Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood

[354 words] Stephen Covey was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. His most famous book is entitled, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” This book highlights seven ways one can be more effective in life, work, or their profession as they seek to hone their craft. Habit #5 is: Seek first to understand, then be understood. We are currently in the midst of a society where members are wanting to be heard. We continue to see people from all walks of life desiring someone to talk to and seeking someone to listen to what they have to...

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Words Matter

[299 words] We have so many ways in which we use our words. We have the spoken word. We have the written word. We have the texted word. We have the emailed word. We have the posted word. Thank-fully, we have the Inspired Word! James 1:19-20 is clear when it comes to how we are to respond to anyone in any given situation. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Communication can be difficult at times. Let...

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Dealing With Chickens

[314 words] I loved visiting my Aunt Maureen and my  Uncle Tolle Chapman in Nobob, KY when I was a little boy. They always had chickens in their backyard! I would spend hours watching the chickens peck the ground and interact in their little space. My aunt Margaret lived just up the road. She too, had chickens! I liked her chickens even though she had a rooster that spurred me on my leg (I still have that scar). What I noticed with both sets of chickens is this: Both groups worked, moved around, and survived as they learned to deal...

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Are You Tired?

[351 words] “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue.” Job 14:1-2 reminds us life is hard and short.  This is not “news” to any of us! We are all aware of the challenges of life that we each face everyday. The obstacles we deal with range from physical, emotional, relational, financial and so many more. In sum, the pain we see, feel, and anticipate is extremely hard. The older we get the more we realize...

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How To Make Sermons Last

[272 words] A preacher posted recently that someone had commented to him, “sermons are ineffective because they are forgotten by the time people get to the restaurant after church.” This statement concerned me because I feel the person who suggested this idea to the preacher put preachers in a negative light (probably not intentionally). I, like you, have heard someone complain from time to time about the preaching, the message, or the presentation. As I have tried to grow spiritually, I’ve learned the hearer has as much of a responsibility to the sermon as the speaker. If the hearer has...

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Good Communication Requires Wisdom

[324 words] The root cause of conflict points back to “poor communication.” How many of us want to be “heard?” How many times do we feel we failed in a conversation? My parents would not be happy and would say to me, “You shouldn’t speak before you think!”  Forty-six years later, I still struggle to understand what they were saying to me. But, I have a clearer understanding of their teaching as I think back to the many times I have “dropped the ball” when trying to express myself or listen to others as they expressed themselves. Sharing the Gospel...

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Healing A Broken Heart

[310 words] “We spend the first half of our life making friends, we spend the second half of our life burying them.” — Unknown How many of us have said “goodbye” to a friend or family member at the funeral home? I find myself attempting to provide comfort to others and watch people I care about suffer due to lives ending. I, like you, want badly to help others during the most difficult time of life. What do I do? What do I say? How can I go on? How do I deal with the void of loss in my...

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Left Behind, Missing Our Family and Friends

[347 words] I am thankful each day to rise and participate in life. However, I am seeing more and more of my family, friends, and those who have meant so much to me pass away. We know grief and death are part of life (Hebrews 9:27), but I think we all yearn to spend more time with those we have loved and devoted time to. We are left behind. What are we to do? Our connection with the one we are missing will dictate our reaction. Our level of grief mirrors the level of our love. We know life doesn’t...

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Can You Keep A Secret?

[219 words] In some instances, a secret must be kept! Spouses have conversations that only take place inside their relationship. Lawyers maintain client confidentiality. Bankers cannot share customer loan agreements. Medical Professionals cannot divulge patient information. Preachers cannot share details of meetings when he is assisting someone in the congregation with a problem or spiritual challenge. A friend or someone we are concerned about may have asked us to keep a secret after they have confided in us. When it comes to having information about Jesus Christ, what do we do with what we know? Do we share Christ with...

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Missing Our Loved Ones

[326 words] Not an hour fades from the clock that doesn’t find us thinking about, missing, or longing to be with our friends, neighbors, family members, or spouse that has already passed away. We know the void we have is a result of the deep love we shared. We are confident in the expectation of comfort Scripture provides us for our mourning as we long for that great reunion! Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the...

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Fathers

[357 words] “Did you do your homework?” I’m very proud of you!” “Do you need anything?” “I love you.” “Can you hold this light for me?” These are just a few of the words I can still hear my father saying to me. Although my father has been gone for 24 years, I can still hear and see him; my mind is never far from him. I thank God I understand the love, kindness, care, and concern of an earthly father. I miss my father dearly and strive to be the father to my kids he was to me. I...

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The Influence of Mothers

[328 words] We are in a time where the lines of morality are blurred. The Bible is plain when it comes to who is to marry (one man and one woman), how children are to be parented (by both parents), and how children are to respond to their parents (reflecting Godly parenting). We should be thankful for days set aside to honor and give thanks for Godly mothers. From the beginning we see females are to be joined to males. Matthew 19:4-6 says, “And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at...

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Lest We Drift Away

[301 words] Man-made religions grow due to entertainment worship and an acceptance of feel-good philosophy. Once faithful Christians have exchanged truth for fiction. The Hebrew writer says, “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away (2:1). Ignoring God’s commands will cause the once faithful to drift and fall away! Pride can push us away: Luke 15:12 says, “And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. So he divided his livelihood.” Like the younger brother, we sometimes want God...

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Lessons From The Lost Coin

[309 words] Luke 15:1-2 sets up the three parables Jesus is using to teach His lessons. The “tax collectors and sinners” were drawn to the uplifting message of Jesus! These groups wanted an alternative to the ugliness found in their lives while having no sense of hope and direction. Luke 15:8-10 says, “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ’Rejoice with me for I have found...

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Living 

  [398 words] Most days, “ living” is a challenge. We have many responsibilities and challenges that compete with our relationship with God. We are raising a generation that has no real religious concern or eternal focus. As a society, our current generation continues to drift from the Creator! The world around us seems put us in survival mode everyday.  Christians can live a fruitful, meaningful life! We can live a full, Christian life provided we are in a right relationship with God. We can do more than survive. We can live decisively, live abundantly, and live eternally as long...

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What Will They Say About Me?

  [342 words] Just as you, I have attended several funerals recently of friends & family, as well as, brothers and sisters in Christ. Leading up to the memorial, we often read a snippet of our loved one’s life in the local newspaper. The last several weeks has lead me to this question, “What will they say about me?” Will they say I believed Jesus Christ is the King? John 18:37 says, “Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for...

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Foul Language Is Foul

  [312 words] I recently watched a nationally televised athletic event where literally millions of people viewed the same game. During the game, the main camera showed one of the coaches being very upset and using verbally abusive foul language regarding calls made by the officials! What I observed disturbed me. Then I realized how many other people saw what I saw.  I am not naïve, and I understand foul language is used by the most of the population. We are to the point in our culture that most people in leadership positions in government, athletics, education, management and all...

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Take Advantage of What the Church Offers

  [330 words] Recently, I dropped my son off at the building for an activity that will enhance his ability to develop a budget and be a better provider both financially and spiritually when he starts his family one day. I know our schedules create barriers from time to time and we can’t attend everything. However, I felt badly for those young men who were not in attendance because they missed out on some great information! This event reminded me how fortunate we are to have so many opportunities afforded to us by our church. Allen Webster authored a tract...

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Please Do Not Be Discouraged

  [250 words] Many times our “downs” outweigh our “ups.” We may feel we are going uphill all the while being pulled back. We may be hurting because our loved ones are hurting due to health challenges, financial setbacks, or spiritual deprivation. We may spend our mornings, days, or late nights in tears because of the things life is throwing our way. I beg you not to be discouraged. God’s people can hold on to what is in the Bible! The Scriptures teach security of the soul, true inner peace, and blessed assurance. “For God has not given us a...

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What Defines You?

  [306 words] Are you known for your knowledge of the great outdoors, your keen political awareness, the expertise in your profession or your ability to understand what it takes to build a superb athletic team? I enjoy hearing good hunting stories, listening to whether or not we are on the right track in our country, and seeing the excitement when a great game has been played. Do we allow these things and other passions of ours make us who we are or define us? Do we identify with the One who died for us? As followers of Christ, we...

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How Can I Be Poured Out for Christ?

  [297 words] Philippians 2:12-18 teaches us we how we can be light bearers for Christ while giving our all for Him. I would encourage you to read this passage along side this article. What is required of me? Paul writes that those who read his words demonstrate personal responsibility when it comes to the work of the church, interactions with one another, dealing with the world, and spiritual growth. Scripture reveals salvation does not “reside in “faith alone,” but in action. What is our focus as Christians? We are to focus on Christ. In terms of our “Christian Vision,”...

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Is Our Attitude Worth Catching?

  [279 words] During my first public job as a teenager, I demonstrated more immaturity than I care to talk about. I was trying to be funny in front of a customer. I wanted to be an “attention getter” with my comments, she stopped writing her check looked at me and said, “Allen, you can tell a lot about a person by what they laugh about!” Needless to say, her terse response rightfully put me in the place I needed to be. The customer’s redirection was justified AND needed! As an adult, I, like most, have struggled with how I...

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Don’t Quit

  [321 words] Many times, we encounter challenges that make us rethink our commitment to Christ and the church. When we consider quitting or lessening our relationship with Christ and the church let’s: Remember why we started (cf. Revelation 2:5). The church at Ephesus left their first love. Go back and remember why we chose to become a Christian, why we chose to become an Elder, why we chose to become a Deacon, and why we became a Minister (whatever the case may be). Re-identify with Christ (cf. 1 Peter 4:12-14). When you go through difficult times, don’t be shocked....

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Reflections From Walking In A Cemetery

  [422 words] I’m not sure how you feel about cemeteries, but I actually do my best thinking and reflecting anytime I find myself in a cemetery. Why? My priorities are quickly put in order, I realize we all have a limited number of sunsets, and I see firsthand the hurt one feels when a loved one is lost. I recently had the opportunity to assist with a graveside service of someone who passed away untimely. Despite being strangers, those gathered in that small, quiet place not only had the love for the person who had passed in common, but...

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Don’t Give Up!

  [310 words] Today, some of us somewhere are receiving bad news, having to deal with unexpected challenges, existing in the darkness of being alone, having our feelings hurt, aren’t sure where our next meal is coming from, wandering how are we going to make that payment or going through excruciating physical pain. During times like these, we want to quit right where we are and never take another step because we don’t know what the future holds! Our Creator has left us with directions and a map to overcoming our biggest obstacles if we will love, trust, and submit...

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We Can Win The Battle

  [332 words] As I type, Monday is knocking at the door! Challenges lay ahead, temptation is on both sides of the road, and Satan is waiting for me to step off the path I walk with Jesus. You and I will battle sin every hour and every day this week. The Good News is Jesus Christ. The Good News is we can win this battle! As we prepare our battle plan, we must know what we are up against. Let’s look at the nature of sin. Heath Rogers, in his book entitled, Overcoming Sin, says “Sin is not an...

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James: Where Faith Meets Real Life

  [333 words] We all are looking for ways to deal with the trials and tribulations in our life each day. The book of James provides us with practical strategies from Scripture which allow us to overcome challenges, grow spiritually, and help others with struggles. James 1:1-7 teaches us we can profit from trials! This section of Scripture says, “James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad; My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But...

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Help Wanted

  [382 words] We all have gone straight to the “Help Wanted” column of the classified section of the newspaper. When I needed a second or third job, I would spend a dollar in hopes of finding employment in the Sunday edition. Most of the time, we can find work if we are seeking. This is especially true in the work of the church. Someone once told me, “There should never be any unemployed Christians.” Much work is to be done in bringing others to Christ. We know secular work sustains our family and allows the work of the church...

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Your Next Home

[298 words] Financial experts tell us our homes are our largest asset. An average house in 1973 was 1,660 sq. ft., while in 2015 an average house was 2,687 sq. ft. Numerically, families continue to decrease in size compared to previous decades. Our homes are very important due to values, not needs. We are blessed to work, plan, and prosper while choosing a home that fits our goals. We may even be thinking of remodeling or relocating. How often do we ponder our eternal home? Heaven deserves all the attention we give our earthly homes, and more! Heaven is a...

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He is Our Only Hope

When I was about 8 years old, I was asked by a neighborhood friend to attend an afternoon of swimming. I could not swim but I thought, “Just getting to tag along would be fun.” Within a few minutes of arriving at our destination, I was easily talked into getting in the water while holding on to the side of the pool. A few more minutes passed and I slipped into the water, gasping, fighting vigorously to return to my safe state. No matter how hard I tried, I could not regain any type of traction or get my head...

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Be All You Can Be

[297 words] As Christians are we being ALL WE CAN BE? We all have talent that allows us to make contributions to the expansion of God’s Kingdom. When we don’t utilize our talents we have a tendency to utilize excuses. Moses struggled with this as well. We know Moses as a Leader but he also made excuses: Exodus 3:11 says But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Do we sometimes feel we are not qualified? Exodus 3:13 says Then Moses said...

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Don’t ‘Just Say No!’

[331 words] During the 1980’s when the War On Drugs began, one of the phrases developed to deter teens and young adults to stay away from drugs was called, “Just Say No!” Of course the idea was if you were approached to partake in drug use, everyone was encouraged to “Just Say No!” If you did this, you would not become a user of drugs. Sometimes within the church we “Just Say No” when it comes to our participation and involvement. What happens when we “Just Say No?” Saying NO to church participation limits our zeal to teach others. Romans...

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Have You Heard The Good News?

[239 words] The “Good News” is the saving Gospel message of Jesus Christ. We must understand and share the story of our Lord and Savior. Acts 2 teaches us the confidence we have in the One who saves us. Acts 2:22 – He was a man. Acts 2:22 – God showed us who He was through miraculous works. Acts 2:23 – God allowed of this through His predetermined plan. Acts 2:23 – Humankind killed Jesus. Acts 2:24a, 32 – God raised Him again. Acts 2:24b – Christ raised, death defeated. Acts 2:32 – Peter and others witnessed the resurrection. Acts...

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How We Are to Love Others

[328 words] We can see division and dislike for others in our society. The challenge to love others may exist in our community, workplace, or family for one reason or another. Scripture accurately and carefully guides us when it comes to how we are to love others. How can we love? Galatians 5:13 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” We love by serving others! We are striving to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know the lost doesn’t care...

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Back To School? Please Pray For Our Children!

[187 words] As school begins, we must monitor our kids each day. Brad Harrub identified reasons we are losing our children along with solutions to ensure our kids will remain steadfast in their walk with Christ. Reasons We Are Losing Our Kids: 1. Lack of Knowledge (Hosea 4:6, 1 Peter 3:15). 2. Lack of Combat Preparation (Eph. 6:13-17). 3. Lack of Protection of our Children’s Hearts, Minds (Matt. 22:37-38). 4. Lack of Proper Training in the Lord (Deut. 6:5-9). 5. Lack of Proper Teaching (Isaiah 59:2). 6. Lack of Proper Priorities (Matt. 6:24). 7. Lack of Interest (Romans 16:1-2). How...

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Missing Our Loved Ones

[325 words] Not an hour fades from the clock that doesn’t find us thinking about, missing, or longing to be with our friends, neighbors, family members, or spouse that has already passed away. We know the void we have is a result of the deep love we shared. We are confident in the expectation of comfort Scripture provides us for our mourning as we long for that great reunion! Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the...

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Our Father

  [311 words] I remember the morning of my father’s funeral, my mother was in a hurry to leave the house. In a confused voice, I asked, “Why are you in such a rush?” She said, “Today is the last day we will get to see him.” I have longed to see and talk with my earthly father the last twenty-five years. I wished he could have met my wife, my kids, and you. Many of us understand the void of not having our father with us or not having a relationship with our father. What has sustained me is...

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Do You Struggle With Parenting?

[291 words] Parenting is challenging. The top of the Christian parent challenge list would be, “Will my child be faithful to Christ into adulthood?” The Fuller Youth Institute says 50% of students walk away from the church after they graduate High School. Our youth need: Intergenerational relationships: Titus 2:1-5 says, “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanders, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-that they...

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Well, That’s Your Opinion!

[266 words] Do you use the rule book when you play Monopoly? I have never read the rules for Monopoly. Why? Getting to do something while making up my rules just seems easier. Playing the game with a skeleton set of guidelines takes the pressure off of trying to examine, prepare, and do what I am supposed to do the correct way. I have very little resistance from others who play the game with me when it comes to following the rules. When a problem comes up, someone will say, “Well, that’s your opinion” and we agree to disagree while...

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Review, Reflect, Reset

  [311 words] Before we plan for 2017, can we look back at 2016? We apply this strategy with most anything in our lives. It would behoove us to apply this thinking with our spiritual lives as well. Let’s Review! First Cor. 10:12-13 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able...

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