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Staff Trax

God Winks

My soul longs, indeed faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
— Psalm 84:2

Have you ever been so preoccupied with life that you end up overlooking the surprising and unexpected ways that God shows up as you go about the routine activities of everyday life?

I must admit that sometimes I can become so fixated…

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

During Advent, many congregations sing the beautiful hymn “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.” For good reason. The hymn speaks of our desire to be set free from our fears and sins while also expressing a need for Jesus, the “joy of every longing heart.”

When evening falls on Dec. 24, Advent will finally give way to Christmas, a time when many of us will gather for Christmas Eve worship…

Together

Emery Nester tells a story about a lost hiker stranded in the wilderness. Hopelessly lost, the hiker worried about finding a way out of the dense forest, until, by chance, the hiker encountered another wilderness wanderer. “I am lost,” said the hiker. “Will you please show me the way out of the wilderness?” “No,” replied the stranger, “I cannot show you the way out of the wilderness,…

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Have you ever noticed how many times the Bible lifts up the orphan, the widow, the foreigner, the poor, the prisoner, the grieving, and the sick? Jesus is with them, and he invites his followers to join him in caring for the least, the last, and the lost.

Although we may like to passively observe the biblical narrative unfold, it goes without saying that discipleship is not a spectator sport.…

God, Is That You?

Truth be told, sometimes the change process feels more like a tomb than a womb. After all, change, especially unwanted or unwelcome change, often entails loss — the loss of a building, the loss of a tradition, the loss of relationships, the loss of stability, you name it. As a result, a community undergoing change and transition may find itself challenged to see and experience God’s presence…

God’s Fingerprints

In his book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff, Richard Carlson writes about the importance of perspective through the responses of two bricklayers.

When asked “What are you doing?” the first laborer complained that he was an underpaid bricklayer forced to earn a living by mindlessly placing bricks on top of one another.

Yet the response was…

The Potholes of Life

Dear Mission Partners,

The news that Salem must find a new worship space effective Aug. 1 came as a shock to many of us. And while disappointing, the sense of urgency triggered by the impending end of our current building use agreement with Central Seminary has required us to pursue new opportunities and possibilities for ministry and mission moving forward. The active participation of so…

What’s Your Plan?

The end of another school year and the approach of summer raise the question, “What’s your plan?”

For many of us, summer is an opportunity to travel, to reconnect with family and friends, and to renew our weary bodies, minds, and spirits before the season escapes us.

Recently, while reading Ken Blanchard’s book, One Solitary Life, I found myself challenged…

Justice Matters

Have you ever had someone say, “Justice is too political, it has no place in church?” Sadly, political pundits and sensationalized reporting have created confusion regarding what the Bible says about justice.

The biblical witness is clear, God is “a God of justice” (Isaiah 30:18). And living in right relationship with God and with one another, proclaim the prophets, impels believers…

Hearts on Fire

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
(
Psalm 51:10)

Lent is HEART work. A 40-day time of honest vulnerability when we are called once again to bare our broken hearts before God, trusting in God’s healing and renewing…

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