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    Jesus, the eternal King

    Title:Jesus, the eternal King Aim: To recognize that Jesus is the eternal King of heaven and earth. Scripture: Revelation 1:1–20   The apostle’s opening greeting, Revelation 1:1–8   John began his book by stating that it is a “revelation” (Rev. 1:1). The apostle used the Greek noun, apokalypsis, to describe the nature of what he was about to convey. For this reason, scholars have also called his work the Apocalypse, that is, an unveiling or disclosure of truths about God’s universal judgment and the introduction of a new era.    John stated that God the Father gave the message to His Son, and Jesus the Messiah in turn used an angel to make…

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    The Son’s Transfiguration

    Title: The Son’s Transfiguration Aim: To assess how our devotion to the Savior can strengthen our understanding of His teachings. Scripture: Mark 9:2–13   The mountaintop experience, Mark 9:2–4   Sometime during the last year of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He told His disciples that He would be executed and then rise from the dead (Mark 8:31-32). Not even Peter, one of Jesus’ closest followers, could prevent this series of events from happening (v. 33).   The Messiah stated that those who give Him complete control of their lives are His genuine followers and would be eternally blessed. In contrast, those who reject Him would experience eternal loss (vv. 34–38).    Mark 9:1 records…

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    Matter Matters

    “It’s all gonna burn!” Many times I heard this exclamation in my early days as a Christian. Those who said it to me intended it as an interpretation of Jesus’s exhortation to avoid laying up treasures on earth, where things get stolen and destroyed (Matt 6:19). I imagine 2 Peter 3:10 also had some influence on such thinking about earth: “But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment” (NLT). So people told me…

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    Pain and Redemption, Loss and Hope: Ponderings on the Significance of the Resurrection

    My earliest memories of Easter include new church dresses with hats and patton shoes, intense searches for plastic eggs with the rare $2 bill stuffed inside, and loads of Cadbury chocolate, complete with the resulting stomach-ache. The day came and went with a little bit of anticipation, but nominal impact on my day-to-day life. As I grew up, the cognitive recognition that Easter celebrated something important, something critical, something that all of reality hinges upon, was not lost on me. However, the disconnect between head and heart can sometimes keep the significance of an event at a distance. I would reflect on its importance for a moment, perhaps at a…

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    Heartprints

    Good Friday? Good for who????

    Think of it. The blackest, darkest Friday of all time. Christ is hanging, suffering unbearably on a cross. This is the day labeled Good Friday by those who claim to love Him most. “Good for who???” might be a question that pops into the mind of a child who has been taught from birth that Jesus loves everyone and is always good.  Even teens or adults who have not grown up hearing the full story of Jesus might look at the suffering Savior and His weeping friends and ask the same question.  I certainly had questions at the age of 6. I was coloring a picture in Sunday School of…

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    REGENERATION: Made Alive…No Longer Dead

    Are you overwhelmed by failure, discouragement, and insecurity resulting from your attempts to live as a Christian by your inadequate human effort? Did someone promise you that your life would be a whole lot better if you just got saved, but you aren’t seeing any difference? Do you keep trying to live “a Christian life,” but your woefully inadequate human efforts leave you feeling defeated? You might be like many Christians who have a lack of understanding of two vital truths: (1) Christ’s finished work on the cross to secure your complete acceptance before God, and (2) “Christ in you” as the reality of daily Christian living. You may have…

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    Jesus-the only way to God

    Pastor and author, Peter Burfeind, has done extensive research concerning the ways in which modern-day America has undergone a “spiritual revolution toward Gnosticism.”[1] The prevailing theory is that the idea of “God” arose within “human consciousness over millions of years.”[2]   Notions, then, about the divine are considered to be abstractions of human thought and communicated in the “myths and teachings of any religion.” This includes Buddhism, Hinduism, Mysticism, and Christianity (to name a few representative examples).    As the argument goes, Christianity is one of many potential pathways to connect with a “trans-cosmic” deity. In turn, the Old and New Testaments are the “result of geniuses”—namely, “prophets and poets”—drawing…

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    Mary Magdalene = #NotAProstitute

    What do you get when you mix myth, legend, incorrect interpretation, and a dose of Hollywood all together? The misrepresented life story of Mary Magdalene—shaken, not stirred. For centuries Mary Magdalene’s reputation as a reformed prostitute has lived on, despite her official Roman Catholic exoneration from bad-girl status in the 1960s. Just do a simple online search for Mary Magdalene and you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed by the plethora of books and movies that portray her not only as the penitent prostitute, but also as Jesus’s secret lover, an apostle greater than John or Peter, and the poster child of gnostic literature. Yet of the thirteen times the New Testament mentions…

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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 Ultimate Wilderness – Series Finale

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Wilderness Wanderings Series Finale: Learning to Live the Zigzag Life AD 33, 9:00 AM Passover Friday, the Place of the Skull, a public place near Jerusalem.   Many people are coming and going, some stopping to see what was happening, observing three men on crosses, two criminals with Jesus in the middle.   A large crowd had followed the crucifixion detail out of the city to the place of execution, the place of the ultimate wilderness…  No one knew it was the ultimate wilderness on that spring morning. Not the Pharisees or the Sadducees, the instigators of the crucifixion. Not the high…