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    God’s Big Story

    I cannot start watching a movie, reading a book, or hearing a news story from the middle or end. I’m confused about who the people are and what’s going on. It’s impossible to grasp the meaning of the climax with zero information about the beginning and middle.  The Bible is the same way. Knowing the story of Jesus doesn’t make nearly as much sense without understanding the bigger story. I have been taught to begin sharing the gospel with the fact that all are sinners—but how did that happen? And how does Jesus’s life and death help us understand the horrendous evil and darkness in the world?  In Joshua Chatraw's article…

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    Why We Need the Whole Bible

    One time I talked to a believer frustrated with his Christian radio station. Now, if I said nothing else, you might assume he wanted the station to play more music, or that he disagreed with some doctrinal point covered in a sermon. But if you thought either of those things, you’d be wrong. He simply didn’t like that some of the radio pastors preached from the Old Testament, because (from his perspective) only sermons from the New Testament are truly edifying. He added that some of the Old Testament stories might be okay for children’s Sunday School classes, but weren’t something adults needed to hear. A few weeks later someone in…

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    STOP IDENTITY THEFT

    I was recently given a list of 301 things I am in Christ. I was blown away by all the things God says about those who follow Him. Then I was reading Lysa TerKeurst’s Blog. She mentioned her favorite gift from a friend was a box of Scriptures typed out with her name in them, things that God has done for each believer. It got me to thinking about many people I know both young and old who suffer from identity theft. I am not talking about the financial kind either. Spiritual identity theft! Satan attacks daily beating down the most vulnerable with his lies about who we are. If…

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    Heartprints

    GOD’S KINGDOM OBJECT LESSON

      God has a kingdom.  Jesus came to herald the coming of that kingdom, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, for that is what I was sent to do.” Luke 4:43 Net Bible. When Jesus sends out the seventy, He tells them to say, “The kingdom of God has come upon you!” Luke 10:9b  Net Bible. Interestingly in that same passage Jesus makes this comment as well, “The one who listens to you listens to me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” Luke 10:16 Net Bible. Do you…

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    Heartprints

    WHY IS IT SO HARD TO RAISE UP A GODLY GENERATION?

    If as teachers and parents our faith is in Jesus, our text book is the Bible, we’re indwelled by the Holy Spirit and want God’s will for our children, why are so many of our grown up children leaving the church? Why is it so hard to pass on our faith to the next generation? Dr. Paul David Tripp encourages us to look for the answer in the Gospel message, “Parenting is a sinner seeking to give guidance and wisdom and grow a sinner. No wonder it is hard. No wonder we need God!” The more I hear what Dr. Tripp has to say, the more I am convinced that…

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    Prosperity: The Devil’s Gospel

                Some of us feel entitled to the “good life,” equating hardship with a life gone awry. The prosperity gospel aligns with this ideology—that God ordains health and wealth for Christians. “Name-it-and-claim-it” theology further perpetuates this notion that Christians can up their luck by speaking positivity over situations to alter outcomes.  Taking bible verses out of context, and cutting and pasting them to make crowd-pleasing sermons, prosperity gospel preachers apple-polish the gospel (Rom. 16:17-18).             Pastor Joel Osteen has preached, “Maybe Alzheimer’s disease runs in your family genes, but don’t succumb to it. . . . If you’ll rise up in your authority, you can…

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    Suffering and All Its Glory

    There are several ways to approach teaching God’s Word. There are those who focus on teaching the principles, others on the doctrine, and still others put the focus on the words or the content of the passages. They tell the stories, they highlight the words and they emphasize the historical facts. They carefully teach the who, what, when, where, why, and even the how of the story. I have tended to use this method. Through this form of teaching I learned a lot of the characters, places, and events in the Bible. I have seen how God works and how people respond to His person, power, and promises. After over…

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    Christian Parenting Mistakes: #4 Raising Cultural Christians

    The difference between religion and life in Christ, which is what God intended in Christianity, can be summed up in one word, RELATIONSHIP. We must guard against just handing down our rules and ethics like a religious preference. Christianity is not inherited or genetically passed on from one generation to another. It is not a way of life that is taught because how we live doesn’t make us Christians. Being a Christian determines how we live. We cannot give anyone a relationship with God. Relationship is personal. Relationship must be developed by the individuals at a personal commitment level. Christian parents are sadly mistaken when they think that if they…

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    Change of Seasons or a Change of Heart?

      Did you ever wonder why God created the sun to rise in the East? Is it coincidence that Jesus rose in the Middle East to save the world from the darkness of sin? “The true light, who gives light to everyone . . . was in the world, . . . but the world did not recognize him. . . We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father.” John 1:9,10,14 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them…

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    The Christmas Refugee

    Did you ever wonder why Jesus was born in a stable? It wasn’t just coincidence, a lack of planning, or slow travel so that by the time they arrived they just happened to be too late. It wasn’t bad luck that they had to stay in a stable. God carefully orchestrated this. If for no other purpose, I am convinced it was done so that His invited guests would feel right at home when they came to worship. Only a certain few were invited. What an invitation it was!  “. . . the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news…