strong Feet that followed,... Photo of Scott SagerScott Sager
Just What IS the Gospel? Just what is the Gospel? It is possible to confuse Gospel-related concepts with the Gospel itself. I found this parable from Matthew Bates’s Gospel Allegiance helpful: It is not that the true gospel is entirely missing or that people are not entering salvation. Far from it. The gospel is still being preached with saving effect.... Photo of Renew.orgRenew.org
The Killing of Botham Jean and 2 Kinds of Unthinkable I always enjoy a sunny day, but I probably won’t stop and spend much time looking up at the sky. Cloudy, overcast days? You’ll find me looking skyward even less. But on those rare times when the sun rays pierce through the clouds? I will always pause and drink it in. If I want to... Photo of Daniel McCoyDaniel McCoy
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We are disciples of Jesus from various ethnicities, generations, nations, and communities and we champion all of Jesus’ teachings for disciple-making and disciple making movements.