Encouragment: Much more than ‘being nice’

– By Ron Simkins I have been claiming for several weeks now that being a community that wants to be encouraging is one of the most counter-cultural, Jesus-like things we can emphasize in our polarized world and culture. It seems to me, though, there’s a danger that we will hear the challenge to ‘be encouraging”

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What does encouragement look like?

– By Jim Linder As a pastor and teacher I want to be a good communicator.  I know I sat through many class lectures in college as well as many sermons that were boring and easily forgotten.  Yet some examples, stories or illustrations have remained with me for decades. It is of particular interest to

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An Alternative Culture: Learning to BEG (Part II)

– By Ron Simkins In last week’s blog post, I was encouraging us to become a “community of beggars” and to be humble enough to “beg” as individuals—Build others up, Encourage others, and Grace others.  It seems clear to me that learning to do this is one of the most important ways we can be

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An Alternative Culture: Learning to BEG (part I)

– By Ron Simkins What is “Jesus’ Way of Living?” It seems clear in some respects, if we look at the counter-cultural way Jesus lived and what he taught. However, what his followers should emphasize in their own lives varies greatly from context to context. It might help to think of how today’s society acts

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Is there a third way to do relationships?

– By Ron Simkins In Homer’s myth, Odysseus had to choose which deadly sea monster he and his fellow sailors would confront—Scylla or Charybdis. A more recent saying that captures the same dilemma is “between a rock and a hard place.” We’ve all been there, even if not with sea monsters. Few things in life

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Freedom always has two sides

– By Ron Simkins The Biblical writers are insistent that “freedom” always has two dimensions, not one.  Freedom is always both freedom FROM & freedom TO. Another way to say this is that any step of freedom not only opens up new freedoms, but also brings new limitations. Here’s an example. I can choose to

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Mary, who the Risen Jesus Knew By Name

– By Ron Simkins We don’t know much about this particular Mary, and much of what most people think they know isn’t true (there is no real evidence, for instance, that she was a prostitute).  One out of every four first century AD Jewish women is named Mary,  so it helps that we know this

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Wasting Yourself on Jesus

– By Ron Simkins Both John 12 and Mark 14 recount an event in which a woman responds to Jesus in a strange and unique way.  Mary, who is from a rather affluent family that has adopted Jesus and his followers, pours perfume over Jesus head and feet—perfume that is worth “more than a year’s

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Social Justice = Communism & Nazism?

-By Ron Simkins (in response to an open letter to Glenn Beck by Jim Wallis: http://blog.sojo.net/2010/03/12/an-invitation-to-glenn-beck/) I did not hear him say it first hand, but apparently Glenn Beck recently made the claim that believers in Jesus who talk about social or economic justice are just using code words to express their Communist and Nazi beliefs. 

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Rethinking God’s Love for Us

– By Ron Simkins, based on his teaching on March 7 Many of us want to experience God’s love in deeper ways, so we participate in a variety of personal and corporate activities to make that happen. I think, however, if we want to open ourselves to a deeper experience of God’s love, we need

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