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    Playing in Concert

    During our granddaughter’s school band concert, I was impressed by how well this group of 11- and 12-year-olds played together. If each of them had wanted to be a solo performer, they could not have achieved individually what the band did collectively. The woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections all played their parts and the result was beautiful music!

    To the followers of Jesus in Rome, Paul wrote, “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Rom. 12:5–6). Among the gifts…

    I Wanted to Sing, But God’s Track was Different

    I had always loved singing and wanted to join the singing club in school. However, God had a different track in mind for me.

    Songs Before Dawn

    While spending a few days in the great outdoors, a bird woke me up one morning before dawn. His persistent singing eventually roused the rest of his winged friends, who also sang until the trees teemed with excitement. It was as if the first tweets I heard were a lullaby for the night animals and an alarm clock for the day creatures. One bird appeared to prepare an entire forest for the sun to rise.

    Discover how Christ changes our hearts to be like His

    The Bible tells us that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. But even that is worthless without this one thing. Today on Discover the Word,  the team continues their study of 1 Corinthians 13 titled,  “Falling into Love.” We’ll see how Christ changes our hearts to be like His. Join us […]

    Play Your Part

    Maurice Andre was one of the best trumpet players the world has known. He once said that a good trumpet player had to be “like a matador in a bull ring.” He continued, “I see flutists and oboists go on the stage gingerly. If you do that with the trumpet you’re finished.” I believe he was saying that only a certain personality type possesses what it takes to succeed as a trumpet player. Trumpeters can’t hide; every note is heard by every listener! If you don’t have the God-given disposition to handle that, it can truly destroy you.

    It’s Not Me

    While on vacation recently, I gave my razor a rest and grew a beard. Various responses came from friends and co-workers—and most were complimentary. One day, however, I looked at the beard and decided, “It’s not me.” So out came the razor.

    I’ve been thinking about the idea of who we are and why one thing or another does not fit our personality. Primarily, it’s because God has bestowed us with individual differences and preferences. It’s okay that we don’t all like the same hobbies, eat the same foods, or worship in the same church. We are each uniquely and “wonderfully…

    Abandon It All

    When I played college basketball, I made a conscious decision at the beginning of each season to walk into that gym and dedicate myself totally to my coach—doing whatever he might ask me to do.

    It would not have benefited my team for me to announce, “Hey, Coach! Here I am. I want to shoot baskets and dribble the ball, but don’t ask me to run laps, play defense, and get all sweaty!”

    Every successful athlete has to trust the coach enough to do whatever the coach asks them to do for the good of the team.

    In Christ, we are to become…

    Are you brave enough to use the “gifts” God gave you?

    Have you ever wished you could leave what is safe for what could bring you greater joy? Well, today on Discover the Word, the team is joined by author Nicole Unice to issue a challenge. Are you brave enough to explore new territory—using your personality and gifts to reveal God’s love to a broken world? Join […]

    Grasping the “good gifts” Christ died to give us

    This week on Discover the Word, join a series of conversations that examine some mysterious texts in the Bible. Today, we will discuss Ephesians 4:8–10, where the apostle Paul quotes Psalm 68 with all its strange talk about “ascending” and “descending” and conquering kings who either take or give gifts. It sounds almost like a […]

    Looking for Work?

    National Football League player Joe Anderson was released from his first team due to injuries. But possessing a powerful physique, Anderson knew he was uniquely qualified for an athletic career. To try and join a new team, he stood outside an NFL sports stadium holding a hand-made sign. The sign read: “ . . . starving for SUCCESS!!!” and had hashtags: #whateverittakes and #ibelieve. During his job quest, which ended successfully, he commented: “I’m outside [the stadium] . . . every morning, because I know what type of gift God has blessed me with!”

    Everything Comes from God

    I was 18 years old when I got my first fulltime job, and I learned an important lesson about the discipline of saving money. I worked and saved until I had enough money for a year of school. Then my mom had emergency surgery, and I realized I had the money in the bank to pay for her operation.

    My love for my mother suddenly took precedence over my plans for the future. These words in the book Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot took on new meaning: “If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it…

    The Way to Purity

    Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart . . . . For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man . . . —Matthew 15:18-20

    Initially we trust in our ignorance, calling it innocence, and next we trust our innocence, calling it purity. Then when we hear these strong statements …

    You Have Purpose

    On a hot day in western Texas, my niece Vania saw a woman standing by a stoplight and holding up a sign. As she drove closer, she tried to read what the sign said, assuming it was a request for food or money. Instead, she was surprised to see these three words:

                                             “You Have Purpose”

    God has created each of us for a specific purpose. Primarily that purpose is to bring honor to Him, and one way we do that is by meeting the needs of others (1 Peter 4:10-11).

    A mother of young children may find purpose in wiping runny noses…

    Greater Gifts

    Today Mother’s Day is celebrated in my corner of the world. We take our moms out to eat, send them cards, and post our love for them on social media sites. I’ve noticed that most people don’t praise their mom for being a dynamic speaker, an inspirational leader, or an accomplished musician. We love our moms for much simpler things.

    Ice Flowers

    Fifteen-year-old Wilson Bentley was captivated by the intricate beauty of snowflakes. He looked with fascination through an old microscope his mother had given him and made hundreds of sketches of their remarkable designs, but they melted too quickly to adequately capture their detail. Several years later, in 1885, he had an idea. He attached a bellows camera to the microscope and, after much trial and error, took his first picture of a snowflake. During his lifetime Bentley would capture 5,000 snowflake images and each one was a unique design. He described them as “tiny miracles of beauty” and “ice flowers.”

    No…