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Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in Blog, Kingdom, Small Group Resources |

Wrestling and Telling

Wrestling and Telling

Last week I was able to tune into portions of Exponential West, a conference specifically for church planters. The focus was on discipleship and was built around the five shifts laid out in DiscipleShift by Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert Coleman. Though you may not be a church planter, I imagine you’re interested in discipleship. After all, that’s the heart of small-group ministry. The book specifically addresses small-group leaders. And the questions raised by the speakers get into the nitty-gritty of what group leaders do. Jim Putman, for instance, asked a telling question: Do we teach people to wrestle with their faith, or just tell them what to believe? This question hits me especially hard because I’ve experienced both. I can distinctly remember a well-meaning youth sponsor telling me shortly after I’d started following Christ that I had to cut ties with my non-Christian friends in order to live the Christian life. Looking back, I understand why this was her advice. After all, it’s a lot easier to...

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Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Blog, Life |

What Do You Have to Pass On?

What Do You Have to Pass On?

There was a line in a movie I watched recently that has stuck with me.  It wasn’t a line that was intended to be pivotal, remembered, or quoted (which is probably why I couldn’t find it to get it right).  In referring to a character in the movie whose life was a difficult journey, something like this was said: “Once he turned 10, his father didn’t have anything left to offer him.” I’ve thought a lot about what I have to “offer” my kids.  As a father, I feel a great burden to pass on certain things to my kids, to spend the fleeting moments I have with them preparing them for life.  As they get older, the issues become far more complex and my need to be engaged radically increases.  I think it is fair to ask, “What will I have left to offer my kids in their teenage years and beyond?” So I ask you: What do you have to offer your kids?  What are you intentional...

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Posted by on Oct 20, 2013 in Blog, Life |

Unintended Consequences

Unintended Consequences

My dad was a smoker.  As I recall, he started either as a teen or once we entered the Army.  He smoked until I was probably around 12 or 14, when he began to be a little more conscious about his health.  My dad was a ‘considerate smoker’, meaning he never smoked in the house or the car.  We weren’t directly exposed to cigarette smoke much at all, as far as I can remember.  I suppose that, for my dad, it was something he did for his own reasons, but he never intended for it to impact those around him. But just before my 16th birthday, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer.  By the time they went in for surgery, there was nothing they could do.  It was far more involved than the tests at that time could determine.  About a month before my 17th birthday, he died. Unintended consequences.  A habit that was formed decades before, out of some impulse or desire unknown to me, resulted in...

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Blog, Kingdom, Small Group Resources |

My Small Group Is Better Than Yours!

My Small Group Is Better Than Yours!

Last night at my small group, one of the group members said we should each go around the group and say one thing we appreciate about our group. We’d been off for two weeks, and everyone was overjoyed to be back together. As we went around the circle, people shared that they loved the in-depth study, the laughter, the prayer time, and having a place to share and ask questions and know that you won’t be judged. Recently, SmallGroups.com featured an article called “My Small Group Is Better than Yours!” It’s got a catchy title, but it also features meaningful stories of why people love their small groups. We asked friends of SmallGroups.com through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, to share the things that make their group so great, and we got great responses. In all, the article shares 13 stories from 6 different states (plus, Washington, D.C.) and 3 different countries. There are stories of powerful prayer, helping adults with special needs, cooking groups, studying classic Christian books, accountability,...

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Blog, Kingdom |

Missing the Point

Missing the Point

I recently heard a story shared by Doug Peters (@DrDougPeters) of two steamboats that simultaneously set sail on the Mississippi, both bound for New Orleans.  As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for the two crews to begin jeering one another, ultimately resulting in the captains accepting the challenge to race one another to their destination.  The larger boat had a distinct power advantage, which left the captain of the smaller vessel struggling to keep up.  As they fell further and further behind, the crew suggested they begin burning excess supplies and cargo to close the gap.  Choosing to heed ego over good judgment, the captain consented.  Slowly they began to gain ground. With New Orleans visible in the distance, the trailing captain demanded victory at all costs.  No supplies or cargo were to be spared.  Failure was not an option.  As the last remnants of their inventory were thrown into the furnace, the small vessel edged out the larger for a seemingly impossible victory. But had they...

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