When I answered the phone, I was met with sniffles and sobs. It was the sort of call I dreaded. I’m not a professional counselor and had no experience talking someone down from an emotional precipice. So, I did the only thing I could. “Sir,” I said, “how can I pray for you?”
It was several years ago and I was on staff at a well-respected international ministry that maintained a 24-hour prayer line for people in need. On that divinely-appointed Wednesday morning, the call center’s switchboard was beyond capacity, so calls were routed to anyone in the office with a phone. As an early riser, the phone on my desk had sprung to life and I found myself talking to a man in crisis.
From a working-class background in North Carolina to being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Randy Travis has sold more than 25 million albums in both country and gospel music. This seemingly charmed life began a downward spiral in 2009: his marriage dissolved, he discovered that his finances had unraveled, and his struggles with anger led to alcohol abuse, public embarrassment, and even police arrest in 2012. Then, just as he was putting his life back together, Randy suffered a devastating viral cardiomyopathy that led to a massive stroke which he was not expected to survive.
Randy Travis: The song and the book are about unconditional love. The first time I heard the song, “Forever and Ever, Amen,” I knew it had potential to touch people. It was a song celebrating love and commitment and marital fidelity through the years—a major departure from country music staples that touted “lyin,’ cheatin,’ and tears in your beer.”
Everywhere we went, we heard heartwarming stories of what the song had meant to someone.
Renowned for its beautiful balance of scholarship and readability and vetted by Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, and Jewish scholars, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) faithfully serves the church in personal spiritual formation, in the liturgy, and in the academy.
We’re grateful to Dr. Will Willimon (@WillimonTweets), professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, for partnering with the Zondervan NRSV Comfort Print® Bible campaign in helping people better engage the Bible.
I do not know who first coined the phase “image is everything,” but whoever did captured the spirit of the contemporary world about as well as can be done. People in the public eye—politicians, entertainers, civic leaders, novelists, even sometimes spiritual leaders—often work desperately to shape and polish a public persona that will please the most people. We ordinary people pick up the cues. Are we all supposed to be images pleasing to some external eye?
Nearly 20% of Americans suffer from mental illness—including anxiety and depression—according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and people in church pews are not immune. Because prominent philosopher, author, and professor J.P. Moreland experienced it himself, he has now explored the spiritual and physical aspects of mental illness, and has discovered sound sources of information, treatment, and recovery.
Please explain how you have a genetic predisposition to anxiety.
J.P. Moreland: We’re born fallen and broken people in great need. Part of the fallenness at birth includes genetic predispositions we inherit from our parents. This is a scientific fact and is part of the biblical idea that we’re fallen. My entire mother’s side of the family was plagued with anxiety and it was passed on to me and I passed it on to one of my two daughters who has more genes from me than my other daughter who has more from my wife’s side. This predisposition does not mean that I’m biologically determined to be anxious. It does mean that I have a natural inclination toward anxiety (and depression) that’s been present throughout my life. But I have the ability to do things to stand against it and minimize or get rid of it altogether. Finding Quiet contains what I’ve discovered to really work in this process.
That season is quickly upon us, in which family, friends, babysitters, youth group kids, neighbors, our colleagues’ kids, and perhaps our very own kids are graduating. When it’s your own child, you know them well enough to know what they want (or need). But the older we get, the more frequently we may be invited to graduation parties for the children of our friends or colleagues; for 17- and 18-year-olds we don’t know well. And in those cases, it can be hard to pick the perfect graduation gift.
For instance, what does this teen girl like? What’s her style? What would she want in her dorm room? Or if he’s deferring college or going to a trade school, what would be a helpful start for him in this new stage of life? Do I even know?
Some of the best years of Joseph’s life were consumed by injustice and rotten luck. But not one time does Scripture describe Joseph displaying a bad attitude. A positive attitude is the difference maker for every leader. To see your leadership dreams fulfilled, you need to get an attitude. Joseph’s example urges us to adopt the following mindsets:
We’re excited to be able to share the notes from these excellent resources with you when you sign up for a 30-day free trial to Bible Gateway Plus. Below is a brief introduction to each of the new additions.
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But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
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VERSE OF THE DAY: The Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. -Zephaniah 3:17 (RSV) bit.ly/2PoKMnH...