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It's Complicated: August 20

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor  Scripture Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. - Matt 16:24 A Christian’s Fundamental Commitment There are many different ways of life. For example, there is the life of a small dairy farmer (as I once knew it), one characterized by steady rhythms of early rising, the morning milking, a stout breakfast, mowing fields, hauling hay, stacking it into the barns, repairing... Read More

It's Complicated: August 19

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor  Scripture “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. - 1 Corinthians 10:23 TNIV Just How Does Community Affect Commitment? Well-known preacher Rubel Shelly once said that he had quit preaching so much from the epistles because they were all about problems in the church, and people were sick... Read More

It's Complicated: August 18

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor Scripture "One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful … David sent messengers to get her." - 2 Samuel 11:2 Why is the story of David and Bathsheba so well known? To be sure, other David stories are quite popular too: the way he was chosen among Jesse’s seven sons, his unlikely defeat of Goliath, dancing... Read More

It's Complicated: August 17

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor  Scripture "May your hearts be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands..." - 1 Kings 8:61 To Whom and What Should We Commit? Today’s verse actually shows up at the end of a much longer blessing King Solomon pronounced over Israel as he and they prepared for the dedication of the temple. It was an extraordinary moment in Israel’s history, the culmination... Read More

It's Complicated: August 16

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor  Scripture Remember O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes. - Isaiah 38:3 What is Commitment? The word “commitment” doesn’t show up much in English Bibles, but the idea is certainly there. Here in Isaiah 38:3 we have one of the truly great kings of Judah, one of the all-too-rare “good guys,” pleading with God for his life... Read More

It's Complicated: August 13

by Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor Scripture "Since then no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt - to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel." - Deuteronomy 34:10-11 Focusing Question: What came of Moses? God... Read More

It's Complicated: August 12

by Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor Scripture But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” - Exodus 4:13 Focusing Question: Who is best? Now we get to the real issue with Moses. He didn’t want to be the one to deliver Israel from Egypt in the first place. He thought surely someone else had better qualifications. So he’s done with the questions and speaks his peace: “Send somebody else to do it!” At this point,... Read More

It’s Complicated: August 11

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor   Scripture Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you?’” - Exodus 4:1   Focusing Question: Who are they?   We’re camped out in Exodus 3 and 4 this week because it feels like Moses is trying to control God with his questions in these chapters: “Who am I to go to Pharaoh?” “Who are You [God] that Israel should... Read More

It's Complicated: August 10

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor Scripture Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” - Exodus 3:13 Focusing Question: Who are You? You might fault Moses for lots of things, but boldness is surely not one of them. When God appeared to him, Moses had question after question for Him, and... Read More

It's Complicated: August 9

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor Scripture But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” - Exodus 3:11 Focusing Question: Who am I? Who am I?  is a question people are thinking about a lot these days, and they are finding helpful direction with various instruments. There’s the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator, for example, where “INTJ” means I’m given to... Read More

It's Complicated: August 6

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor Scripture & Focusing Question: “Should I not be concerned about Ninevah, that great city?” - Jonah 4:11 Like other books of the Bible (say, Second Kings or the Gospel of Mark or Acts), the Book of Jonah has a suspended ending. That is, it’s not all neatly sewn up with everyone living “happily ever after.” In fact, we don’t even know how the story ends. All we’re left with is a sulking prophet... Read More

It's Complicated: August 5

by Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor, and Dale Best, Communications Director (Neal’s muse) Scripture Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time... Read More

It's Complicated: August 4

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor Scripture “So if God gave them [the Gentiles] the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I [Peter] to think that I could oppose God!” - Acts 11:17 Today’s Focusing Question: Who am I to think I can oppose God? Technically, this was Peter’s question, not Jonah’s, but both of these guys had the same problem: they didn’t want to let outsiders in on God’s love.... Read More

It's Complicated: August 3

By Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor Scripture “Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.” - Jonah 1:4 “Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding …” - Psalm 148:8 Today’s Focusing Question: Is it ever really possible to evade God’s call?  I... Read More

It's Complicated: August 2

By Nate Ross, Lead Pastor Rocks. Pebbles. Sand.  The order of these three items matters when filling up a jar. Get them out of order and something gets left out.  This is a great illustration of the book of Jonah.  Instead of starting with “rocks” (God’s Word), Jonah fills his life first with “sand” and takes off running from God and his calling. Jonah finds “quicksand” while running from God and eventually ends up by... Read More