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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life

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As we’re grieving the loss of George Floyd, we need to remember God understands. He watched his only begotten son die. And he was there when the world let go of His child, George. May we all invite God into our healing as we continue to offer love and compassion to one another amidst unthinkable tragedies. Let's ask God how we can each be part of the solution, in a world desperately in need of His peace.
Looking at the context and meaning of this verse, we can better understand the gift Jesus offers by sharing His yoke. We can learn how to experience the light burden and easy yoke of Jesus.

Pastors

Pastors / Leadership

Pastor Features

The initial reports about the George Floyd case—as with so many of the others—are bewildering. A man is dead, and for that we should weep. Yet, these awful scenarios keep happening. We know about such things these days because of video recordings, but God has known about such things all along. We might not always know how to proceed. But the questions before us are real. And they are not distractions.
When it comes to a theology of race, there are four headlines: 1) We were all made by God; 2) We were all made in the image of God; 3) We were all made with distinction and variety—including the color of our skin; and 4) We are called into a relationship with God the Father by the Holy Spirit through Jesus the Son. This is why the Bible makes the following declaration: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, NIV).
Some people look at caution in love and call it fear. They want action! Meanwhile, others look at bold, courageous action as presumptuous and dangerous. What our pastors need during and post-COVID-19 is your support and prayers for courage.
There will be no going back to a pre-pandemic church. This is because those who were reached during the pandemic and those we hope to reach when it’s over will demand something different. In fact, the nature of the divide between a pre-pandemic church and a post-pandemic church will be about what people will expect from a church. Here are five expectations that people will have of your church.

Parenting

Parenting

Parenting Features

Strong family bonds make a lifelong difference. Members lean on one another, enjoy time together, and continue to build memories. According to a 50-year review in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology, routines and rituals are associated with stronger family relationships. Family members’ connections last when they meet the individual’s needs of acceptance and belonging.The relationships are reinforced through shared memories that reflect time invested in one another, both the happy experiences and the struggles they overcame together. Investing in family is done by supporting one another, showing approval of the individuals, and making the home a safe haven.Evaluate your family bonds. List what you do together and what shared experiences and interests are part of the family conversations. Ask your children what they enjoy doing as a family and what activities they’d like to do again. Ask what new activities they want to try.When children can add their ideas, they feel more invested. Ask for their help in planning activities and carrying them out so they will be more involved and feel like an important part of the team. Communication is a key component of creating lasting bonds, so be sure to converse about activities and include everyone’s input. Listening to each individual helps each person feel valued and affirmed, especially when they see their ideas become realities.As you check out these 8 ways to develop lasting bonds note how your family is doing in each area and where you might work on strengthening bonds.Photo Credit: ©Pexels/August de Richelieu
Looking at the context and meaning of this verse, we can better understand the gift Jesus offers by sharing His yoke. We can learn how to experience the light burden and easy yoke of Jesus.
Chores and personal responsibilities are most successfully introduced when parents consider each child’s unique ability. Implementing new routines at home is a work in progress—trial and error.

Finances

Finances

Featured Articles on Finances

When you think of stewardship, what comes to mind? The reality is that many people today, including lots of Christians, don’t understand the true meaning of stewardship. And that’s a tragedy. Why? Because stewardship is our ultimate calling as Christ followers.
Those who live in this “land of opportunity” are given every advantage to reach those goals and address their financial concerns. After all, life is about the choices we make. So as a nation, we should top the charts in overall happiness, right?
Dear Roger, Dealing with finances is so confusing to me. I’m trying hard to minimize my spending, but I always seem to spend everything I make. My credit card debts are increasing. I’d like to have money to give to people in need and to support ministries, but I never have enough. Can you help?
Learn why it's especially important to have financial peace as a single mom.

Homeschool

Homeschool

Home School Features

These past few months have thrown parents across the planet into the unexpected role of teacher. Schools have closed and embraced distance-learning as a way to safely educate kids in the midst of this global pandemic.For many the reopening of schools in the fall will be something your family will celebrate, as homeschooling just isn’t in the cards for your home. For others this may have been the chance to test out homeschooling that you may be secretly hoped for and you're wondering if your family should dive all the way into this lifestyle and continue over the upcoming school year.Deciding to homeschool is a big decision! It takes commitment to create a home where learning is a part of your entire family's routine.If you are feeling anxious about committing to homeschooling rest assured you are in good company. Most of the homeschooling moms I know began their homeschooling career with butterflies in their stomachs and a good helping of self-doubt.Even though homeschooling takes effort and commitment, there are some amazing real benefits to making it a part of your family's lifestyle that you probably already have gotten a taste of over these past months of having your kids learning-at-home.Here are 5 signs that homeschooling will be a good fit for your family:Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/StockRocket
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12The phrase, creatures of habit, means doing the same things at the same time in the same way. I think it’s safe to say that most families have settled into the new norm during quarantine and have found themselves quickly becoming creatures of habit once again.But why not make the most of quarantine and ask a few thought-provoking questions to encourage deeper family discussions? You might be surprised at some of your kids’ answers, and you might even learn a thing or two you didn’t know before.This worldwide pandemic is a scary and complex situation, even for adults. As hard as it is for us to not be out of the house and living “normal” life—it can be that much harder on kids as they grapple to understand.They might be missing things that you didn’t even know they enjoyed to begin with, or scared of things you didn’t know were bothering them. Although it might seem difficult to strike up a conversation about something so complicated with your kids, your kids are certain to have thoughts and opinions about what is directly affecting them. These conversation starters are designed to not only help you bond as a family, but also to help your kids process their emotions during this complicated time.So, make the most out of quarantine with your kids. Here are 12 questions to get the conversation going:Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/yacobchuk
Allowing a renewed passion for your faith and family be what guides your decisions moving forward. Sacrifice may be required, but what in our fragile lives is really more important than these two things?
Since our idols tend to blind us from reality and truth, perhaps the best way to evaluate whether our actions are harming our kids is to examine their behavior. Consider 4 results of an enabling parent.

Marriage

Marriage

Marriage Features

I began praying for my husband fourteen years ago. I wish I would’ve prayed the other fourteen. The road would’ve looked so different. I would’ve been grateful instead of resentful of the man God gave me.
You’re at it again. A simple conversation. A teasing remark. An instruction. Venting after work. And somehow, you and your spouse (or significant other) are locked into a knock-out round that leaves you weepy, angry, or unsettled for the rest of the day.You’re not sure how a comment or observation ignited into such a big fire. Like oxygen to flames, your friendly critique or sarcastic response has created a problem that’s not easily extinguished.What should you do and how can you avoid fighting with the person you love the most? Here’s a simple strategy:Adjust your tone (Are you mad? Unkind? Disrespectful? Take a time-out and try later.)Redefine your goal (Are you trying to win?)Identify the triggers (We all push other people’s buttons, sometimes on purpose)Talk about your problem, not the other person’s problem (Use “I feel” statements, not “You ….”)If your tone is disrespectful or rude, it doesn’t matter what the topic is or who’s to blame. You’re going to fight. If your goal is to win every conversation, you’re going to fight a lot or shut down your spouse emotionally. (If you’re married to an avoider, you’re going to get the silent treatment.)It’s helpful to identify the potential landmines if you want to avoid verbal insults and emotional manipulations. Be aware that most of us fight around these 7 topics.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Deagreez 
As you take the time to listen to your mate, value what they have to say. Honor their feedback and respond to that information.
No woman wants to be a bad wife. No man wants to marry one, either.

Careers

Career

Finances - Career

Are you worried, stressed, and anxious? Remember just this one thing: God's got this!
Out of gas! Ugh. You’re kidding me. Yes, I was the guy slowing down traffic just prior to rush hour. I saw the warning light – at some point. I had not noticed it until partially into my trip. However, I know this vehicle well. We’ve been traveling companions for years – almost 300,000 miles together. When the gas light comes on I have about 30 miles more that I can drive. Embarrassed? Yes. This has never happened before. Plus, I have somewhere I am trying to go! I was not out on a pleasure drive. So what happened? I can’t put it all together but there were some key components to the debacle. Early in the morning on my way to teach, my mind was on everything but how much fuel was in my tank. With an imminent class, a full schedule, pending deadlines, and life on my mind, I was not paying attention to the dashboard lights. I did notice the warning light, however, as I pulled into my parking spot. I immediately thought, “I’ll get gas later today.” Well, later arrived and so did the urgency of my next appointment. By this time, I had forgotten about the fuel, only to be reminded as I turned on the vehicle. “But I should have 30 miles more before I run out of gas, and I only need to go 10.” Or at least, so I thought. I failed to consider two key components. First, I had not paid attention to when the warning light actually lit. And second, I rebuilt the engine and have not tested how far it can go now once the warning light appears. There’s more! Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Matheus Ferrero
You see, the phrase "When God shuts a door, He opens a window" isn't actually in the Bible. So what do we keep thinking this is true?
Procrastination is similar to laziness but not the same. Laziness is a refusal to do things but procrastination is a feeling of wanting to do something but not getting started.

Singles

Singles

Singles Features

Growing up, I laughed at comedian Flip Wilson’s excuse for doing wrong: “The Devil made me do it.” It took me years to understand that the Devil couldn’t make me do anything; that was a lie. Yet our sneaky enemy does love to plant lies in our thoughts about a subject dear to God’s heart: holiness. The lies we believe about personal purity encourage us to rationalize our behavior and justify our sins. When we believe these lies, they cripple our effectiveness in serving the Lord. But powerful principles from the Word of God offer guidelines to help us govern our thoughts and actions. Let’s examine some of the lies we believe about purity. Photo credit: ©Unsplash
Even as painful as toxic relationships can be, they can be even more painful to let go of. Here are 10 ways to invite God's healing into your life.
COVID-19 seems to have created the perfect storm for our giving in to sin.Tensions have grown, means of community have morphed, and the devil is undoubtedly working his hardest to make use of the opportunity.He is constantly at war with our hearts, and the best way to counteract his ploy to lead us astray is by opening our eyes to the potential pitfalls that lay before us specifically in this time. As Scripture warns us in 1 Peter 5:7-9, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”Below are 5 potential stumbling blocks of sin to which we are especially vulnerable in this season, as well as some simple antidotes to counteract them. As you consider these pitfalls, take an honest inventory within your heart.Consider the ways that the devil may be attempting to take hold of you, repent of them to the Lord, then trust the battle with Him.Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Kyle Cottrell
I’m messaging this guy, and I really think we’ve clicked--he seems to love God and we share a lot in common. That being said, I initiate everything! Should I keep talking to him?