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Our Neighbor

He owned the backyard. Or at least he thought he did. He wasn’t the nicest of neighbors. He went to war with any intruder daring to enter his property, driving them all away. An obnoxious defender of territory, he never backed down from a fight. He was certain that the beautiful purple desert sage bush at the far corner of the lawn belonged to him, as did the hummingbird feeder dangling from the p...

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The Lenten Journey

During the first part of my Christian life, I did not know about the church calendar and I did not  observe Lent. In fact, I was confused about its meaning and thought of it as something only Catholic and Orthodox people did. My only exposure to it was that I’d hear classmates moaning about it in the school cafeteria. I just didn’t relate. Although I knew there was benefit in fasting, a forma...

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The Day Will Come

The clouds go galloping off like Clydesdale plow horses, powerful, majestic, thunderous.  They leave cleansing, cooling rains that wash clean the dimly painted sky.  A million shimmering stars wink against the pristine night, glisten, gleam, and glow, calling to the One they know, telling of His glorious greatness.  In wordless, breathless praise announce the dawning of the day when the light come...

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Lent

Lent is the 46 day period before Easter: 6 Sundays of celebration amidst 40 days of fasting. During the Lenten season we are called to focus on Christ’s ministry and to spend extra time in prayer, repentance, self-sacrifice, and doing good works with a focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is typical during this time for people to fast some element of food. In the early days of church h...

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Fallowness

I grew up on a small 160 acre farm near Pella, Iowa and it was a very different life than living here in the city. It was a life lived with a deep understanding of the natural world and of God and our dependence on him. Farmers are quite attuned to the world around them. They read the skies and recognize the different kinds of clouds and what weather they might bring. They observe when a cow is si...

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The miracle of the Prayer Tub

The prayer tub wasn’t working. It was a couple weeks ago and it just quit. The lovely Mrs. Hugen went out one morning to relax in it only to discover ice cold water and no electrical power to the spa. The Encouraging Discipling Communities conference was fast approaching and I wasn’t able to any longer sit in the spa in the middle of the night and pray because it simply wasn’t working. I checked a...

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Psalm 63

In a dry and weary land, Where there are no running streams, We have dug one thousand wells And parched our tongues with broken dreams.   You, oh Lord, have said, “Return To me, the spring that quenches thirst. Stop, remember I have called You to me, who loved you first.   “You have wandered far from me. Yet I am ever close behind. Leave the empty cracked cisterns, For at my ...

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Grace Over Sin

  I By Julie Brunson, October 2017 One of the things that happens in the church is that sin gets identified as more significant than grace. It becomes something to hide in shame, especially when it’s something we don’t seem to be able to conquer without help. This fear creates demand that we define sin in such a way that we don’t commit it. We don’t want to be seen as wrong or weak. I t...

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Freedom from Perfection

The pursuit of perfection has crippled me. It has stolen the words from my tongue. It has questioned every longing that flows from my fickle heart. Perfection showed up at my doorstep one day. Rudely unannounced. His piecing eyes contained a deep seeded pain, a malevolent strength. He saw right through me to my twisted desire. Before I could tell him to go away he made himself at home. He seized m...

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