Month: April 2019

A Major Relational Mistake and What to Do About It

Okay, this is going to be a difficult one. It’s a bit difficult to explain and even harder to follow. Here is the general principle:

You CANNOT manage the emotions of other people! You can seek to understand them, but you cannot manage them. You can’t control the emotions of others, but you can influence them.

That’s hard, because we want to manage and control others’ emotions. We want to do that because we don’t like (none of us do) receiving bad emotions from others—we only want to be on the receiving end of good emotions from others.

I recently saw an old episode of The Big Bang Theory where everyone was mad at everyone else. Everyone was shouting. There was conflict everywhere. And Sheldon, the emotionally constricted figure, just went catatonic. He couldn’t control the emotional turmoil around him.

When you try to manage and control the emotions of others, you are, at that moment, in a precarious spot. You have taken on a responsibility you are not meant to have, and you simply do not have the resources to manage or control the emotions of others, so you will begin to use the wrong means to do so.…

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Reflections on the Spirit 01: Why the Spirit Matters!

Who is the Spirit?
Why does the Spirit matter?

These are the two questions (among others) that we will ask and probe for the next 7 weeks.

By the time we are done with the Sunday messages, the weekly devotional resources, and the occasional blogging, you will have studied, prayed through, and experienced the majority of the biblical teaching on the Holy Spirit.

We want you to Expect the Spirit to be at work in and through you.

We want you to Experience the Spirit at work. It is important to carefully study what the Bible says about the Spirit, but that is in the service of a fuller experience of the Spirit’s activity in us.

And we want you to Enjoy life in the Spirit of God. Jesus said he came that we might have abundance of life – real and eternal, more and better life than we ever imagined. It is the Spirit of God that delivers into out lives all that God the Son has accomplished for us through his life, ministry, death, and resurrection. That’s what the Spirit does and that’s why the Spirit matters. (By the way, the Spirit is able to do this …

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Easter Weekend Recap by Guest Blogger Chris Smith

Easter weekend at Living Word was a beautiful celebration of the stronger-than-death love of God. Our six weekend services were a time for us to come together in worship and proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus through song, prayer, and God’s Word. 

On Good Friday, we reflected on the reality that Jesus laid down his life to defeat sin and death once and for all. The cross is the victory of God’s Love over all that is wrong in the world. We were blessed to have cellist Brenda Johnson (a long-time ministry partner and collaborator) bring two of her violin students (Ben and Taylor) to form a special string trio. In addition to playing on number of worship songs, the string trio performed an original arrangement of “Reckless Love-Oh the Deep, Deep Love” composed by Brenda. We were so thankful for their special contributions to our Good Friday services. 

On Easter, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus and its massive implications for the worldBecause Jesus is alive, the good things of God can run wild—and he is inviting you and I to

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The Power of Example

What’s the secret of real estate?
Location, location, location.

What’s the secret of success?
Execution, execution, execution.

What’s the secret of influence?
Example, example, example.

I borrowed and tweaked that last one from General George Patton.

The Apostle Paul understood that when he talked about the “imitation of Christ.” Paul looked to the example of Christ and then sought to follow that example with all his heart. Paul then turned to his followers and encouraged them to follow his example as he followed Christ (see 1 Corinthians 4:14-17; Ephesians 4:32-5:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 2:19).

It is has been said by many people, but best of all by Gandhi, that if you want to see change happen, then BE THAT CHANGE. As you are the change, you become an example of change. You become the inspiration for change.

By the way, you don’t have to change the world. You can’t. But what is your little corner or pocket of the world you can change? Right there, right now, be the example of the better future you desire.

Be inspired, then inspire.

Pastor Brian


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I have always appreciated this thought from President Woodrow Wilson:

“I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow.”

That’s great. I LOVE IT! None of us are as smart as all of us! That’s another quote I read somewhere, long ago. It is called advice, counsel, perspective, knowledge, insight, experience, learning, and WISDOM.

Whose brains are you going to borrow today? And who will need to borrow some of your brain-work as well?

Pastor Brian


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The Power of Your Presence in the World

Here is a simple but incredibly important question:

Do you tend to see yourself as “acted upon” or as “one who acts”?

In other words, do you spend most of your time thinking about what is happening to you, what life is doing to you, and what impact others are having on you, or do you spend most of your time thinking about the difference you can make, the next steps you can take toward what you want to accomplish, and the good that will result when you leave your imprint on the world?

In extreme cases, the first mentality becomes a victim mentality, where you are passively resigned to the world around you.

With the power of God in you, you do not have to live that way. Instead, you can (and should) live as an actor,  or One Who Acts.

One who acts with power and purpose.
One who acts with will and intention.
One who acts with love and goodness.
One who acts to make a difference, to add value, to leave the world a little better than when you found it.

And then, when we work together with others who accept their power, their responsibility, and …

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Resurrection Happens

Christ the Lord is risen today!

Resurrection happens.
The good things of God are set loose

and run wild through the world,
making all things new.

Blessed Easter to everyone
in the joy of the risen Lord!

Pastor Brian


The good things of God are running wild through the world. And through your life.

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Good Friday at Living Word

Please join us tonight for the sober, and yet wonderfully joyful, celebration of God’s stronger than death love.

God’s love is stronger than death. Stronger than sin. Stronger than evil. Stronger than Satan. Stronger than guilt, shame, condemnation, and fear.

The cross is God victorious over all that is wrong in the world, over all that is wrong in your life.

We have two services, one at 6:00 pm and the second at 7:30 pm. A time of communion celebration will be held at both services.

In the stronger name of Jesus,
Pastor Brian

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Remembering What God Wants!

“Discipline is remembering what you want,” said David Campbell, the founder of Saks Fifth Avenue.

We quickly and easily forget what we want because we live in a world of options, distractions, and choices of endless variety. We bounce around from choice to choice and option to option, sampling much but savoring little.

We feel rushed, hurried, busy, and always a little worried that we might be missing something else that could be a little better.

Discipline is remembering what you want and making the choices to live accordingly.

Of course, we need more than discipline. We also need wisdom. For wisdom tells us what we should want. Spiritual wisdom is the best of all, for spiritual wisdom understands the nature of God, the nature of life, the nature of being alive.

The wisdom of Christian spirituality is where I live. It is not a matter of what I want. First, it is a matter of what God wants for me. Only then, is it what I want. And above all, I must want for myself what God wants for me.

I love the short words of the Apostle Paul to his beloved son in faith and protege, Timothy, “For …

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The Most Joys

I know you have heard the old (as wrong as something can possibly be) saying, “The one who dies with the most toys wins.” Who in the world ever came up with that idea?

However, all we have to do is change ONE word and it becomes profoundly and delightfully compatible with Christian faith:

“The one who dies with the most JOYS wins.” 

We have Dale Dauten to thank for that insight.

I love it.

Life is not about accumulating toys – things; stuff; possessions; the things you own (really, that own you); the latest, biggest, coolest gadget or object. NO.

Life is about accumulating joys.

The joy of love,
Of friendship,
Of doing something that helps others,
Of making a difference in your corner of the world,
Of living wisely and well,
Of serving those in need,
Of blessing those around you,
Of learning and growing…

That is JOY. And the more you accumulate joys like this as the years go by, the more you will be blessed and the more you will be a blessing. And you will hear the words of Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the JOY of YOUR MASTER forever and …

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