Why Faith and Belief Are Not The Same Thing

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“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Sometimes we treat faith and belief as if they are synonyms. Maybe you haven’t made this mistake, but I have. I have made the mistake of reducing my “faith” to a set of “beliefs.” This is usually followed by a hearty pat on …

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The Size of Your Barn Is Not What Matters

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Jesus warns against building bigger barns, but I don’t think the size of the barn is the point. When’s the last time you moved? As in, moved from one address to another? It’s been about eleven years for me, and yet, I vividly remember thinking “where did all this STUFF” come from? Stuff that I ended up packing, moving, and …

What To Do When You Wonder If God Cares

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“God, don’t you care?” That was Martha’s question as she teetered on the verge of an anxiety attack. Martha’s question resonates with me. I’ve cried out to God in this way innumerable times. “God, don’t you care that life feels hard right now?” Or that my friend is sick. Or that no matter how much good I think I’m doing, …

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My Need for a Good Samaritan

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The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) is one of the most familiar Bible stories. The concept of a “Good Samaritan” is ubiquitous far outside the church. It’s even been codified in laws such as Florida’s Good Samaritan Act, offering protection from civil damages when you act in good faith to save someone in an emergency situation (or, curiously, …

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Should I Give God Credit?

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It’s an old adage, “give credit where credit is due.” It’s easy to abide when I’m writing an academic paper and I can add a footnote to properly credit my sources. But in life, it’s harder. Sometimes, it’s especially hard to give God credit. According to the Gospel of Luke, there was a time when Jesus sent 70 people to …

Independence In This Day

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We never think of independence as a bad thing, do we? The United States has a Declaration of Independence. As my children get older and edge closer to moving out, I have a heightened awareness of my responsibility to train them to live independently. The building boom around me is all centered on “Independent Living for Senior Adults.” Dependency, bad. Independence, good. Busyness …

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Easy Answers Don’t Work

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Easy answers don’t work when you are adrift in the sea of life. I don’t like easy answers. Well, to be fair, it’s not that I don’t like them, it’s more that I don’t trust them. Sometimes I meet people who think God gives easy answers and it makes me wonder if perhaps they misunderstand the scope of the problem. …

Pentecost is the Miracle Hear

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Forty days after Easter, Christians celebrate the Ascension of Jesus. Fifty days after Easter, Christians celebrate Pentecost—the coming of the Holy Spirit in a special way. Jesus told the disciples he would not leave them alone, but instead, the Father would send the “Advocate” (John 14:26).  In Greek, this word is “Paraclete.” It means not only Advocate but also Comforter, …

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The Ascension

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Up, Up, & (Not So Far) Away A few years ago, I was at a church with a basketball ministry. The church is in a suburban neighborhood that used to be affluent but is now in transition. In the past, it was the kind of neighborhood where teenagers were always either occupied or supervised. Through the years, it became the …