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How’s Your Relationship?

Another Valentine's Day has come and gone. Gifts were given. Some carefully planned and thoughtful, others, not so much. The flowers are in their vases, the chocolate has been enjoyed, the calendar has a new date. But the most important question still remains. How is your relationship?

Three things love is not!

I Corinthians 13:5 shows three patterns that are the enemy of truly loving your children. These patterns will bring anger, frustration and brokenness. They are also connected; one leads to the other. Let's look at each one: Love is not self-seeking It is foolish to assume that what pleases you and what pleases God are one and the same. For example, do you want a house that is quiet and orderly? Why? Because that is pleasant to you? Or do you want a house full of energy and exuberance? Again, why? If your goal is to satisfy your own preferences and personality, you are not setting an example of love. The goals you set for your home must first and foremost reflect God's direction in his Word. That means that you will be setting an example of serving others sacrificially, not indulging your own preferences or traditions.

Who is in Control, your Teenager or God?

What causes stress with your teenager? The easy answer is that if your teenager was more respectful, if he would just do half of the things you asked , if she would actually listen, if you mattered half as much as the phone, things would not be so stressful. Of course there are some things that you need to work on, but the bottom line is your teenager specializes in making life difficult. The problem here is the assumption that the teenager is in control. Everything is dependent upon the teenager doing what is wanted or expected. The parent's action is controlled by what the teenager does instead of what God commands. Really? Yes, really. James says that fights and quarrels come from within, not from the other person. When a potential for conflict occurs, you can either rely on wisdom from below or wisdom from above (James 3:14-18).

7 Simple Ideas to Strengthen Your Marriage

I've shared recently about ways we injure our spouse without even knowing it. You can read the husband's post HERE and the wife's post HERE. A common request after those posts was I should share ways to strengthen the marriage. I should note I'm hesitant to offer what appears to be therapy by list, because a good marriage is far more than a formula. Actually, all of life is, including leadership. Any area of our life where people are involved - which is pretty much all our life - can never be reduced to 7 steps or 7 suggestions.

Advent and the Nearness of God

What is your good? How would you define it? Is it the early morning cup of coffee? Is your good watching your team grab the unexpected victory? Perhaps your good is that secluded walk along a forest trail. Or it may be any number of special treasures that only you know. Then there is the special good of the Advent. Advent redefines what good is and makes one good tower above all of the longings and aspirations that our heart can capture. The Psalmist gives a first window into what is the highest of all goods:

Stop Being Okay With Crappy Relationships

Dear sweet, precious, amazing person reading this article,Hi, there. I don’t know you, but I’m glad you’re here. Even though we’re connecting through a screen instead of sitting face to face sipping on a latte, I’m thankful for the opportunity to connect with you through this article today. Because it means···

Mabel Dodge Luhan: A Visionary whose Vision was out of Focus

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS - November 22, 2016) -- The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History's newest exhibit -- Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns And The West -- recently opened to wonderful reviews. And I'd agree with most of them: the art is stunning, the scope of Luhan's life is impressive; a veritable who's who of artistic and cultural influencers paid Luhan a visit at her home in Taos, New Mexico, with many represented in this fine exhibition [1].

2 Things All Good Leaders Do For Their Team

There are two things all good leaders do for their team. These are vital if you want to lead a healthy team. First. They help their team say yes. Good leaders give their team the freedom to dream. They empower the team to take their ministry in new directions. They make sure they aren't so distracted with mindless and burdensome tasks they can't pursue the things which spark their interest. Good leaders help their team move swiftly when change is needed. They encourage the team to be proactive rather than reactive.

Why There’s No Such Thing as a Soul Mate

I got an email from a young man who was feeling frustrated with relationships. He had recently asked a girl on a date but had been turned down. She explained to him that···

Say Goodbye To Your Ex

Q: Is it okay to stay friends with an ex? A: We’ve all seen it happen. Maybe we’ve even been …

7 Ways to Attract First Chair Leaders to a Second Chair Position

I always advise young leaders, if they can, to sit under a seasoned leader for a while, learning all they can, before they venture out on their own. I realize that's not always the advice a young, ready-to-go leader type wants to hear - and I get it, since I was one of those younger leaders. And, we learn mostly by failure, so there is something to be said for jumping out on your own, getting both feet wet (to use another cliche metaphor), and starting something new.

8 Common Emotions of Change – and How to Deal with Them

I speak frequently to pastors and ministry leaders - and some business groups - about leading healthy change. Every time I mention one thing any leader attempting change needs to understand - the emotions of change. You cannot lead successfully if you do not understand every change has an emotion. Plus, if you don't emphathise with those emotions - and, I'm not trying to sound dramatic here - you are either being cruel or ignorant as a leader.

10 Suggestions for Bi-Vocational Pastors

I spent my first few years of ministry as a bi-vocational pastor. For those who may not know the term, I sought other work to supplement my income I received as a pastor. I still have a heart for those who hold down two jobs - sometimes both of them approaching full-time. Additionally, I think more pastors are going to have to consider bi-vocational ministry in the years ahead as economies change and the level of committed givers in the local church. (A great book on this change - and change to come potentially - is a book by a friend of mine, John Dickerson titled "The Great Evangelical Recession".