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“I Feel” Versus “I Know”

Right now, I feel tired. I also feel that I'm spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere, and that I'm failing to meet the expectations of others. I feel bogged down in things that need doing, and I feel inadequate to the tasks that loom largest in my life - be a great husband, a great Dad, and a great Pastor. Right now, I know that God's approval matters more than the approval of others. I know that He equips those whom He calls and that I am adequate and can do all …

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Get Personal to Preach More Powerfully

When I was in Bible college, I was taught the same basic sermon preparation methods that thousands of other preachers have learned. It's a linear outline that usually begins with a major proposition, continues with several major points, each supported with explanatory illustrations and then a conclusion that summarizes the truths presented. There's nothing wrong with that approach, but my tendency too often is to rely on what I know. This past Sunday, my wife sat and …

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Think “Warm” As You Plan Your Church’s Christmas Calendar

I've never really considered this before, but Gary Molander makes a pretty deep point about where our audience is when we go into the holiday season. As we design communication pieces, craft messages, and plan services, it's a good idea to think about the perspective from which our audience is listening - not for the purpose of making the message any more palatable, but to improve our ability to communicate it clearly. Listen …

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Darren Rowse on 7 Emotions that Trigger Reader Action

As bloggers, many of us are interested in getting our readers active in different ways (commenting, linking to our posts, sharing them on Twitter, buying our products, and so on), so writing in a way that connects with readers’ emotions is something we might want to think about. Of course this is open to abuse and can do damage to both our readers and our own reputation if it’s used in manipulative ways, so tread with care! Let’s examine seven emotions and how they might be …

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Why?… Sounds A Lot Like Waaa!

My wife, Angie, and I have been riding an emotional roller coaster lately when it comes to the particular issue of having more children. Her and I have both spoken and written about this before. Infertility (for us, it's secondary infertility - we have one) produces this up and down. Every month is another roller coaster ride, a waiting game. …

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Pastors Should Always Wear Long Sleeves

I once filled in for a Pastor who had a beard. His church was a bit upset with him about something and over lunch, two little ladies wanted me to point them to that passage that declares Pastors should not have facial hair... stop searching, it isn't in there. Neither does the Bible address the issue of sleeves, but it does encourage us to be in touch with people by having a shepherd's heart. …

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The Emotional Up’s And Down’s of Easter Weekend

This week has been great. No complaints, so don't think my talking about emotional up's and down's has much to do at all with outward circumstances. Rather, Easter weekend brings it's emotional roller coaster in the form of our identifying with Jesus. We travel with Him through the shadows of persecution, the intimacy of the upper room and His final days in the home of His friends at Bethany, and then into the Garden of Gethsemane where Satan and his minions began to …

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The Rush of Summer

Isn't summer supposed to be our vacation from the busyness of life? This summer, for the Cox family, is flying right by in a whirlwind of activity. We've traveled to see family in three different states (Missouri and Georgia for Angie, Kentucky for me). We're getting ready to spend a week at church camp. And then, it will be time for Angie to return to work, for me to get busy with a new church year, and for Ella to begin Kindergarten. In the midst of being busy in these …

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Remembering the Fallen

Yesterday was a very special day at Bethel. Though we had a lot of folks out on vacation for the holiday weekend, we who remained celebrated God's greatness in raising up heroes throughout the centuries. From Hebrews 11, we recounted the lives and deaths of some of God's greatest servants. Many in the chapter remain unnamed, but their works and martyrdom are mentioned. My favorite line in the passage says, "Of whom the world was not worthy!" Those words reflect my feelings …

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What A Wonderful World

At our wedding, Angie and I chose to have Louie Armstrong's song played... What a Wonderful World. In light of yesterday's shootings, and so many other monumental tragedies in recent years, is it really a wonderful world? We were driving to Fort Smith yesterday for the annual meeting of the BMA of America and were reflecting on some of the tragedies that have taken place at this same time of the year such as the Oklahoma City bombing (April, 1995), the Waco compound burning …

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