Everything You Ever Dreamed of

The Apostle Peter was arguably Jesus’ right hand guy throughout His ministry. Then there was an inner core of the twelve disciples which included Peter, James, and John who got an inside view of things (Mt. 17:1, 26:37; Mk 5:37, 9:2, 14:33; Lk. 8:51, 9:28). The Apostle Paul referred to these three as the “pillars of the church” in Galatians 2:9.

If you look carefully at how Jesus recruited these three standouts, we find an interesting observation.

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Find the Underdogs

I had the chance to spend the week with a handful of pastor friends of mine from around the country. We meet twice a year and share both the highs and lows of ministry. It’s always encouraging to have the chance to be vulnerable with others and to experience others being vulnerable in return. One of the takeaways was how hard it is to lead a church in this season… and nobody thinks it’s going to be anything but more difficult in the future.

As could be imagined, our conversations over the week covered a variety of topics. Many of the topics are widely polarizing issues. On many of the discussions it seemed that to say anything into these discussion was to invite criticism from others who see it differently than we do. To be honest, there were moments it felt like there was no win in sight.

One afternoon we had the chance to talk with Danielle Strickland who happened to be in town. One of the things she shared in her time with our group was about her desire as a kid to always cheer for the underdog. Admittedly, I don’t do this when it comes to my favorite sport. As a Yankee fan, they normally don’t qualify (this year they are exceptionally bad and may be earning underdog status).

But when it comes to real life, I’m a big fan of the underdog. As I process the conversations from this week I’m left with a new strategy I want to pursue. Whenever we think of an issue, what if our desire was to find and align ourselves with the underdog in that situation?

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When One Door Closes

When One Door Closes

The phrase “When one door closes, another opens” has become commonplace in our conversations whenever we experience life change. Many even think it’s a verse in the Bible. We often tweak it to say that “When God closes a door, He opens another.” It’s not actually in the Bible and as far as I can tell the earliest reference to this idea is from Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote. Published in 1605, Cervantes wrote: “When one door is shut another is opened.”

Today most people attribute this phrase to Alexander Graham Bell. What we often miss when we quote this idea from Bell is that it was only the first part of his sentence. In 1935, after his passing, Bell was quoted in The Winona Times as saying:

“When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

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Good Things Happen to Other People

Do you ever have that feeling that good things only happen to other people? Your friends are the ones who take the cool vacations, your coworkers are the ones who get promoted, your neighbors seem to be getting new stuff all the time?

Much can be said about finding contentment in spite of all that, but have you ever noticed that we often read the Bible the same way? Good things happen to people in the Bible, not to us. Moses parts the sea, David conquers Goliath, Solomon gets to be the rich king, and Peter walks on water. Without realizing it, we can often read things and turn the whole story into a bit of a fairytale since nothing like that happens to us.

Consider the person of Abraham in the Old Testament. Along with Moses, he’s a big deal. Even today he is highly esteemed by Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. Abraham had his own lucky moment through an unbelievable promise God gave to him. It is repeated often in the text, but we first find it in Genesis chapter twelve.

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Your King is Coming (Easter Thoughts)

Your King is Coming (Easter Thoughts)

This is the week we celebrate all the events leading up to Easter Sunday. It involves what is known as the “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem with Palm Sunday last weekend. Then we have Good Friday in a couple of days followed by Easter Sunday.

Let’s start with the events we celebrate last weekend. Here’s the reaction Jesus got coming into Jerusalem (take note that He was riding a donkey).

Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!” (Mark 11:9-10)

Yet if you know the story, it won’t be long until this same crowd is chanting “crucify him!” (Mark 15:9-15). Which is confusing. How do we get such a swing in response in a matter of days?

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2021 Reading List – 1/4

2021 Reading List – 1/4

It’s 2021 baby! We’re just about a fourth of the way through the new year and the world feels like it’s starting to come back to life. It finally feels as if more people are getting the vaccine than are getting Covid and we can start figuring out how to exist together again.

Here are the books I’ve read since January of 2021 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher.

In addition to this list, you might also check out:

Click on any of the titles below to get to a link to buy it. (Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com).

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