• How to Grow in Faith with Auto Updates

    By Justin Chen

    Every electronic device owner knows that software updates are a bit of a necessary evil. Sure, they’re inconvenient and disruptive and if you’re not careful about connecting to Wi-Fi they can consume your mobile data, but if you don’t download them, you are stuck using an old version of whatever application needs an update. Your identity or privacy might also be at risk if you prefer not keeping apps up to date. Going from Manual to Automatic For some of us, our faith is like that. We like to just check in every once in a while, make sure things are still going okay, then check out again. It shouldn’t be like that. Like app updates, it should be automatic. Our connection to God must in turn be the same. Instead of a manual process, one that we have to …

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  • You’ll Know It When You See It

    By Andrew Arrol

    You’ll know it when you see it. Have you ever been told that? Have you ever come to discover that that’s actually a bold-faced lie? I don’t know about you, but oftentimes I don’t know it when I see it. “It’s in the left drawer, you’ll know it when you see it.” “Yeah, just head down the road, it’s like 15 minutes, you’ll see it.” “Don’t worry about who you’ll marry, you’ll know she’s the one when you see her.” All things I’ve been told, all things that have proven false. I can never find anything in a drawer I didn’t jam stuff into. I’ve learned “down the road” does not actually mean down a singular, actual road in Berks County (you’re reading words from a Michigander). I’ve also learned 15 minutes more than likely means 30 minutes when used …

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  • Faithful Despite Unfaithfulness

    By Chris Bisaccia

    As I was driving to work one day I reflected on the time before the first Christmas. Mankind had shown God nothing but faithlessness,  continuing to rebel against God and doing the things he warned them not to do. We see examples of this in the beginning when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and when people of Israel, who were supposed to be God’s chosen people, constantly worshiped other gods. Before that first Christmas we were lost in our sin and our situation was hopeless. When Jesus was born hope was restored to the world. I picture the blackest night imaginable and a sudden blinding light blazing forth in the midst of the darkness. We were drowning in a sea of darkness and despair, but Jesus came to rescue us from our sinfulness. His faithfulness redeems our faithlessness. …

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  • A Christmas Miracle

    By Rob Tomes

    “Tell them they are having twins,” was the word that I felt the Holy Spirit press onto my heart as a couple stood before me for special prayer. Through their tears they shared with me their story: infertility, doctors, shots, needles, frustration, heartbreak, money spent, failed attempts, more doctors, tests, needles, shots, statistics, prayers, tears, frustration…repeat. As I stood before them, I was keenly aware of my utter powerlessness to change their situation, but I knew God could change all of their circumstances. However, when Jesus whispered those six words, “Tell them they are having twins,” I wanted to tell them what I had heard, but I was fearful. I wrestled within myself and argued with Him in my head until I couldn’t stand keeping it in any longer. I took a very deep breath, whispered to myself, “This better …

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  • Ti$ the $eason to be Over$pending

    By Sherri McGaffin

    When it comes to getting ready for Christmas it seems there are two kinds of people: Gifted Christmas Overachievers: This group has everything purchased, wrapped, addressed, and decorated before December even begins. Pleasant Present Procrastinators: Every year this group promises themselves next year will be different. They promise not to wait until the very last minute to buy gifts for everyone on their mental list. This often leads to forgetting someone or something, extra stress, and overspending on things that were purchased because of slick marketing tactics. To which group do I belong? I would classify myself as somewhere in between (I guess that means there are three categories, but you get the point). Whether you belong to the first group or the second group–or somewhere in between–there is something we all can agree upon: Christmas is expensive. Have you …

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  • Jesus Slept

    By Annie Fox

    It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it also tends to be the busiest time of the year. The month of December is often filled with Christmas concerts, family get-togethers, and commitments of all sorts. And that already busy schedule is made even busier by things like decorating, filling out Christmas cards, and taking the kids to see Santa at the mall. Who has time for rest?! Trying to Find Rest During the Holidays In an effort to make the holiday perfect, many times we overextend ourselves. We want to cram all the memories and traditions into a few short weeks and, in turn, we wind up exhausted and feeling like the season quickly passed us by. But this year, let’s try to do something a little different. This year, let’s take a little time to …

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  • Peace in Times of Conflict

    By Justin Chen

    Peace in Times of Turmoil The holidays can be a stressful time of year. Relatives coming to visit, traveling to visit relatives, spending time with family, last second Christmas shopping and all that entails, and all of these other things can place a lot of demand on both our attention and our patience. That seems to be the way the holiday season is nowadays. A Bit of History There was a time, more than a hundred years ago, when groups of men fighting on two different sides of the Western Front in World War I decided that Christmas of 1914 was the day there would be peace, even if it was just for a short time. These men, far from home, decided that Christmas would not be sullied by violence. Some men exchanged gifts, others sang carols, and still others …

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  • 3 Ways to Rely on God When Life is Hard

    By Kaylee Roth

    Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Being still means to stop trying to figure things out on your own. Being a young adult means you are stuck in this weird in between stage of being in the real world and not being in the world. Young adulthood means figuring out life for you. You get to develop who you are going to be, the opinions you are going to listen to, the friend group you are going to allow to influence you, and the relationship with God you are going to have. I think young adulthood is hard because it is a tearing away of your old perspective of the world that was given to you by your parents and creating a new one for yourself. Figuring young adulthood out is not …

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  • Stop Wishing, Start Hoping

    By Lisa Nuss

    Fa-La-La-La-La “Tis the season!” What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? Maybe the song “Deck the Halls” pops into your head – tis the season to be jolly…or maybe not. While the Christmas season certainly can be one of joy and peace, fun and laughter, it can also be a time of sadness and disappointment. The child you love so much isn’t coming home. You’ve prayed for healing and it hasn’t happened. You may be dreading all of the stress that you know the holiday season will bring. Or perhaps this season is a mix of all of these things. Hoping and Wishing As human beings living this world of ours, we will experience suffering and struggle. It’s guaranteed. Really hopeful, right? But there IS hope! The key is not to put our hope in other people or …

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  • Don’t Wait Until Thursday

    By Lisa Nuss

    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I love that it’s a more simple holiday, at least for my family. All that we really do for Thanksgiving is spend time together and eat good food. I look forward to my grandmother’s potato filling all year long and am always excited when there are leftovers for me to take home! And even more than that, it’s an opportunity to pause and really think about all of the things for which I am thankful. My family has a tradition of going around the table and each person saying one thing they are thankful for before we pray and dig in to the food. Why Thankfulness Can’t Wait But why do so many people, myself included, wait until Thanksgiving to do that? Paul told the Thessalonian Christians to “Rejoice always, …

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