Articles related to Guy Sayles


Authentic Thankfulness Must Include Repentance
Authentic Thankfulness Must Include Repentance

By: Guy Sayles
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared November's last Thursday as a day for national thanksgiving. No longer in a civil war, the U.S. is still deeply divided. We must heed Lincoln's advice to seek "humble penitence."

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How to Change the Course of Healthcare's Massive Ship
How to Change the Course of Healthcare's Massive Ship

By: Guy Sayles
Our healthcare system, like many other institutions, seems like an unmerciful giant unwilling to change. Those in power want you to feel powerless. It's how they stay in charge. But you can make a change.

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Respond to Events Beyond Your Control with Love
Respond to Events Beyond Your Control with Love

By: Guy Sayles
Terrorist attacks. Hurricanes and tornadoes. Sudden health scares. Life will constantly remind you that you have little control, but you can control your response to what happens to you.

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4 Suggestions to Minister in the Meantime and Mean Time
4 Suggestions to Minister in the Meantime and Mean Time

By: Guy Sayles
Ministry happens in the meantime, the season of troubling transitions, and the mean time, when public debate has coarsened. Here are 4 ways you can navigate these difficult intervals.

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It Matters: The Ethics of How We Treat Other Bodies
It Matters: The Ethics of How We Treat Other Bodies

By: Guy Sayles
Everything that happens to us - that is, to our bodies - matters to us and to God. In many ways, ethics is about how we treat bodies, our own and the bodies of others.

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Keeping the Right Focus Amid Dysfunctional Politics
Keeping the Right Focus Amid Dysfunctional Politics

By: Guy Sayles
Our political system suffers from a paralysis that could become permanent. And followers of Jesus, whether conservative or liberal, must place "the least of these" at the center of our politics and economics.

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Prophetic Priests and Priestly Prophets
Prophetic Priests and Priestly Prophets

By: Guy Sayles
While the priest's work is primarily within the church and the prophet's focus is most often beyond it, we're living in times when these distinctions are breaking down.

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This Election Season, Some Mouths Need Good Bar of Soap
This Election Season, Some Mouths Need Good Bar of Soap

By: Guy Sayles
Especially this election season, our words are frequently nasty and deplorable, eroding our awareness that even the people who are most offensive to us are created in God's image.

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3 Ways to Minister to Your Church During Election Season
3 Ways to Minister to Your Church During Election Season

By: Guy Sayles
Presidential election years are one of the hardest times for ministers to balance prophetic engagement with the culture and congregational unity. Here are 3 ways to find that balance.

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What Do Your Words Really Say About You?
What Do Your Words Really Say About You?

By: Guy Sayles
We're told as children that "words will never harm" us, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Words can open wounds that never fully heal. We have a responsibility to use our words wisely.

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Why We All Need Knowledge and Wisdom
Why We All Need Knowledge and Wisdom

By: Guy Sayles
The intertwined serpents on the physicians' caduceus represent knowledge and wisdom. Good doctors need both, and so do we. Knowledge is about "what" and "how"; wisdom muses about "why" and "who."

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'A Beautiful Constraint'
'A Beautiful Constraint'

By: Guy Sayles
Constraints can be 'beautiful' opportunities. When determination and commitment clash with limits and constraint, that energy can help us consider changes we've previously been unwilling to make.

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Meeting on Common Ground of Our Vulnerability
Meeting on Common Ground of Our Vulnerability

By: Guy Sayles
Many want the church to be a place where hard questions don't intrude and disagreements don't disturb. They want comfort more than challenge, but that desire wreaks havoc on the church.

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Treating the Earth as 'Warehouse of Cheap Resources'
Treating the Earth as 'Warehouse of Cheap Resources'

By: Guy Sayles
We live as if the earth were a warehouse of cheap resources for our indiscriminate use. Instead, we could live as images of God who represent God's gracious rule over the earth.

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Allowing Our Labels to Unite Us, Not Divide Us
Allowing Our Labels to Unite Us, Not Divide Us

By: Guy Sayles
We divide each other into all sorts of categories. Instead of using those names and labels as reasons to separate ourselves, let's use them as places for genuine conversations to begin.

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How You Can Be a Good Steward of Your Anger
How You Can Be a Good Steward of Your Anger

By: Guy Sayles
Anger is a hazardous material, to be handled with extreme caution. If we manage anger carefully and wisely, we can use it for good. When we're good stewards of our anger, it doesn't have to be destructive.

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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

By: Guy Sayles
No matter how old we are, we never really stop asking ourselves what we're going to do when we grow up. For followers of Jesus, we have a call to learn from him how to respond to our time and place.

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Why Churches Need to Talk About Seeking Justice
Why Churches Need to Talk About Seeking Justice

By: Guy Sayles
Most churches respond with mercy to those in need. The next step is how do churches seek justice, which is a harder conversation we often avoid, in order to change the conditions that cause the need.

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Do Your Words Sustain Others or Tear Them Down?
Do Your Words Sustain Others or Tear Them Down?

By: Guy Sayles
Despite the current climate of extreme rhetoric, people hunger for words that inspire hope and hearten the discouraged. Christians need to speak sustaining, life-building and grace-giving words.

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How Christian Ethics Guide Cultural Engagement
How Christian Ethics Guide Cultural Engagement

By: Guy Sayles
Faith communities make it either more or less likely that people will be able to live out their faith. You can't nurture peacemakers in a community that uses attack as its main way of relating to culture.

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Our Workaholic Busyness Keeps Us from Sabbath
Our Workaholic Busyness Keeps Us from Sabbath

By: Guy Sayles
Many of us acquiesce to the fearful lie that our worth is inseparably bound up with our work. It's an insidious form of bondage that keeps us from the command and invitation to observe the Sabbath.

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4 Ways to Manage Life's Creative Tensions
4 Ways to Manage Life's Creative Tensions

By: Guy Sayles
Life's creative tensions constantly pull at us. On one hand, we're enjoying college football, Star Wars and cat videos. On the other, we are called to care for our neighbors near and far. How do we find balance?

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Trusting God to Break Though Our Weary Cynicism
Trusting God to Break Though Our Weary Cynicism

By: Guy Sayles
Christmas is the season of joy, but sometimes our joy gets crowded out by skepticism and suspicion. Despite that, we can trust God to show up in places as unexpected as our weary cynicism.

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Lessons in Leadership from the Political Process
Lessons in Leadership from the Political Process

By: Guy Sayles
Our political process offers many valuable - albeit negative - lessons for church leaders. However, politics does teach us the importance of fashioning networks and coalitions, all for the common good.

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The Key to Success When You Need to Change
The Key to Success When You Need to Change

By: Guy Sayles
Change is hard. Companies need to change but practice business as usual. People need to lose weight but can't motivate themselves. However, an ancient resource can spur you to change.

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How You Can Stop Being 'Scrooge with a Stopwatch'
How You Can Stop Being 'Scrooge with a Stopwatch'

By: Guy Sayles
Many of us have a troubled relationship with time. Sabbath, however, invites us to another way of inhabiting time, allowing us to rest in the profound awareness that our worth comes from our identity as God's children.

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Showing Kindness When Everyone Else Thinks It's Weird
Showing Kindness When Everyone Else Thinks It's Weird

By: Guy Sayles
Many feel they don't deserve the goodness others show them. Kindness often makes us feel weird simply because it is rare enough that we hardly expect it.

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Reflecting God's Character in Our Civility
Reflecting God's Character in Our Civility

By: Guy Sayles
Civility is a reflection of the character of God. When we are civil, we represent a God who rules the world by love. We may not agree with someone, but we mustn't forget God loves them.

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Helping Church Leaders Recover from Leadership Scars
Helping Church Leaders Recover from Leadership Scars

By: Guy Sayles
Many church leaders, both clergy and laity, have leadership scars, difficult reminders of wounds they received when they attempted to offer their leadership gifts. We need to help them heal.

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The Danger When You Live for Others' Approval
The Danger When You Live for Others' Approval

By: Guy Sayles
When we play our lives for the approval of powerful and influential people, we end up saying and doing what we think they want us to say and do, rather than what we most deeply think and feel.

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Coach's 3-Prong Philosophy Applies to Churches
Coach's 3-Prong Philosophy Applies to Churches

By: Guy Sayles
Legendary UNC Coach Dean Smith had a three-prong philosophy for his teams: play hard, play smart, play together. And that's not a bad philosophy for churches, too.

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Racism's Wound Still Painfully Open, Needs Healing
Racism's Wound Still Painfully Open, Needs Healing

By: Guy Sayles
As the Charleston church shooting reminds us, division among races, made worse by educational and economic inequality, is a wound which remains painfully open. How do we heal it?

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2 Important Skills for Church Leaders
2 Important Skills for Church Leaders

By: Guy Sayles
Effective leaders need two important skills when leading a church. They need to be able to motivate members to take a hill and they need to be able to discern which hills to take.

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How You Can Rediscover Contemporary Jesus
How You Can Rediscover Contemporary Jesus

By: Guy Sayles
More than any argument for the truth of Christianity, what persuades me over and over again is the immediate and inescapable presence of Jesus. We relate to him as a here-and-now reality.

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Dominion, Not Domination, Over Our Island Home
Dominion, Not Domination, Over Our Island Home

By: Guy Sayles
God has given mankind dominion over the earth, but we've distorted that meaning to justify exploitation of the earth's nonhuman creatures and profligate waste of its resources. We are not owners, but stewards.

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How Not to be Discouraged by the Church
How Not to be Discouraged by the Church

By: Guy Sayles
Devotion to the church often keeps company with doubts about the church. While we can be greatly discouraged and hurt by people at church, it's also where we discover God's grace.

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Singing About Peace in a Violent, Fearful World
Singing About Peace in a Violent, Fearful World
By: Guy Sayles
It's ironic that, during this season, we sing about peace while storm clouds of violence and fear darken the horizon. These problems may paralyze us, but Jesus isn't powerless to change them.
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Profiles in Goodwill: Guy Sayles
Profiles in Goodwill: Guy Sayles
By: EthicsDaily Staff
In addition to writing columns for Ethics Daily.com, Guy Sayles is pastor of First Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina, and a board member of the Baptist Center for Ethics.
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A Better Way: Choosing Unity Over Division
A Better Way: Choosing Unity Over Division

By: Guy Sayles
We classify and separate ourselves and others according to characteristics. Rich vs. poor. Republican vs. Democrat. Sinner vs. saint. It doesn't have to be like this. We can choose a better way.

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Which World Have You Chosen to Inhabit?
Which World Have You Chosen to Inhabit?
By: Guy Sayles
Two groups, mere yards apart, might have been in different worlds. One fueled by anger, the other by happiness. Similarly, Jesus is an entry to a truer world within ours. One inhabited by grace, mercy, love and joy.
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Do You Place Party Loyalty Before God's Kingdom?
Do You Place Party Loyalty Before God's Kingdom?

By: Guy Sayles
Our posturing and partisan name-calling on the national level make us forget our commonalities and magnify our differences. But Christians must place God's kingdom before party loyalties.

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The Lord's Prayer Urges Us to Focus on Common Good
The Lord's Prayer Urges Us to Focus on Common Good
Jesus taught us to pray for bread. That prayer is about more than meeting individual needs; it's about all of us. We pray not just for our own needs, but the needs of the world.
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How to Live Your Life to the Max
How to Live Your Life to the Max
Despite all of our hesitations, fears and excuses, we want to live life to the max – to "mine everything we've got." We want to live this life we've received as a sheer gift.
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Of All Your Travels, The Inward Journey is Most Vital
Of All Your Travels, The Inward Journey is Most Vital
A fresh start in a new place doesn't necessarily result in a genuinely new beginning. That's why we should pay more attention to the inward dimension of our faith journeys.
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What God Had in Mind When Creating Work
What God Had in Mind When Creating Work
Work was God's idea, but not work that lacks purpose and that substitutes metrics and money for love and relationships. God's work for us involves care for creation, culture and neighbors.
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Knowledge and Wisdom: Cousins, Not Twins
Knowledge and Wisdom: Cousins, Not Twins
Knowledge has to do with facts, data and skill; wisdom with purpose, significance and intention. While knowledge and wisdom are related, they're more like cousins than identical twins.
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Loving Others Requires Sustained, Patient Practice
Loving Others Requires Sustained, Patient Practice
If you're going to be good at something – whether it's golf or math or art – it will require years of patient practice. Why should we expect love to be any different?
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Is Your Church an Institution or a Family?
Is Your Church an Institution or a Family?
Family language about church reveals our yearning for intimacy, and corporate language points to our realization that, whatever else the church is, it is an institution. Which should it be?
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Do Science and Religion Have to be At Odds?
Do Science and Religion Have to be At Odds?
Some people fear that modern science has issued orders that, if we complied with them, would shutter our churches. Science and religion, however, can work hand in hand.
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Money Always Promises More Than It Delivers
Money Always Promises More Than It Delivers
Money can never deliver all it promises. To live our lives for no higher purpose than the pursuit of money is to turn ourselves into something less than human.
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Where Consumerism and Christianity Clash
Where Consumerism and Christianity Clash
Advertising is consumer evangelism, and consumerism is our national religion. Why are we surprised that consumerism has affected how we view faith and church?
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When You Discover You've Climbed the Wrong Ladder
When You Discover You've Climbed the Wrong Ladder
Some of us become so obsessed with climbing the ladder of ambition that we lose track of other things that actually matter more: love, health, family, happiness, friends and God.
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4 Cultural Trends That Will Challenge Churches
4 Cultural Trends That Will Challenge Churches
Individualism manifests itself as the fear of or insistence of being left alone. It's one of four pervasive trends that challenge the church. What are the other three?
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Doing and Being: The Synergism that Shapes Your Life
Doing and Being: The Synergism that Shapes Your Life
Is it hard for you to press the pause button, much less the stop button, on your life? For some, it's easier to think of ourselves more as a human "doing" than a human "being."
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Newtown Reminds Us Christmas Always Includes Tears
Newtown Reminds Us Christmas Always Includes Tears
Newtown's tragedy pushes out into the open what we often hide from ourselves and one another at this season: We gladly sing "Silent Night," but Christmas includes tears. It always has.
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Why Are We So Afraid to Learn from Jesus' Mother?
Why Are We So Afraid to Learn from Jesus' Mother?
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a model disciple who has a great deal to teach us about loving Jesus and following him. So why do so many Baptists see her as expendable?
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We're Human Becomings, Not Human Beings
We're Human Becomings, Not Human Beings
My reading of the New Testament tells that Jesus' followers are headed into life as God means it to be. Our destiny is to become our authentic selves by becoming like Jesus.
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3 Songs That Help Refocus My Soul
3 Songs That Help Refocus My Soul
Some people doubt that Van Morrison could be much of a spiritual guide, but three songs from his 1991 release, "Hymns to the Silence," help to center my soul.
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Does Your Church Need to Protest More?
Does Your Church Need to Protest More?
It's time for the church to reclaim the capacity and courage to protest the way things are in both the culture and the church, but that means more than simply "kicking down the barn door."
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The Hidden Danger in Your Busy Life
The Hidden Danger in Your Busy Life
Many of us are proud of our busy lives and don't recognize the danger of too many commitments. As we speed to the next thing, we hurry past love, joy and meaning.
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Why You Can Be Happy in Our Broken World
Why You Can Be Happy in Our Broken World
Many people think that happiness is possible only if you're a little bit crazy. But others know that whatever is wrong with the world, it's still in God's restoring hands.
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How You Can Be a Good Steward of Your Words
How You Can Be a Good Steward of Your Words
Words bombard us around the clock. They're so plentiful that they don't seem to mean much. But words have great creative or destructive power. How do you use them?
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4 Principles about Mixing God and Politics
4 Principles about Mixing God and Politics
With the Republican and Democratic national conventions behind us, here are four principles to keep in mind when you think about religion and politics.
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How Worry Will Sideline You From God's Best for You
How Worry Will Sideline You From God's Best for You
Some of us live with gnawing anxiety that there isn't enough of whatever we need. That anxiety keeps us from claiming the life God intends for us to have.
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In Football and Church, No One Succeeds Alone
In Football and Church, No One Succeeds Alone
On the football field, no quarterback or running back wins games by himself. It takes all the players. It's the same with church. We can't go it alone; we need community.
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What's The Most Important Part of Church?
What's The Most Important Part of Church?
What's the most crucial part of a church? Is it the buildings, budgets or perhaps programs? Could it be its "take" on finer points of doctrine? No, but read on for the answer.
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Bob Dylan Was Right: We All Serve Somebody
Bob Dylan Was Right: We All Serve Somebody
You're gonna have to serve somebody, Bob Dylan croons. Who or what do you serve? Your greatest freedom comes from a full and glad yielding to God.
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Can Changing Scenery Solve Your Problems?
Can Changing Scenery Solve Your Problems?
Need to solve all your problems instantly? Try moving! You'll stop procrastinating. You'll become a morning person who gets to work on time. Everything will be perfect. Right?
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What We Don't Hear When We Listen to Society's Noise
What We Don't Hear When We Listen to Society's Noise
We're surrounded by noise and information clamoring for our attention. With all the commotion, we need silence more than we realize to help us hear the quiet voice of God.
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Growing in Christian Faith Like Family Farming
Growing in Christian Faith Like Family Farming
Being a Christian is not mainly ideas we have or beliefs we affirm; it is a whole way of life. Christians are people who are learning, by experience, to do all of life in the Jesus-way.
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Genuine Civility Rooted in God's Character
Genuine Civility Rooted in God's Character
Civility is a public virtue that is simple to praise and complicated to practice. Engaging in civility acknowledges that all human beings are valuable because they're created in God's image.
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What's The Church's Greatest Threat? The Church
What's The Church's Greatest Threat? The Church
People may be intensely interested in Jesus but they are profoundly disinterested in the church. They see sooner and more clearly than those inside the church that something is wrong.
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Musical Paints Compelling Portrait of Jesus' Humanity
Musical Paints Compelling Portrait of Jesus' Humanity
While Jesus Christ Superstar distresses some people because it isn't a full presentation of the story of Jesus, the musical offers a compelling portrait of his humanity.
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Graduates: How to Live Lives That Matter
Graduates: How to Live Lives That Matter
Despite what we think and fear, it's never too late to take up the challenge of living a life that matters instead of settling for whatever kind of life might happen to us.
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What is the Mark of Genuine Patriotism?
What is the Mark of Genuine Patriotism?
Nearly all governments use religion to legitimize themselves. But for people of faith, it's a denial of both honesty and of genuine patriotism to be silent in the face of injustice.
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Fear – The Cheapest Room to Live in the House
Fear – The Cheapest Room to Live in the House
When we live in fear, we are always staring out the grimy window, trying to see the future before it arrives, and attempting to control the uncertainty of tomorrow by worrying about it.
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Belonging, Behaving, Believing
I think the revolution that’s going on in the church is that if we’ll find a way to allow people to belong, if they feel a sense of connection and welcome, they’ll find their way to believing.
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When You Forego Efficiency for Faithfulness
When You Forego Efficiency for Faithfulness
Some things are so right and good we have to do them – no matter what. They don't have to serve another purpose. They are experiences that are higher and holier than mere purpose.
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Real Leaders Inspire Others to Do Better
Real Leaders Inspire Others to Do Better
In contrast to political opportunists, genuine leaders move us from apathy to engagement, from indifference to involvement, and from settling for the status quo to reaching for new realities.
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Will Majority Religions Protect the Rights of All?
Will Majority Religions Protect the Rights of All?
As one pastor tells his local school board, majority religions need to be intentional and proactive about protecting the rights of people of minority faiths or no stated faith.
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Power, Pleasure, Purpose. What Do We Really Seek?
Power, Pleasure, Purpose. What Do We Really Seek?
Nietzsche believed we were driven to power. Freud thought we were pushed to seek pleasure. Others think we desire purpose. But something else gives us deeper joy.
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Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?
Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?
With so many places to eat, it's easy to forget that food doesn't come on a plate, in a wrapper or bundled with a toy. It comes from God's soil. Let's be thankful to God and for those who toil to prepare it.
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Why God Wants You to Give It a Rest
Why God Wants You to Give It a Rest
We serve a God who loves us enough to make rest a commandment. So what are you waiting for? Turn off your cell, log off your laptop, take out your ear buds, turn off your TV – and rest.
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Do You Make Time to Sense God's Presence?
Do You Make Time to Sense God's Presence?
God is the source and energy of everything. So why don't we see and hear and feel the wonders of God and of God's creation that are everywhere? Maybe we need to pause.
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Few Leaders Grasp Outrage of Average Citizens
Few Leaders Grasp Outrage of Average Citizens
Certain fundamental issues – health care, immigration, hunger and housing – shouldn't be politicized, but we have used political posturing to avoid dealing with crucial issues.
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Why You Need That Frustrating Church Community
Why You Need That Frustrating Church Community
Why should we attend churches filled with difficult people with different views, competing needs and diverse desires? Because God can use them to smooth out our rough edges.
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This Lent, Is It Time for You to Deny Denial?
This Lent, Is It Time for You to Deny Denial?
Denial is something we all do. It short-circuits growth, robs us of joy, and interferes with freedom. This Lent, perhaps it's time to deny denial and come to terms with the truth.
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Why Church Will Never Change Some Folks
Why Church Will Never Change Some Folks
How can people attend church for decades and remain as mean-spirited as their first day there? Many like to keep up the appearance of having it all together.
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Churches Must Offer More Than Management, Therapy
Churches Must Offer More Than Management, Therapy
While good management and skilled therapy are important in a congregation, they aren't central to the church's calling. People need something more.
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Why Future Christians Will Be Mystics
Why Future Christians Will Be Mystics
Faith can't survive on the meager nourishment provided by the mind alone. Faith will either affect ordinary awareness or will be formulaic, superficial and empty.
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In Troubling Times, We Can Learn from Gandalf
In Troubling Times, We Can Learn from Gandalf
We don't get to choose the times we live in. We can't control what happens to us. But, as a wise wizard from "The Lord of the Rings" reminds us, we decide what to do with the time given to us.
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King's Words of Truth Continue to Set Us Free
King's Words of Truth Continue to Set Us Free

Unlearning fear and prejudice - rooting bias and hatred out of one's heart - requires a lifetime of work. It takes discipline to make room for people against whom we have been taught to slam the door.

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Which Is More Important to Your Faith? Head or Heart?
Which Is More Important to Your Faith? Head or Heart?
When it comes to faith, the head wants to think its way to God; the heart wants to be carried on the wings of love. While there's a tension between head and heart, we need both.
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How You Can Face the Future with Confidence
How You Can Face the Future with Confidence
As we enter the new year, how do we prepare for a future we can't see? To be prepared, we must gain – or regain – clarity about the purpose and meaning of our lives.
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Why God Loves You – Up Close and Personal
Why God Loves You – Up Close and Personal
Despite the classic Bette Midler hit, God isn't watching us from a distance. God loves us too much to leave us alone and is involved in the everyday details of our lives.
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This Advent, You Can Be a Peacemaker Close to Home
This Advent, You Can Be a Peacemaker Close to Home
While many of us don't have the ability to influence peace on a global scale, we can still do our part to seek peacemaking opportunities that are closer to home.
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Is Your Life Always Winter, Never Christmas?
Is Your Life Always Winter, Never Christmas?
Like the first encounter in the fantastic land of C.S. Lewis' Narnia, our own lives can be captive to a life that's "always winter and never Christmas." But it doesn't have to stay that way.
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Pessimism vs. Optimism: What's the Alternative?
Pessimism vs. Optimism: What's the Alternative?
Pessimism is plentiful and cheap, and it makes for a lousy life. While optimism serves us better, it thrives on the denial of hard truths. So what do we need? Hope.
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Is Your God Too Small? Time to Super-Size
Is Your God Too Small? Time to Super-Size
Often without realizing it, many of us have substituted a paltry and puny God for the great and gracious God made known in Jesus. It's time for us to rediscover this God.
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Taking Time to Befriend People on Life's Run
Taking Time to Befriend People on Life's Run
We spend our busy lives running past people and never making connections. How much more enriching can our lives be when we learn to run with people?
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Why Do So Many Believe God Doesn't Love Them?
Why Do So Many Believe God Doesn't Love Them?
Many people are convinced that God is ready to punish them for who they are, what they've done and what they've failed to do. The truth is that God loves them – so, so much.
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Jesus' Leadership Model: Servants Over CEOs
Jesus' Leadership Model: Servants Over CEOs
Jesus defines leadership by making it unmistakably clear that real leadership is a way of serving. And a servant leader is committed to the needs and potential of people.
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