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5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Halloween

To celebrate Halloween or to ignore it?

That is the question Christian families have been asking themselves for decades. Halloween has become almost impossible to completely ignore due to the media and consumer hype behind the princesses, ghosts, and snack-sized Snickers bars.

The origins of Halloween connect back to the Celtic celebration of Samhain-which marked the end of the harvest.

The harvest festival showed traces of celebrating death and Irish mythology. This holiday has pagan origins. Now, Halloween is a real celebration for followers of the Occult and Wicca. It is no doubt that for that culture-Halloween is a chance to celebrate evil spirits and death.

In the seventh century, Pope Gregory III instituted another holiday in substitution of Halloween: All Saints Day (celebrated on November 1st). Designed as a day to pray for the saints who have already passed, this holiday was created to combat the pagan rituals of Halloween.

Throughout the centuries Christians have tried to find alternatives.

Here are five creative ways to celebrate October 31st:

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Let me introduce you to Sarah. Sarah Francis Martin is a wife, mother, mentor, and author of Just RISE UP!: A Call To Make Jesus Famous. She has a passion to ignite this generation to get up off the couch of complacency and do life differently for God’s kingdom. When she is not typing away at her laptop, you can often find Sarah on date nights with her husband, rough housing with her young son, or getting her hands messy with craft paint.

This fall, I've invited a few friends to share what God is teaching them. I hope their words are an encouragement to you as you continue to awaken to the joy and delight that comes with being a child of God.

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by Sarah Francis Martin 

A whole lifestyle of praise. Sounds like a lofty idea, right? I thought so, too.

But after recognizing some captivating benefits of said lifestyle, I’ve come to crave it. I’ve come to depend on it.

Making Jesus famous with every square inch of our lives brings us to a place of benefit. (And some benefits are self serving, because isn’t our God so kind?) The ultimate benefits of a life of praise lie in a renewed sense of the ultimate reality:

Jesus is ever worthy of our praise, even when we don’t feel like praising His name. He is worthy.

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Brad Gray is the Teaching Pastor at Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, Michigan. He has traveled extensively to the biblical lands of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and Greece, and currently leads biblical study trips to Israel and Turkey. Brad and his wife, Shallon, live with their four children in Holland, Michigan.

This fall, I've invited a few friends to share what God is teaching them. I hope their words are an encouragement to you as you continue to awaken to the joy and delight that comes with being a child of God.

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by Brad Gray

On September 25, my wife gave birth to a little boy–Xyler Josiah. He’s the fourth child in the Gray clan, and as with our other three, our hearts soared the moment we laid eyes on him. It still amazes me that something at 6 lbs., 3 oz. and 20 inches in length can have such a life-altering impact on you. But it does, and I’m immensely grateful for that.

For the last three weeks, I’ve been holding this little, vulnerable, dependent, precious miracle, wondering about his life. What kind of personality is he going to develop? What’s he going to do with his life? How will he impact the Kingdom with the gifts God has already instilled within him? And what effect will I have on his life?

It’s this last question that’s the most sobering. Continue Reading...

Let me introduce you to my friend, Leeana. Leeana Tankersley is the author of Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places and the Breathing Room: Letting Go So You Can Fully Live. Leeana holds English degrees from Liberty University and West Virginia University. She is married to Steve Tankersley, an active duty Navy SEAL, and they are currently stationed in San Diego, California, with their three kids Luke (5), Lane (5), and Elle (2).

This fall, I've invited a few friends to share what God is teaching them. I hope their words are an encouragement to you as you continue to awaken to the joy and delight that comes with being a child of God.

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by Leeana Tankersley

I started seeing a spiritual director, Beth. Luckily for me she has dreads because I’m absolutely sure people with dreads hold the spiritual secret the rest of us are seeking.

I’ve been in one of those seasons of life when you look in the mirror and realize your eyes are melting down your face and you greet your kids in the hallway and have to think to remember their names. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Unhinged. Continue Reading...

You Might Be Saying “Thank You” in All The Wrong Ways

October is Pastor Appreciation Month.

Every day is a great day to show appreciation to your pastors, but why not start today? It's a great time to say "thank you" to anyone and everyone on your church staff, including volunteers. I recently asked friends who are pastors and ministry leaders from around the country:

What is the most meaningful or helpful thing people in your church have done to show their appreciation for you as a pastor?

My hope and prayer is that their responses spark gratitude in your own hearts on how to shout “THANK YOU!” to your pastor and church leaders: Continue Reading...