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Bible Reading: Romans 7.7-13

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart fr...

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2014 Advent

The celebration of Advent begins Sunday, November 30. It is always a special season of focus. Advent simply means coming. Our focus centers around three comings of Christ: His arrival in history as a baby born of Mary, His return in fearsome glory at the end of time and His entrance into our own lives. This season we will be encouraged to fix our eyes on Jesus. As we see t...

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Halloween and Time Change: Both an Opportunity

Halloween and Time Change: Both An Opportunity Is there any other time during the year that fifty or a hundred or more people come to your door in a span of a few hours like they do on Halloween? I would imagine the answer would be no for all of us. Halloween is the one time out of the year when the world comes to your front door. So, think through what you could do to en...

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Jonah

This Sunday, we begin a study on the book of Jonah. No doubt you think of a great fish when you hear Jonah mentioned, but this book is really about our great God. Jonah goes through a painful experience to discover the true character of God. As we learn from his experience may God reveal things in our own hearts, so our heart may look more like God's....

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Guarding Your Heart

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4.23 This past Sunday, we learned about the secrets of influencing your culture for the glory of God from Daniel. He truly thrived in Babylon and we can as well. If you were to peel pack the layers of Daniel's life and get to the core of who he is I believe you would find a young man ...

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Bible Saturated Disciples

Jesus says, The Scriptures testify of Me. John 5.39 This past Sunday, I encouraged those who may not be on a Scripture reading plan to take three of Paul's letters (Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians) and read them from now until the end of February. Those letters have a total of 16 chapters. You could take a chapter a day with some extra days left or you could even rea...

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Advent Giving: An Opportunity to Give

It is hard to believe that we have crossed over the halfway mark of December. Before you know it we will be ushering in a new year. As we enjoy these final days of December and this last full week of Advent, I wanted to remind you of our Advent giving. Our Advent giving goal is $82,000. $52,000 goes toward our regular monthly needs for December and then $30,000 goes towar...

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Devotional to Use: Seeing Jesus with The Shepherds

Seeing Jesus with The ShepherdsLuke 2.8-20 2.8: In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. The same region Near Bethlehem, which is called the city of David (2.4). This is where Joseph and Mary were to go and register due to the census decreed by the Roman government. The prophet Micah declared hun...

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Jesus' Desire for Us

This past Sunday, we saw just a part of the interaction around the Last Supper, but there was much more that happen around the table and much more said by Jesus to His disciples. Tuesday night I shared with our men Jesus' closing words at the table that night and the desire He has for us through a prayer that He prays to the Father. The prayer to the Father is in John 17 a...

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Advent, More of Jesus and Less of Me

Advent: More of Jesus, Less of Me And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospe...

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Advent, a holy remembrance

The celebration of Advent begins Sunday, December 1. It is always a special season of focus. During this time we focus on three 'comings' of Christ: His arrival in history as a baby born of Mary, His return in fearsome glory at the end of time and His intermediate entrance into our own lives. As we look back at the coming of Christ and expectantly look forward, this season...

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Revisiting the Parable of the Talents

There are times after I preach that I have much more to say or some points thatI want to emphasize. This Sunday was one of those where I would have loved to have an hour long discussion with some question and answer time to talk through this great parable. So, I thought I would write some more thoughts and make some points of emphasis, as I revisit the parable of the talen...

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A Good Reminder for The Summer: Don't Grow Weary of Doing Good Part 2

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6.9 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3.13 Paul knew we would be weary living in this fallen world, but he warned us when it came to being tempted with growing weary of doing good. We are called to persevere, overcome and endure ...

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A Good Reminder for the Summer: Don't Grow Weary of Doing Good

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6.9 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3.13 Paul knew we would be weary living in this fallen world, but he warned us when it came to being tempted with growing weary of doing good. We are called to persevere, overcome and endure ...

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The Joyful Blessing of Suffering

But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 1 Peter 4.13-14 When we are persecuted for our faith we are facing the same kind of suffering that Jesus...

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The Journey of Grace

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now ha...

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Holy Week is Coming

We are redeemed with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1.19-21 This Sunday is the...

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Praying for Open Doors

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Colossians 4.2-4 We began our 6 week By Name challenge l...

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By Name Prayer

Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers. - Sidlow Baxter As a church, our mission is to be disciples, who make disciples for the glory of God. Part of being a disciple and making disciples is praying for lost people and asking God to bring the kingdom of God to hearts were it doe...

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Christ Exalted in Life and Death

According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1.20 Not sure if you have heard of the name Charles Poland yet, but he is the brave and heroic bus driver who was killed while trying to keep a man from ente...

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Deeper Wonder

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was light of menAnd the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1.1-4, 14 The...

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Advent

Advent Gatherings: Sundays, December 2, 9 and 16 at 9 and 11 amSunday, December 23 at 10:30 amMonday, December 24 at 5 pm The celebration of Advent is always a special season of focus. During this time we focus on three 'comings' of Christ: His arrival in history as a baby born of Mary, His return in fearsome glory at the end of time and His intermediate entrance into ou...

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Living a Sent Life

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age. Matthew 28.19-20 The focus of our church is to be disciples and make disciples fo...

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A Good Communication System

We have learned over the last five weeks what God says about marriage. We have been invited to get in sync with God about marriage. Sunday, we closed our series with looking at the importance of having a good communication system in marriage. Besides our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, nothing else is more important to the development of genuine oneness than co...

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God's Heart for Marriage

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. Matthew 19.6 This past Sunday, we heard God's heart for marriage. God has ordained from the beginning that marriage be between the two different sexes (male and female), that they would leave their former lives of dependence on their parents, enter into this new relati...

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A Missional Halloween

I heard a story yesterday at a conference I was at that I wanted to share with you. This lady shared how she was once a missions director at a church, but now a full-time mom. As a full-time mom she has not stopped living a life of mission. In fact, my take was that she was being more missional now. She shared how three Halloweens ago her family decided to stay at ho...

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Awake to God's Order

We need an awakening in the church, in homes and in marriages to God's order and the unique roles He has given to marriage. We need to stop grieving the Holy Spirit and take heed to the words of the apostle Paul (Ephesians 5.14-18). As Christians, we must rise up from the dead ways of our old sinful life and awaken to the new life that God through Christ has awakened in us...

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Created to Display

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34.3 King David invited the people of Israel to join him in glorifying the Lord with him. David desired for others to join him in living out the very purpose for which they were created for. What is the purpose of man? This of course has been a question asked throughout time. Scripture testifies the f...

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Getting in Sync with God about Marriage

The apostle Paul defined the church as the pillar and support of the truth (1 Timothy 3.15). As the body of Christ it is our most critical task to uphold and proclaim the truth of God. This affects every area of our lives, but over the next five weeks I want to focus on the truth about marriage. It is not new to you that the sanctityof marriage in our day is being tarni...

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Taking Holiness Serious

If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery ...

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A Heart of Humility

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I said to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18.2-4 I wanted to take you back to a portion of Sunday's message. Reflect on the text and t...

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Parents and Disciple Making

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and ...

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I Will Give You The Keys

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Matthew 16.19 This past Sunday we learned the following about the church from Matthew 16.13-19: The church are redeemed people People become the church by the revelation of the FatherJe...

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Go

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28.19-20 Earlier this week, Jee-Young (Pastor of Nahnum Church) and I were reflecting on this passage together. What did the word ...

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Love Never Fails

Paul says to the Corinthian church that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13.8). What did Paul mean by this? I believe Paul meant that love never fails in the sense of falling away when the physical and temporal things on which affection rests pass away. The type of love he was talking about outlasts temporal things. In fact, this type of love will never end, but will last f...

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Jesus Wants Your Heart

This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. Matthew 15.8 As I reflect on the message from Sunday there is one big thing I conclude. Jesus wants our hearts. The heart is the center of who we are. It is the center and seat of spiritual life. The heart is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purpos...

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Prayer

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. Matthew 9.36-38 Jesus wants His disciples to pray. Obviously He did on the above occas...

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Intentional Summer

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. Matthew 9.36-38 Summer officially begins June 20, but in reality it started when the k...

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Contentment

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learn...

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Internalizing the Word (Psalm 119.9-16)

Psalm 119 is a beautiful poem of celebration and complexity. It is a lengthy work praising not the Scriptures, but the Author of the Scriptures. C. S. Lewis compared it to a piece of embroidery, done stitch by stitch in the quiet hours for the love of the subject and for the delight in leisurely, disciplined craftsmanship (Reflections on . . ., pp. 58-59). The second se...

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Firstborn

It is important as followers of Christ that we continue to grow in our knowledge of Jesus. It is not merely for intellectual exercise, but to grow in our love relationship with Him. One thing about Jesus that we don't talk about much, but need to understand is the thought of Jesus being the firstborn.What does that mean? On Palm Sunday, we looked at Jesus' entry into Je...

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Maundy Thursday

I am looking forward to tonight and hope to see you there. It is always a special time to gather on this Thursday of Holy Week. This day is called Maundy Thursday. What does Maundy mean? Great question! Maundy Thursday, gets its name from the Latin word mandatum, which means commandment, remembering Jesus' words to the disciples during the Last Supper, "A new commandmen...

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Don't Be Like The Crowd

As we learned this past Sunday the setting and context of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem was most intriguing. It was Passover time, and Jerusalem and the whole surrounding neighborhood were crowded with pilgrims. William Barclay records that nearly 2.5 million could have been in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. John MacArthur says nearly 2.6 million. They both share the...

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Holy Week 2012

This Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week with what the Christian church calls Palm Sunday. It is the day that the church remembers Jesus' beginning movements to the cross, the grave, the resurrection and eventually His ascension with it all starting with His entry into Jerusalem. I want to invite you to join us for our Holy Week gatherings. Below is a snapshot of them. ...

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Morality Kills

Morality has sent, is sending and will send people to Hell. That is why the words of Williams Tyndale are so fitting when he cries out to God, Deliver us from morality. Morality is not Christianity. Morality is the conformity to rules of right conduct or behavior. It is the vain effort of seeking to be good and righteous without Jesus. This is why the overchurched, unchurc...

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Empowering Grace

We need the empowering grace of God. We need the gospel. This is true both to save us and make us morelike Jesus. It is at times though in our Christian walk we function with a 'try harder' belief. We also are prone to a 'list based' religion with our will power being the force behind us. Such living is what is called morality or even legalism. These two things are not Chr...

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William Carey

(This was taken from Randy Alcorn's writing on William Carey in both his book, Why Pro-Life?, and his online writing as well. Some changes have been made. Thank you to Randy for showing us that William Carey is a man we should imitate. Fresh back from India I am so thankful for William Carey and the seeds he planted in that land for the gospel. Oh how sweet the fruit is to...

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Vertical and Horizontal Adoption

To steal a line from Randy Alcorn, I could teach the Bible and stay away from talking about issues like abortion, but the reality is I could not live the Bible and stay away from it. The issue of abortion and fighting for the life of the unborn is a human issue, a moral issue, a Sovereignty of God issue, a biblical issue and a great commission issue - calling us to blow th...

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What is faith?

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2.20 As we heard Sunday, the crucified life is lived by faith in Jesus Christ. This Monday I was sitting and reflecting on the message with pastor Jee-Y...

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Missional Community

God is on a mission. He is on a mission to spread His glory throughout all the earth. He is spreading His glory through His creation, as Psalm 19.1 says, The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. He created the heavens, the earth and all that is in it to tell of His glory, but not only that. He created mankind to be ...

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Missional Community

God is on a mission. He is on a mission to spread His glory throughout all the earth. He is spreading His glory through His creation, as Psalm 19.1 says, The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. He created the heavens, the earth and all that is in it to tell of His glory, but not only that. He created mankind to be ...

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Get and Give Wisdom

Wisdom is supreme so acquire wisdom, and whatever you acquire, acquire understanding (Proverbs 4.7). This past Tuesday night I challenged our men to get wisdom and give wisdom. I believe this is the theme of Proverbs. I wanted to encourage you with the same. So, what is wisdom? We are not looking to get a higher IQ. We are talking about Divine Wisdom. It is how God view...

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Engaging the Membership Process

It is with great delight that I write to you. Over the last four to five months we have been praying along with our brothers and sisters at Trinity Valley Church about the potential of our two local bodies becoming one. On this Sunday, October 23, the potential of what could be is now becoming a reality. I echo what King David proclaims in Psalm 133 saying, How good and pl...

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Trinity Valley Church and Staff Announcements

Since June we have asked you to be in prayer about the potential joining of Trinity Valley Church with our body. That potential has become reality. This past Sunday night TVC voted to affirm the joining of their body with our body to become one local church. This Sunday TVC will be gathering together one last time to celebrate 21 years of ministry the Lord has blessed them...

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Unity at The Ridge

This week we are going to take a break from our study of Matthew's gospel and launch into a new series on unity. Biblical unity is a precious thing to Jesus. So much so, that Jesus prayed to the Father asking Him to make the church one as He and the Father are one. Jesus' goal for such unity is so that the world may know that He is the Son of God. So, the church must seek ...

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Remember

This Sunday marks a day somber remembrance. September 11, 2001 was a day we will never forget. For most of us we remember where we were at. For some we were at home and others at work. Some were at school and even one in our congregation that I know of was actually at ground zero. As we remember this day, it no doubt makes us realize the depths of the depravity of mankind...

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The Amenity-Less Church

Do you like amenities? I do. I like going to a hotel and having a place to workout (not that I always use it), a pool for the kiddos and breakfast. I like the amenities in my neighborhood as well. But what about amenities as part of the church environment and experience? Amenities are great features that provide comfort and convenience with the goal of giving a delightful...

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Summer

Well it is Summer, even though it is really still Spring for a few more days. The kids are finally out and I am jazzed! There always seems to be a concern that I get around this time of year. It is the concern of the Summer blah setting in. The Summer blah can be when boredom sets in, along with laziness, complacency and inconsistency. This might seem passive or mild, but ...

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Servant to All

For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. 2 Corinthians 4.5 You and I are called to make disciples in a culture that is perishing due to the blinding of their minds by the enemy. We are called to reach those that are unbelieving with the light of the gospel even though now they might not see it. There wil...

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Resurrection Hope

Brothers, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4.13). Where does the Christian's hope lie? Easter makes hope available to all. As we look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ we see that life on Earth is not the end. In fact, death is just the beginning. This life is a vapor,...

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Jesus' Present Kingly Reign

Do you ever have those days where you feel like God is not present? You may feel that He is absent, whether due to circumstances or maybe a certain attitude you have one day. These times are real. Even though we may feel like this, for the Christian it is a reality that He is present. There are also those times when we feel that God is not in charge of things here on Earth...

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God's Terms of Peace

When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! Luke 19.42 The Jews in Jesus' day missed it when it came to God's terms of peace. They were looking for this material and external kingdom. They believed they would see it and know it when it was here. They were looking for the ...

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Holy Week

What a special week we are approaching, as we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Holy week begins this Sunday, April 17 with Palm Sunday and culminates Easter Sunday, April 24. It is what this week remembers and celebrates that gives the Christian hope. I want to invite you to join us for this week. It is always a special time and we would love to share...

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The Cry of a Generation

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your truth, we eagerly wait for You; for Your name, and renown are the desires of our hearts. Isaiah 26.8 This verse is part of a section in Scripture where Isaiah is looking forward to when Christ comes and establishes the millennial kingdom. He pictures himself with a remnant standing in the redeemed land singing a song of praise to God....

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Test the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4.1 As we heard Sunday, we are to test leaders and teachers to make sure they are from God. In this world there are many false teachers and leaders. So, we must be aware and examine every spirit as the apostle John s...

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The Small Gate

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7.13-14 More and more it is evident that we live in what many call a post-Christian society. Pluralism is all around us. Though it...

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Treating People Biblically

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7.12 How do you want people to treat you? The implication in this verse is that we would want to be treated biblically. That is the emphasis here on how one is to treat another and how they would want to be treated. Treating people biblically is a ...

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Self Sacrificing Love in 2011

In Sunday's sermon we were challenged by the words of Jesus to be distinct from the culture with a self sacrificing love. My prayer as we enter 2011 is that The Ridge would be marked by such a love. It is tough to take insults or to receive hurts from others. We want to repay them, seek revenge and retaliate. Jesus calls us to a different standard though. Retaliation is ...

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Today

We live in a culture where there is a great deal of attention placed on Christmas and Easter, not to mention other holidays. We must be careful with how we view such observances. The Apostle Paul speaks about our observance of certain days in Romans 14.6 saying, He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord. Whatever the celebration may be, I believe Paul's main point ...

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Trading A Charade for Something Real

God grants to us Kingdom practices or forms, so that we would seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It is not something that comes natural to you and I. Remember we are born into this world as those who are not righteous and who do not seek God (Romans 3.10, 11b). In fact, our sinful flesh wages war against such a desire or pursuit of seeking first the Kingd...

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Giving

But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Matthew 6.3-4 This Sunday we heard the call of Christ to identify with the poor and afflicted helping them in their distress. We are to give to those in need in secret. It is no...

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Be a Trader

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealthBut seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6.24-33 Don't waste your life. That is one of the messages I hear from Jesus in Matthew 6. Matthew 6 is our ...

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Committing to Church Membership

As shared from Sunday, we live in a day when many people struggle with commitment phobia. We are afraid to commit to one thing because we are afraid that we might miss out on something else. We also believe this one thing that I commit to might cost me more than something else might, so we don't commit. So, what you have is simply the wisdom of our day, which is KEEP YOUR...

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Advent 2011

What if Christmas looked different this year? What if it wasn't about all the gifts, going to the mall or the rushing around from here to there? We want to invite you to rethink Christmas with us this year and to experience it for what it was meant to be. On Sunday, November 28 Advent begins. Advent is the anticipation-filled season of celebrating Jesus' birth and His com...

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Filled with Thanksgiving

Though this time next week I will be filled with turkey and all the other trimmings I am filled this morning with thanksgiving. Why?Psalm 118.21 says, I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation. God has answered my deepest and greatest need. He saved me and I am so thankful. God by His Sovereign grace and will saved me. Not beca...

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The Power of Community and Relationships

Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections. Now in a like exchange I speak as to children open wide to us also. 2 Corinthians 6.11-13 Relationships are important. Paul, along with Timothy, has opened up wide his heart to the people in the church at Corinth. This...

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Vertical to Horizontal: Orphan Care

For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven...In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 5.20, 7.12. This past Sunday, I shared how God has been stirring my heart with the call to care for the orphans ...

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The Fiery Hell

But I say to you everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Matthew 5.22 Jesus in His sermon He taught in the hill country goes beyond the act of murder itself when ...

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Wheat and Tares

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have...

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Remember in Your Fasting and Prayers

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Hebrews 13.3 As you pray and fast on Wednesday I want to invite you to remember those who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. From North Korea, China, Somalia, Pakistan, India to Iran, Christians are daily being imprisoned, beaten and...

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Enemies of God: Loved and Punished

I was posed this great question this week: Since God commands us to forgive our enemies, why is he just when He punishes His enemies? My short answer is that it is God's business to punish, not ours (Romans 12.19-21). Here is my short answer explained: God commands us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, do good to those who hate you, bless those who cu...

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How to Fast Safely

How to fast safely. As you begin your fast, you may hear from concerned loved ones and friends who urge you to protect your health. And they are right. You should protect your health. But be assured that if done properly, fasting will not only prove to be a spiritual blessing, but physical blessing as well. By all means, consult your doctor before you begin your fast. Bu...

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Fasting on Wednesdays

More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We cover up what is inside of us with food and other things.-Richard Foster This past week while studying our Scripture text for the message, [Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for ri...

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Naming God

This is not a new trend, but in our culture and country God's name gets thrown around often. You might think shame on others for using God's name in vain, which I agree, but I am not referring to that. You might be on the other side, thinking, that is great, we want God talked about, which I would also agree with. But the issue I am speaking to is the loose use of God's na...

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Sin

Dear Parents, Sunday's message was about our condition of being sinners, how we got this way, what the effects of it are and how we can be changed from being a sinner to a saint. As we have taken some time talking about the topic of sin, I want to challenge and encourage you to continue it. Our children need to understand this and it cannot be done in a 15 or 20 minute s...

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For Theirs is The Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus came saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4.17). This is great news, but for who? Who does the kingdom of heaven belong to? In Jesus' sermon in the hill country He answers that when He says, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5.3). The kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit. What does this mean? Jesus b...

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The Kingdom of Heaven

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4.17 I have personally really enjoyed our journey through Matthew. The focus on the kingdom of heaven is challenging me to ask, what must change in my life and around me? It makes me land where Isaiah did during His encounter with the Lord saying, I am ruined - I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of un...

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Everything Must Change

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is hand. Matthew 4.17 God is out to affect everything. He is out to change the entire world. This is what the kingdom of heaven being at hand demands and calls for. He is out to change you, inside and out. He is out to change your family, school, your place of employment, your community and this nation. Do you believe that?How will he do ...

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Kicking and Screaming

Now Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother in the boat with Zebedee their father, m...

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God with Us

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us." Matthew 1.23 The conception, birth and coming of Jesus is the essence of Christianity. Both mysterious and miraculous is the conception of Christ by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. We call this the incarnation, which literally s...

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Part of the Church: Friction and Fallout

I am not a big fan of the negative. I do not like to harp on it, nor discuss it. I am a half glass full kind of guy. So, to voluntarily write on friction and fallout as part of the church is not necessarily a thrilling topic for me, but a necessary one. In fact, Paul writes to the church at Corinth saying, For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear...

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Glorifying God in My Work

Paul says the overarching priority of a Christian's life is that in Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Colossians 3.17). The phrase, do all in the name, refers to both representing another or being empowered to do so. So, in whatever we do in word or deed it is Jesus we are representing and by...

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Legalism and Obedience

I wanted to take some time this week and follow up on Sunday's message. Legalism is a great evil that must be put to death. Let me take some time deconstructing itwhile holding up obedience.How do we define legalism? It is the treating of biblical standards of conduct as regulations to be kept by our own power in order to earn God's favor.It is seeking to achieve forgivene...

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Vineyard

What a joy it was to gather with Nahnum this past Sunday. The passage we centered around has continued to challenge me this week (Matthew 21.28-32). Remember Jesus tells a story about two sons who were asked by their father to go work in the vineyard. The first son answered his father saying, "I will not"; but afterward he regretted it and went (21.29). The second son answ...

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Spiritual and Physical Care

But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it (1 Corinthians 12.24b-26). The body of Christ, the Church is...

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The Glory of God and Joy

I have been joining a couple of men in our church in reading the book of John together. It has been a joy to read this gospel again. I have seen over the last week the inseparableness of the glory of God and joy, especially in chapters 12-17. First, the glory of God. In John 12.28 Jesus says, Father, glorify Your name. This was Jesus' desire and end in all things. It is t...

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Thankful for Five Years at The Ridge

This week marked five years since my family and I came to The Ridge. As the Apostle Paul says, I am overflowing with gratitude (Colossians 2.7). I am thankful to Jesus. He is the head of the church and He has given me the great joy of being one of the overseers of The Ridge. I truly cannot wait to see what the next five years bring. As I reflect, I am thankful for the foll...

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Our Advent Aim Part One

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward ca...

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The Spirit of Advent Part Two

I love this season of Advent. Advent is the celebration of the love of God for sinners. It is the love of God that brought Jesus Christ into the world. God forbid that this would be forgotten or lightly considered this season. Instead may the birth of our Redeemer, which redeemed us from wrath, death and hell, be the center of our thoughts, conversations and worship this A...

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The Spirit of Advent Part One

This past Sunday marked the beginning of our celebration of Advent. Advent is the celebration of the love of God for sinners. It is the love of God that brought Jesus Christ into the world. God forbid that this would be forgotten or lightly considered this season. Instead may the birth of our Redeemer, which redeemed us from wrath, death and hell, be the center of our thou...

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I pray your heart is filled with the joy of the Lord this Thanksgiving. I love thinking about the joy of the Lord. In fact, the bible is filled with verses talking about the joy of the Lord. Here are a few: For the Jews there was light and gladness and joy and honor. In each and every province and in each and every city, wherever the king's commandment...

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Tasting the Sweetness: The Life of David Brainerd

How can such a man as David Brainerd capture the hearts of so many devoted men and women of God? A man who never lived passed thirty years of age, with no formal ministry training and a debilitating sickness, David Brainerd has somehow managed to leave a lasting impact 250 years after his death. Missionaries, theologians, pastors and lay people alike look to the life of Da...

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Cross Conduct

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. Phil...

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Some Musings and Updates

This week I have a few things swimming in my mind that I would like to share with you to both challenge and make you aware. Community vs. IndividualismA phrase that consistently comes to my mind as a prayer and desire for The Ridge is a place where no one stands alone. I would love for that to be said about us as a body. As I have been studying David's life for our men's ...

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God or Money

Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12.33-34 What do you cherish? This is of most importance to Jesus. For what one cherishes shows what is treasured in their heart. The plac...

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What is lacking?

What is lacking? For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach. Titus 1.5-6a Over the last few weeks we have been asking the question, what is lacking? Have you been asking that personally? I pray that you have been applying the question to your own li...

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Purity is Lacking

Purity is Lacking What is lacking? What needs to be straightened out? Needed in the churches throughout the cities in Crete was purity. What is purity? Purity is freedom from guilt, sin and evil. It is being free from anything that contaminates or pollutes. The church in Crete was lacking in the area of purity, from its members to even those given the platform to teach. T...

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Setting in Order What Remains

If you were to sit back and look at your life, what would need to be set in order? What is not right? What is lacking? What is in need? Those who are in Christ are new. Their mission in life is to be about making things right and to straighten things out according to the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. It is the mission given to Titus for the churches in Cret...

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To Come to Christ is not Man's Willing or Running

If you are in Christ today be encouraged! You are chosen of God. Paul tells his brother Titus his purpose for writing him and he says, for the faith of those chosen of God (Titus 1.1).Paul also says to the church in Rome, So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy (Romans 9.16). Praise God for His sovereign grace and mercy...

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To Come to Christ is not Man's Willing or Running

If you are in Christ today be encouraged! You are chosen of God. Paul tells his brother Titus his purpose for writing him and he says, for the faith of those chosen of God (Titus 1.1).Paul also says to the church in Rome, So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy (Romans 9.16). Praise God for His sovereign grace and mercy...

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Sacred Marriage: Marriage Bed Part One

We learned in the Spring that: 1. Marriage is God's design and doing for His great display to reveal the new covenant relationship of Jesus and the church. 2. A truly blessed marriage must have the fear of God present, trusting in Jesus and realizing our great need for Him in all things. 3. Marriage is not about our comfort and happiness, but about our holiness. Marriag...

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Sacred Marriage: Holiness Part Two

An important part of marriage is laying aside falsehood and speaking truth. Paul longed for this for the church in Ephesus as we see in Ephesians 4.25-32. Since the Ephesians knew the truth of God and had their heart and life changed, now Paul called them to live a holy life. It is true that holy thinking produces holy living. Proverbs 23.7 says, For as a man thinks within...

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Summer

It is real easy to get busy withmany things to fill the time this Summer. It is also easy to get in lulls. As a result priorities and disciplines can shift and change often for the worse. Bible Study, community, corporate worship and giving tend to drop for other things. I pray that your disciplines would increase instead of falling into the Summer trap. First, you need a...

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Sacred Marriage: Holiness Part One

God is the doer and designer of marriage. He created marriage, the one flesh relationship, to display His glory and to reveal the new covenant relationship of Jesus and the church. An important element to marriage is the fear of God. For the marriage relationship to be right there must be a reverential awe for God. In Isaiah 6.1-5 it says, In the year of King Uzziah's de...

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Sacred Marriage: fear of God defined

For by Him all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rules or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1.16 Jesus is the creator of marriage. Marriage has a great purpose beyond us. It is to display Jesus, to glorify Him. The chief end of marriage is to glory God by...

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Sacred Marriage: Display

The Apostle Paul says in Colossians 1.16, For by Him all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rules or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him. Not only has marriage been created by Jesus, but the one flesh relationship is designed to make much of Jesus Christ. David says to ...

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Sacred Marriage: God's Design and Doing

On April 22 of this year Annette and I celebrated nine years of marriage. We do not have it all figured out, nor do we have all the answers to when it comes to marriage. But we do know today that marriage is treated casually and aimlessly by our culture. Yet God has created marriage with a sacred purpose. It is important that we have the right foundation to our marriage. W...

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Gather to Spur and Encourage

And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10.24-25 By faith, when one has had the blood of Christ applied to them, and entered into a relationship with God through Christ, who is their h...

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a story from impact sunday

I wanted to write you and tell you of the success I had going door to door last weekend during our neighborhood survey activity. I must admit, at first I was really apprehensive about going and felt out of my comfort zone. I prayed the night before to give me the courage and strength that would allow me to face my fears of rejection and be able to successfully represen...

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Who is the naked man running through the garden?

If there is a guy in a sheet with nothing underneath you are probably thinking toga party, right? If there is a guy running around naked you are probably thinking this has got to be some kind of fraternity stunt, right? That is what comes to my mind. But, in Scripture it was something totally different. In the gospel of Mark we read that a young man was following Him,...

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Impact Sunday

Yesterday, I got the privilege to attend a meeting of local business men and women who are longing to see revival in this city. We were meeting to discuss the prayer gathering coming up on May 5 called, God of the City (www.godofthecity.com). What I loved so much about meeting these people was to see that there are people in all types of spheres living out the gospel of ...

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Make Disciples

What is sacred? God's people have a sacred calling. Our sacred calling is to share the gospel. Why should we evangelize? I pray that your joy and desire to share the gospel would be increased as we see what should motivate us in this great task. But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped H...

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That Which is of Most Importance

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain (1 Corinthians 15.1-2). The Apostle Paul was a fervent and faithful evangelist and he wanted so desperately for people to be saved. Here he draws...

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Awake and Take the Mountain

I have enjoyed walking through some of Isaiah's writings the last few weeks. This past Sunday in Isaiah 52.1-7 we heard some intense words that were historical and futuristic (prophetic) in nature, as well as very important for this present day that we live in. In Isaiah 52 we find the subject matter concerning the deliverance of the Jews out of Babylon which will not happ...

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The Surest and Safest Way of Thriving

We are called to be holy as Jesus is holy which does not mean that we are called to just merely avoid evil and be good moral people. Sure, we are to avoid sin, flee immorality and not to pursue evil, but we are not called to simply be about what we don't do, but what we do do. We have seen this over the last two weeks in Isaiah 58. We have a sacred calling as God's people....

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Don't Give Up On God

I received a call this week from a lady who attends our Christmas Eve service every year with her family. She lives outside of the Metroplex area. Each year I have had the opportunity to pray with her concerning certain things. When she called this week she was so excited to let me know that God had answered one of the things that she has been praying for over the last few...

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The poor, the afflicted and the gospel

What is sacred? What is sacred to you? We have been asking this since the beginning of this year. God has called His people to be holy as He is holy - to be set apart, consecrated for God and His kingdom purposes (Leviticus 11.44; 1 Peter 1.15-16). So, followers of Christ see things different than the world we live in. We think different when it comes to the way we see our...

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Sacred Obsession

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6.14 So, what have you been obsessed with this week? Has the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ dominated your thoughts, feelings, time and life? I pray that God would give you a great love, passion, and desire...

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Greater Works

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father. John 14.12 The Works of Christ What are the works of Christ? That is a loaded question. There are many we could mention. Paul says, by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and the earth (Colossians 1.1...

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Overwhelmed with Gratitude

Overwhelmed with Gratitude As I reflect back on 2008 I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Paul's words to the church at Philippi, says it well for me when it comes to you. He says, I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now (Philippians 1....

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Don't Lose the Anticipation

Don't Lose the Anticipation Not sure if any melancholy sets in for you as you pick up the wrapping paper and take the decorations down, but I get a touch of it. With so much anticipation looking forward to the celebration of Christmas day when it is gone there is at times a letdown. I even caught myself listening to Christmas music today for a short while. But the antic...

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Advent 2008

What if Christmas looked different this year? I know Thanksgiving is still weeks away, but I want to direct your attention to this season that is fastly approaching. On the Sunday before Halloween I was in Hallmark getting some cards with Noah and Grace and the store was all decked out for Christmas. If they can promote the Christmas season this early I think it is more th...

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Weaknesses

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakn...

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Daddy

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Galatians 4.6 I love hearing the word, Daddy. I will never forget when my first two children said that to me. I am looking forward to our youngest saying it soon. What is amazing is the God of Heaven wants us to call Him that. Think about this. The creator, sustainer ...

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Overwhelmingly Awesome God

Overwhelmingly Awesome God If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses (Deuteronomy 28.58-59). The context of this is...

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Representing Jesus in the ministry of reconciliation

But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. Galatians 2.11-12 The second chapter of Galatians has many layers to it. As we continue...

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Hating Double-mindedness

For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he (Peter) used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. Galatians 2.12-13 Here in Galatians the scene changes fro...

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Combatting the Summer Lull

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flo...

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Disciple: Be One, Make One

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles. Galatians 1.15-16a Last night I caught a glimpse of the homerun derby. What a show that was! Many of you probably know of Josh Hamilton and his story. Josh was a promising baseball star on the r...

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Combatting the Summer Lull

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flo...

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Disciple: Be One, Make One

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles. Galatians 1.15-16a Last night I caught a glimpse of the homerun derby. What a show that was! Many of you probably know of Josh Hamilton and his story. Josh was a promising baseball star on the r...

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Unity

Lately, I have been reading passages in the Scripture that deals with words such as, likeminded, one, one mind, together and common. In fact, Acts 2.44-47 is one of those passages. Look at what it says: And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyon...

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Unity

Lately, I have been reading passages in the Scripture that deals with words such as, likeminded, one, one mind, together and common. In fact, Acts 2.44-47 is one of those passages. Look at what it says: And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyon...

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Mission

In the last few weeks, we have talked about the things that are essential to our faith. They are beliefs that we hold tight in one hand, while our eyes are focused on living a life that glorifies God, by loving Jesus, by loving people and seeing lives transformed to live for Jesus. So we have our focus, we have our foundation (Jesus) and now what do we do? We have one more...

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Mission

In the last few weeks, we have talked about the things that are essential to our faith. They are beliefs that we hold tight in one hand, while our eyes are focused on living a life that glorifies God, by loving Jesus, by loving people and seeing lives transformed to live for Jesus. So we have our focus, we have our foundation (Jesus) and now what do we do? We have one more...

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Passover

A fewweeks ago at our men's retreat I was challenged bya message on Passover from our speaker Brad Cardwell. I wanted to share with you what I learned with some exhortation for us all. The main text this teaching comes from is Exodus 7-12. God hardens Pharaoh's heart so that He could multiply His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. In fact, He is going to create tensi...

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Passover

A fewweeks ago at our men's retreat I was challenged bya message on Passover from our speaker Brad Cardwell. I wanted to share with you what I learned with some exhortation for us all. The main text this teaching comes from is Exodus 7-12. God hardens Pharaoh's heart so that He could multiply His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. In fact, He is going to create tensi...

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