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Hoping all employees feel this way about their boss!

amber sugg

Sam was an exceptional boss.

He had high, clearly communicated expectations.  “Dream big.”  “Think outside of the box.”  Those are words that we creative minds loooove to hear.   But…when it came to basics, I knew exactly what he expected of me as an employee.  I didn’t always agree with his expectations…but I respected them… because they were clearly communicated.   I could relax…there was no “unknown.”  He was simple, straightforward and consistent.

He was awkwardly encouraging.   Weekly, he would stop in my office just to say he appreciated me.  Not, “We love the work you do” or “You’re great.”  He said the words, “Amber, I appreciate you.”  It freaked me out at first.  “Ummm…thanks…but I totally suck at yada yada yada…awkward smile?”   Eventually, I could just confidently say “Thanks.”

He allowed me to minister as “me.”  My job description was established based on the gifts God had given me

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Walking in the Light (1 John 1:5-10)

While I was reading over 1 John 1:5-10, which in the ESV Bible has a title, “Walking in the Light”, I wondered about this light, since the Bible did not have those subheadings I wanted to know more.  Now, this “light” is:  GOD.  In 1 John 1:5 the Bible clearly states/defines: “….God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.”  Of course, as Christ-following, Christ-faithful-disciples, we take God’s word as inerrant (freedom from error or untruths, certainty, assuredness, objective certainty, infallibility).  However, we feel the need to try to decipher what God of all Creation means when He says, He is light.

To attempt to figure out God in our human brains is impossible (how can the created figure out how the Creator made the heavens? Or understand why I just took that breath?!), however, we can cross check his Word to “verify” what he told us was the truth.  As if, (I feel a “Clueless” twinge every time I say or write those two words together) we, mere mortals could verify the Creator, however, let us for time sake try.

Here are some passages to help clarify light;  (John 8:12) Jesus is the light of the world, (Isaiah 9:2) The people who walk in darkness will see a great light — a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow, (Ephesians 5:8-9) For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true, (Ephesians 5:14a) And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds.

So, this “light” symbolizes knowledge, purity, life (not death and darkness).  This “light” is also Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament promises of the “light of salvation” and here is a large contrast, God’s nature = light, while our nature is, darkness in the form of human sin. When we Christians “Walk in the Light” our lives will NOT be characterized by hidden sins, lies or deception, therefore, reflecting God’s perfection in daily life a) correct doctrine (truth) and b) moral purity (holiness) Now, since we live this side of heaven, in this sinful flesh, some sin remains in every Christian’s life.  That is where the “light” of Christ shines brightest–on my sin.

The pricking of our heart (conviction) when we sin (J.I. Packer defined sin, in the sense of ungodly and anti-God inclinations in the heart), is God’s way of turning us (repent) from the darkness of sin back to the light.  Please enjoy this song rendition (not the original mind you, this is featuring Sara Groves, Phil Keaggy and Bela Fleck).  To give credit to Charlie Peacock:

“Oh, what’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
I’m still a man in need of a Savior

I wanna be in the light as you are in the light
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my light and be my salvation”

When You Realize You’re the Pharisee

“When Jesus came to earth, he revealed the flaws in the way his people were practicing the law.”

English Lessons

When You Realize You're the Pharisee

Often when I read stories in the Bible about Jesus, I consider myself one of his disciples in the story, and I consider the Pharisees my enemies. But in reading a story in Matthew recently, I realized the reverse was true.

Matthew 12 begins with Jesus and the disciples walking through some cornfields on the Sabbath. While they were walking, they picked some corn to eat because they were hungry. Some Pharisees saw this and accused them of breaking the Sabbath. Jesus stepped in and reminded them that even King David broke into the priests’ pantry and ate “sacred” bread because his soldiers were hungry.

Point being, the Sabbath allows for acts of necessity and acts of mercy, so if you’re hungry and find yourself in a cornfield, just eat the corn.

When Jesus came to earth, he revealed the flaws in the way his people were practicing the law…

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Jesus Flips The Switch

“Whatever suffering you’re currently experiencing, or whatever suffering comes to you in the future, you can trust that you’re held in the hands of a sovereign King, who knows your suffering, is sovereign over your suffering, is with you (“Emmanuel”) in the midst of your suffering, and has conquered your suffering.”

Worthily Magnify

1My brother-in-law loves to give his nieces (my daughters) the most ear-piercingly loud, annoying sounding toys that he can find. I don’t know how he does it or where he finds them, but he delights in giving them toys that will drive their parents crazy. (Thanks, Jon).

But I have discovered something about these toys.

On the back, oftentimes hidden under a tab, or behind some Velcro, is a switch. This switch has a “play” setting (noise at full volume and duration), a “demo” setting (noise at full volume but only for five seconds), and an “off” setting (no noise).

And I, as the sovereign interceptor of these toys, can flip the switch.

I intercept the gift, and in my flipping of the switch, I change the gift’s function.

Only someone who’s sovereign over something can flip its switch. Someone who’s sovereign can take something that was intended for one…

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rejoicing in lament

“when looking for a church, don’t go for the glitz and sizzle. Find a group of people you would want to attend your funeral and look after your family when you’re gone. Then join them.” – wow!

Don't Stop Believing

I remember when I first heard that Todd Billings had incurable cancer. Before I led my class in prayer, I told them that besides being a wonderful man with a young family, Todd was one of the good ones, a blessing to the church that we could not afford to lose. We need him! Todd is humble and God-centered enough to disagree with that last part. But then he went ahead and wrote, Rejoicing in Lament, which kind of makes my point.

I won’t try to capture the rich, pastoral theology that Todd delivers in this book. After all, I’d like you to go read it for yourself, and pass it on to others who are facing their mortality. Here are seven takeaways for me:

  1. Worship with the people you want to bury you. This was just one of the insights that comes from a mind sharpened by the…

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Humble service vs YRR

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassions, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love, as ones joined in soul, in one mind, 3 doing nothing according to rivalry neither according to empty conceit but in humility, esteeming one another above self. (Philippians 2:1-3 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Over the last several years there has been a “movement” in the visible church that has been made up of group called “Young, Reformed, and Restless” or YRR. I have always been puzzled by the YRR group. Why? God’s truth, especially the Gospel, divides, but those who are truly in Christ are called continually in Sacred Scripture to come together, to unite in love and humility as exemplified by Christ himself. On…

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