The Secret to a Close-Knit Community of Believers

One thing I notice about church in this generation is that it’s really easy to show up on Sunday, hang out for a couple of hours, then leave without really knowing anyone any more than when you got there. You could really not even talk to anyone.

I guess that’s fine for those who want their “church life” to stay in its place—at church.

But what if you and I seek a close-knit community of fellow believers; a community that knows each other beyond the names of spouses and children. A community that knows what each others dreams, passions, fears, and struggles look like.

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4 Things that Will Always Fulfill

A need for fulfillment is a strong motivator. We want to feel happy and satisfied. We hope to see our dreams and expectations become reality.

Yet we chase after things that leave us just the opposite. Sometimes we fully expect our pursuit to fill that longing within us to have purpose, to feel content, only to find that not only were we climbing the wrong ladder, but we had it propped against the wrong building.

Other times we foolishly run after things that will not only fall painfully short of fulfillment but also ultimately destroy us. Yet we divulge for the brief escape from our current painful reality.

Does anything exist that will always bring fulfillment?

Yes! How cruel would God be if He created us with a need for fulfillment then left us without anything that will meet that need?

I can think of at least 4 things that will always bring fulfillment.

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5 Reasons to Embrace Pain

I hate pain. I moan, cry, groan, yell, sometimes say bad words. And, that’s when I have a stomach ache. Danielle just rolls her eyes.

As I write this, I am wearing a soft cast boot on my ankle I had surgically repaired about five weeks ago Yeah, just a little painful.

Then to make it more fun, I began rehab two weeks ago. So far that has reminded me of the Thai foot massages I got while living in Thailand. Kind of nice, and kind of not so nice. I know the  real pain is yet to come.

How I Used to Handle Pain

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Driving Fast on the Wrong Road

A Guest Post by Matt Peacock

This is a guest post by Matt Peacock, a pastor and now executive director of Partners in Hope Lake Travis.

In looking at the culture we live in I can’t think of a better description of daily life than driving fast down the wrong road. We can easily assume we just need to jump on the highway of contemporary American culture and drive fast enough to stay up, without ever asking if it’s the right road.

What do I mean by driving fast?

Busyness is held as the inescapable norm – so do it all the way.

How many times have we expressed how busy we are to others in our conversations and heard it from others. It is a badge of honor in our culture that we are driving as fast as everyone else: making every appointment, involving our kids in every opportunity, making sure the calendar has no days unplanned.

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Can We Remove the Stigma of Asking for Help from Our Culture?

5 Causes of What Makes it Hard to Ask for Help

I am the classic guy who struggles with asking for help. Thank goodness for GPS maps! Seriously though, as I age I have gotten better. These days I readily admit I need help from time to time.

What Causes the Stigma

Even though we joke about men refusing to ask for directions, a stigma really is attached to asking for help. I can think of a few reasons why it exists:

  • Shame. In the work I do with lower income families, it is very common for a person to ask if we can do work on their property without the neighbors knowing. Their question is laden with shame.
  • Failure. As a foster care and adoptive parent, I have seen many foster families struggle to the point of burn out. Why? They don’t have an adequate support system around them. Maybe they think that if they ask for help it communicates failure to fulfill their commitment to foster.

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7 Reasons to Invest in People

If you invest in or pay attention to the stock markets, you know it’s been a wild ride that the past week or two. Investing isn’t for the fainthearted that’s for sure.

It helps if you can take a long-term approach to financial investments riding out the ups and downs. Some investments will disappoint and others will succeed beyond expectations. That’s the nature of investing.

But that is why some people don’t invest money in the stock market or other opportunities. It’s too stressful.

I follow two rules when I make financial investments:

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How Do You Know Which Way to Go?

3 Ways Most Do It that Aren't Necessarily the Best

My wife knows all too well I enjoy looking at maps. I even got a job once that all I did all day was look at maps. That probably sounds boring to you, but I loved it!

When I drive somewhere new, of course I look at the map to look at different routes, what towns or cities I will drive through, on and on. Have you ever stopped at one of those big travel stores and seen a map on the wall that shows you where you are? If you are like me, not only have you seen them, but you stood there looking at it while you waited for others in your group.

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5 Things that Happen When God Has All of me

Does God really want all of me. This question challenges me. Surely God doesn’t expect to have all of me. Don’t I have free will? And my free will is to have some of my time, money, etc. for myself. Didn’t God just set things in motion for us to enjoy our lives however we want to live them?

Occasionally I meet someone who carries a sense of confidence and success that doesn’t come from themselves. It’s a sense of destiny. It’s as if God’s favor rests on them. They exude humility and peace that makes another comfortable in their midst. What they carry attracts others.

Do you know anyone like this?

I know the source, but I think I know why some who call themselves Christians carry this while so many don’t.

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3 Things to Learn from a Man Who Lived Unfairness Well

Do We Really Want What We "Deserve"?

That’s Not Fair! They mistreated me. I am misunderstood. I get overlooked. Other people have more money, opportunities, better looks, the “right” color of skin, more talent, more intelligence…

Our society is full of people who whine and cry about the unfairness of life. I don’t deny that injustice, prejudice, mistreatment, and so on, exists. With the omnipresence of media, we hear about it more, but much of it gets over-exposure too.

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Is Our Arrogance Killing Our Passion for Missions?

I sat and listened to a friend who has served in East Asia for seven years talk about how they are sharing the Good News and discipling new believers. I found joy in hearing the things God is doing through their work. It stirred up feelings of pride. Pride. Now that’s an interesting emotion in response to what he was sharing.

My missionary friend was giving a report of his work to a team of pastors and lay leaders. The more I listened, I sensed an air of…hmm how should I put it? Arrogance? I can’t speak for my friends in the room, so I have to confess my own attitude.

I have been in these kind of meetings before. Representatives of the American church asking a missionary who has been serving faithfully, sacrificially, on the field for an account of the work they are doing. Nothing wrong with that.

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