From the Branches Blog

I Hope I’m Good Enough

guest post by Nancy Golden While visiting Phil’s parents this past July, on impulse I went into a Tractor Supply store in Clovis, New Mexico to purchase some hoof conditioner for my horse back in Texas.  A lady was stocking a shelf in the equine section and we began to chat. In the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she had been studying the “end times” and felt like…Keep Reading

Visio Divina: Sacred Viewing of the World Around Us

guest post by Val Isenhower I saw this gate when I was in Rancho de Taos, NM, to photograph San Francisco de Asis Church. The gate leads to a home on the plaza beside the church.  The color in the midst of the dormant vines drew my eye.  I looked at the printed image when I picked it up from the lab.  I thought, that’s nice, and then put the…Keep Reading

A New (Old) Tool for Prayer

Guest post by Todd Vick Have you started to fix something and the project just didn’t go as planned?  Maybe that bolt wouldn’t turn, or the nail was having a hard time going in.  During this situation, whatever it was for you, did the thought ever occur that you might just have the wrong tool?  I remember when I first learning how cars worked and taking auto shop in high…Keep Reading

Nine Years of Raising

September marks nine years that I have been with Been with? That’s not an adequate term. Worked for? Employed by? Involved with? Parented: that’s the right word. This month marks nine years that I have been parenting Where has the time gone? How has grown to this place? I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years. Well, I had a little scrapbooking business, but I was never very serious…Keep Reading

How to Live a Balanced Christian Life

Guest post by Bill Lewis Have you ever been around someone who is passionate about God but seems a little, well… off?  Too often we hear of folks going overboard with one aspect of life with God and ending up out in kooksville.  They may be passionate about God and very well intentioned (and following God often calls us to act in ways the world thinks are strange), yet something is…Keep Reading

Seven Ways to Deepen Your Discipleship

To be a disciple of Jesus is to follow closely in his footsteps. Reading scripture and attending worship are great ways to start the journey of discipleship, but should be done alongside other spiritual practices to become a follower with a deep and strong connection to God. It can be difficult to know what to try next. If you’re a Christian who would like to deepen your faith study or…Keep Reading

The Myth of the Youth Minister Personality

What color are you? What animal type describes you? What combination of the alphabet are you? If you were a fruit, what would you be and why? Sound familiar? At some time in our lives we’ve heard all these questions in some form or another. We’ve been in job interviews, or on staff retreats or in a school counselor’s office trying to find just the right way to describe our…Keep Reading

What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day

So, I am a mom, and I think the idea of honoring mothers (and fathers) once a year is a fabulous concept. But I must ask, where did the “floral kitsch” concept of what mothers want come from? From rose-clad teacups to offensively scented candles to sculptures of angels holding lilies – we don’t like these things most days, so why on Mother’s Day? (Please forgive me if you collect…Keep Reading

Eastertide: Ripples of Belief

Luke 24: 13-49 There are forty days of Lent. If you observe the Christian calendar, you have just completed walking through this rich and challenging season. Perhaps you gave up something, or added a spiritual discipline in order to align yourself more with the story and journey of Christ to the cross and into the grave. And now we are on the other side. We rejoice in the unbelievable truth…Keep Reading

Sharing Good News – Virtually

I remember as a child in the early 1970’s sitting down and reading select articles in our 22 volume World Book Encyclopedia. It was a vast source of information updated annually with a special Year Book. While they are still published in book form today, the main source of sales is through World Book’s online electronic subscription. The way we gather information has drastically changed over the past few decades…Keep Reading

A New Way of Making Disciples: Using the Left Hand

“The successful expansion of any movement is in direct proportion to its success in mobilizing and occupying its total membership in constant propagation of its beliefs.”  – The Strachan Theorem, from Richard Peace There are two streams of disciple making which could be described as “right hand” and “left hand” evangelism; we need both hands to accomplish the work of God. If You Build It…Well, You Know Right hand evangelism…Keep Reading

Seasons of Prayer

Sometimes my burden seems difficult and following Jesus seems so heavy. I should go to church, probably be in a discipleship group, serve in a ministry and give abundantly out of my sometimes meager income. Is God capricious and difficult to follow? All of this seems so overwhelming that I might as well give up and learn to relish living in guilt. Perhaps you can relate to this frustration and…Keep Reading