When Headlines Leave You Weary

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A full week has passed now since the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people died, and our nation is once again grieving and trying to process how to move forward.

For most of us reading this, school shootings and absurd acts of violence have been an ongoing part of our childhood and young adult years. I remember being in grade school when the Columbine shooting happened in 1999. At that time, a violent shooting was shocking. But today when shootings happen, we tend to hear people say “Again?” and “When will this stop?”

Before we go any further, I want to make one thing clear: I’m not here to change your mind about any controversial politics. Just like you, I have pretty strong opinions about guns, mental health and levels of government involvement, but you don’t need to hear more opinions. I’m sure your social media has also become a dumpster fire of angry people yelling at one another. I’m convinced those “conversations” never lead to change, and sharing my opinion here would do no good. So I’m not outlining next steps or urging you to write your senator. Today, I want to offer a lifeline that we have to figure out together.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

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When God Says, “Wait”

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History has (understandably) given the apostle Thomas a bad rap. You know the story: After Jesus was raised from the dead, he miraculously appeared to his disciples and showed them His scars, proving He really did pull off the greatest miracle of all time. He is indeed the Son of God, and He defeated the power of death, just as He predicted all along.

It would have been an incredible sight, for sure. But for some reason our friend Thomas didn’t read the disciple newsletter that week, and he missed the meeting. His group of closest friends told him all about the miraculous visit, but it was just too outlandish for him to believe. His actions over those days forever gave him his new title: Doubting Thomas.

If you grew up going to church, you’re likely familiar with this story. As I read through it this week, though, something new popped out to me.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Being as Creative as “The Greatest Showman”

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About a week ago, my wife and I saw the new movie “The Greatest Showman.” In the days that followed, I found myself listening to the soundtrack all day, every day. When a chance for a babysitter came up a few days later, we went to see it again.

Something about that movie really captured me. There’s something uniquely powerful about the combination of a compelling story, stunning visuals, talented actors and beautiful harmonies meeting at just the right moment. You feel like you’re a part of it somehow. You see how the story wraps into your life. It makes you feel something and may even make you emotional. Of course I didn’t cry, because I’m a manly man who would never shed a tear over a song about trapeze artists … it was a really close call, though.

This movie resonated with me for several reasons, but I think I connected so deeply because it was so creative. Most new movies coming out these days are either sequels, remakes or film adaptations of comic books. For the creators of “The Greatest Showman,” it took some real guts to film an original musical about a circus ringleader — and the director had never made a movie before. (But it worked!)

I don’t know about you, but when I witness something great and creative like that, it makes me want to stretch my creativity. It wakes up my dreams and makes me want to create something great. It’s almost equally inspiring and frustrating.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Guys, Shut Up and Listen

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Good communication is key to any relationship. If you’re talking with your girlfriend or husband or boss or friend or even a stranger on the street, you’ll never make much progress or maintain a healthy relationship if you can’t communicate effectively.

I have two degrees in communication, so let me impress you with my vast communication knowledge: The formula for communication has to include at least one person sending a message and at least one person receiving it.

Boom.

That’s it.

Communication.

That formula alone was worth thousands of dollars in higher education costs, right?

The problem, however, is that communication is never that simple. As George Bernard Shaw famously said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Read the full post on Boundless here.

What We Can Learn From Google’s “Year in Search”

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I’ve always been a sucker for lists. Even before listicles and Buzzfeed took over the internet, I remember sitting by my radio as a child listening to the year-end “Top 100 Countdown,” trying to guess the year’s top songs.

There’s something fun, nostalgic and maybe even therapeutic about looking back at year’s end and taking time to remember — remember the good times, reflect on the bad and consider how they might affect the future.

One fun list that comes out every year is Google’s “Year in Search,” which highlights the most popular Google searches of the year. This particular list (and accompanying video) gives real insight into our culture’s values and the big questions we all wrestle with. Aside from the searches for fidget spinners and “how to make slime,” there are some really heartbreaking reminders in this year’s search history.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

The Prince of Peace and You

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If you don’t feel it yet, you will. For most of us, the end of the year is just plain bonkers. Most of us are hustling through those last few work projects, trying to pick out the perfect gifts for friends and family, trying to find time to see all of our friends and family, and on and on and on the list continues.

The holiday season, supposedly built around a commitment to be thankful and celebrate Jesus, can easily be corrupted by stress and busyness and stuff and excess. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often find myself lounging on the couch at the end of another December day thinking, “Ahh… this is the peaceful break I’ve been waiting for!”

Throughout this crazy season, if you spend any time at all at church, you will likely encounter the famous prophecy from Isaiah about the coming of a Savior:

“For unto us a Child is born… and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

This list of names has become so familiar, we tend to breeze right past it without giving the names much thought. For a moment, I want to focus on that last name: the Prince of Peace.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Stop Going to Church (But Don’t Stop Going to Church)

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Lately, the pastors at my church have been a little more vocal than usual about reaching out to our neighbors. Especially around major holidays, they often give reminders and share specific opportunities to invite guests who may not yet follow Jesus.

This past Easter, we had a specific campaign that challenged our congregation to think of five people they regularly engage with who aren’t Christians. The idea was to keep that list visible in our homes so we could regularly pray for them and look for natural opportunities to talk with them about our faith.

All of this, of course, is good. We should always have this mindset, and the reminders have been helpful since (sadly) it isn’t always natural for me to think this way.

Here’s the only problem: When it came time for me to work on my list, I had trouble coming up with five people. I really had to work to think of five people in my life who aren’t yet Christians.

Read the full post on Boundless here.