How to Build Community (guest post with Melissa Joy Boerger)

How to Build Community (guest post with Melissa Joy Boerger)

If you’ve ever lived away from established friends and family you’ll know the importance of intentionally making new friends and building warm, loving community. These kinds of relationships are special and unique but they don’t have to be rare. My good friend Melissa recently shared some tips for building community and I’m sharing them here with a few added thoughts of my own.

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Love your neighbour, not yourself.

Love your neighbour, not yourself.

That’s not what the Bible says, but it’s what I’ve believed most of my life. Love your neighbour instead of yourself. I was the helper, I was the giver, the one who took care of others. But I began to resent myself and my emotional state began to yo-yo. Until I realized that loving myself was an act of worship to the creator, and that I was allowed to learn to love myself.

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What if nothing needs to change?

What if nothing needs to change?

What if my kid is loud and boisterous? What if my kid is emotional and standoffish? What if my kid is an annoying handful?

And what if nothing needs to change? I believe we can become the kind of parents who see the hidden, inner beauty of our children, and who choose to ignore the outer chaos. I’m not talking about letting a child hurt someone and just smiling about it. I am talking about present, strategic, engaged parenting that knows when to not sweat the small stuff, and when to dive in and help a little person become a big person on the inside.

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Why time-in beats time-out every time

Why time-in beats time-out every time

Your child storms off to their bedroom. You try and control your breathing. You’re both angry. You’re both back here again. But what if what you chose to do in this moment was the turning point for your relationship? What if you didn’t leave them alone for time-out, but joined them instead for time-in? What if your anger could be transformed into commitment to do whatever it takes to restore your child?

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The 5 punishment languages

The 5 punishment languages

There are five languages of punishment that we naturally gravitate towards, each of which are uniquely damaging to the heart of a child. Rather than hold up a warning sign or place a healthy boundary marker, by punishing we exert power over a child, which wounds their heart. Thankfully, there are alternatives!

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Choosing Peace

Choosing Peace

I quit my day-job recently. It was scary, stepping out and trusting God for what was next, but he hasn’t let me fall. My bills are paid, and I’m enjoying my new world. But that doesn't mean it's all roses. About once a week I find myself plunged into existential fear and chaos. One day last week I was overwhelmed by indecision, fear and confusion, and I had to make a choice: choose busy or choose peace.

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You're not alone and everything is going to be OK

You're not alone and everything is going to be OK

I met with a group of young Christians on the weekend to discuss the topic of loneliness. We each asked the question, "Where is Jesus when we feel lonely?" and I invited them to do a journaling exercise. We began by asking God to give us the name of someone we knew, who was lonely. Then we asked God what he would want that person to know. Matias got my name, and here’s what God told us both.

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How to forgive Bill Cosby

How to forgive Bill Cosby

I don't want to live in a world where Bill Cosby is a rapist. But neither did Andrea Constand, or anyone else he assaulted, and they weren't given the choice. So here we are, trying to figure out how to say to all of the Bill Cosbys in our lives, "You have wounded me, I cannot trust you, you are not safe... but you owe me nothing. I release you to a higher authority. The devil will not have the last laugh out of your choice to wound me. I am walking away in freedom. You are forgiven."

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It's only just begun

It's only just begun

For Christians (and churches) that don't follow a liturgical calendar, it's easy to lose track of the fact that Easter is just the beginning. Most of us probably enjoyed the long Easter weekend, had an extra-special Sunday meeting, took new family photos and then went back to work. That's certainly what I did, and I don't begrudge anyone who did the same... but the fact remains, Easter is just the beginning. On Resurrection Sunday, Jesus is only getting started. Some of the most remarkable displays of what God is like come to us after the resurrection. And the new race of humanity that Jesus ushered in is just getting started too.

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He came to be trampled on

He came to be trampled on

The year is 1637. You are a priest, who has travelled to Japan to locate your former teacher. You travel from island to island, encouraging tiny groups of Christian believers, who are hiding for their lives. You are eventually captured by the Inquisitor, who tortures other believers in front of you in an attempt to make you renounce Christianity. Eventually the Inquisitor offers to end the torture if you will simply tread on an icon of Jesus.

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When you're tired and empty

When you're tired and empty

Sometimes there's just nothing left in the tank. I'm not talking about chronic depression, just plain old, run-of-the-mill malaise. When there's too much housework to even know where to start. Or when you've been sick in bed for a week and somehow you're still tired but also bored. Here's my advice: If you do nothing, then the nothingness will certainly win. But if you can let go of the things that aren't important, and intentionally surrender to God all the things that are, then the day may not be lost. Take a deep breath, and repeat after me...

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You don't have to be like Trump

You don't have to be like Trump

Each culture adopts values and principles considered desirable or necessary in their leaders. Personas and archetypes emerge that come to define certain roles and responsibilities. We end up being told that in order to do that we must be like this. But you don't have to be like that at all. You can be like you! If you've ever felt like you just didn't fit into the mould of the leaders around you, then this one is for you.

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