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A Dog's Life. Not So Bad After All

This, from Reader's Digest: There are numerous studies that attest to the stress-relieving benefits of pets. In one analysis researchers evaluated the heart health of 240 couples, half of whom owned a pet. Those couples with pets had significantly lower heart rates and blood pressure levels when exposed to stressors than the couples who did not have pets. In fact, the pets worked even better at buffering stress than the spouses did. I have to admit, I didn't see this coming. I do think, however, that this is more about dogs than cats. I can't imagine a cat that didn't raise tension/blood pressure.

3 Things You Can Do to Exhale Every Night

Exhaling is an important part of breathing. It's pretty necessary to expel air from your lungs before you inhale oxygen. Breathing (exhale/inhale) is one of life's rhythms that is not often considered, but is crucially necessary. I've been thinking about the rhythms of life and how we might apply the same principles to our spiritual life. Just as exhaling and inhaling is necessary to sustain life, I wonder if we might not better sustain our own days if we took the time to exhale every night and inhale every morning. Here are some thoughts I have on exhaling: 1. Breath out the deadly toxins. Every day we are confronted with the reality of sin. Whether it be our own mistakes, the hurt of relationships, persecution by enemies, or just the consequences of a fallen world; by the time we close our day, our lives are full of deadly toxins. We need to exhale by breathing those out to our Father. Don't take your pain out on your wife or children or friends. Don&#

Thankful for the Heart of Calvary

One thing I would like to do better is to end my days being thankful. So tonight, I want to give thanks for the heart of my brothers and sisters at Calvary. It is a blessing to be able to witness so many of my friends who are truly developing the heart of Jesus. Over the past few years we have seen many wealthy and "important" people walk away from our church, but God has graciously sent people to replace them who may not be blessed financially, but who exhibit a rich love in their relationships with each other and a deep compassion for the world around them. After all, when he saw the widow give her two mites at the temple, Jesus reminded his followers that it was not the size of the offering that mattered, but rather it is the heart of the giver. Over the past few days I have a great opportunity to repeatedly see people exhibiting the heart of a joyful giver. Today, we had people coming to our building all day (as late as 8pm tonight) to pick up gifts for delivery to child

Please Pray for a Dear Friend and a Great Man

‎ Patrick McGoldrick is perhaps the person who has most influenced me in church ministry. He is someone I deeply respect and love, and from whom I have learned a great deal. I learned more from him in a six month internship than I did in four years of college. Please pray for him, Dena Stevens McGoldrick , and their children Paige and Parker. Patrick posted this yesterday: After a few months of st range symptoms, many doctor’s visits and tests, I need to share with you that I have recently been diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The doctors are 100% convinced that this is what I have. There is no cure for ALS. ALS is a serious neurological disease that causes muscle weakness and eventually leads to complete deterioration. The speed and path varies from person to person, but the average life expectancy is two years. Obviously, this is not what I had planned, nor what I would have ever dreamed would happen to me. But there is another side to the story. God is sovereign and

Control the Thing You Can Control

This morning I was reading in Psalm 119. I noticed across the page, I had scribbled some notes a while back so I looked to see what I had written. Psalm 116:10-11 were underlined. They read: I believed in you, so I said "I am deeply troubled, LORD" In my anxiety I cried out to you, "These people are all liars!" In the margin, I wrote: "I cannot control what others do, I can control whether or not I take it to God." True.

The Beatles, Mary, and When Peace Like a River...

This is a repost. But it fits with my sermon for Saturday night, so I thought I'd throw it out there for you: You tell me... was Paul McCartney a closet fundamentalist? ...or was he at least influenced by Horatio Spafford? When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul. Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be. It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul. And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be. For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see, there will be an answer. let it be. Though Satan should b

5 Lists of 3. Simplifying the Process of Spiritual Formation

Captain Jack Sparrow held one of the Pirate Lord's eight pieces of nine. I just get a kick out of that term. Today, I give you five lists of three. These are five different lists which each seek to describe (not necessarily define) the process of spiritual formation . These lists are not meant to be comprehensive, nor are they solely instructional; but hopefully they provide some opportunity for reflection. Here we go: 1. A Church's Approach to Spiritual Formation: Teach Biblical Content Encourage Spiritual Disciplines Empower Christlike Mission 2. A Group Approach to Spiritual Formation: Partnering for growth together Serving the church together Engaging the world together 3. A Personal Approach to Spiritual Formation: Be a disciple Be invitational Be missional 4. A Progressive Approach to Spiritual Formation: Leave Life (for Christ's) Live Life (of obedience) Give Life (for others) 5. A Progressive Approach to Spiritual Formation (2): Obey Love Bear Fruit What do you t

9-9-9: Food

9 Foods I Love to Eat: Fried Chicken Olive-Loaf Bologna Shrimp Prime Rib Fried Okra Frozen Twinkies Bacon Oreo Creme Cheese 9 Foods I Don't Eat Much: Eggs Rice Gravy Baked Beans Liver Fettuccine Alfredo Beets Cottage Cheese Prunes 9 Foodish Sounding Things I Wouldn't Eat: Toe Cheese Leech Sushi Goiter Gravy Skunk Stew Earwig Crunch Cream-of-Cyst Soup Deep-Fried Larva Autumn Leaf Salad Chocolate Covered Scabs

9-9-9: Places

9 Places I've Lived Sherman Manor Clare, MI Covington, KY Brock West Cedarville, OH Muskegon,MI Marlboro Road Huntington, WV Perry, MI 9 Places I've Visited Disney World Cape Cod Outer Banks, NC Mammoth Cave Ford Field Savannah, GA Field of the Wood Niagara Falls Hilton Head, SC 9 Places I'd Like to Go The Superbowl St. Andrews Grand Canyon Anfield Anywhere Warm Philadelphia Ireland Augusta National Seattle

9-9-9: SPORTS

9 Teams I Prefer to All Others: 1. Michigan State Spartans 2. Detroit Tigers 3. Detroit Lions 4. Liverpool FC Reds 5. Detroit Red Wings 6. Sailor Soccer 7. Cedarville Yellowjackets 8. Detroit Pistons 9. Cincinnati Reds 9 Teams I Love to Hate: 1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2. Chicago Bears 3. Minnesota Twins 4. Colorado Avalanche 5. Manchester United Red Devils 6. Green Bay Packers 7. Chicago White Sox 8. Dallas Cowboys 9. New York Yankees 9 Athletes I Admire: 1. Steve Yzerman 2. Barry Sanders 3. Lou Whitaker 4. Steve Smith (MSU basketball) 5. John Stockton/Karl Malone 6. Greg Maddox 7. Isaiah Thomas 8. Brandon Inge 9. Andy Pettitte

Today's Picture

Today's Pictures. Plus, Stuff I Like

Following are a couple links to stuff I like. Feel free to leave comments at the end... If you need to dispose of a dead body, the new iPhone can help you find the perfect place. If you were working for the mob, where would you stash your "jobs"? This mayor of a Utah town spent two years writing articles under a false name to try to make people feel better about his town. Is this okay? When is "spin" appropriate and when is it just lying? Did you know Ben Franklin did something similar? How far would you go to find a lost wedding ring? Would you go to the city dump? I wonder how many couples have funny stories about lost rings? I once broke my wedding ring in half on a youth missions trip...

Today's Pictures

Three Stages of Pastoral Ministry

i don't remember where i first saw this, but i scribbled it down on a piece of paper when i did. i stumbled upon that piece of paper today. it made me chuckle (things are funny either because they are true, or because they are not; i'll leave it to you to decide which this one is). There were three phases to Jesus' ministry which closely mirror the three stages most pastors go through at a church: 1. "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" 2. "By whose authority do you do these things?" 3. "Crucify him!"

Community Service vs. Community Transformation

I love a good Venn diagram. Venn diagrams on napkins are even better. This is a good Venn diagram on a napkin. It's from my friend Peter Horn . You can read what he wrote about it by visiting his blog at: PeterHornOnline.com .

5 More Clues to Being a Super-Star Parent

We all (those of us who are parents) want to be better parents. Part of good parenting is being able to effectively communicate with our children, particulary in moment of correction. Learning to appropriately respond to correction may, for our children, mean the difference between a wise life and a foolish life. How we communicate correction to them will significantly impact their ability to handle correction. I found these suggestions in this blogpost at DesiringGod.org . It is originally intended for fathers, but the wisdom of these words are good for all parents. Try to consider these good words next time you find yourself needing to effectively communicate with your children: Don't waste words. Don't add a lot of apologies or unnecessary detail that make you look timid. Don't threaten. Be clear about expectations. When you tell someone, especially a child, how to behave or what to do, make sure you both are very clear about what you expect. Be clear about consequ

5 Habits That Keep You From Being Content

Contentment is one of the most important virtues we can cultivate in our lives. Temptation, sin and addiction all spring out of a lack of contentment. When we are not willing to be satisfied by the resources God has provided, we will soon find ourselves chasing after the things He knows we do not need. A few days ago, I came across a blog which listed five things that are destroying your success . Success is one of those things that everyone defines differently, but I noticed that the five items listed are also five habits that can lead to a discontented life. So I've repurposed the list, and below are five habits that will keep you from being content : Constantly criticizing people Blaming other people for your failures Dreaming about other successful people Not taking the extra step to get closer to your goal Letting other people make decisions for you you can read the entire blog post here.

Go And Sin No More...Starting RIGHT NOW!

This weekend we examined the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. Last week, I wrote about what it DOESN'T mean , and Saturday night I tried to talk about what it does mean (although I went much longer than I wanted to and skipped a part I didn't want to skip). You can listen to the sermon here. This morning I came across this blog that dovetails nicely with the idea of "Go and sin no more!" You can read the entire post here (there are some good illustrations as well as some helpful thoughts), but I've excerpted out some of the really good stuff below: ...I spend a fair amount of time talking to people who are simultaneously feeling convicted of their sins and yet not quite ready to give them up, either. Come to think of it, most of us probably fit into this category in one way or another, even if our sinful indulgences may outwardly appear to be "lesser" somehow than those of, say, a prostitute or a heroin addict. On the one hand, sinful

Who's Up For a Good Old Fashioned Stoning?

John 8:1-11 is the story of Jesus, the religious leaders, and the woman caught in adultery. This passage is often considered one of the more "controversial" passages in the New Testament. It's controversial because of the content of the story, as well as because of the questionable nature of it's place in the gospel of John. It's one of those passages about which the footnotes say, "The earliest and manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11". I'm not going to go into detail regarding the textual controversy. If you want to learn more about it, here are some sources: This guy thinks Luke actually wrote the story. A scholarly approach which affirms the validity of the passage. A Christianity Today article that casts some doubt on the passage. (not reflective of my view...) The other aspect of controversy regarding this passage is the way it is often misinterpreted(some think the reason it wasn't inclu

Top Ten Venn Diagrams of All Time?

Platypus = Awesomeness. Keytar= Awesomeness. Platypus x Keytar = Infinity Awesomeness. from: Flowing Data

Is It Okay for God to Punish People for Sin?

I'm listening to an old sermon by Dr. Jim Grier (the most intelligent man I've ever known). He began by reading from Revelation 21:3: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people." Then he said this: "the earth was created to be the dwelling place of God." You need to take just a minute and let that sink in. Think it through. Consider the ramifications. Immediately, I began to think about how this informs the way we think about so many things. It should affect our view of ecology, it should affect our view of sustainability, and it should affect our view of sin. Let me illustrate with a story. There was a man who constructed his dream house. He poured all his resources into the house, and in the end it was a beautiful creation. The house was designed perfectly for the man and his family. Then he went away on a journey. Before he left, he hired a care

How To Be the Perfect Parent

I don't think there is one "secret formula" for parenting. Every child is different and so every child should be parented differently. However, there are probably some good pieces of wisdom that every parent should consider. I found a list recently at the "Zen Habits" blog (I don't agree with everything I read there, but they do have good stuff about living more simply) . I would place varying degrees of importance on each of these items, but I do think all of them represent positive parenting practices : 1. Teach kids to be self-sufficient. 2. Teach older kids to help with the younger kids. 3. Teach them to solve problems. 4. Show them how to be passionate. 5. Play with them outside, and be active. 6. Don’t overschedule. 7. Don’t dote. 8. Dance. 9. Read with them, and read in front of them. 10. Be inquisitive. You can read the whole article here . So, what do you think? Which of these is the best idea? Are there any with which you disagree? Wh

He Is a Fool Who Knows Not How to Respond to Criticism

Marianne and I were talking today about how easy it is for a person who is “simple” (read about the wise, simple, fool, and mocker in Proverbs) to become a fool if influenced by the wrong people. While thinking about our discussion I sketched out this chart, and was reminded midway through of how often Proverbs stresses our response to correction. If you want to become wise, learn how to respond appropriately to correction.

All We Are Saying... Is Give Tim Tebow a Chance!

Tim Tebow started his fourth NFL game yesterday. He’s won two of the four starts. There are some NFL fans who would give an arm and a leg for a starting quarterback who wins 50% of his games (ahem: I’m looking at us, Lion’s fans). By any measurement, his game yesterday was dismal. He was bad in every aspect of the game. For 55 minutes, he very effectively kept his team from winning. But then, as the clock ran down, he put it together. He rallied his team, and in overtime, they were victorious. By the only measurement that matters, his game yesterday was 100% effective. As Herman Edwards said, “You play to win the game.” The opponent was bad, the game was certainly not pretty, the defense really deserves a lot of credit; but Denver got the win, and Tebow was their leader! Yet… I’ve never heard so many “experts” pile on a player for being “terrible”, than I have heard talking about Tebow last night and this morning. (Disclaimer: I AM a Broncos fan. I do want Tebow to succeed because I wa

The King Who Brings Freedom Deserves the Throne

(if you know nothing about Lord of the Rings, this post will likely not make any sense to you. Come back tomorrow. If you know a little about it, or have seen the movies, you’ll be okay.) The final movie of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is The Return of the King. The movie has about four endings (more if you get the DVD with extras). One of the moments that feels like it is the end of the movie is the coronation of Aragorn as King of Gondor. After three movies of seeing him lead the Men of the West in countless battles and skirmishes, it’s almost a relief to see him finally receive his crown. Imagine, though, that the movie ended differently. How would you feel about the movie if after he led Rohan to victory at Helm’s Deep, and after he repulsed Sauron’s invading horde, and after he inspired the victory at the gates of Mordor; imagine if after all this, the people of Gondor just asked him to leave. “Thanks for the work, Aragorn. We’ve decided to just continue being ruled by the house

Resolving Conflict: Squashing Rumors 2

Previous Posts in This Series: 5 Ways to Let Go of a Grudge 3 Steps to Being a Peacemaker 5 Questions to Help Evaluate Yourself 6 Roadblocks That Shut Down Communication Squashing Rumors One thing I've learned over the past several years is that when someone comes to me and says, "I heard...", it almost always ends poorly. See, if they've heard a rumor about me (assuming it's false), I can tell them the truth; but that will only last until they go back to the original source of the rumor. Then, they find themselves in the awkward situation of having to believe one person and therefore decide the other is a liar. There is a better way. I've made it a personal policy to NOT answer those who ask me about rumors. I simply ask them to come back with the person from whom they heard this. That way, we can work together to find out where the truth lies, and no one gets stuck in the middle. (my assumption is that anyone who says something about m

Resolving Conflict: Squashing Rumors

We all hear rumors every day. Sometimes we think of them as gossip (which we sadly consider to be harmless), but often we hear a rumor and consider it to be at worst partly true. Previous Posts in This Series: 5 Ways to Let Go of a Grudge 3 Steps to Being a Peacemaker 5 Questions to Help Evaluate Yourself 6 Roadblocks That Shut Down Communication You already know this principle from Proverbs, but it bears repeating. The first person from whom you hear a story will rarely give you the full story. Almost always, you need to hear things from multiple perspectives if you are going to have a truly robust understanding of the truth. That said, what do you do when you hear a rumor which you KNOW is false? Unfortunately, we are often to cowardly to do anything in these situations, but can I suggest six steps you can take which will shut down the rumor quickly? Correct the error immediately Tell the truth to the person telling the rumor Determine the source of the rumor (where did

Resolving Conflict: 6 Roadblocks That Shut Down Communication

I spend a lot of time thinking about communication because I am, at my core, a communicator. Granted, there is a difference between interpersonal communication, lecture-type communication, and organizational communication; but I’ve kind of been letting all of them roll around in my mind. So i’ve been thinking alot about communication… And even though i’m in the “church business” (boy, does that sound wrong), I think communication is pretty much the same in most venues. whether you are in a “real business”, a partnership, a relationship, a marriage, a team, etc… some basic principles of communication apply to you. Previous Posts in This Series: 5 Ways to Let Go of a Grudge 3 Steps to Being a Peacemaker 5 Questions to Help Evaluate Yourself I’m starting with the assumption that good communication places significant responsibilities on both the sender and the receiver. If both aren’t working together, communication will never happen. but for now, i’m focusing on the sender. SIX R

Resolving Conflict: Five Questions to Help Evaluate Yourself

Perhaps I am overly optimistic, or have a “pie-in-the-sky” outlook when it comes to the degree of authority the Bible should have in our lives. However, I do believe the Bible should be the primary authority for all believers in matters of life and faith. Whatever we are doing or not doing, the Bible should be governing us. Previous Posts in This Series: 5 Ways to Let Go of a Grudge 3 Steps to Being a Peacemaker I realize this approach makes me appear a bit simple and naive, but in the words of someone, “it is what it is.” So… Here are five questions I think everyone should answer when attempting to resolve conflict or when discussing concerns they might have about someone or something (family, friends, job, church, etc.): Is this about Christ? Does the Bible speak clearly and specifically about this? Does a clear and specific Biblical principle apply to this? Do any Biblical passages or principles apply here? Do you believe you are acting in clear obedience to God on this iss

Resolving Conflict: 3 Steps To Being a Peacemaker

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conflict between two other people? These situations are always awkward, especially when everyone is friends, and deep relationships are at stake. Previously in This Series: 5 Ways to Let Go of a Grudge 2 Samuel tells an interesting story from the life of David that provides us with three great principles to remember when you find yourself trying to help resolve conflict. David and his followers are on the run from Jerusalem. His son, Absalom, has led a rebellion and seized control of the capitol city. As they leave, they are approached by a man named Ziba who brings them many gifts of food, drinks, and animals. David knew that Ziba was the servant of Mephibosheth (a crippled descendant of Saul to whom David had shown great kindness). David asked Ziba where Mephibosheth was, and Ziba answered that his master had stayed in Jerusalem to welcome Absalom. After the rebellion was squelched, David returned to Jerusalem and

Resolving Conflict: 5 Ways to Let Go of a Grudge

Holding a grudge can destroy a person. But letting go of a grudge can seem impossible. In 2 Samuel 1, David learns that Saul has died in battle. This was the man who drove David away from his best friend, who tried to kill him on several occasions, whose mad pursuit forced David to live in the wilderness for years. However, upon learning of Saul’s death, David pens a tribute song extolling the greatness of the former king. In 2 Samuel 3, a war is raging between the house of David and the house of Saul. Abner, the general for Saul’s son realizes that the war is going to be won by David and so he decides to throw his loyalty behind David. However, rather than follow the example set by David (regarding Saul), David’s general, Joab, is unwilling to release his grudge against Abner (in the course of battle, Abner had killed Joab’s brother). He lures him into a meeting where he kills him. Within this story, we see Joab do some things that might remind us of ourselves: He thinks the wo

Understanding Spiritual Formation Conclusion: More You and Less of Me

(previous posts in this series) Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part One Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Two Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Three Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Four Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Five Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Six Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Seven One of my favorite bands is a group of guys I met at a musical festival several years ago. They gave me one of their CDs out of the back of their trailer as they rolled out of time. I probably play that CD more than any other CD I own. I don’t even know if they’re still together, but Telecast’s song “More of You” is always a powerful reminder to me of the secret of life. The words of the chorus are simple: More of You and less of me Jesus come and be a light in me Burn like the sun for the world to see Be glorified This is the secret of the fruitful life. The more Jesus shines through us, the more He will be glorified. The more Jesus is

Understanding Spiritual Formation 7: A Parable About Disciplines

Steve, Barry, and Ann had been friends since grade school. Their relationship was uniquely close even though they were all intensely competitive. So, when Ann suggested they all enter an upcoming 5K race together, it wasn’t long until the competitive juices kicked in and they began talking regularly about which of the three would be fastest or even win the race. Ann and Steve immediately began intensive training. They signed up with a personal trainer who helped them set up a daily regiment of exercise and running to prepare them for the race. Ann followed the trainer’s directions every day. As a result she could sense her preparedness growing as the race day approached. Steve worked even harder than Ann. He also followed the trainer’s directions, but inspired by how his workout made him feel, he went above and beyond the suggested exercise. His hard work evidenced itself as he lost weight, became more fit, and greatly increased the time he could run on the treadmill. Barry took

Understanding Spiritual Formation 6: Introduction to Spiritual Disciplines

(previous posts in this series) Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part One Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Two Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Three Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Four Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Five Spiritual disciplines are important. However, before i talk about them, let me say: the Christian life is not to be lived in solitude. it is to be lived in community. therefore, any individual activity must find its significance within the community, not simply as a "boost" for someone's "personal walk". Dallas Willard says about spiritual disciplines, "What is a discipline? A discipline is an activity within our power, something we can do, which brings us to a point where we can do what we at present cannot do by direct effort. Discipline is in fact a natural part of the structure of the human soul, and almost nothing of any significance in education, culture, or other attainments is achieved without it

Understanding Spiritual Formation 5: The Discipline of Community (continued)

As I continue with the theme of community as a spiritual discipline , here are some more thoughts to unpack this idea. (previous posts in this series) Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part One Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Two Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Three Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Four Bonhoeffer writes: "one who wants more than what Christ has established does not want Christian brotherhood. He is looking for some extraordinary social experience which he has not found elsewherel he is bringing muddled and impure desires into Christian brotherhood. Just at this point Christian brotherhood i threatened most often at the very start by the greatest danger of being poisoned at its root, the danger of confusing Christian brotherhood with some wishful idea of religious fellowship." Community is more than touchy-feely togetherness, or a group of Christian men sitting at a pub discussing theology, or a group of young mom's crying toge

Understanding Spiritual Formation 4: The Discipline of Community

(previous posts in this series) Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part One Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Two Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Three Just before Jesus left his disciples, he promised that he would send another “counselor” to take his place. The Spirit he was sending was the same Spirit that had been in Him, the samd Spirit that had been enabling his earthly ministry. The Spirit would indwell Jesus’ followers, and continue his ministry in their lives, forming them to be like Jesus. Everyone who takes up the call to follow Jesus receives the Spirit. If you follow Jesus, you have the Spirit. Jesus’ Spirit is in you…forming you to be like Him. You need to open yourself to the formative work of the Spirit. Praying, meditating, reading the Bible, memorization, fasting, contemplation, and many other methods can open you to the Spirit. He works through all these activities to make you more like Christ. But Jesus was/is most interest

Understanding Spiritual Formation 3: Celebration as a Spiritual Discipline

(previously in this series) Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part One Understanding Spiritual Formation: Part Two S.D.Gaede writes in Belonging , "The Christian community derives its being from the fact that certain things are true. If they are not true, we have no reason for community." We gather weekly to celebrate those truths. A list of the truths we celebrate when we gather might include: grace, redemption, creation, re-creation, etc... In our celebrations we should be spiritually formed, because we leave as different people then when we arrived. We may be more convinced of those truths, we may be questioning the application of the truths, we may be anticipating our next gathering, we may feel more connected to the truths, we may have a greater sense of identification with the community because of the truths... What should these kinds of truth-oriented celebrations look like? In no particular order, I would suggest: They should be triumphant -- The greatest trut