Character Produces Hope

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5 Did you know that perseverance builds character, and character produces hope? The word “hope” in the Bible is translated from the Greek word “elpis.” It is defined as “joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.” For some individuals, their suffering, pressures, and tough situations have actually transformed them into positive and hopeful people. Despite everything, they’ve learned to walk through life with an inner strength and joy that’s evidenced to everyone.  Some of the believers I know who have gone through the worst situations are amongst the most positive people I know. Because of their experiences, they

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The Possibilities in God

“Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’” – Luke 18:27 Today, I want to persuade you that if you work with God, anything is possible in your life. Above all, I want you to believe one simple truth: if you live your life with Jesus, He can accomplish anything. That is something I firmly believe. God enjoys doing impossible things with unlikely people and using imperfect people to accomplish incredible exploits for His Kingdom. I am confident that if you live your life by faith, He will do amazing things in your life. Although it’s easy to fall into a pit of despair and believe that God has abandoned you, that God is angry with you, that your life is finished, or that your future is bleak, I want to encourage you to believe that with the Lord, something better is always on the horizon! His

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A Hospitality Culture

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:8-10 Yesterday, we introduced the idea of creating a culture in both our personal lives and in our organizations, and we talked about how doing so is actually more important than perfecting our mission statement or casting the vision for what we hope to accomplish. In fact, as my friend Sam Chan said, “Culture eats vision for lunch.” But what creates the kind of environment that leads to happiness and productivity? While we’ll address some of these issues in the coming days, it’s helpful to consider a couple of “real life” examples. First of all, who doesn’t love going to Chick-fil-A? Besides the

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Culture is Key

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2 God cares more about changing us than He does about changing our circumstances. I learned this early in life when I went on missionary trips. I traveled to a number of remote places around the world as a young man, and while I always set out on these journeys with a goal or a project in mind, I quickly learned that they were just as much about transforming my heart as they were about helping others. It’s not that our mission didn’t involve doing good stuff for people, but I always came home different than I was when I left. Because most of my trips were arranged by organizations that had years of experience, they knew that it was equally as important to build into those who were ministering as it was

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Words Have Power

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24 Words have power! This is something I think each of us inherently understands, but it’s easy to lose sight of it in the day-to-day. In our electronic world, we’re bombarded by messages from morning to night. Social media posts, memes, headlines, and texts feed our minds an abundance of words to process — many of them less than uplifting — and if we’re not careful, we end up parroting the negative things that we hear. However, since what we habitually say forges our future, it’s wise to wake up each morning and make a commitment to taming our tongues. Though we don’t want to become legalistic in such matters, as much as possible, we should use our words to speak life by way of Scriptural encouragement, affirmation, and gratitude. When we do this,

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Healed Hearts Change the World

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3 Today, we officially begin the countdown to a new year, and if you’re anything like me, I’m really looking forward to a fresh start. There’s something about the promise and possibility of the next season that fills my heart with hope, and I pray that it does for you, too. That said, as we look at the state of our world in these times, what we see can be disheartening. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, social and political wounds run deep in our culture. Knowing this, I believe now is a better time than ever to embrace the truth that every positive change begins with Jesus in us. There’s an old song that says “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” While I used to think it was really cheesy, I’ve come

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