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Slow Down

A Reflection by Stacy Bick

On my walk today, as I pulled at my dog Esther’s leash to hurry her along, I heard the Lord speak. “Slow down,” He said in a soft, gentle voice. He sweetly urged me to stop and live in the moment. To take in all the beauty of the creation around me. I saw the marvelous sky – how He creatively designed the clouds in rows as if they were rolling waves. Then, as I looked to my right, I saw a cloud in the shape of a heart.

Had He put that there for me in that moment knowing I was looking, paying attention?

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Ericka Goss: “Prayer”

Okay, I’ll say it…

I’m a daddy’s girl.

As a kid, I always had a really wonderful bond with my dad. He was kind of my idol — who I wanted to be when I grew up. He was always loving, always giving. We used to say that he would give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it.

My relationship with God first started because of what I saw in my dad’s life. Praying to my heavenly Father felt so natural…  so hopeful. Connecting wasn’t hard.

Besides that, my dad and I are two of a kind. I inherited his ability to worry about pretty much anything. I also inherited his eyes, his love of action movies and his inability to admit when he’s fallen asleep in front of people.  

It’s safe to say that growing up, we were always very close. I felt like I could share anything and everything with him. And typically I would.

When I was 18 I made a big move — not only leaving the house I grew up in, but also the state, my family, and the only world I had ever known. The only communication I had with my family was through phone calls.

Another thing you should know about my dad and I: we’re terrible at phone calls. My mom, however, has been blessed with the ability to talk to anyone and everyone for hours on end about pretty much anything. For example, she once had an hour long conversation with the phone operator while trying to call my dad at work. Yeah, I don’t know how she managed that…

When I moved out though, it’s safe to say that my mom was sort of my lifeline to my family back home. She always made the effort to call me and drag me into a conversation that would slowly turn into hours of recounting the day’s details. My dad, however, was more aloof. Occasionally my mom would pass him the phone and we would stumble through a one-worded conversation that normally would last no more than 5 minutes. Then we’d hang up. Naturally, I started calling my mom more and my dad less. Continue reading Ericka Goss: “Prayer”

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Kellie Stewart: “Embracing Mercy”

“I am a good person” is the most common reason that people in America will say they are going to heaven. I have heard it countless times, and I have to say that this mentality really brings with it some unnecessary burdens. If your salvation depends on you, guilt will overwhelm you. The inability to get out of habitual sin patterns will ruin you, leaving you with the heavy feeling that there is no escape. You find yourself overcome with the weight of having to be perfect, instead of receiving grace and mercy in your time of need.

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Hannah Herum: The Kind of Life We Live

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You know when you first make an acquaintance? After you exchange names and pleasantries, someone asks the inevitable, “So, what do you do?” This question rules and defines so many of our interactions and first impressions—even in the Church.

I remember a time in life where I felt like I had no place in the Church because my answer to What do you do? was so unexciting. I wasn’t leading a revival, running a ministry or starting an orphanage overseas. I was nannying. Or working at a coffee shop. Or working in a high school. The feelings of inadequacy and insignificance rose like a tide and threatened to steal the joy of my fellowship and the fragrance of my witness.

But it turns out that it’s not necessarily what you do in the Kingdom, so much as it is the way you do those things that manifests the heart of God. Paul writes about this so clearly in 1 Corinthians 13, but we miss the essence of this passage because the tulle of wedding dress fluff often obscures our vision. We’ve associated this passage with matrimony, instead of embracing the key to authentic fruit in the Kingdom of God.

According to Paul, we can move in spiritual gifts, but if we aren’t bearing spiritual fruit, we are nothing. We can affect society, and accomplish grand acts of charity and compassion, but if we do not do so in love, it is altogether worthless. Paul’s words clarify for the believer that the kind of life we live is just as important as what we do with that life. As followers of Jesus, the end doesn’t justify the means if the means don’t reflect the nature of the Father. It is the how, not only the what that carries heavy importance in the Kingdom of God. Continue reading Hannah Herum: The Kind of Life We Live