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Journeying Through Faith and Culture

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    It is with great excitement that I announce a new edition to the MissionNotes site. I have spoken with Reverend Matt Hastings and asked if he would be interested in either writing regularly for the site as I’ve been a huge fan of his weekly devotional emails he calls “Tuesday’s Good Word”. Due to his schedule and commitments as a husband, father, pastor and now professor, he regretfully let me know he didn’t believe he would have the time to write regularly, but let me know he would be pleased and honored to let me republish his weekly emails here on our site to shareRead More →

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  • 01/10/17--11:50: Help, Lord!
  • Be close to me, Lord. Help me to see You.  These words have been on my mind lately. I hold them close to my chest, clinging to them as if they were a prized possession. I repeat them in the middle of the night as I pray for the needs of the people in my care. I recite them over and over again, reminding myself that God is at work. I believe He is, just not always in the way we think. To say “God is working” often implies that we don’t have any responsibility to take action. I know this isn’t always the case,Read More →

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  • 01/17/17--11:45: A Fresh Perspective
  • Getting a fresh perspective is not always easy. Sometimes we need others to help us see the stuff right in front of our faces before we realize something is wrong. You wouldn’t leave trash lying around, would you? Sooner or later you would notice that something was not right. It would start to smell and you’d have to choose; live with the smell or remove it. One little town chooses to ignore it. In 1925, Nome, Alaska was the destination of the famous “Great Race of Mercy”, where dog sleds played a large part in transporting diphtheria serum through harsh conditions. In 1973, Nome becameRead More →

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  • 01/25/17--11:35: Practicing Restraint
  • I have opinions. Religious. Relational. Political. Personal. Often I’m asked what I think about something. Even this morning, a colleague sent a message asking for my opinion. It’s not like he didn’t know what he thought about the thing, he just wanted to know what I thought. For the most part, I keep my personal opinions to myself. My friends know my quirks and hang ups. They know the pet peeves and most all of my idiosyncrasies. It took a while to let them see it (I suppose that’s a defense mechanism) but ultimately I keep my opinions close to the vest. But you don’tRead More →

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  • 01/31/17--12:27: Salty
  • Think of a time when someone’s words made you believe in yourself. Whether they were spoken or written, what did those words do to you?  Words of encouragement or affirmation are a blessing. Sometimes we think of blessing as merely a state of mind. I think that’s part of it but, if you really think about it, blessing isn’t about what you do, it’s about who you are. We’ve tried to encourage people for the entirety of our marriage. We got married and essentially started ministry. The hope was that we would speak words of encouragement to people so they would live like they wereRead More →

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  • 02/09/17--08:54: Bear Hunt
  • A few years ago, we had a friend who was navigating through life. She was trying to finish school and establish a career. Her questions and worries were the same as anyone else’s would be… How am I going to do _____ ? What will happen when _____ happens? Why did I have to go through _____ ? She wanted to make the right decisions, choose to be more like Jesus, and wanting life to change but like so many others we’ve encountered, she seemed to get tripped up on her past. She wanted to skip the hard stuff. She knew where she wanted toRead More →

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    The opinions expressed are that of the writer and may not reflect your own personal feelings regarding content. Reader discretion is advised. Valentine’s Day is one that I’ve never really gotten. Don’t get me wrong, when I met my wife we even attended a college sponsored banquet. The “Butterfly Kisses” guy was there…pre “Butterfly” fame. Look, I like any excuse for people to express their love for each other but it tends to be, at least for me, an odd holiday. As my kids get older, I try to tell them things that I hope they’ll remember – sayings, quips and nuggets of wisdom thatRead More →

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  • 02/21/17--12:28: Repost – You’re Welcome?
  • Is the kindness of strangers a thing of the past? Maybe, but I won’t stop helping little elderly ladies no matter how menacing I look. Let me explain. I was walking out of the grocery store and noticed a woman’s purse next to her car door. I quickly moved in to help (no need to get into the phone booth and tear open my shirt to show a large “S” for this one). As I saw myself picking up the purse and waving it outside her car window I realized that she was not impressed. In fact, she was seemingly mortified. I suppose I scaredRead More →

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  • 02/28/17--12:23: Lent Is Revival
  • You’re as close to God as you choose to be. Each year we look to traditions to help us reorient our lives. New Year’s celebrations bring us resolutions of exercise and dieting. Weddings remind us of our covenant with God. A birthday marks the reality of time and how fleeting it is. Our church participates in the Lenten season. This is a spiritual reorienting. We fast and pray. We make choices to resist and reject the things that we believe have satisfied us – food, Netflix, shopping, the list could literally go on and on! I fast and pray because I believe that my lifeRead More →

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  • 03/07/17--12:18: Our Constant
  • I grew up hearing people say, “I come to church to hear God’s word and apply it to my life.” I understand the thought but I’d like to suggest something. Here’s what I think; scripture is a constant and you are a variable. The bible doesn’t change but you do. Rather than taking scripture and applying it to our lives, we should be applying our lives to scripture. Here’s why; I am evolving. I’m still learning to hear God’s voice and change direction as He prompts. Scripture is God’s word to us and for us; we should take great care of it. Many mistreat it;Read More →

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  • 03/14/17--13:14: The Bullseye
  • Over the years I’ve heard countless people tell me they want to be in “God’s will.” They search and search for it…as if it’s hiding somewhere. Most times I see people toiling away at life, hoping they find God in some sort of cosmic game of hide and seek. But what if you were in God’s will and all this time you’ve been focused on the wrong things? The ‘if only’ mentality is killing us. The ‘I should have…’ is simply regret. The ‘If life was different I would…’ is just the blame game. You have one life to live and you have today toRead More →

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  • 05/16/17--14:25: A Reason to Rejoice
  • Spring is in the air and that means bbq grilling, outside parties and field day at school. By the way, field day is code for “there’s nothing left to do in the classroom so let’s take them outside so we don’t strangle them”. It’s an excuse to have a party outside!  Another party I enjoy is graduation.  It’s not so much the formality of the commencement (although that’s pretty neat), but it’s the end. I like seeing the graduates walk across the stage, receive their diplomas and then see their supporters lose their minds rejoicing. As each person walks and greets the school principal orRead More →

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