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August 28, 2014

6 Ways to Make Sabbath Realistic for Ministry Leaders

Yes, you really can

Make Sabbath Realistic

Finding the middle spot in the dim room between round tables draped in white, I push high heels into the carpet under a ceiling of twinkle lights and speak to women seated around china tea cups and glass plates of cookies. They've asked me to tell them about the Sabbath Society.

I share about my weekly email sent to a group of nearly 300 Sabbath-keepers who observe rest as a routine instead of something that suits convenience. How disciplines are easier in the embrace of community—dieting, Bible reading, exercise—when accomplished with accountability.

The weekly encouragement is proving life-changing for many, transformational for relationships and physically healing in some instances.

My eyes shift to the pastor's wife leaning over her empty cup balanced between both hands, mouth slightly open. A handful of volunteers sit nearby. Pausing, I know what their blank stares are saying. I've heard the question echo among ministry leaders in many cities.

How do you do it?

Continue reading "6 Ways to Make Sabbath Realistic for Ministry Leaders" »

June 26, 2014

The Strong Power in Every Woman

Reclaiming Eve's place in history means claiming our own

The Strong Power in Every Woman

Hot tears splashed down my cheeks as my new husband stared at me in confusion. I had been studying the creation story when I stumbled across the strong Hebrew word God used when creating Eve: the ezer. In that moment, God's intentions leapt off of the printed page and started a revolution in my heart. I never would have guessed how highly God thinks of his daughters. I hadn't understood how invaluable we are to his kingdom. I felt a strange combination of exhilaration and anxiety about what it would mean to stand shoulder to shoulder with my Christian brothers, instead of taking my usual safer back row seat.

The tears eventually dried, but the question remained: Would I be willing to follow the blueprint I discovered in God's Word, or would I shrink back in fear? The journey for me would mean reevaluating why I wasn't using some of my spiritual gifts, asking what God meant for my marriage relationship, and reimagining how I and my sister-ezers could more effectively join with our brothers in Christ to better serve a world that desperately needs God's love.

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June 23, 2014

Lead Me On: When Doubt Dominates

When we express our doubts, we’re in faithful company


Fish sticker on the car bumper? Check.

Kid who can buzz in with "begotten!" for VBS Bible relay? Check.

Woman who should know better but still, sometimes, just a little, wonders? About, um, God?


There. I said it.

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June 9, 2014

What Feeds Your Soul?

4 ways to redefine work as creativity instead of achievement

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

I didn't understand why I was having panic attacks.

Writing a book wasn't easy, but I was writing a Bible study guide to explore the topic of rest. If there was anything I knew how to do, it was unpacking Scripture.

Yet here I was lying on my bed, unable to sleep, my brain muddled with worries. I found it difficult to breathe, a tightness clamped around my chest. If I dozed, my pounding heart would jolt me awake with rapid-fire palpitations.

You couldn't tell from the outside looking in, but I was exhausted. I didn't want to see anyone or do anything. I just wanted to pull down the shutters and stay in bed.

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May 26, 2014

Christian Celebrity

A dual temptation winks at every leader


Would you sell your soul to wield more influence, to become a Christian celebrity? I imagine that most of us would answer with an emphatic "No!" But the temptation is there.

Not long ago I read a very honest blog post by Preston Yancey. It was one of the first of his pieces that I've ever read. My friend Sharon passed it along. He titled it, "When This Is Some Real Talk About Blogging." In it he confesses:

What I do know is that for awhile now I have written content that gets all the shares but I'm not always proud of. I know that for awhile I wrote things that were designed to get people to share them, tweet them, like them, because what I really wanted was for people to like me.

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May 19, 2014

Find a Spiritual Mentor

You don’t need another program; you need a person

Find a Spiritual Mentor

I recently watched a movie called Chasing Mavericks. It was about a young man who wanted to surf one of the biggest waves in the world. He approached an experienced surfer in his town to coach him. The coach told him he would need to secure four pillars in his life. The first was physical. He would need to develop the strength to paddle a surf board across the California bay. The second pillar was mental. He would need to observe details because the winds and waves could change in seconds and he would need to change accordingly. The third pillar was emotional. If he hid any fears in his heart, he would need to deal with them. The coach said when a wave crashes on a surfer's head, there is no question he will be afraid. The question is what he does when he's afraid. He must learn to keep going in spite of his fear. And the fourth pillar was spiritual. He needed to settle whether this was his purpose, and only God could settle that with him.

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May 1, 2014

Don't Omit the Obvious

Leading begins with following

Don't Omit the Obvious

In Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic movie The Sound of Music, Maria, the new nanny for the von Trapp family, finds that the children don't know how to sing. So she teaches them the musical scale in song: "Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When you read you begin with A-B-C. When you sing you begin with do-re-mi."

Suppose Jesus came to earth to find that God's children didn't know how to lead. What do you think he might identify as "a very good place to start"? Where did he, in fact, teach us to start?

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April 28, 2014

Lead Me On: For We Who Look Around

Do what is yours to do

we who look around

A fairly famous point-the-finger-in-blame moment started the day Eve handed Adam that piece of fruit and said, "Go for it."

The text doesn't say that he resisted. At all. It reads like this: "Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too" (Genesis 3:6).

Possibly they were honeymooners at that point, so maybe she was really nice about it. "Honey—go for it."

Or maybe she was grouchy and from her tone he thought he'd better do it or else. "No, seriously. Go. For. It."

Whatever the case, he ate. And later he looked around for somebody to blame.

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March 31, 2014

Lead Me On: Don’t Be Surprised

When your faith feels weak ... keep the faith anyway.


I recently heard a sermon about a man who possessed incredible faith: Jairus. And his daughter was about to die.

Just as one would expect from a sermon, Jairus sought out Jesus, found him, secured a few one-on-one moments with him, and asked him for help.

Jesus said yes, followed Jairus home, said a few choice words, and ta-da! Daughter was healed. ACTUALLY daughter was brought back to LIFE.

Just like that.

Some. Faith.

Continue reading "Lead Me On: Don’t Be Surprised" »

March 20, 2014

Don’t Be Fooled by Counterfeits

Is it really God you’re following?


Walking beside the Sea of Galilee, Jesus called to four fishermen, "Follow me." Simon and Andrew "left their nets at once and followed him." James and John "followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind." All four responded to Jesus immediately (Matthew 4:18-22).

As they physically walked behind Jesus from place to place, they found that following him means so much more. For example, if their feet followed, but their hearts did not, God didn't count it as "following."

Still the first disciples had a visible, tangible starting place for learning to follow Jesus. Because our Lord doesn't walk the earth today, we may talk about following Jesus without knowing at all how it looks. We may think we're following him when, in fact, we've been fooled by counterfeits.

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March 10, 2014

Lead Me On: Discernment for Dummies

Believing the truth is a team sport


Raise your hand if you can get behind a cause called "Discernment Is Not for the Faint of Heart."

For honorary president, I recommend Tamar.

Tamar was a woman who showed up early in the Bible. She married Judah's son. He died. She then married Judah's other son. He died. Judah promised she could marry his third son. But he lied.

And Tamar decided, "I'm not taking this any more."

Tamar was a widowed woman circa 2000 BC. That made her fish chum on the food chain of that culture. But that didn't excuse Judah, who knew as much as there was to know about God at the time. He was supposed to be one of the good guys. Tamar discerned that she was not being treated right, and that gave her strength to do something about it.

Buckle up because it was not pretty.

Continue reading "Lead Me On: Discernment for Dummies" »

March 3, 2014

Soul Care, Part 2

An interview with Executive Director for Engage International, Mindy Caliguire


What are the top three things women leaders need to know about soul care?

On thing is they just need to decide what they want. That may sound a little too simplistic, but a lot of times we think that spiritual formation, or living from a place of soul health, is going to require some radical change. And in some people’s lives maybe it would, but often the more radical change is inside us, declaring, I don’t want to live this way anymore. When we decide what we want, that unleashes all kinds of spiritual resources to help us solve it. It requires desire and vision well within reach of a woman leader.

The second thing is that it’s their responsibility. They’re not victims of their environment. I stayed in a victim place way too long, and I blamed everybody else for my pace of life, what was not working, etc. Some of us feel like everything is outside of our control or outside our power.

The third thing is that it changes constantly, at least in my life. There is not some fixed solution or prescription. For example, just the other day, something came up that made me think, Wow, that’s the kind of thing that I might devote some fasting to. I don’t think I’ve fasted in six years, whereas it was huge in some seasons of my life. So some things come and go as needed. Sometimes silence is a huge part of our life and then other times it’s very much about study or meditation, any number of things.

Continue reading "Soul Care, Part 2" »

February 27, 2014

Soul Care, Part 1

An interview with Executive Director for Engage International, Mindy Caliguire