Falling Forward: Perfection

The desire for perfection drives all of us to a degree. Some of us might feel that perfection is something to be obsessively pursued at all costs. Then there are others for whom the idea of perfection is a bit less intense. It may not torment us, but we carry around a certain level of guilt about being less than we think we should be in our lives.

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Ryan Phipps
Falling Forward: Secrets

We all have things in our lives that we are professionals at hiding. Things so traumatic that the very thought of another person finding out about them is a terror far greater than we are able to endure. 

How do we break out of the cycle of shame that we carry about our secrets?

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Ryan Phipps
Falling Forward: Lost Time

For a rare few of us, life has panned out just as we’d hoped it would. We got the education we wanted, the job that we wanted, the partner that we wanted, the family that we wanted, the pension that we wanted, and now we look back on a life that, for the most part, is a success story.

Then, there are the rest of us.

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Ryan Phipps
Falling Forward: Ancestry

Does God punish us for the mistakes of our ancestors? And if so, are we doomed to repeat those mistakes in our own lives or is there something that we can do to break the cycle?

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Ryan Phipps
Falling Forward: Betrayal

If you were raised in the church, you might have been taught to think of Samson as an impulsive, self-centered, morally reprehensible person whose undoing was the result of a long list of horrible choices. But is that the real lesson of the story?

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Ryan Phipps
The Path: Peace

If you think about how we respond to conflict in our everyday lives, it could be in our work, our relationships, or even in our beliefs, we tend to seek peace with a peacekeeper’s mindset rather than a peacemaker’s mindset.

We might be in a conversation with someone with whom we fundamentally disagree; we may even see that their way of doing something, will, in the long run, be insufficient to meet the real demands of such and such a project, or such and such a problem. But because they are the louder voice or a larger personality, we might choose to hold our tongues and keep our opinions to ourselves. Yet, in doing so, we fail to see the ramifications of our silence.

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Ryan Phipps
The Path: Possessions

Life can be difficult, filled with much pain and suffering. But what makes life worth living are the people in our lives— the people we give to and the people that give to us. The act of giving need not be lavish or expensive to make a difference in someone’s life. It simply needs to be the kind of giving that acknowledges the recipient's value in the world.

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Michael Orevba
The Path: Prestige

Nothing drives us in our social circles and our work quite like the want of prestige does.

We may not need to be the person at the very top, but we certainly don’t want to be the person at the very bottom. Wherever we are, we all want more.

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Ryan Phipps
The Path: Plans

What is God's plan for your life? Is that even the right question to ask? Does God have plans for people, or is that something we ascribe to our experiences and pursuits to make ourselves feel important?

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Ryan Phipps
Sacrament Seven: Roles

There may be no other institution on the face of the earth where roles are so poorly defined as they are in the church. Who's who? What's what? What is my part in all of this?

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Ryan Phipps
Sacrament Six: Relationships

The Sixth Sacrament is The Sacrament of Matrimony (or marriage). This Sacrament is good news to those who've found someone for whom the stars collided and the planets aligned to unite you with your soulmate... but what about the rest of us?

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Ryan Phipps
Sacrament Five: Treatment

Some thoughts on healing.

How do we rejoice in life for those who experience the miraculous so easily, while we have to go through the hard times to learn what we need to learn to make us into what we need to be?

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Ryan Phipps
Sacrament Two: Water

Some believe that baptism makes a person a member of a church. Some believe that baptism is what keeps a person from going to Hell when they die. Still, others believe that baptism causes a miraculous change in the direction of one’s life.

If you were raised in the church, it's likely that you were taught one of these three things about baptism. But what is baptism, really?

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Ryan Phipps
Sacrament One: Words

Most of what we see being done and said in a house of worship finds its explanation in the scriptures. And that's not just for Christianity. There are scriptures for just about every belief system in the world.

Within Christianity specifically, there are different approaches when it comes to making sense of The Bible. What are they?

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Ryan Phipps
Smell The Roses

Why do we celebrate Pentecost? Wouldn’t we be better off learning about something more concrete, practical, and useful to our lives? If we aren't prone to seasons of celebration in our lives, Pentecost has something deeply important to teach us.

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Ryan Phipps
God Our Mother

As a culture, we often place more emphasis on the Fatherhood of God than we do the Motherhood of God. Some of us may have never even heard the phrase, “the Motherhood of God” used before. But if we do a careful search of the scriptures, we see that there is a Mother-side of God that is important for us to implement into the practice of our beliefs.

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Ryan Phipps
Ghost Stories

Is faith a predisposition? Could a person who believes in God and spiritual things more easily than others be that way because it's wired into them? If so, what about those of us who aren't wired that way? Where is our place in all of this?

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Ryan Phipps
What We Bring To The Table

If you drive down the strip in any major city, you'll pass all kinds of businesses that perform and provide the same goods and services, but with different expressions. Restaurants, grocery store chains, different kinds of car dealerships, doctors, dentists, electronic's stores, and yes, even churches.

Where some see division, God sees unity. Where some see competition, God sees cooperation.

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Ryan Phipps
The Third Way

Our lives are a series of choices.

The culture around us seems to be all too aware that we are wired to pick from extremes. We see it in politics. We see it in business. And yes, we see it in faith.

So how should we choose?

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Ryan Phipps
Mitzvah

If we don’t obey God's commandments, will we be punished? And is that what ought to motivate us to obey?

The true meaning of the word, “mitzvah” helps bring clarity to all of this confusion.

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Ryan Phipps