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Favor with God

Singing to the Lord

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When I became a follower of Christ in the early 1990s, I noticed something about the music of my youth: I still enjoyed it, but I listened to it differently. I heard messages, both positive and negative, that I’d never noticed in my secular state of mind. My youth was mostly in the 1970s, which everyone knows was the greatest decade. Sure, there was disco, but there was also (to name a few) Pink Floyd,…

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Read this Blog and Earn 10 Points!

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My wife tells the story of a teacher who motivated his students by awarding their obedience and success with points. “What do we get for the points?” one student asked. “Oh, points are great,” the teacher said with great enthusiasm. “They are the best! Everybody loves to get points. When you’re older, you’ll really understand. Points are great. Trust me. You want more points!” We live in a world that keeps score, even if the…

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The Rocks of Our Hearts

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Is the soil of your heart prepared for growth? …  Our home rests near the top of a hill, and we’re mostly surrounded by woods. Bermuda grass thrives on the sun-soaked front and one side of our lot, but the back remains very close to its natural state – it mostly grows rocks, not grass. I’ve been thinking lately about investing some time into the backyard – more to make it easier to maintain than…

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The God of Tegucigalpa

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I’m not a poet, but sometimes I’m compelled to write in my own, unique style of verse. So it is with my recap of the week Audrey and I spent this summer in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. We went with a team led by our dentist and friend Dr. Bob Ward of First Lavaca (Arkansas). And we worked under the direction of World Gospel Outreach, an organization that has learned through the years how to truly honor…

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Practicing Rest

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One of the key points in Grow Like Jesus is that rest is a critical piece of our walk with God. Jesus rested. So we should rest. What’s that look like? Well, this week, it looks like me somewhere on a beach. So this week’s blog is the attached photo. It’s from a vacation we took last year, but it symbolizes the rest I hope I’m getting while you read this. I hope you’re getting…

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The Face of Grief

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A child doesn’t have to be born to be loved or for her premature death to be mourned. Our family experienced the joy of learning a new baby was on the way — a granddaughter for me and my wife — then the pain of learning she was very sick, the closeness to God that comes from desperately praying for a miracle, and the sadness that comes when God’s plans don’t align with our desires. She…

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One Year Later …

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A letter to a 1-year-old Happy Birthday, Grow Like Jesus! You were years in the making, so it’s amazing to celebrate this day with you. It was one year ago today that you officially “launched,” which is book-trade jargon that means you officially became available to the public. There were pre-orders before that, of course, but it was on this day that those orders shipped and sites like Amazon.com changed your status to “available.” No…

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Theology lessons from my coffee mug

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Who Broke My Coffee Mug … And will God Restore it? I was definitely ill and perhaps a bit delusional as I pondered two deep theological issues: One about heaven and one about blame. It had been a rough day. As I mentioned, I was sick. And to make matters worse, I experienced an unexpected loss. As I unloaded our dishwasher that morning, my favorite Arkansas Razorbacks coffee mug fell from the cabinet shelf, shattered…

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The Growth Benefits of Fasting

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Some followers of Jesus like to start the New Year with an intentional time of prayer and fasting, a practice that I’ve found helps me grow like Jesus. The church my wife and I attend (Cross Church in Fayetteville, Ark.) is among those that promotes this spiritual discipline. We’re blessed to have leaders who value the things Jesus values and who challenge us to live like Jesus. And it’s encouraging to know we’re going on…

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Resolving to Surrender

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Life is tough. Feeling trapped by our own expectations or the expectations of others makes it even tougher. So how do we set goals and make plans for the New Year without feeling the inevitable tidal wave of pressure that comes when our best laid plans go the way of mice and men? Personally, I’m a fan of the “one word” approach. Several years ago, authors Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and Jimmy Page wrote a…

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