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Overcoming a Powerful Blockade to Prayer

Psalm 1311O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;my eyes are not raised too high;I do not occupy myself with thingstoo great and too marvelous for me.2But I have calmed and quieted my soul,like a weaned child with its mother;like a weaned child is my soul within me.3O Israel, hope in the Lordfrom this time forth and forevermore. One of the most powerful blockades to prayer is ...

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Any Well-Trained Monkey . . .

"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment . . ." Philippians 1:9 I have not forgotten, and have sometimes forgotten, what Mr. Ikard whisped in my ear. I was a new bank management trainee , sitting in "Charge-Off Committee" - an "intimate" gathering of the bank's executive management and about 60 of my peers, where ban...

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Rough Edges

On two prior occasions I've written about the importance and power of our "little" interactions with each other, especially between "insiders" and "outsiders", or "long-timers" and "newcomers". It's easy to forget what it was like to be an outsider, and to make it harder for newcomers to focus on the beauty of God, what for the social awkwardness we foist on each other. To...

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Unconscious, Insidious Worship

[An excerpt from Damien Jourdan's talk this past Friday at the Work + Faith Forum:] . . . Work can take on a double meaning, a double purpose. On one level it is absolutely a good thing. The Bible for example describes how God created human beings to work in Paradise, to bring out the untapped potential hidden in the universe. In this sense work is as much a human need as...

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Remembering What It Was Like

Imagine you were raised in another religion (if you even need to). It's all you've ever known; the only God you've ever known; the only way of worshiping you've ever known. Your family and friendships and business are all woven into the latticework of this religion. But then you begin to have questions. You doubt. You look around. And then, after months, you finally do it...

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Leaving Our Heritage

D.A. Carson, at a conference in 2015: ". . . there is so much in this society that feelswith a certain amount of justificationthat all those nasties on the Left are taking away our heritage! They're perverting our schools! They're overthrowing principles of jurisprudence! They're making the city unsafe! And so there's angerthere's anger seething through the whole land. "...

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The Great Power in Hallway Conversations

Sometimes (often - always) God works despite our best efforts. I can remember vividly my conversation with Tom, around 20 years ago. I was not long out of a Christian college, and I had left that college more confused than clear about God. And now, in Tom's living room, I asked him about some questions I had about how to interpret the book of Genesis. His essential answer:...

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What to Do?

What is the purpose of church membership? Charles Spurgeon: "What odd notions people have of joining the church. Many a young man joins a rifle corps. There he is! When he joins the church, where is he? We have the distinguished honor of having the names of many young gentlemen on our books. But where are they? What are they doing? They think it enough that they have join...

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Sharing Christ, Despite the Pain

Church, Easter is coming! April 1st . . . April Fools' Day. Inviting anyone to Good Friday and Easter Sunday? Inviting anyone to a gathering of people who will worship a man they cannot see, because they believe He was raised from the dead? Paul was an April Fool to the Athenians for believing such a thing (Acts 17:32), and increasingly so are we to our society. Increasing...

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Why Don't We Pray?

She was grieving, and telling me what she so desperately wanted in her marriage. "Have you prayed for that?" I asked. You know the answer: no. But not just "No", but "no" accompanied with a look of puzzlement - "Why have I not asked for this? Huh . . ." I can relate to the feeling. Why don't we pray? When God is so near, and so powerful. When God is so full of love towa...

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