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Beauty and Brokenness

I’ve heard the songs, the stories, the gooey, gushy narratives about the beauty in brokenness. God loves us just as we are, and there is no point in pretending we are any better off than we actually are. I’ve also heard the pushback. Is all this all this talk about brokenness just celebrating failure? Shouldn’t […]

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Baseball, Beatitudes, and Being a Disciple.

no ordinary man

“God is like a parent watching a little league game, beaming with pride every time his awkward little kid steps up to the plate. He’s not withholding his approval until we reach the major leagues—even when we miss the swing, God is yelling ‘Great try! Now square up and lift your elbow a little.’ Then he turns […]

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Lay Down the Shame, and Embrace Jesus’ Sufficiency

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Shame is a powerful thing that we don’t talk about a whole lot in the church. While it’s really important to be able to acknowledge and confess our sins, allowing God to deal with our shortcomings, it’s not unusual for healthy conviction to metastasize into this debilitating shame that keeps us cowering in the corner, […]

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Hosanna: Who Are You Looking To For Salvation?

hosanna

Maybe you’re looking for political salvation–for a candidate who you believe could fix our country’s problems. Maybe you’re looking for relational salvation–for a magic bullet to heal broken relationships, or for prince or princess charming to come along and make you feel loved. Maybe you have Roman Empire-sized problems that you fear could destroy you […]

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What seed has God planted in your soul?

  All throughout scripture, the themes of a barrenness, pregnancy, and childbirth point us toward larger spiritual realities. This sermon is about Mary, the mother of Jesus, but it is about you, too. The Holy Spirit is still at work, stirring new life in the barren spaces of our souls. But like Mary, we have to accept […]

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The Best Things to Give Up for Lent

So, what are you giving up for Lent? Not sure yet? I have a few suggestions. Growing up, my family didn’t celebrate Lent. It wasn’t part of our faith tradition. But the older I get, the more I think Lent is a good idea—and not just because it provides us with a religious-sounding excuse to […]

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Wilderness: The Place Between Breaking Free and Breaking Through

  Time spent in the wilderness is not comfortable. In the wilderness, we feel isolated, vulnerable, and unfruitful. It can be a place of great grief and suffering. But the wilderness is also a place where we meet God, and learn to rely on him and him alone. It is a place where we begin […]

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Hagar, the Disenfranchised, and the God who Sees

Hagar

(Right click on the audio file and “save as” to download it to your device.) Hagar’s story is really hard to read. There’s so much tragedy, and so much injustice, much of it perpetrated by people who were supposed to be followers of God. But it’s also an important story, because it shows that God cares about the […]

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Exciting News from Tanzania!

I got more exciting news about the Called Out curriculum that I wrote today! Eliya and Consoler, who serve in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, shared that Called Out, CBE’s youth curriculum, is being considered for public secondary schools… Tanzania’s Youth Patron, who supervises children’s Christian education, recommended Called Out to their multi-denominational Christian Council. Soon, they will vote […]

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When God is Not Your Enemy

Sometimes, when there’s a lot to be done and life seems overwhelming, I wonder if the work I am putting in is worth the cost (which, I will not lie, is high at times). And then, by the grace of God, I get emails quoting teenage girls from East Africa: “Ever since, I knew that […]

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This little girl has her theology straight!

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I’m Stupid About Racism. Are You?

I have a confession to make. I am stupid about racism. I will blame my unusual childhood. I lived in an almost entirely white community (the same one I live in now, in fact) until I was 7. The only black people I knew were my uncle and cousin. Then my family moved to Liberia, […]

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On Broken Bodies: Christ’s and Ours

I came across this thought-provoking video featuring Claire Wimbush, an Episcopal priest who was born with spastic cerebral palsy, as I was perusing the Clergy Health Initiative. This is a gorgeous must-watch. “And when we set up for ourselves ideals that are the wrong ideals — that we simply can’t reach — if we can’t […]

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Jesus, the Canaanite Woman, and Caring for Marginalized People

Today’s guest post is from Dominique DuBois Gilliard, a graduate of North Park Theological Seminary where he also served as an adjunct professor, and comes via the ECC’s Commission on Gender Equality’s blog. How does one best care for marginalized people, those who have been isolated from community, stigmatized by society, and even neglected or […]

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Long Hair and Head Coverings and Hierarchy, Oh My! 1 Cor. 11 in the Women in Ministry Sermon Series

1 Corinthians 11 may be one of the most confusing passages in the New Testament. What’s all this “headship” stuff about (and how can God be the head of Christ, if Christ IS God)? Do men represent “the glory of God” better than women? What’s all this talk about long hair, short hair, shaved heads, […]

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