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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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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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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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It Takes a People

This is something God has been teaching me over the last year and really landing on my heart these last few weeks. We have heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child. I have learned that it takes a people to adopt a child. Since being matched with a very brave birth mom and anxiously awaiting next Tuesday when our new daughter will be born, I have been refle...

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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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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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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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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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Real Love

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7.12 (ESV) I was sitting and watching Nightline Wednesday night with Annette and the top story was the news of the reversal of President Obama on same-sex marriages. There is a lot to say about that, but I think the thing that stuck out the most for me was so...

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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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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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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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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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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 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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Reflections on Philippians 1

This Sunday we will close out the first chapter of Philippians. As we wrap things up I would like to reflect on this gospel centered beginning by Paul. Paul has challenged us to truly put the gospel first. Remember this is no little gospel. It is not something we should domesticate, box in or push to the periphery. It should be at the center of all things. It is to be sup...

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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 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 Described

Solomon says, Fear God (Ecclesiastes 5.7). The fear of God is better described than defined, so let's see it described in Proverbs 31, through the lens of biblical womanhood. An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels (Proverbs 31.10). The wife described in Proverbs 31 is one of moral worth or one who has godly character. This is the same expressio...

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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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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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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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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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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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