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The digital magazine has all the features you’ve come to know and love, plus audio versions of Steve’s You Think About That and links to online resources all about radical freedom, infectious joy and surprising faithfulness to Christ.

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Easter Magazine: When Getting Better Doesn't Matter

ImageThe gospel of free sins makes getting better sort of irrelevant. In fact, the constant pressure to "get better and better, every day in every way" is driving people away from the truth of the gospel. It's not about getting better.

Let's start with a principle: almost everything of any importance is found while we're headed somewhere else. I know that runs counter to the common wisdom of most leaders, but nevertheless, it's true. We are admonished by almost everybody "who knows" that goals are important and if we don't aim at something, we won't hit anything.

While setting goals is a good thing and setting laudable goals even better, if you get neurotic about it, you probably won't achieve your goals, and you'll make yourself and everybody you know miserable in the process. Christians, by and large, are neurotic about purity, obedience, and holiness. It is probably the main reason we're not very pure, obedient, and holy. And in order to maintain our witness, we have learned to fake it.

The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible is a realistic and, I believe, accurate view of the world as it is-especially when God isn't factored into the equation. The writer of Ecclesiastes has been there, done that, and has several T-shirts. He allows us to see what is important and what isn't. Let me give you a verse from that book: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might" (9:10). That means your life is too important to waste on trying to do the impossible. Best to do what you're called to do, what you do best, and what is put in front of you. Then the impossible might become possible. In other words, almost everything of any importance is found when you are headed somewhere else, and that includes getting better.

I want to give you two truths that can change your life and maybe even make you better. Then again, maybe not on the "better" part, but that's okay...



Christmas Magazine: I Love You. Is That Okay? -God

ImageDo you sometimes have trouble deciding between what is important and what isn't? I think I could make that decision if everybody would just leave me alone...but they won't.

The Christmas season is a time when a lot of people are trying to tell us what is important and valuable. They put up Christmas trees in October. They started playing Christmas music in November. We are inundated by those who say... Our laptops are out of date. Our clothes are old fashioned. Our friends and family would love us more if we bought them better (and more expensive) stuff for Christmas.

This isn't just another rant on the evils of the commercialism of Christmas...



Fall Magazine: Repent Now!

ImageI saw a bumper sticker once that read, "Sin Now, Repent Later!"

Truth is, as blasphemous as that sounds, it's what most of us do anyway.

I have friends who like to feel pure by saying that they don't plan sin. They suggest it sort of sneaks up on them and, before they know it, they are caught. I guess they think that, if they didn't plan it, God will understand and love them more. Frankly, if that is true, I'm in serious trouble.

Sin hardly ever sneaks up on me. In fact, most of my sins are first degree. I planned the sin, I thought about it for some time, I considered the consequences...and by then, it was too late...I did the sin.

Our dearly departed dog, Quincy the Wonder Dog, who is now in heaven, did that too. He decided to run when I said "come"; to chase a cat when I wanted him to heel; and, stick in mouth, to bound off in the opposite direction...away from me. Sometimes, when he was thinking about chewing up a shoe or worse, I yelled at him, "Quincy, don't you even think about it! If you do it, I'm going to come after you!"

Whenever that happened, Quincy stopped for a moment, looked at me then looked in the "wrong" direction, thought about it some more...and did it anyway.

I could see it in his eyes and I know exactly what was going through his head: "I'm in trouble if I do this...big time trouble. But it's worth the price and, besides, Steve really likes me. After I pay the price, he'll scratch my head and give me a treat. And what I'm getting ready to do isn't all that bad anyway."

I know Quincy did that because I do it with God...



Summer Magazine Extra: Love Hurts

ImageMy love of drinking is no secret to anyone who knows me. The taste, the laughter among friends, the lack of self-consciousness...each are parts of a whole that have had me smitten since the first few clandestine beers out in the woods with my mates.

When I got older, I found scotch. Oh, baby. I remember our first time.

Her name was Glenmorangie. She was 15 years old, finished in a Sherry cask after being matured in American white oak soaked in bourbon. She was complicated, a little pricey and worth it. It was love.

Different whiskies are really like women. That Glenmorangie is still my favorite although I think only the 12-year-old Sherry finish is still available. I guess some whiskies are like girls and others are like women. When you find a good whiskey, it's hard to go around paying the price to taste others that might not do it for you. A full bodied, flavorful old bird at home is worth two in the Bushmills. I have my favorite and when I have the cash to take a lady out, I'm a creature of habit. What I do when I don't have the cash is another subject. I digress.

The point is that I love drinking, but I have to keep running from it.

Let me tell you something I've learned about love...



Summer Magazine: The Dark Night of the Soul

ImageAre you wandering around a spiritual wilderness and dying of thirst? Does it feel like God has gone away on vacation to Bermuda?

I've been there and still go there on occasions.

And more than once, I've had someone ask me in a very pious way, "Who moved?" In other words, all you have to do is to simply move back to Jesus and become more religious...then you and God, hand-in-hand, will walk off into the sunset together.

That is stupid and comes from the heart of the Try Harder heresy of our faith. It smells like smoke and comes from the pit of hell. It is simply not true.

Some of the closest times I've had with God happened when my devotional life stunk, I was too depressed to pray and I didn't want to give up my sin. God showed...when I wouldn't have. There have also been times when I did everything right, read and studied my Bible, prayed for all the missionaries, preached to God's people and sinned less than most times...and it felt like God didn't give a rip and essentially "left the building."

Sometimes God moves...or at least it certainly feels like it...


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