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Spiritual Life

How to Experience Real Joy This Christmas (and into the New Year)


How to Experience Real Joy This Christmas and New Year

People talk and sing a lot about joy, especially at this time of year, but as you look around, is there much joy to be found? Most people in the world find joy in sentiment and circumstances and stuff, but the Christian has a different sort of joy—a godly joy. Let’s look at some of the songs of the season …

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Leader's Heart-Overflow     Spiritual Life

Leadership: Helping People Become Who God Created Them to Be


Leadership: Helping People Become Who God Created Them to Be

God wants us to realize that we are works of art in progress, and we, as leaders—church leaders, small group leaders, teachers, parents, etc.—can envision others with this truth. I am fortunate that several people in my life took the time to help me see beyond my present circumstances to something better. God used to them to transform me into …

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Discipling     Spiritual Life

Safe or Dangerous?


One morning on the Christian radio station I usually listen to, a local pastor of the “church of the week” talked about the nature of the church. He said the teens from his congregation had written essays about the church, and all of them used the word safe in their descriptions. The pastor went on to say that this is …

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Small Group Leaders     Spiritual Life

Stand in Faith


Jesus knew what it was like to face trials in life. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that he is not “unable to empathize with our weaknesses” (4:15). He faced temptations in the desert at the beginning of his ministry and trials in the Garden and at the Cross at the end of it. In the middle, he had to …

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External-Focus     Spiritual Life

A Change in Citizenship


When you became a Christian, you took on a new citizenship. You no longer belong to this world. Your citizenship in now in the kingdom of heaven. Comparing non-Christians and Christians of his day, the apostle Paul commented, “Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:19-20). Being a citizen of heaven means a change …

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Facilitating Discussion     Spiritual Life

Share Stories … Grow in Grace


Share Stories to Grow in Grace

Helping people in our churches, classes, and small groups understand and experience God’s grace is vital. What is the best way to teach and, better yet, experience this fundamental doctrine? Use stories, says Kyle Idleman. In a recent interview for CT Pastors, Kyle Rohane and Andrew Finch talked with Idleman, teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, about …

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Small Group Leaders     Spiritual Life

Don’t Let the Sheep Lead the Flock!


Don't Let the Sheep Lead the Flock

God often takes us places we didn’t plan to go. As I got into my rental car in Louisville, Kentucky, to head out to The Groups Conference in Mattoon, Illinois, where I was speaking last weekend, I set the route I wanted to take in Google Maps and headed out. I was driving along the highway with the radio cranked …

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Small Group Leaders     Spiritual Life

C.J. Stephens on Prayer in Group Life


Prayer in Group Life

Today’s guest blogger is C.J. Stephens, Small Groups Minister at Northeast Christian Church. Because I lead a Northeast small group, I receive C.J.’s monthly newsletter called “Leader Connect.” This past month, C.J. wrote about prayer in groups, an important topic for leaders, and I thought he hit the nail on the head.  GUEST POST by C.J. Stephens, Small Groups Minister …

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Spiritual Life

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Well . . . Even if It’s Not Happy


Happy Thanksgiving!

I recently discovered 3 views on Thanksgiving that I had never noticed before. Perhaps they will help you better understand and live with thanksgiving .. . all year long. 1. Thanksgiving is an attitude, not just a day. Look at the following Bible verses, especially the context for thanksgiving: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! …

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Spiritual Life

How to (and NOT to) Love your Trick-or-Treating Neighbors


Trick or Treat

What does it look like to “love your neighbor” on All Hallows’ Eve? This is one day of the year that many of your neighbors come to your house. So why not treat them with love rather than just candy? Maybe the best way to discuss how to love your neighbors today is to list a few ways not to …

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