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How to Bring Joy to Your City

I love that part of the story of the early church in which God allows persecution to scatter the Christians from Jerusalem like ants. The Bible says that everywhere they went, they preached the gospel (see Acts chapter 8). Phillip, in particular, headed to a city in Samaria and became the earliest cross-cultural missionary. When he preached there, the citizens listened and embraced Jesus. The Bible sums it up by saying, "So there was great joy in that city." (Acts 8:8 …

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The True Source of Real Joy

It is very possible to discover happiness in your current circumstances, assuming your circumstances are happy ones. It's also possible to find happiness in material things... for now, career success... whatever that looks like, and when all of your relationships are sailing along smoothly. But happiness isn't the goal. Joy is. Joy is possible in bad health, a bad marriage, a bad job, and on a really bad day. Joy is deep. It's profound. It's mysterious. It's rooted in both …

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4 Attitudes You Can Choose Today

Sometimes God takes me back to kindergarten, spiritually speaking. I spend time reading theological treatises, but I sometimes forget the most basic and simple of truths. Here's one of those basic truths I sometimes struggle with: We choose our attitudes. We don't choose our circumstances. We don't choose the weather, the direction of the economy, what people around us will do, or the direction of world events. If we could choose our circumstances, we would avoid …

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10 Lessons from Coca-Cola’s Happiness Machine

If you haven't already, you MUST watch this video... Now... are you smiling? Exactly! You can read a pretty great article about how Coke created its "happiness machine" and read some of the great observations that came out of the interview, but I'd like to throw some observations out there that I made while watching, even before studying how Coke pulled this off. Making people happy is easy. It just is. While happiness is not God's biggest goal for people …

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Rejoice In the Lord… Always, Again I say Rejoice

One of my favorite daily news feeds comes from The Daily Spurgeon. Today's thought addressed something that Christians struggle with often. But usually, when someone comes to me with this question, they're already on the right track. It is "Can I enjoy the world around me, though it is perishing?" The Bible tells us to love not the world, neither the things that are in the world (1 John 2:16-17), but the "world" in view here is not the planet which God made to be good …

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Kumbaya, My Lord!

What does that mean, anyway? Actually, it means "come by here." We didn't sing Kumbaya at camp this week, but God definitely showed up! This was my first experience with church camp... ever! I'd been to Conservation Camp in elementary school and hated every minute of it. This week was vastly different. For one thing, thirty-six people got saved! As I reflect on camp, let me just share the highlights... The quiet mornings by the lake while the kids slept were great. Waking up …

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Graduation Day

Today was kind of tough... for Momma anyway. We saw our little girl "walk the line" to graduate from Preschool. The theme was What A Wonderful World, which all nineteen graduates sang together. They actually played Pomp and Circumstance as they marched in. She got a diploma and an award for Developing the Most in Confidence throughout the year. We're so proud! Angie handles moments like these with a mothering sadness. Her little girl will never graduate from Preschool again. …

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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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The Lord Who Heals and the People Who Worship

I must confess, as a Baptist, it took me a rather long time to come to understand the healing nature of God. We Baptists, as Adrian Rogers put it, "believe in miracles, but trust in Jesus." I still believe this is best. But I also freely admit that in our reaction to the extremism of "healing evangelists" like Binny Hinn and other obvious hucksters and false prophets, that we have a tendency to write off all supposed healings as a mere charade. Scripture, however, clearly …

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