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Guest Post by: Genevieve West

matthew Genevieve West

Careless in the care of God — Even To Death I can’t help but picture myself standing on the edge of a cliff, my back turned to the endless  chasm below, my heels teetering over the edge.             I spread my arms, close my eyes, and let myself fall backward.             Peaceful, knowing I’m safe.             Content with what I have.             Careless in the care of God. “Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.” By following their natural instincts that God placed in them from the beginning, and by not struggling for power in their relationship, or worshipping anything other than their Creator, birds are blissfully careless as they work.             But that’s not how things are for us human beings. No one has been completely careless since Adam and his bride screwed everything up for the rest of us.  We toil for our basic needs. We worry about what people will think of us, or if we’ll get that promotion. We experience anxiety and stress. We struggle for power and pleasure in our relationships. We freak …Read more

In All Circumstances Give Thanks…

thanksgiving Holly Hrywnak

It’s easy to get caught up in complaining. Maybe it’s just me, but negativity tends to flow smoothly out of the caverns of my mouth. Most of the time I add a slight comedic twist to make it more acceptable, but if you shake it down it’ll easily be uncovered. The complaints are no respecter of persons and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The weather and line lengths at the super market are the easy go-to’s. From there it can, and usually does, include misunderstandings at work, drivers on the highway and misinterpreted text messages sent from a family member.  If my best friend were to count, I’m sure she’s received on average a dozen texts a day where I’m ranting and raving over one more injustice or one more way my life could be better. “IF ONLY…!!!” Thankfulness on the other hand takes work. I turn 30 in less than a month, and I’ve been dreading it since the day I turned 29. I guess I figured I’d be at a different place in life by this point. I’d be married, with kids and ministry would somehow be “easier”. With the milestone birthday getting closer and …Read more

The Essential Nature of Gratitude for the Christian

thanksgiving Tabitha Westbrook

The Essential Nature of Gratitude for the Christian This past Sunday my pastor taught on thankfulness, as I’m sure many pastors did the weekend before Thanksgiving. Thankfulness is incredibly important; however, I would also go so far as to say it is essential in the life of a Christian. I’m not talking about just saying grace over a meal or saying, “Thanks Jesus” after a good day. I’m talking about an overall attitude of the heart. I know most seasoned Christians can quote some scriptures on being thankful, but I’m thinking we need to get to something deeper. My pastor, I think, hit the nail on the head this Sunday. He taught out of Romans 1:16-32. Now, these are not likely to be the verses you think of when you think of thankfulness. There are some pretty hard things in this section of scripture. We don’t like to talk about sin. But what my pastor pointed out that I found fascinating – and convicting – was what preceded the long list of sin found there. Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their …Read more

Guest Post by: Brett Smith

matthew brett

Five years ago I found myself looking for another ministry job. For the previous 13 years it was all Iʼd known. I just left my fifth church and had nowhere to go. Interviewing for another music position, I would use index cards to write information about each church I spoke with. I would file through them and review. I was asked all kinds of questions. “How do you feel about fundamentalists?” “Whatʼs your position on eschatology?” The questions began to wear away any front that Iʼd built up. I started to answer with the information they were really after. I would be asked if I liked choirs. I would reply with something like “if youʼre asking whether I can conduct a choir, the answer is ʻyes, and I can do it very well.ʼ If youʼre asking whether I enjoy conducting choirs, the answer is ʻno.ʼ ” This didnʼt go over too well with many of the search teams. I wondered if there was something wrong with me. Maybe I was broken. Why couldnʼt I just play the “search committee game” anymore? Time was short. I needed to find a new place to work. We had decided to move closer to …Read more