Grace Strikes Us

Feb 24, 2021

When our lives feel like painful blow after painful blow, we need a sense of the reality of God. I recently revisited a book I read in seminary thirty years ago or more by my preaching professor, Ian Pitt-Watson. In it, he shares some lines from Paul Tillich about experiencing the grace of God.

 

“Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our...

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Podcast 163: Where Prayer Becomes Real (Alan with Kyle Strobel)

Feb 22, 2021

Most of you in our listening community are people who pray. Or at least people who have prayed. You may be grateful for the opportunity to come  into the presence of God. Your prayer may feel fruitful and life-giving.  

 

Or, you may have become disillusioned when it comes to praying. You might feel like you’ve come to pray but God didn’t seem to come to listen or respond. It’s not an uncommon experience. But, in the end, you probably still want to be a...

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Fitness for Your Soul

Feb 17, 2021

Over the years, as I engaged in exercise, I’ve collected some random tips from various fitness instructors. I’ve been able to narrow some of these ideas into an acronym that may help you as you continue to lean into this new year.

 

Just remember ARC: Ability, Rhythm and Core.

 

A is for Ability – The instructor would often say things like, “Listen to your body. Only do what you can do. Stretch yourself, but not to the point of pain.”

 

This is...

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Podcast 162: Soul Care for Wounded Healers (Gem with Bethany Hiser)

Feb 15, 2021

Burnout. This a most unwelcome word. And an even less welcome dynamic. But our guest today, Bethany Hiser, found herself smack in the middle of it. A social worker, jail chaplain and justice advocate, Bethany was in need of the very soul care she was providing to others. We’ll engage her story today.

 

Bethany Dearborn Hiser is the director of soul care for Northwest Family Life, a network of therapists trained to work with survivors of domestic violence and sexual...

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Restoration, Grace and Salvation

Feb 10, 2021

Restoration, grace and salvation are all words of good news. Don’t we need a bit of good news these days? There has been so much hard news over the last year.

 

I caught a vision for these words thanks to a prolific songwriter in the days of King David. He was a sort of musician-in-residence in those days because of his grace and skill. Listen to this chorus from one of his psalms:

 

Restore us, God Almighty;

...

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Podcast 165: The Lyrical Life of Jesus (Alan with Michael Card)

Feb 08, 2021

A mentor of mine would often say something like this: “The Christian life is not mainly something I believe or a group to which I belong. The Christian life is somebody with whom I enjoy a living, day-to-day relationship. That somebody, of course, is Jesus. He is risen and alive among us today—right now—by his Spirit. He is inviting us into the love he and the Father share. That has been the inviting good news I’ve sought to enter more deeply into over this...

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Podcast 161: The Journey of the Soul (Alan with Bill Gaultiere)

Feb 08, 2021

When it comes to talking about and understanding our life with God, I’ve long loved the image of a journey as a way of talking about it. Our life of faith isn’t merely a static set of beliefs to defend or argue about. It isn’t just being part of the right association. It is a way of life in which each of us grows, learns and develops. It is a life in which we deepen in trust, broaden in love, strengthen in hope.

 I recently enjoyed a conversation with a good friend of...

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Learning to See the Day

Feb 03, 2021

As was typical of a season long ago, I had a pile of little boys in the back of my red minivan. We were driving down the street toward our home when I noticed some unusual dark grey storm clouds in the sky. Behind the clouds was a glowing blue sky, with splashes of pink and gold.

 

It was the beginning of sunset, and, evidently, my then 4-year-old son had never seen the sky exactly like that before.

 

“I never saw today!” he exclaimed as he peered out the van window,...

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Podcast 160: The Leader in You (Gem with Ebony S. Small)

Feb 01, 2021

Along the way, God uses our life experiences to form us and to help us lead from an authentic and healthy place. The power of God’s presence is not just for your benefit but also for all in your sphere of influence. Today, I’m talking with Ebony Small, a younger leader who serves as a pastor and a mentor. 

Ebony has a wealth of experience in both churches and organizations. She's got practical and biblical wisdom to offer whether you are just starting or are looking for...

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Morning Coffee, Morning Communion

Jan 27, 2021

I start most mornings by making my favorite cup of coffee. It starts with some hand-roasted beans. I roast them by the half-pound on our BBQ propane burner using a Whirly-Pop popcorn maker. I grind the beans by hand with a manual grinder. I measure precise grams of ground coffee to precise grams of water. I preheat my mug because I enjoy my coffee as hot as I can get it. I use a one-serving French press because I’m the only regular coffee drinker in our family. I lightly heat the heavy...

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