Category : Ponderlust

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406: 5 Truths I Collected While Cleaning Up After a Tornado

Sunday night, an EF2 tornado touched down about 2 miles from my house. 20.4 miles later, after growing into an EF3 tornado, it finally left my community alone. Somehow, only 146 homes sustained substantial damage; and “only” 22 homes were total losses. The storm was was fierce. An artifact from one house was found six miles from its flattened home.

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401: The Critical First Step to Accomplishing Your Dreams

The danger comes in the hesitation, the indecision. Analysis paralysis can keep you from getting any of them—like when you spend so much time flipping through the movie options that you end up not watching anything.

Rather than keep scrolling, we must choose a dream or two and jump in. We can always pause or stop later, when we’ve spent more time on the path; but we’ve got to move past the trailhead parking lot.

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399: Carmen Sandiego (And Bagged Concrete) Helped Me Find My True Self

When earthquakes or even just tremors rumble, evil offers us distractions as solutions. When hopes tumble and dreams crash, the secular system rushes in a bevy of shoddy options for propping them back up. When life creates a vacuum, our souls seek to fill it with something temporary. Fame and followers. Money and comfort. Control and autonomy. Unquestioned affirmation. If you don’t believe me, you’ve never scrolled through the Search & Explore results on Instagram.

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395: I Love It When God Pulls Out the Overkill

Being aware of God’s promises and his provision helps us understand the narrative he’s writing, even if we don’t know the next chapter. When he reveals his character, he overpowers our insecurities and confronts our doubt. When he supernaturally interjects sovereign moments into our lives, he’s doing it for our good and his glory.

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393: What a Black Market Shopkeeper Taught Me About Authenticity

We are surrounded by fakeness, by post-production. We recognize the camera angles that make our butts look rounder, our thighs stand gappier, and our double chins pull taut. “That’s a composite image,” my professional-photographer wife warned, when I showed her a cool outdoors photo on Instagram.

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What the NFL Won’t Do About Domestic Violence

Until NFL owners and the NFL Players Association are willing to put less money in their pockets, don’t expect their influence to go much farther than celebrity players recording public service announcements. In the meantime, use the awkward courage the NFL refuses to show. Intervene when you see a friend or family member on the verge of abusing alcohol. You might just be saving another precious someone from a different kind of abuse.

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390: That Time Ron Burgandy Confirmed My Wife Could See Into My Soul

Thankfully, this time, that’s all I want out of the trip. I don’t expect God to change my life. I don’t assume I will find a part of me that was missing. I’m not expecting to uncover an Instagram goldmine or a viral Facebook video. It’s just my version of your trip to Disney World or the Outer Banks or New York City. I’m not trying to compete with my past vacations. I’m just doing me.

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387: What Made Me Sweat Uncomfortably on My Antarctica Trip

Despite the outlandish expense, I don’t regret going to Antarctica. (I know that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement.) It left indelible marks on me—visually, relationally, and even spiritually. Most importantly, though, it made me aware of the opportunities I have, the options available to me, the choices I can make. It increased the value I place on the free moments I have back home in garages, at tables, in carpools, and around prayer circles. It reminded me how much I love driving in the mountains, paddling in their rivers, and watching the sun set over their silhouettes.

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384: The View from the End of the World

I’m writing from the end of the world to tell you it’s not what you or I think it is. First, wherever you and I find ourselves is not the end. Second, it’s the gateway to beautiful progress. I anticipate that it’s also the preface to some incredible stories—or at least inspiring chapters in the story God’s writing for us and for the world.

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“I’m a Man. I’m Forty!”

If you’ve read this far, you’re one of those people. I’m going to keep writing for you, because I’m going to keep fishing for stories in the pond of my soul. If all goes to plan, maybe we’ll both learn something along the way.

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381: God of the Dramatic Pause

For me, though, it comes back to the prompting. That idea didn’t blossom beyond pity until after it could surpass a common courtesy. The voice in my head was mute until it came with Jesus’ name. It became a holy caper, a fun assignment only after God could turn the episode into something greater. When I joined God’s narrative, I got a story; and he got a little extra glory.

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376: No Wolf Dare Hunt Her Alone

Though Death took her there, it didn’t win because it had to come to her. It had to play by her rules. It had to waste multiple arrows. It had to face the “rage against the dying of the night.” She wore Death out a little bit, enough to give the rest of us more time. I can’t speak for the rest of my family, but I’m going to use that time to make sure I’ll be missed as much as she will be.

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371: My Passport Holds the Secret of Dead Kings

God makes beautiful things for himself, whether we will ever find it. He paints and sculpts because he can, because he enjoys it. He creates just to store beauty. He curates gardens and fountains where we can’t take credit for them. He has done this for millennia, knowing that we would take centuries to find his masterpieces—that we might never find them.

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370: No, Your Church is Not The Church

One thing we can all be a part of, though, is the remedy for whatever we feel ails our local church or even the global Church. Few of us will impact multiple churches. None of us will change the American church as we know it. We can, however, follow Mother Teresa’s call to “help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.”

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369: Caught Between a Song and a Hard Place

I don’t know what challenge you’re facing, what God is asking you to relinquish, what painful reality you know you need to accept. I don’t know what style of music reaches your heart or touches your soul. But I hope you find a mile marker song, an undeniable moment, a portion of Scripture to guide your next step. And I hope you find the courage to lean into it.

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367: Why Christians Should Lust More

Over my past decade in the church, I’ve sat in literally hundreds of circles with other men. As we talk about our doubts, personal battles, and spiritual journeys, inevitably someone says that they “struggle with lust.” In terms of the church’s euphemisms about pornography, I hear that one more than “my thought life,” “the computer,”

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365: Grow the Church with Two Words

Growing up in American fundamentalism, I’ve seen or heard about legalism absurd enough to be a punchline on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I was recently surprised with an odd legalistic edict, though. It was a curveball because it came from the non-denominational world. Apparently, it’s a thing now that Christian leaders shouldn’t thank those who serve

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