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Approaching Easter Sunday As a Pastor

Easter Sunday is special. In spite of the competition from little furry bunnies who deliver colored eggs and sugar-induced hyperactive episodes among children, it's still a holiday that is fairly "religious." That is to say, Jesus still gets a fair amount of attention, possibly because it's always on Sunday and churches draw such attention to the resurrection. This is good. As a Pastor, I know that Easter Sunday excites me because I'll see new and unfamiliar faces in our …

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Was the Grinch a Christian? Exposing the Real Grumps of Christmas

One of my favorite holiday movies is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, especially the new Jim Carrey version. Dr. Seuss invented a character that became so wildly popular, he's now a cliche (i.e. "Don't be such a grinch!"). Anyone who puts a damper on the holidays falls into the grinch category. As a Pastor, I'm immersed (often beyond my own comfort level) in what I've come to think of as the Christian subculture. This is the realm in which Christian believers live. We have …

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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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My Christmas Greeting to You

The angels opened the portal of heaven and their sound and the brightness of their glory was overwhelming to the humble shepherds in the field. But their message was that Jesus wasn't to be found in that throng of angels. He would be found in a manger in a stable in the sleepy hamlet called Bethlehem. Jesus isn't hard to find, unless we're looking for the wrong thing. My greatest hope for you this holiday season, more than anything else, is that you will FIND …

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Photography Inspiration For the Holidays

See more cool photos at fuelyourphotography.com …

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Leading In the New Year [Audio]

As a Pastor, I've always gotten excited about January 1. Everybody is busy at Christmas and while it's a great time for outreach, it's also a great time to get distracted from kingdom growth. January provides a month when people are calming down, seeking peace, and making fresh starts and new commitments. It's the perfect time to challenge a congregation to go forward. I've recorded about a 6 minute audio talk about leading in the new year, casting vision, and setting an …

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Things I'm Thankful for Today

I'm actually thankful for these things every day, but today in the U. S. is especially set aside for the purpose of saying (or blogging) thanks for such things. Gratitude is life-changing and invites the blessings of God into our lives. So let me offer my thanks to God for... Being a holy, wise, perfect, immutable, unchanging, sovereign, loving, gracious, awesome Creator! Giving His only Son, Jesus, who died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. Granting me …

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This Christmas, I Am Content in God’s Gifts

I'm writing this post just after midnight on Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning, whichever you prefer. I'm excited about what the morning will bring forth, but even as I sit in anticipation of tomorrow's celebration, I can honestly say I'm extremely content. I just finished packing gifts up from the basement to the tree, and some bore my name, but I really wouldn't mind if I were empty-handed at the end of the day. Here is why... …

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Who Was St. Valentine Anyway?

Most people will never ponder that question, especially men. We're too busy scrambling for romantic ideas. Jay Leno said men like to call February 14 "Extortion Day." I think it's nice to be able to set aside a day to be extra-sweet to that one who means so much to us. But have you ever known much of the history of the holiday? Mark Driscoll has shared a pretty neat article about it that I wanted to pass along - I found the bottom line of it quite sobering. Go ahead and be …

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Merry Christmas from the Cox Family

Dear Family and Friends, It seems impossible that three years have passed since we moved our family to northwest Arkansas. . We feel so overwhelmed when we think about all with which God has blessed us since coming home to Bethel. Ella started the first grade and seems to be coming out of her shell a “little” bit-(she gets that from her daddy). One of our greatest gifts this year was Ella making the decision to place her trust in Christ and accept Him as Savor. We look …

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