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On Bible Reading, and Conversation in Our Homes

Does your Bible reading result in spiritual conversations in your home? By "spiritual conversations", I mean conversations between spouses or friends, and what we call "family devotions" - deliberate, structured times of teaching in the home about God and the gospel. I would like to offer two simple suggestions for freeing you and simplifying this act of spiritual conversa...

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About Bible Reading Plans

Between Christmas and New Year, many of us will begin thinking about a Bible reading plan for the new year. I want to offer some thoughts that have been helpful to me over the years, as I have wrestled with and failed over Bible reading plans as much as I have succeeded: The goal of Bible reading can be put in many ways from Scripture, but nowhere do I read, "To be more...

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When You Can't See God

What do you do when you can't see God, when He seems distant, behind a constant swirl of clouds? I want to share a few thoughts that have been helpful for me: Be open to some unseen need for repentance. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matt. 5:8) This is not always the cause, but we are all sinners - we're really good at sin - automatic, sometim...

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Get Yourself Connected

Not feeling connected here at EFree? I want to offer you a reason that might surprise you. But first, let me review how we shape our church life: First, the Sunday Worship Celebration. I will assume that you come at least twice a month, and that this is not a problem for you. But we also consider the 9 am Life Training Classes a part of Sunday, and an important part - the...

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Thinking About Self-Control

Thanksgiving is powerful - the act, that is, that the holiday emphasizes. Ironically, in America, the holiday, however, has become more about the very thing thanksgiving is meant to penetrate and kill - self-centered indulgence. I don't mean don't enjoy the pumpkin pie - I myself like a little pumpkin pie with my Cool Whip. But ironically, it is only through the act of tha...

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The Painful Nothing

One of life's deepest pains is a lack of connection to others. When you know someone with clinical depression, assume first that it hurts. Depression often feels like disconnection from everything - others, oneself, even God. It hurts, because previously there was a connection, and now it's mysteriously missing - the odd pain of a vacuum, the pain of nothing, where there s...

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Do the Next Thing

Recently I came across this poem on The Gospel Coalition website; I had not heard of it before. It was well-timed grace "low inspiration", customized by God for a low moment: "From an old English parsonage down by the sea There came in the twilight a message to me; Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven, Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven. And on through the do...

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Truly Christian Help

You are in your discipleship group, and someone reveals their recent, painful loss. You respond by expressing empathy and grief. But then what? Buddhists and atheists and Communists express empathy and grief. What next, that would be "Christian"? Read Titus 1:1-2, and insert "Paul", with your name, and "an apostle of Jesus Christ" with the less technical - but still appli...

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Reflecting on Life with Lucy

It's hard to believe that it's been three years since God brought Lucy into our life. Three years of joy and exhaustion and recalibrated plans about life. As I reflect on those three "features" of life with Lucy, here are some lessons I'm learning, in no particular order: Sometimes often a mom won't get a Sabbath rest, and rejuvenating time with God, unless dad makes ...

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The Reformation in a Verse

This Halloween is the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, when Martin Luther revealed his 95 Theses, setting off a firestorm of debate, controversy, change, and blessed freedom. Many passages of Scripture could claim to be the heart of the Reformation; Colossians 2:23 is one of them. If you want to understand the Reformation, seek to understand Colossian...

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