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Southwestern

First Person

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FIRST-PERSON: Disagreeing wisely

No matter what you believe, what you think, how you vote, or how you live your life, someone is going to disagree with you. Even in church, disagreement is inevitable, especially in this political season. But how do we handle it?

FIRST-PERSON: My first Sunday back to church

My first Sunday back after quarantine, I sat in a daze on the pew in my Central Asian church. The IKEA Christmas star still hung suspended from the ceiling above the baptismal in the corner.

FIRST-PERSON: A rare adventure

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (BP) – “The Wizard of Oz” is said to be the most watched film in history. Made in 1939, this classic production has certainly had more years than most to gain that notoriety.

FIRST-PERSON: A call to biblical stewardship

NASHVILLE (BP) – Americans gave 3.02 percent of their income to the church in 1968. By 2017, it had declined to 2.13 percent. If this trend is not reversed, by 2050 it is projected to decline to 1.66 percent.

FIRST-PERSON: A day for evaluation

PRESTONBURG, Ky. (BP) – Monday was my birthday. While birthdays are for celebrating (I never dreamed I would be this old!), for me it’s also a day of personal evaluation.

FIRST-PERSON: Reclaiming your childlike joy

CATOOSA, Okla. (BP) – Several times in Scripture we see Jesus use children as an example of what the kingdom of heaven is like. I love these examples because it reminds me there are no grown-ups in heaven.

FIRST-PERSON: How to bring joy to your pastor

A pastor’s work is never finished. When he goes to bed Sunday evening, the last thoughts on his mind are the things that he will need to attend to the following week. Even on his days off, the pastor is never off. A simple trip to the hardware store usually leads to a ministry encounter or two.

FIRST-PERSON: How much more can you stand?

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP) – One of the greatest and constant needs of the church since its birth at Pentecost is God-called, Spirit-filled, well-equipped leaders. Are you like me, some days just wondering: How much more can we stand?

FIRST-PERSON: America is in crisis: What do we do?

NASHVILLE (BP) – The original goal of the secularization of America was to see religion become nonexistent in our nation. This has not happened. However, religion has been neutralized to such a point that often it is silenced. It is evident there are leaders at every level of government across American life who no longer believe or even categorize religion as essential.

FIRST-PERSON: Little miracles

Earlier this year, as my family sat at lunch after church service, my daughter lamented that there seemed to be no great miracles anymore. She had read about Jesus walking on water, turning water into wine, and feeding 5,000 people with only five loaves and two fish. These were impressive miracles, she thought, but they were in the olden days.