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Messy politics.
Sloppy politicians.
Ugly power moves.
Promises broken.
Irreparable spoken words.

Did that just really happen?

Sometimes it’s easy to think this is our situation. Just America. Just the Republicans or Democrats duking it out with power punches from independents and commentary from Wolf Blitzer. But the outrageous and should-be-unspeakable scenes unfolding aren’t new to history or humanity.

As we begin sipping the richness of this year’s Lent reading, we’re reminded that church and politics and politics and church have always been a messy business. The question of "How now shall we live?" traces millennia before us.

Reading Luke 1-2, (Download FREE LENT READING GUIDE HERE), I’m struck that the insignias of imperial power provide the backdrop for the appearance of Christ.

Lent Luke and Acts THUMBNAIL(NOTE:  Click here to download a FREE one-page reading guide of Luke and Acts. or upgrade to the downloadable ebook called The 40-Day Live Lent Challenge: A Color Method Study for Luke-Acts for only $8.99. This 200-plus page booklet includes: a welcome letter, the reading plan, instructions on how to use the Color Bible Study Method, ideas on how to get the most from your study, creative artwork, and space to journal and doodle.)

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A fearful word soon appears. One that has stirred dread, fear, and anger since the beginning of time: taxes.

Everyone knew the government’s forced registration of people and property would result in skyrocketing taxes.

But it also meant something more for those who proclaimed fidelity to the God of Israel.

Rome held the power. Money paid served as a sign of allegiance, a commitment to the political lordship. Taxes were a sign of a servitude to an ideology that made the people of God bristle.

The tension they felt. The higher ups they deplored. The politics they couldn’t escape. The frustration they couldn’t shake. Maybe that time in history carries more parallels to today than we realize.

Squint at the opening chapters of Luke: Continue Reading...

Lent 2016 Begins Today

Margaret —  February 10, 2016 — 1 Comment

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Most of the colors you see are brighter than the soot on foreheads today, but they are the tools I’m using during the 6 weeks leading up to Easter to create more whitespace for God.

Today marks the launch of Lent, my favorite season on the church calendar. This is a sacred time when we prepare our hearts and minds for the resurrection of Christ at Easter.

You’re invited to join more than 75,000 people as we read through Luke and Acts together to reawaken to the wonder of Christ and the church.

This year we’ve gone one step further for those who want to go deeper. We’ve taken the books of Luke and Acts and divided them into daily readings. Then we’ve worked with artists to added simple artwork to each page to invite you to color, doodle, and discover God’s Word anew. Those of you who enjoy Live Loved and Live Free know how far a little creativity can go to awakening us to the beauty of Scripture.

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The 40-Day Live Lent Challenge: A Color Method Study for Luke and Acts includes: Continue Reading...

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Consider a framed piece of magnificent art. Who knows the vision, purpose, and design behind the creative expression? Would you ask the person who hung the art? Framed the art? Transported the art? While each of those people may be able to provide insight, the best person to ask is the original artist.

The artist knows the intent, the scope, the hidden details, the meaning behind the creation.

In the same way, the Bible urges us to go to the Artist, God, to understand yourself and who God created you to be.

Why? Because what you believe shapes who you become.

The Bible uncovers astonishing details about you. Scripture reveals that you have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

You were hand-picked by God to live in vibrant relationship with Him long before He developed the blueprints for the world (Ephesians 1:4).

And you are God’s masterpiece—He created you anew in Jesus to complete the good works He planned for you long ago (Ephesians 2:20).

Yet sometimes I forget these truths. I suspect we all do.

That’s why I’ve created a follow-up to the best-selling Live Loved: An Adult Coloring Book.

We’re joyous to announce the release of Live Free: An Adult Coloring Book available now!

This brand new coloring book features original artwork combined with Scripture that speaks of your identity in Christ. This collection of coloring expressions are designed to help you grow spiritually and creatively. It’s a wonderful tool for Scripture memorization.

You can pick up a copy of Live Free: An Adult Coloring Book, here.

Or save even more and grab a 10-Pack of Live Free: An Adult Coloring Book, here.

My hope and prayer is that, this book will help you unleash the creative talents God has given you. Color and sketch, whisper the words aloud, commit them to memory, and learn how to live loved in a tangible way.

You can start to live free today.

Getting lost in life is far too easy. So many voices vie for our attention. I’ve noticed that I become particularly susceptible becoming lost whenever I lose sight of my core self—the center of who I am and who God created me to be.

Perhaps it’s contagious thinking. When we don’t know who we are, it’s easy to allow anyone or anything to speak into us—and the results aren’t always life-giving. If left unchecked, we can slip into becoming distorted versions of ourselves. To keep up appearances, we start hide our true selves.

Somewhere along the way we lose sight of who God made us to be.

We forget who created us and what we’ve been created for.

That’s why I’ve found it so helpful carve out a few minutes each morning to marinate in the truth of who we are in Christ.

God alone can remind us of our true identities and set us free. Through the pages of Scripture, I discovered that embracing my identity in Christ allows me to live more free with every passing day.

*You are God’s child

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12, NIV)

* You are made new.

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17, RSV)

* You are God’s friend.

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15, NKJV)

Maybe for you or someone you know it’s time to ground them in the wonder of who they are made to be, to help them break free.

That’s why I’m so excited to to be releasing the follow-up to the best-selling Live Loved.

Releasing everywhere this week is Live Free: An Adult Coloring Book. A tool you can use to embrace grace during your morning devotionals. Journal. Create. Pray. Reflect. And center your heart on God’s joyous love and the freedom that awaits you.

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Scoop up a copy of Live Free, here.

Or save big on a 10-pack of Live Free: An Adult Coloring Book and share with your friends, Bible study, and small group.

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Playing with color & paint is fun for grown-ups, too. This craze has been sweeping the nation over the last few months. We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and grace you’ve shown us in response to the release to Live Loved: An Adult Coloring Book.

But now thrilled to be launching the follow-up in the series, Live Free: An Adult Coloring Book. The artwork is intricate and stunning. But the even more exciting is the combination of art and Scripture that invites you to ground yourself in the truth of who you are in God’s eyes: Continue Reading...