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It’s Summertime…Got Fruit?

Last week, while watering the plants in the garden, I took a look at our fig. I found lots of figs, each at different levels of ripeness. I picked two ripe ones and popped one into my mouth. The fruit burst open, sweet and juicy, with its distinctive flavor. I immediately thought of paradise, of the bliss of having such a luscious fruit available to pick and eat right at my home. Then my mind went to Jesus, approximately a week before his crucifixion, as he and the disciples were heading from Bethany to Jerusalem to check out the temple about a week before Passover.

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via V3: Of Oaks and Aspens

A pastor friend of mine, Jonathan Cleveland, recently reminded me of a metaphor that is not necessarily new but is good to revisit, especially when talking about missional church planting and ecclesiology. The imaging of this metaphor revolves around the differences between an oak tree and aspen tree.

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Crisis Care: How VA Baptist Chaplains Have Responded Since the Mass Shooting in Virginia Beach

The Virginia Baptist Disaster Response Crisis Care Team Chaplains were called into service during the months of June and July after a fatal shooting by a disgruntled employee at the Virginia Beach Public Works Office claimed the lives of 11 employees and one citizen on May 31. Four other employees were also injured in the incident. The shooter, a 15-year veteran of the public works office and civil engineer, was fatally shot after a standoff with police.

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via Missio Alliance: An Unexpected Story of Church Partnership

There was restoration and reconciliation where it shouldn’t be possible. People from different backgrounds with diverse ways of thinking, coming to the table together, talking issues through, and forgiving one another. They had found not only a path to re-imagine mission in the city, but the path to family. 

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From Camper to Staffer: Jacob Reaves’ Summer at Impact!

Impact! Mission Camps have been an important part of my life for a long time. I have been to Impact four times before as a camper, and camp has always been a highlight of my summers. While I was at Impact during the summer of 2018, one of the staff members encouraged me to apply for staff for 2019. I submitted an application and was accepted, I and have spent this summer working for Impact Mission Camps. It has been one of the best summers of my life..

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Dream Big, and the Least of These

Sunday School/Bible study should lead our members to see people with God’s eyes. Some in our society discern whether to care or not based on socio-economic level, race, and appearance.We are called to look at the heart and see every person as a child of God. Though some may not feel comfortable at first coming to your church for Bible study, they may join you for a home Bible study or one in their community. First, they need to see you care—with Jesus’ compassion. When you do, you are ministering to Jesus himself, whether they come to your church or not.

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If Jesus Came to Your House Today

What if you ran into Jesus in town today and he said he wanted to drop by your house for lunch? What would be your first thoughts? That you need to clean your house first? Or what do I have in the fridge that would be a suitable lunch for the Son of God? Probably most of us would prefer to take him to a nice restaurant or schedule lunch for a later date when we could be properly prepared.

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Impact! Kids: Learning Lessons of Church Leadership

Kids are not the future of the church.We hear a lot about how churches need to invest in children, youth, and young families because they are the future of the church. At Impact Kids in Bluefield, a kid-friendly mission camp that coincided with our youth construction mission camp, we saw that the future of the church is right now. Children in grades 3 through 5 (or 6, depending on where their churches group sixth graders) participated fully in a missions experience tailored to them.

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Four Lessons from “The Lion King”

Just a week ago, I had a chance to see the new Lion King movie. It reminded me of lessons that I learned from the original movie, so I’ve decided it is time to share those. What are some of the lessons we can learn and share in Sunday School and Small Groups?

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Sharing the Vibe

When people speak of a place giving off a good vibe, what do they mean? According the internet’s Free Dictionary: “A vibe is a distinctive emotional quality or atmosphere that is sensed or experience by someone.” If something gave us a good vibe, it means that something associated with an encounter resonated with us and made us feel somehow connected with the mood, event, or environment. If we don’t pick up good vibes, then we will have a bland reaction, or worse—a negative one. I must clarify that the whole discussion of “vibes” is a very subjective thing, and it’s hard to identify.  

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The Importance of Guiding Principles

Resetting a ministry direction often leaves a leader in a stall. Where do you begin? And if it’s time to reset or adapt to a new opportunity, how do you get a leadership group in your church or ministry all on the same page? 

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Judson Park Joins Venturers in Vienna, Austria

Judson will begin his Venturer service in fall 2019 in Projekt: Gemeinde, a multicultural church in the heart of Vienna, Austria. He will participate in Project: Vienna, a year-long practicum that includes serving in the local church, social work in the community, and supervised theological reflection.

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Training Opportunity Available for Interim Ministry

Belmont University and the Center for Healthy Churches (CHC) are co-sponsoring a Strategic Transition Education Program (S.T.E.P.)--the next generation in interim ministry. BGAV's interim ministry is partnering with them to offer this training opportunity at Eagle Eyrie Conference Center in Lynchburg, VA, November 18-21, 2019.

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Some Said it Was Thunder

I am reading an interesting book by Judson Edwards entitled “Quiet Faith: An Introvert’s Guide to Spiritual Survival.” In his book he drew my attention to an interesting event in the life of Jesus that reveals how some people are tuned to God’s voice and recognize God speaking in life’s events. At the same event, there were two other groups which didn’t really understand what was happening.The verses are found in John 12. Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11, then in chapter 12 we discover that some Greeks, who were in Jerusalem for the Passover, came to Phillip seeking Jesus. Upon hearing this, Jesus said that the time had come for him to be glorified. He meant it was time to reveal the presence and manifested goodness of God through himself and his work.

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