All posts filed under: Personal Growth

Speaking the Truth Within Community

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:14-16, emphasis added One common issue our counselees express in Biblical counseling is the feeling of being stuck spiritually. These believers usually read their Bibles at least occasionally outside of Sunday morning and spend time in prayer, but still feel as if they are not growing. I have been in that place, and so have many of my friends and family members. Often times, the underlying problem is a lack of biblical …

Love Does Alongside the Greatest Visionary

-written by J.J. Cole Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found.  I’ve found it’s the small things.  Everyday deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. – Gandalf, Lord of the Rings Earlier this weekend Christine and I did a family devotional with the kids titled “Sandcastles & Monuments.” We decorated rocks with markers, depicting how God has shown Himself to us in our lives.  Gabby drew a rainbow on one rock and waters parting on another.  Tyler drew a fireball coming down from the sky (go figure) and the Cross. It struck me how the kids so easily reached for these “monuments” in history where God acted, where God demonstrated that love does. The rainbow – His promise to Noah The Red Sea parting – His deliverance of the Israelites The fireball from heaven – His support of Elijah The Cross – His willingness to go any length to save us Throughout the Bible, we see God works …

3 Ways to be Intentional on Monday

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – 1 John 3:18 A few months ago we did a series called “I love Mondays.”  Let’s be honest… loving Mondays isn’t easy.  In fact, it almost seems human nature to despise Mondays. The weekend is over and it’s “back to the grind.”  We drag ourselves out of bed after hitting snooze far too many times.  We roll in right at 9:00 AM to an overwhelming list of things to do, a messy desk, a disgruntled boss, and the same mundane routine. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2 Let’s intentionally do on Mondays. First and foremost, intentionally be positive on Mondays!  When we think about Mondays as I described above, no wonder we hate them! Philippians 2:14-15 says, …

If You Can’t be Kind, Be Quiet

“If you can’t be kind, be quiet.” This is a phrase I hear myself saying often to my children. I am trying to teach them that their words are important and they should consider their words carefully before using them. I don’t know about you, but this concept is difficult for me to live out, much less my school-aged children. I mean, seriously, how am I supposed to respond in kindness when the precious people in my house are hopping up and down on my last good nerve, a recent post on social media seems like a personal attack, or a good friend hurts my feelings with a careless remark? In those situations, kind words are not how my flesh wants to respond. When my emotions are on edge I tend to react very impulsively, giving little thought to my tone of voice or the words I’m saying. Our current sermon series is entitled Intentional Acts of Kindness, and I think “intentional” is the key word in that phrase. When something is done with intention, …

Show the World What Love Is

Love is a term we use often in today’s society. Sometimes I think it’s a little over used. My son Jack, when he was about 2 or 3, had received a balloon for something. He played with that balloon incessantly, walking around the house and letting the balloon float lazily behind him. But the real fun came when the helium leaked out and it fell to the ground. He would run around outside pulling the balloon while screaming, “I WUV DIS BAWOON!” over, and over, and over, and over. Did he actually wuv dat bawoon? Depends on your definition of love. Many people have debated what love actually is and what it means. Oh, we could go into great detail about love, especially in biblical times as they had four different words for love. Agape – A divine love Eros – An intimate/physical love Philia – A brotherly love Storge – A familial love Love doesn’t have to be pigeon holed into one specific set of standards or definitions. Love can mean many things depending …

You Have No Right To Throw That Stone

In college, I had this friend who was in a fraternity. He was notorious for being the “life of the party” at any social, formal, or party. In class one day, he told me that after his weekend of heavy partying, he woke up in the morning to find himself naked in the middle of a sorority house across the street from his fraternity. What started as bragging, became a confession.  His voice changed and I could see guilt, shame, and regret written all over his face. My outward appearance showed little interest, but in my heart, I was casting stones. “Are you kidding me?” “How could you do something so degrading?” “Where is your heart at, man?” “And you call yourself a Christian…” I was so concerned with his heart when I should have been looking at my own. What right do I have in playing judge and jury? What right did I have in casting stones? The Pharisees thought because their outward behavior was “more righteous” than that of a sinner, they were better …

Can You Hear Me Now? Listening with Intentionality

“Are you listening?” “Listen to me.” “Just stop talking and listen.” I feel like I will never stop telling my children to listen to me. And if they would take the time to listen, I wouldn’t have to continually tell them to close the door when they come inside, to put their shoes in the shoe bin instead of leaving them on the floor, and to not complain but speak kind words about other people. I know my kids hear me, but they aren’t fully listening to me all the time.  Listening isn’t just hearing what is said to you.  Listening is even more than hearing and understanding. Listening is hearing it, understanding it, and acting on it.   If I tell my daughter to brush her teeth every night before bed, she isn’t listening if she doesn’t actually do it.  When understood, listening should create in her a need to brush her teeth every night. James 1:22-25 makes this point clear for us as Christ followers: But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must …

Are You Accepting These Gifts from Christ?

Have you ever given someone a gift they truly appreciated? You see their eyes light up with excitement, they wonder if it is truly theirs, and their heart is full of gratitude. Or maybe, you’ve seen the opposite to be true. You find the “perfect” gift for your loved one, but then realize you were far more excited about the gift than the person to whom you gave the present. We would all rather the person receiving the gift genuinely appreciate and love it. I imagine this was how Jesus felt when He met Zaccheus and offered Him multiple gifts. We must be like Zaccheus and accept the gifts Jesus generously gives. The Gift of Acknowledgment In Luke 19, we see that Zaccheus climbed the tree to get a better view of Jesus. As Jesus came to the tree, He greeted him by name, acknowledging him despite his reputation. On his own, Zaccheus would have just been another member of the crowd, but with Jesus’ gift of acknowledgment, everything began to change for him. Being …

You Can Change Your Heart With Your Posture

A few years ago, my husband read several books on the subject of body language and still has this incredible ability to read people just by observing them. He can tell what you think about an idea just by how you stand during a conversation. Our Lead Pastor will tell you it’s easier to speak to a group of people who are smiling, shaking their heads in agreement, and returning eye contact.  When everyone has glazed over eyes and crossed arms, you quickly pick up on the “you’re boring” message. I prefer to sleep on my right side, facing the edge of the bed. A few years ago I noticed because of our sleeping arrangements, every night I would physically put my back to Corey and some nights I was doing the same in my heart.  Now, I intentionally fall asleep facing my husband because I know my body language communicates just as much as my words.  In his book Love Does, Bob Goff writes, “Something about the hard wiring that God gave each of us links …

Can We Skip The Hard Stuff And Get to The End?

-written by Devin Feeney I don’t know about you, but I find the ambiguity of life both frustrating and terrifying. As I end college, I’m learning more and more that life is a process in which God grows and refines us. Which leads me to ask, “What storms am I going to face and can I avoid them?” Up until now, life has been planned out with clear steps set before me. I feel as though I’ve been living in a bubble where the realities of life aren’t squeezing in. As I enter into this new stage, I’m learning more and more that life is messy and hard. Life isn’t easy. I know that there are lessons I need to learn, but I’d much rather skip the learning process, not have to face anything difficult, and be on the other side where I have it all figured out. How unrealistic is that?!? My fear of the uncertainty that life brings is outweighing my trust in who God is and what He promises to do. When …