Category Archives: Columns

Will I Have Enough? Finding Contentment in Christ Alone

By Ryan Harter

Ron Blue, founder of Ronald Blue & Co. and author of numerous personal finance books, asks the question “How much is enough?” in his new Bible study “God Owns It All.” This seems like a simple question that can be answered by looking at your income, expenses, dreams, and goals. Even though the question is simple, the answer can leave many with a feeling of anxiety. The reason for the anxiety is not because what we have is too little or what we have is too much. The anxiety comes because no matter what we have, the answer to the question “How much is enough?” is almost always “More than I have right now.” Continue reading

Statement from the General Director: Charlottesville

By Jim Lyon

Paul Goodloe McIntire was an investment genius, whose savvy management of stock portfolios in both Chicago and New York empowered him to be one of his hometown’s preeminent philanthropists. Inspired by the City Beautiful movement dramatically brought to life at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, he dedicated himself to funding monumental public spaces, city parks and squares, most often featuring heroic sculpture. He was born in 1860 and polished his fortune in New York City before retiring in 1918; he then returned to the beloved city of his birth: Charlottesville, Virginia. Continue reading

Why I Ask My Worship Team to Be a Little Disingenuous

Worshiper_Stock_photo_morguefile_FORWEB

By Neil Oldham

What?! Disgusting! Didn’t Jesus rail against hypocrites, actors, and the disingenuous religious leaders of his day? Yes, he did. Yet I’ve sat across from my team as they’ve looked at me with uncertainty and said, “What you’re asking—I’d feel like I was being disingenuous.” But I keep on asking because I believe we’ve lost sight of what it means to do our job. Continue reading

Risk and Restoration

Editors note: This edition of For Leaven’s Sake was originally published in May 2013. We brought it back for your enjoyment.

Logo: For Leaven's Sake
By Sam Collins

For a long time I supposed that the story about the woman healed of hemorrhaging (Mark 5:24–34) was a simple case of a shy individual trying to avoid the first-century equivalent of tabloid publicity. Why else would she approach everything so stealthily? I figured she just didn’t want her picture sharing the same front page with accounts of reputed Big Foot sightings on the outskirts of Jericho. Continue reading

When Character Doesn’t Count

Logo: For Leaven's Sake

By Sam Collins

Segments of our society have long claimed to prize moral character and individual integrity. That is what many find so disturbing about the current state of affairs. It often appears that character has been reclassified as an old-fashioned, nonessential line of goods—much like mustaches wax, buttonhooks, and whalebone corsets. Continue reading

God’s Plenty-Good-Enough Promises

Logo: For Leaven's Sake

By Sam Collins

As you navigate our increasingly techy world, perhaps you’ve come across the term vaporware. It’s a designation that refers to an electronic product that has been promoted, hyped, and ballyhooed with the fervor of an evangelistic tent meeting, but which isn’t available and actually may never be. Continue reading

Restraining Our Inner Grouch

Logo: For Leaven's Sake

By Sam Collins

In my younger days, I had an inner crabby monster that did not always stay behind locked doors. Sometimes it sprang out to startle small children, friends, and family members. I so often felt like Oscar the Grouch, Sesame Street’s shaggy garbage-can crank, that I probably should have worn a hairy, green, three-piece suit on pastoral calls. Continue reading

Meek for a Week

Logo: For Leaven's Sake

By Sam Collins

Every so often a Christian group will mount a campaign buttressed by multicolored posters, websites, news releases, and enough overheated rhetoric to bring a vat of chicken gumbo to full boil. Typically the titles of these ventures will proclaim outrageously unrealistic goals such as Winning Every Person in the Western Hemisphere to Jesus by Next Tuesday. Continue reading

Using What We’ve Got

Logo: For Leaven's Sake

By Sam Collins

My wife and I recently returned from a vacation to Tennessee, where we visited some of my kinfolk. We also took in some of the natural wonders of the region that gave birth to MoonPies (a confection that resembles a chocolate-covered hockey puck) and a style of music that is best performed by individuals with slightly swollen nasal passages. Continue reading

Risk and Restoration

Logo: For Leaven's Sake  
By Sam Collins

For a long time I supposed that the story about the woman healed of hemorrhaging (Mark 5:24–34) was a simple case of a shy individual trying to avoid the first-century equivalent of tabloid publicity. Why else would she approach everything so stealthily? I figured she just didn’t want her picture sharing the same front page with accounts of reputed Big Foot sightings on the outskirts of Jericho. Continue reading

The Flattery Trap

Logo: For Leaven's Sake  
By Sam Collins

Recently I received a spate of e-mails from sources who supposedly were eager to publish my writing. According to one message, mine is a talent too deep and capacious to continue to languish in obscurity. Continue reading

Situational Chameleons

Logo: For Leaven's Sake

By Sam Collins

According to the birth records of Jefferson County, Kentucky, my mother was blessed with but one child. There were times, however, when the poor woman must have felt that she was parenting a litter of caffeine-fueled octuplets. Continue reading

Attaining Beauty

Logo: For Leaven's Sake

  
By Sam Collins

I am not a particularly attractive human being. Sadder still, I was not even a cute baby. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that Dad called his insurance agent to make sure that all of the household mirrors were covered before he allowed Mom to bring me home from the hospital. Continue reading

Clothed in Crabbiness

ForLeavensSakeHeader

By Sam Collins

Most New Year’s resolutions are as durable as paper mâché crash helmets. Many of them are nothing more than shredded confetti by mid-February. Continue reading

A Conduit for Grace

ForLeavensSakeHeader

By Sam Collins

Compared to involvement in ministry, it is ridiculously easy to play Chopin on the piano while wearing pillow-sized oven mitts. In ministry, difficulties arise in innumerable guises that include all sorts of people, forces, and circumstances. Issues surrounding sin, alienation, evil, forgiveness, reconciliation, life, death, and other spiritual matters are fraught with enough tripwires to make a war-zone minefield seem relatively risk free. Continue reading