The Good News of God’s Beautiful Kingdom

Here is a powerful thought from Michael Goheen.* I broke it into smaller paragraphs for easier reading. Jesus announces the coming of the kingdom of God. The kingdom can be characterized as the inbreaking of God’s dynamic power to defeat all that stands against his rule, and as the arrival of the comprehensive salvation of […]

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A Father’s Day Follow Up

Mentors. Role models. Stories. Journeys. Biblical wisdom. A community of friends. The empowering presence of Jesus Christ. All of this is what men* need if they are to learn how to use the STRENGTH God has given to them in ways that are full of love and grace, with the purpose of helping their families […]

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What Sears and the Church Have in Common

There are five or six blogs that I consistently read. There are another half dozen that I skim and peruse occasionally. One of the regulars is written by James Emery White, lead pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church, a megachurch in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here is a link to one of his recent posts: Sears and the Church. […]

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The End of the Beginning

Yes, you read it right. But, you are probably wondering, “Did he say that correctly? Isn’t it supposed to be, the beginning of the end?” Not in this case. The Flourishing Project has not come to an end. Our commitment to helping you experience abundant life, the real and eternal, more and better life than you […]

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God’s Word is the Way of Flourishing

    Do you know what is the longest chapter in the Bible? Your answer is: (______________). I’ll come back with the answer in a few moments. Here is my proposal, my thesis, my challenge, my invitation. You will FLOURISH when you know God, when you know his plans, his purposes, his will, his way, […]

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Why Do I Suffer?

There are three questions we are always asking about suffering. Even when we don’t realize we are asking them, we are indeed asking them. Why am I suffering? Where is God as I suffer? What am I to do about my suffering? We’ll look at the first question today and the other two tomorrow. Why […]

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4 Ways to Experience Flourishing AND Suffering

Flourishing! Suffering! We normally think of these conditions as being incompatible. I can flourish OR I can suffer. That is a mistaken way to understand flourishing. This misunderstanding is part of the fuel for what is called the Prosperity Gospel (also called the Health and Wealth Gospel or the Name It and Claim It Gospel). This biblical […]

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Suffering for the Sake of Others

Yesterday was Memorial Day: A day of remembering those who died while serving their country. Veterans Day (November 11) remembers all who served in the military, not only those who died. This post does not celebrate war. It does celebrate the greatest of all sacrifices – to give one’s life for the sake of what is loved. […]

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Make it Count, Make it Matter

5 Insights About a Life of Purpose The Purpose Driven Life (it now has a new title: What on Earth Am I Here For?) sold about one billion copies and was translated into 453 languages, including Martian. Well, that is an exaggeration, but not by much! It has sold 40 million copies and has been translated […]

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8 Ways to Deeper Friendships

What’s on your bucket list? What’s in your bucket? I hope your bucket is full of friends. If there is one single predictor of your future happiness, it is the quality of friendships you enjoy. In February and March we did a series on relationships called Life Together. Relationships are about as important as it […]

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Showing the Way of Flourishing

As we have gone through our Get Real series talking about the life of flourishing, I am reflecting on my own life. In so many ways, I believe I am experiencing that real and eternal, more and better life Jesus came to give us (John 10:10). I want the people I love to flourish. It […]

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Bucket List Goals: God Overflowing!

“I don’t believe in God, but I miss him.” What a poignantly insightful and profoundly sad opening to a memoir by the atheist Julian Barnes (Nothing to Be Frightened Of). Here is another one, only from G.K. Chesterton: “He who does not believe in God, doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything.” * Now […]

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What’s On Your Bucket List?

The pleasures we pursue are high on that list! You make choices. Every day. Many of your decisions are automatic and you hardly know you’re making them. Others take longer for you to make up your mind. Some decisions are pretty small in the scheme of things (what restaurant will we dine at tonight?). Others […]

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5 Ways to Deal With Your Life Conditions

Your gender, race, ethnicity, age, geographical location, socio-economic status, education, marital status, etc. are examples of life conditions. Some of these are fixed, which means they are very hard to change. Others are in flux, which means they are very open to change, often by you. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The grass is […]

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11 Insights on the Way of Flourishing

On Sunday, I used a word of life from Deuteronomy 30. Today, I want to give you a fuller context, additional references, and a fresh insight about The Way of Flourishing. It would be best if you had a Bible in order to look at these verses in the complete context. I am only going to […]

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Practice Makes You Better (TFP, Day 35)

At everything. Including good things. Especially the things connected with flourishing. It is striking how many principles, lessons, insights, instructions, and commands are in the Bible that tell you to put into practice something good, and strenuously avoid doing what is wrong. You get better at whatever you practice repeatedly. If you practice anger, you […]

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Psalm 36:5-10, A Vision of Flourishing

  In 1976, when I was a sophomore in college, our campus fellowship group met weekly for a large group gathering. We would spend 20 to 30 minutes in worship, have a speaker for about 30 minutes, then spend the rest of the evening hanging out (the Christian words were fellowship and koinoia). The worship music […]

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6 Suggestions on Comparisons

This is a tricky issue to address. It is virtually impossible not to compare yourself with others. And I don’t think it is always a bad thing to compare yourself with others. In fact, I think there are times when you SHOULD compare yourself with others. You just have to be careful how you do it. If […]

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This Pill Can Really Help You!

Here is a scenario/question posed by Jonathan Haidt in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis: “Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased […]

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The Negativity Bias

One of the reasons we are unhappy is because of the negativity bias. The brain is wired to notice danger more than delight. The brain is more alert to what is bad than what is good. We respond more quickly and powerfully to what is unpleasant than to the pleasurable. In fact, our reactions to […]

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Everything I Love is Killing Me

Today we are halfway through 50 Days of Flourishing. Thanks for following, reading, and reflecting on these themes. I pray you are taking slow, steady, persistent steps toward flourishing. Let’s dive right in to the idea for today. It is time for a little more good, robust, biblical theology. The title of this blog post […]

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Working Your Way to Happiness

Study after study shows two things. First, happy people are better workers. They have fewer sick days. They have higher levels of production. They have more friends where they work. Second, good work makes you happy! Isn’t that interesting … and isn’t that enticing? Let me jump on my soapbox and complain for a short paragraph. I am […]

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Psalms of Joy

Joy is a hallmark of the Christian faith. You are made for joy. You are made to find joy in Christ. Rejoicing should be as automatic and natural as breathing. Here are three thoughts from C.S. Lewis about joy: “The whole of man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy.” (The Weight of […]

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3 Reasons Devoted People Are Happier People

We had a leadership staff meeting recently where we talked about the early church being devoted to a cluster of activities and values (see Acts 2:42-47 to see the things to which they were devoted). That word – DEVOTED – hit me. It really hit me. Devoted people are happier people. Why? For three reasons (I […]

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Flourishing From Where You Are

I will tell you what I mean by flourishing from where you are by asking several related questions. What’s your starting point? In other words, what is your immediate and real life situation? Are you doing well? Are you doing so-so? Are things pretty bad? How hard and difficult or how smooth and flowing is your […]

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6 Perspectives Worth Having

Did you ever hear someone say “Perception is reality”? Well, no it isn’t. No matter how much someone insists that his or her perception is reality, perception does not make it real. And, you can ignore “real” reality with a distorted perspective. What you cannot ignore is the consequences of ignoring reality. You cannot ignore the consequences […]

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Six Quotes to Consider

  Many of you know I love to collect quotes, ponder them, and pass them on. I have collected quite a few on happiness. Here are a few for you to chew on. Which one speaks to you the most? QUOTE ONE: If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want […]

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Do You Need Tightening or Loosening?

Some people need tightening. Others need loosening. How about you? What do you need? If you are someone who needs tightening, that means your life is too loose, random, unorganized, and unstructured. And you feel it. Life is harder because you are too loose. Things are not working out as well as they should and that […]

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Identity or Image?

When I look back over the decades at the old photos I was in, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! Maybe you have had the same experience, especially when you look at the different styles of clothing and hair you tried out. When you got tired of your current look, you changed your appearance. […]

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The Real You

Do you find your “self”? Do you create your “self”? Do you receive your “self”? Or is there some combination of finding, making, and receiving? Who are you? How well do you know yourself? How well do you like who you are (and who you are becoming)? Are you comfortable being the “real you” around others? […]

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Three Ways to Energize Your Day

Energetic people are happier people and happier people choose to engage in more energetic activities. This is another simple way to flourish and be happy. Get active. Get going. Get moving. ONE: Exercise. Work out. Go on brisk walks. Join an exercise class. Do aerobics. Take 5 minute walk breaks during your work day. (These […]

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Remember, Relive, Rejoice

So, you have a wonderful experience that causes you great joy and happiness. Do you know you can go back and enjoy it once again? And you may actually have almost the same amount of happiness as you did with the original experience! No, I am not talking about actually doing it again, I am talking […]

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Live in the Present Moment

We suffer from hurry sickness  and distraction disease in our culture. We are busy and we are bombarded. We rush through the day and miss most of the beauty of those moments. ONE:  Every day is a gift – seize hold of it. Don’t believe you are entitled to it. Therefore, do what the ancients […]

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Life is Hard, Don’t Make it Harder

I don’t know when or where I first read this quote. Today’s blog title is the nicer version: “Life is hard, don’t make it harder.” The real version is a bit more sarcastic: “Life is hard. Being dumb makes it harder. Don’t be dumb.” In yesterday’s post, I talked about how thoughts and actions can shape […]

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Flanguish (or How to Make a New Word)

Let’s have a little fun with today’s post. There are always new words being added to the English language. The words below officially made it into various leading dictionaries (Oxford, Miriam-Webster) in 2016. Bitcoin: Digital currency. (I’m not sure what this is, but I don’t think I have any.) Breakfunch: A small meal consumed between breakfast […]

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Meaningful or Meaningless

When was the last time you read the book of Ecclesiastes? If you have 60-70 minutes of time, sit down and read through it in one sitting. You will be glad you did. The second verse of the book introduces the theme that is repeated throughout: “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly Meaningless. Everything is Meaningless, says the […]

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How Happy Are You?

Have you heard about the little book, 14,000 Things to be Happy About? It was written by Barbara Kipfer. It is just a list (a long list) of things that should make you happy. What is beautiful about these 14,000 things is that most of them are simple. (Sorry, there are also some vulgar ones […]

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Upgrading Happiness

“Hardly anyone was happy.” That is what Neil Pasricha realized after years of consulting and coaching with some of the most “successful” people in the world of business, sports, and entertainment (The Happiness Equation). Did you ever see the movie starring Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness? It is a good movie–one that made me […]

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Welcome to “The Flourishing Project”

I have been thinking about this for a long time. Flourishing. Thriving. Abundance. Life. Love. Laughter. Family. Friends. Meaning. Purpose. Health. Beauty. Goodness. Truth. Virtue. And Jesus! I have been thinking about Jesus a lot! “In him was life and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4) “I came so they may have […]

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If This is Your Only Exercise…

Some people don’t seem to get much exercise. If this is the only exercise you get, then you might be in trouble. Jumping to conclusions Running other people down Sidestepping responsibility Jumping through the hoops of others’ expectations Lugging around baggage from the past Running on empty Carrying the weight of the world on your […]

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Devotions and Devotionals

Devotion: To be deeply and emotionally committed or dedicated to a person or cause. Devotions: Time spent growing in your devotion. Devotionals: The resources used to grow deeper in devotion. The word devotion is common, but I do not think I have ever heard the words devotions and devotionals used in ANY CONTEXT other than […]

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A Sign of the SpringTimes

Spring is here. The weather is changing, although a little more slowly than I would prefer. Plants are sending up growth. The grass in our leveled field along Route 24 is starting to grow (at least a little). Our Global Missions Conference is over (and we had a great time with our speakers). Yes, spring is […]

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Yay God!

Yay God! I hope that does not sound trite. It is actually not nearly strong enough to convey what I am feeling. Maybe I should emphasize it and say, “YAY God!” or “YAY GOD!” or maybe…  YAY GOD! I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth … O […]

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A Week of Baptisms

And what a GREAT week it was! Pastor Aaron led a team of staff, including Cass Delp, Chris Smith, Ned Keene, Garrett Lowe, and myself, through a week of baptisms for 45 people, with a few hundred family and friends in attendance. The stories ranged from sweet to astonishing (and many were both). The ages ranged […]

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Small Stuff Matters

Most of us overestimate the power of big things and we underestimate the power of small things. Most of us overestimate the power of the EVENT and we underestimate the power of the PROCESS. It has been said that the devil is in the details. He may well be, but did you ever wonder why? […]

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They are Contagious, Highly Contagious

Emotions! They are what’s contagious. Good ones and bad ones. Happiness, excitement, hope, calm, patience … and anger, sadness, frustration, irritation… You’ve heard the phrase, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.” I have looked for the origins of this phrase. A 10-minute web search asking the question did not yield much insight. Well, […]

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The 3 Benefits of FOCUS

We are distracted and we are interrupted. We are busy, hurried, falling behind, and we feel it! We think we can multitask. We try to multitask. The fact is your brain does not multitask, except when it comes to the lower level behaviors. In other words, you can chew food and talk at the same time. Whether […]

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Life…and a Lot of It!

In Him Was Life. I stared at those words for some time. They are found in John 1:4. The entire verse reads like this: “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” I had read them at least 100 times before! This time, they hit me with new power. I […]

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It All Started in 1975

And it was really quite odd that it did! As I thought about it, up to that point I had hardly traveled outside York County. I had been to a few different states by then, but not many. Now, a few months after becoming a Christian, I was fascinated by the idea of global missions. Other […]

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6 Little Insights That Made My Day

I hope they will make your day, too!* Insight One: Once all the villagers decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That’s faith. Insight Two: When you toss babies in the air, they laugh because they know you will catch them. That’s trust. Insight Three: […]

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Wrapping Up Our Life Together Series

Just 6 weeks ago we had our 2-5 Launch. Wow–the time has flown by! The entire staff team had a great time developing and implementing the new aspects involved with the 2-5 Launch, including: Developing a 6-week series on relationships (Life Together). More on that in a moment. Beginning a new culture of you and me inviting […]

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Welcome to the Living Word Blog

Today begins a new way we can be connected and do some “life together” through social media. This post launches a new blog that will: Keep you up to date with news about life at Living Word Provide you with nuggets of insights and inspiration about the Christian life Share stories that show how Christ […]

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