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A Wellspring of Mercy

A fountain of compassion, a spring of hope, The Well Resource Center is a place of community where individuals and families can find help and hope when facing difficult circumstances. We use a wholistic approach to meet physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. It is a place to explore long-term solutions and receive the love of […]

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When Leaders Fall

This year has been another year marked by headlines of church leaders being removed from their leadership positions due to misconduct. However, this year the stories have been even more notable because of the prominence of many of these pastors and also the nature of the misconduct. These abuses of power and misconduct hurt not […]

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Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Coming back from the Gospel Alliance gathering, most of […]

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LOVE, JUSTICE, AND SABBATH

The theme of this year’s Gospel Alliance gathering hosted at Faith Church was “Love and Justice.” The gathering consisted of sessions that encouraged church leaders to keep the call of the church to be inclusive of all ethnic groups (Revelation 5:9-10; Ephesians 2:13-16) and marked by love and justice while waiting continually for our God (Hosea 12:6). There […]

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Disability Ministry: The Church’s Great Frontier

I write this month not only as a worship leader in a congregation, but also as the provider of Spiritual Services for an organization that offers services for people with mental and physical disabilities. One of my responsibilities in this position is to stay in conversation with congregations and leaders about ministering to people with […]

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Strengthening Churches

Sitting in the middle of a church one night as a young girl, I watched as passionate people yelled and argued, some cried, as their church unity had weakened. These people could not get along. A split followed, a new church planted and young children looked around wondering why people could not just love one […]

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Don’t Give Up

I just passed the 30-year mark of full-time ministry to my calling from the Lord. I cannot believe I just wrote the number 30! Often times over the past 30 years I have wanted to quit, bail, run, hide, stop, move, etc. Ministry is hard. However, I can now say with confidence, quitting is almost […]

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Strong Leadership Development Systems

Encouraging Reminders for Effective Leaders Here are some simple reminders a mentor gave to me years ago as snapshots of some of the things effective leaders do. Please share these ideas with younger leaders in your sphere of influence and share your stories connected to these ideas.Have fun! Know the difference between leading and managing.Warren […]

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Singleness, Marriage, and the Church

Through the years I have heard many people claim that the contemporary American church does not know “what to do” with single people and often either intentionally or unintentionally marginalizes them. Sermons on marriage are preached and special marriage classes are offered, and churches have numerous ministries that focus on children and families; these are […]

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Do Something Dangerous

One of our family’s favorite movies is “Dudley Do-Right” based on a cartoon with a Canadian Mountie as the main character. The Canadian Mountie is a legendary figure with “Maintien le Droit,” or “uphold the right” as his motto. The responsibilities of the Mountie called for bravery, heroism, and strength. They were fearless and they […]

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One of our family’s favorite movies is “Dudley Do-Right” based on a cartoon with a Canadian Mountie as the main character. The Canadian Mountie is a legendary figure with “Maintien le Droit,” or “uphold the right” as his motto. The responsibilities of the Mountie called for bravery, heroism, and strength. They were fearless and they were the law, worthy of authority and respect.

But Dudley isn’t any of these honorable Mountie qualities. He is spineless, clumsy, and intimidated. As the movie progresses, we see Dudley surrounded by a whole gang of bad guys. Robbing the local bank and taking over the town, these surly characters in black jackets and face masks are moving fast.

Dudley finds himself out-witted. He loses his job and stumbles across a bum up in the mountains who takes Dudley under his wing and teaches him how to be a hero. The bum’s last words to his floundering student are, “get out there and do something dangerous!” Bruised and confused, Dudley stumbles away in search of adventure.

Get out there and do something dangerous. This sounds an awfully lot like the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10—22. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the enemy’s schemes . . .put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Paul is cheering on a new church intent on advancing the gospel in the pagan Roman Empire. Paul himself sits in prison bound in chains as he writes. He knows what is at stake for the church if they do not heed these words. The Christian faith will die out. Justice and righteousness according to God’s Law would no longer be maintained. Yet, Paul knows what is at stake for the new church if they do heed his words. Persecution. Imprisonment for daring to worship anyone but the Caesar. Maybe even death. It was a tough choice. One that needed to be made in spite of the danger and hardship it would invite.

In his book, The Good and Beautiful Life, James Bryan Smith says, “Jesus observes that those who pursue righteousness are going against the grain of society, and that will result in persecution. Following Jesus is dangerous if we lead the kind of life he calls us to. When we choose to fight for justice and peace or not to lie or judge others, we will face backlash. The promise in the last beatitude is the same as in the first: ‘for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ When we align ourselves with Jesus and observe his ways, we are in the kingdom” (p. 61-62).

The kingdom is the territory where God reigns. It’s the place where we are called to live dangerously. Go on a mission. Dare to be a serious disciple of Christ. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Live by values. Pray.

But don’t we often feel like Dudley Do-Right, intimidated in the face of evil or hardship and bumbling along in confusion hoping that something we did today counted? It is in times like this when Jesus calls us to an adventure. When we are taking the risks and counting the cost we are in the safest place of all. His plan for our lives lived out under his protection is the strength we need to continue to take a stand for the kingdom. With the armor firmly in place that Ephesians mentions, we can not only uphold the right, but go on to influence people to change like the early Christians did. The message of the gospel eventually wins.