Enjoying Prayer
by Tim Grissom on July 18th, 2024
By: Tim Grissom The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. —1 Peter 4:7–11Prayer became more precious to me when I started thinking of it as opportunities to have conversations with my Father. Prior to that, my praying was pretty much driven by either duty or desperation. I prayed because I knew I should or I prayed because I didn’...  Read More
Suffering as an Exile
by Spencer McCorkel on July 11th, 2024
Suffering is unpleasant. Suffering is also not monolithic; it has various types. Right now the most famous bike race is going on, the Tour de France. In 21 stages over 23 days, riders test their pain thresholds and what determines the overall champion is how well he can suffer compared to his competitors. This is a type of suffering that is aimed at a certain outcome. In the Christian life this would be more akin to the practice of spiritual disciplines, which in the moment may not be pleasant, but are producing within us the fruit of righteousness.  Read More
More Than a Wedding Day Declaration
by Jenny Stricklin on July 4th, 2024
Eighteen years ago this month, I stood at the double back doors of my childhood church sanctuary. The pews were packed with dear family and friends. And I’m positive there were at least as many butterflies making a scene in my stomach. Everything was perfect. Only the flower-petal path lay between me and my soon-to-be-husband. I tried my best to take it all in as I took my dad’s arm, and the band began to play and sing: We’ve come to declare the beauty of the Lord, declare the beauty of the Lord.  Read More
Sojourners and Strangers
by Blake Hudspeth on June 27th, 2024
The San Diego church was a flurry of activity, so I hadn’t quite heard what he said. “Do what?” I asked, wanting him to say it again. The pastor grew up in southern California and stood there blinking back at me. “Do…what,” he said the words back to himself trying to make sense of it. “It means repeat what you just said.” “I…don’t think it means that. Must be an Arkansas thing.”  Read More
New Blood Lines
by Montana Jones on June 20th, 2024
I remember, as I was growing up, there was a consistent phrase that was repeated to me. Whenever I was going over to a friend's house, on a trip, or somewhere on my own, my dad would say to me, “Remember who you are and whose you are.” That phrase had multiple levels of meaning. On one level, it meant I needed to remember my family values and what my parents had instilled in me as good and honorable behavior. But on a deeper level, it was a reminder that I was first and foremost a child of God, empowered to live a life that reflected Him, and that I would be in His keeping as I did. It was a reminder that as I entered the world, how I lived and what I did would not be dictated by those around me, but by something much deeper and foundational.  Read More
Spot the Difference
by Tracy Cooney on June 13th, 2024
“One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.” Do you remember this song from Sesame Street? A group of objects would appear on-screen, and we were asked to decipher which one was out of place. The answer was simple, but the ever-patient Bob McGrath would whistle through the jingle, giving our little eyes enough time to spot the difference. A red balloon stuck out in a group of blue balloons, or one shape did not match the others. Even as children staring at grainy 1980s television sets, we knew when something did not fit.  Read More

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