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The Thrill of Hope

The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn’ This lyric comes from one of my favorite Christmas carols: “O Holy Night.” I’ve always been captivated by the curious phrase, the thrill of hope. I’ve always wondered something. What is it, exactly, that makes hope thrilling? Thrilling isn’t …

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The Church and the World

The relationship between the church and the world can be complex, especially for the church. I’ve always thought and taught that there are essentially three postures that the church—which is to say, both congregations and individuals—can take toward the world around them. They can insulate. Churches or individual believers who insulate themselves see all of the problems …

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Fighting for the Heart

I had only been in full-time ministry for four months when I attended a conference in Atlanta with friends. One of the first speakers preached a sermon that fueled my ministry in those early years. God had used him to transform a dying church into a vibrant community of belief that was, and still is, on …

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How to Know When to Leave

Sometimes you have to walk away. That’s a painful truth in ministry. Sometimes you’ve worked so long, fought so hard, influenced to the extent of your capabilities, and had all the difficult conversations that are necessary and there’s no sight of growth or change on the horizon. It could be an unchangeable systemic problem, nearsighted …

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Back in the Saddle, Part 2

I recently wrote about the journey our family has taken over the last 12 months. Now that I’m back in the saddle, I want to share the lessons God has been teaching me in the process. 1. God never changes. It doesn’t matter what craziness is going on in the world—and there is so much of it—he …

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