Christian Thought

Christian Thought

Real Life and the Psalms

Mel Lawrenz is Minister at Large for Elmbrook Church and the author of Spiritual Leadership Today among other titles. ___________________________ We turn to the Psalms when we need comfort, strength, or just words that we can pray to God. Today we look at how to get the most out of the Psalms. The Bible is not …

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About Mourning

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 Don’t ever let someone tell you there is something wrong with you if you are grieving. You are walking through a valley, and the shadows can look foreboding and cold. Yet, if you keep walking, you will emerge. Or, to use an analogy …

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Real Life Bible Application

It is dangerous to understand the Bible better. It is all too easy for us to feel just a bit of pride about pulling out the meaning of biblical texts, as if we were beginning to master the Scriptures when, of course, exactly the opposite is the whole point. The temptation may come from the …

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Worship and the Whole Church

[from chapter 4 of Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement by Mel Lawrenz, Leadership Network and Jossey-Bass, 2009.] When Eugene Peterson responded to a question about spiritual formation by pointing to a life of worship and prayer–faithfully and obediently followed as a lifestyle–he was pointing to two noble and ennobling human activities that, by design, …

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Sweeter Than Honey

One of the differences between an empty life and a full life is whether we’ve taken the opportunity to receive the truth of God in the deep places of our minds and hearts. This truth is not merely “truths” or information like the facts you comb the newspaper for. This truth is a harvest in …

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“Printable Prayers” for Christmas

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A Message for the Christmas Season: Guarding Our Hearts and Minds

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King…” The Christmas season is a time of joy. But, for some, it is also a time of sorrow. In Mel Lawrenz’s message from Philippians 4 we learn about what this means: “rejoice in the Lord always.” We also learn about “the peace …

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What We Need Now, and Always Will

In his epistle, James puts a spotlight on “the wisdom from above.” He contrasts it with “earthly wisdom,” which is so misguided that it leads to “envy and selfish ambition,” “disorder,” and “every evil practice” (James 3:16). Then in one defining statement James identifies seven characteristics of this wisdom that comes from a source higher …

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Gaining Wisdom

If you were to stumble upon a long-lost manuscript that no eyes had seen for generations, and if you were to read its opening lines which offered a “wisdom” like what’s described in the following lines, you might consider it one of the greatest discoveries of your life. Proverbs… for gaining wisdom and instruction; for …

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Turning Hurry into Rumination

[Dr. Mel Lawrenz is Minister at Large for Elmbrook Church and the author of the brand new Prayers for Our Lives: 95 Lifelines to God for Everyday Circumstances. ] ________________ “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and …

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The Power of Devotion

Devotion is the conscious commitment to doing those things that will fill our lives with what is good and right. We were designed to be filled by the God who created us. That is how love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control become the shape of our character. In its simplest form, …

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Building Character

The word “character” goes back to the word for a stamp which leaves an imprint, like the dies used to make coins. Your character is the very shape of your inner life (your thoughts, motives, values, impulses, responses), which is revealed in the shape of your outer life (your actions, behaviors, speech, relationships). And then …

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The Sound of Freedom

Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. Leviticus 25:10 If you go to the city of Philadelphia today, you can visit a historic eighteenth-century building which contains a room called Independence Hall. This ordinary room was the place where, on July 4, 1776, men signed the Declaration of …

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Reverence and Respect

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with …

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