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Showing posts from February, 2023

Thoughts From Carole Mayhall

Dear Friends, Have you ever dealt with the feelings of despair, loneliness, betrayal, disappointment with God, or spiritual numbness? I have. I've dealt with each and every one at one time or another in my life. They are not fun. They hurt deeply. And depending on the depth of the struggle (or its cause) it takes a long time to move beyond them. In a fallen world where things are not as they should be, it's not uncommon to have to walk through such times – often more times than we would like. That's why I offer you this excerpt from a very good book by Carole Mayhall entitled, "Help Lord, My Whole Life Hurts." I heard they changed the title in more recent years but cannot verify that. It made sense when the person told me, after all, who would want others seeing them buy a book with that title! Yet, her insights (after going through a very painful time where she and her husband saw a thriving ministry die though lies, slander, betrayal, and a rejection

Thoughts From Rebecca Kelsall

Dear Friends, For those who may not know, today is “Shrove Tuesday” (from the Old English word “shriven” which means ‘absolved). Catholic people (more commonly in the past than the present) would go to the priest today, to be ‘absolved’ for their sins before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday (tomorrow). The Lenten period is the 40-day period (minus Sundays) leading up to the Saturday before Easter. In relation to all that I found this redemptively helpful and inspirational devotional entry in the CRU Lenten Devotional series for 2022, Day 7. It is titled, “Forgiven and Free” and was written by a CRU staff worker named Rebecca Kelsall. Enjoy. “Lied to your parents. Lied to your friends. Gossiped. Cheated in school. Ditched class. Intentionally hurt someone else. Indulged in sexual sin…” My cheeks burned pink. I was one of the hundred 15-year olds charged to confess my sins as part of a religious rite of passage. During this exercise, my confessor listed sins one-by-one

Thoughts From Thom Shultz

Dear Friends, In light of current cultural trends, have you wondered what the church in America will look like in the future? This article by Thom Shultz, entitled “Five Ways the Church Will Change” (written a few years back) was, and still is by all estimations, very accurate. In fact, at the end of his article I include very recent (2022) findings done by Barna Research which come to the same conclusion.  If you love Jesus and His church (and I’m not talking so much about the trappings that go along with it, like it’s historic buildings, cumbersome organizational structures, etc.) and you wonder how to reach out wisely to unbelievers so that they may come to know him, Shultz offers wise advice by giving us five ways the church will change and needs to change. Better yet, five ways the church needs to return to the way it originally functioned in its earliest days. A return to what we could call a more biblical model that often got overshadowed or lost in the heyday of the church’

Thoughts From Bob Goff

Dear Friends, I came across a thought-provoking little message about grace today which I wanted to pass along for your encouragement. It is by Bob Goff and is entitled “Grace is Only Hard To Give If We’re Keeping Score.” It is from his devotional book, “Live in Grace, Walk in Love.” Those who have been called upon to extend grace to others know there are two occasions when grace can indeed be hard for us to do. The first is when God calls us as recipients of His pardoning grace to show that same kind of grace to others (Matthew 18:21-35). The second is when we are (to use Goff’s words) “keeping score” and see others receiving more of it than we do (Matthew 20:1-16). This entry has to do with the second. Enjoy. Grace is Only Hard to Give If We’re Keeping Score “When Jesus tried to tell people what the kingdom of heaven was like, He knew descriptions would fail, so He told stories. He said God’s kingdom was like someone who was lost but then was found. He said it was like

Thoughts From Mike Mason

Dear Friends, Have you ever gotten mad at God? Have you ever had people tell you it was wrong to feel that way? Have you ever, therefore, been confused about what to do with them if you did have those moments of harboring angry feelings toward God? As a pastor I have to be honest and say I have had such moments of anger. And when I've had them, I've gone to God with them. Of course, when I tell people that, some say I did the right thing, while others say I sinned in doing so, because they see it as an act of arrogance and irreverence to do so. So, what is my reasoning for choosing to express that anger to God instead of pretending it's not there? 1st) To pretend it’s not there (when God knows it is) is to insult His omniscience. 2nd) Anger will always come out in some way (avoidance, the cold shoulder, irritability, meanness, etc.), so getting it out of our system is better than repressing it, or