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Circles - (By Deidre Turner)

My wonderful wife, Deidre, sent me this e-mail a few years ago and I posted it to my blog then. I felt compelled to repost it today, I hope it brings some light on your life, I know it has mine.
I live on Spring Street. The same Spring Street in Hot Springs, AR that my parents lived on in 1972 when I was born. I know, I know, what’s remarkable about that? Lots of people live in the same town that they were born, right? Lots of people live in the same town their whole lives. What’s remarkable is that I left. Well, more accurately my parents left 28 years ago. They moved 1,200 miles away to Maryland. I was raised there. I grew up there. There was my home – not this place of southern remote quaintness that I don’t quite get. What I get is right outside of Philly- Delaware bluntness. 
You see, I was never coming back here. Graduated from college, got married, moved to Florida 3 years later, had 3 babies, co-pastoring a church, living it out. I was never going to live in Arkansas! Are you ki…
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No Perfect People Allowed

I was shocked, confused, bewildered, As I entered Heaven's door. Not by the beauty of it all, Nor the lights or its decor.
But it was the folks in Heaven Who made me sputter and gasp-- The thieves, the liars, the sinners, The alcoholics and the trash.
There stood the kid from seventh grade Who swiped my lunch money twice. Next to him was my old neighbor Who never said anything nice.
Herb, who I always thought Was rotting away in hell, Was sitting pretty on cloud nine, Looking incredibly well.
I nudged Jesus, What's the deal? I would love to hear Your take. How'd all these sinners get up here? God must've made a mistake.
And why's everyone so quiet, So somber - give me a clue. Hush, child, He said, they're all in shock. No one thought they'd be seeing you.
I think we all fit in this category from time to time. We all "Think of ourselves a little higher than we ought". But I have learned that God does not look at the outward appearance, but the hear…

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We have just an article in Leadership Magazine, called 10-10. IN it, we are challenged to spend 10 minutes a day in prayer, 10 minutes a day in the Bible, pray for 10 people to be saved, and be involved in a small group with 10 other people. In a world where the average Pastor does not pray or read their Bible daily, wouldn't it be awesome if we had an entire church that became committed to setting aside time to be with Jesus?
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God has given us a vision for Hot Springs, to Occupy Every Street, but that will only happen as we prepare ourselves for the moving of the Spirit. Louie Giglio said, on a Catalyst Podcast, that his job, as the leader of Passion Church, was to "keep the sails up". He said there are two ways to move a boat, you can paddle yourself to death …

Welcome Home

Welcome Home
Welcome Home!  A statement that has become very familiar in the church world, but also in the business and marketing world.  We see furniture stores and TV stations saying This is Home, Welcome Home, and many other versions of this statement.  I believe it is because this simple statement has struck a chord in the lives of so many. At the end of the day, no matter where we go, and what we do, we all want to be able to come home.
At Encounter Church, the church that I pastor in Hot Springs, AR, we use this phrase to welcome guests and attendees alike.  We want it to be a place that truly does feel like home. A true home, loving, respectful, and compassionate. That may or may not be a description of the home you grew up in, but man I know this, we all wish it was.
In ministry, as well as life, we have a very specific and strategic plan to help make that happen.  Now, I personally echo Andy Stanley and feel that true spiritual growth happens best in the context of Small Grou…

Let's Talk Money

So, let’s talk about money and giving.  Let’s do it from the context and perspective of our story at Encounter Church and how your giving has, and will continue to make an impact on the lives of people in Hot Springs, as well as nations around the globe. After more than 20 years in pastoral ministry, I know that few things bring more tension in a conversation than talking about money. In fact, most people never talk about it unless they are in trouble. But I think we need to have a healthy understanding of how ministry is funded and the part we play, the part God plays, and where the money is going.
“Where’s the Money Going?”
The finances of any church should not be based in fear, or tension, because our finances are really just a story about us and about where we are going as a church. Our budget, as a church, is a tool we use to manage the incredible gifts we have been given and to live boldly in the calling of God in this community. For example, you cannot talk about finances, and w…

Leadership Lessons from Crepe Myrtles

Last spring I cut the side of my face, right my left ear.  After the bleeding stopped I learned a great lesson about life, leadership, and relationships.  Along the front of our church we had a beautiful life of crepe myrtles.    They looked breathtaking: bright red, full of blooms and just a year old.  They had grown at a very rapid pace, partly because we had an unusually mild winter, partly because the temperature has been quite comfortable for them, but mostly because we have had a lot of rain extending late into the summer.   For those who are not familiar with Arkansas weather patterns, we usually have a lot of spring storms, bringing with them massive rains. Flash-floods - you know, National Weather Service alarms on your phone, kind of rains.  This usually happens from around April until the middle of June.  Then something crazy happens - the rain stops.  I mean, turn the spigot off, it’s never gonna rain again - stops.  But not this year.  It has rained and rained.  It is cu…

Rise or Resist?

Growing up, I spent a lot of time around the ocean. I was born and raised on Chincoteague, VA, a small island just south of the Maryland line, on the Eastern Shore of VA. There I learned many of the basics of water safety, how to handle a boat, and probably the most important information of all, how to negotiate a big wave! When I was a freshman in high school my parents moved us to South Florida, again near the beach. There I learned and honed my skill of avoiding being thrown about like a beach ball by the powerful force of the ocean.
"The Key?" you ask... well that is a great question, and I am glad you brought it up, because I am very anxious to tell you. For some this key will be very intuitive, for others it will be life changing. But before I tell you this key, I need you to understand it is very, very powerful. This key, which I am going to share with you in just a moment, holds power, not just in the ocean, but in life. OK, here goes, the key is... very important, do…