Stories From A Village Podcast: You’re Not Broken

By Ivy Lamb

Tamasha grew up in a former coal-mining town in Virginia with her deeply religious grandmother. She knew she wanted her life to be different than what she saw around her in her childhood, and she succeeded in realizing her vision for her life. But everything, including her faith, came crashing down when she started struggling with her mental health. In this episode, she shares openly about how her faith has shaped her life choices, her parenting, and her experiences with her mental health.

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Stories From A Village Podcast: How a Straight, 50-something Southern Baptist Came to Affirm LGBTQ Christians

By Ivy Lamb

Steve spent most of his life in what he now describes as a state of spiritual apathy toward LGBTQ Christians. In this episode, he recounts the journey that took him from a traditional Southern Baptist view of homosexuality to feeling called to stand with and fully affirm LGBTQ Christians. Steve’s story shows how that shift can be grounded in compassion, experience and a close reading of the Bible.

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On The Table: That Bible Story You Always Ignored…Until You Saw Yourself In It

By Steve Flowers & Jordan Flowers

The 5th installment of the periodic series studying through The Gospel of Mark. Steve and Jordan discuss their favorite Bible story– The Gerasene Demoniac in Mark 5:1-20. They share how an impressive but seemingly difficult-to-relate-to exorcism is simply the background of a very rich story in which everyone can find themselves.

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On The Table Podcast: Jesus Never Had To Raise A Kid! (Part 2)

By Steve Flowers & Jordan Flowers

The conclusion of Jordan and Steve’s discussion of specific episodes from Jordan’s growing-up years in order to ask Steve’s thoughts behind his parenting decisions to help Jordan work out his own questions. Sometimes funny, sometimes raw, it’s an earnest discussion of lessons learned by both father and son.

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On The Table Podcast: Jesus Never Had To Raise A Kid! (Part 1)

By Steve Flowers & Jordan Flowers

Jordan becomes a father in 2019 while Steve is an empty-nester (and soon to be G-pa!). Jordan brings up several episodes from his growing-up years in order to ask Steve’s thoughts behind his parenting decisions to help Jordan work out his own questions. Sometimes funny, sometimes raw, it’s an earnest discussion of lessons learned by both father and son.

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A Brighter Path #8: Loving Others

By Steve Flowers

In the previous post we noted the two foundational skills to move from being a successful-based follower/church to a faithful-based one are our abilities to submit to God and to love others and then briefly examined what submitting (surrendering) to God means.  In this final post of A brighter path, we will briefly examine the second skill of what loving others actually means.   Continue reading “A Brighter Path #8: Loving Others”

A Brighter Path #7: Submitting to God

By Steve Flowers 

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?  I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them.  That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built.  But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.” (Luke 6:46-49)

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A Brighter Path #6: Four Other Forks To Avoid

By Steve Flowers

Some years back, a popular Christian movement centered on the acronym WWJD, asking, “What would Jesus do?”  It is a great question that evokes the centrality of Jesus. The question implies that our discipleship journey today should reflect Jesus’ actions in the Gospels.  I would love to see it make a sweeping return in a thoughtful manner but I would call it WYRTGWPDEPOJ (yeah, I know, my branding needs work).  Because I think the better question is asking, “When you read the Gospels, what portrait does each paint of Jesus?”  Asking that is a great litmus test to expose beliefs of successful-based communities, those practices not found in the Gospels which hinder and undermine bringing about the “kingdom of God” on earth that Jesus came to establish.

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A Brighter Path #4: Successful-Based View of Sin

By Steve Flowers

Successful-based beliefs/practices in the church today continue to undermine Jesus’ desire to bring about “the kingdom of God.”  And the successful-based belief/practice on sin has arguably had the biggest negative impact on that. We continue our look at sin (from the previous post in this series) by examining how successful-based churches view sin.

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A Brighter Path #3: Sin

By Steve Flowers

Successful-based beliefs/practices in the church today continue to undermine Jesus’ desire to bring about “the kingdom of God.”  And the successful-based belief/practice on sin has arguably had the greatest negative impact on that. Because of that impact, it is critical to understand as fully as possible what we mean when we use that little ‘ol three-letter word that is at the root of so much difference between successful-based and faithful-based churches.  We will therefore spend three posts on sin (or you could say we’ll be “sinning” for the next few weeks).  In this post we will engage in a brief overview of the concept of sin and a related spiritual concept, holiness, and introduce how successful-based and faithful-based churches differ on them.  The following two posts will each explore in more detail how each side views and lives those concepts. Continue reading “A Brighter Path #3: Sin”

A Brighter Path #2: Successful Churches and Faithful Churches

By Steve Flowers

When we look at the nature of the church through the lens of Mother Teresa’s spiritual maxim that “God doesn’t call me to be successful, but to be faithful,” it might appear at first glance that both qualities should not only be acceptable but encouraged.  It seems counter-intuitive to think we should not be successful for God. But the two concepts are opposites. One relies on God, and the other relies on ourselves but puts God’s name on it. Many churches today preach a life of faithfulness but their actions reflect Christianity’s long struggle with striving for success in its own human-derived standards.

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A Brighter Path: Introduction

By Steve Flowers

An old joke I first heard while at seminary in the late 80s goes something like this— “Jesus came to earth in order to establish ‘the kingdom of God’… but all He got was the church.”  The punch line can be self-deprecating humor for life-long church members but it also reflects a painful indictment.  The history of the Church over 2,000 years is the record of an institution that has done some good (along with some evil) but overall has fallen far short of bringing to fruition Jesus’ mission proclamation to break-in “the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:15).

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Stories From A Village Podcast: Living From My Heart

By Ivy Lamb

Scott is a husband, father, and professor. Over the years, he’s slowly learned to relinquish the illusion of control. Moving past his own theories of how the world should work has been one of his greatest spiritual challenges, and yet he considers it core to the message Christianity. In this episode, he shares his journey of learning to let go, and how a recent health crisis helped him understand the profound importance of human connection. Continue reading “Stories From A Village Podcast: Living From My Heart”

Stories From A Village Podcast: Breathing Goodness Into the World

By Ivy Lamb

How do we overcome experiences of struggle and find ways to share our gifts with the world? For Chase, the answer lies partly in practices of spiritual discipline. A relatively new high school English teacher, Chase feels called to use own experiences of struggle to empathize with and encourage his students. Journaling, yoga, and self-reflection also help him stay grounded on his journey toward authenticity and “being seen

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Walk Just As He Walked #6: The Parable of the Two Sons

By Steve Flowers

We continue this series by looking at a second example of a parable from Jesus to uncover how it reflects his teaching to serve God faithfully, not successfully.

“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.  (Matthew 21:28-32)

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