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    Remaining faithful to the Lord

    November 1st is the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost. It’s also traditionally observed as All Saint’s Day in many faith traditions. In this case, Matthew 5:1–12 is part of the lectionary readings. Jesus announced that God’s kingdom was drawing near (Matt 4:17). This raises the question: What attitudes and actions are appropriate for a citizen of God’s kingdom? The Messiah answered this question in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount (chaps. 5–7). Although Jesus’ primary audience would have been His disciples, there was a larger crowd of people who listened to Him teach (7:28). The ethics Jesus taught in His sermon contrasted sharply with the legalism of His…

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    Our past, present, and future in Christ

    Philippians 3:4–14 is part of the lectionary readings for the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, which is October 4th. Paul began the chapter with the exhortation to his readers to “rejoice in the Lord” (v. 1). Joy is a major theme that is stressed throughout the apostle’s letter (1:4, 18, 25; 2:2, 17–18; 3:1; 4:1, 10). In 3:1, Paul encouraged his fellow Christians to rejoice because they belonged to the Lord Jesus. Their awareness of their baptismal union with the Son would enable the apostle’s readers to resist the legalistic tendencies of his doctrinal adversaries. Paul referred to the antagonists as “dogs” (v. 2), those who do “evil,” and “mutilators of…

  • Heartprints

    Teaching Tip # 3

    Relationship! Relationship! Relationship! From the Garden to the final judgment, God is all about relationship.Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in perfect relationship. When God walked in the evenings with Adam and Eve in the Garden, He didn’t come to check up on His creation, He came with a desire to fellowship with the only aspect of His creation made in His image. As parents and teachers, we need to start as early as possible teaching our children to have a personal relationship with their Father God. It is too easy to teach children what they should and should not do as though they can do something to…

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    The Spiritual Battle

    My heart is stirred by the spiritual battle raging around us all the time.  Oh, that God would open the eyes of His children to see what He sees. I would that our ears might hear the clashing of swords and the clink of the armor that fills the spiritual realm. Praying believers are warriors who shield one another from the fiery darts of the enemy whose desire is to oppress God’s children. Prayer warriors wage war against the enemy who grips tightly the unbelieving souls of those in spiritual darkness. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 makes it clear that there is a spiritual battle. “For though we live as human beings,…

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    Righteous…No Longer Guilty

    As a teen, I wrestled with the notion that I was not good enough to please God. I could never measure up to His standards of perfection. I was always guilty of not doing something right, of falling short of whatever it was He expected of me. Then, I heard some good news when I committed my life to Christ and chose to follow Him—God declared me “not guilty” of all my sin. Not guilty? All my sin? Really? Yes, dear believer, God declares you “not guilty” of all sin, once and for all, based on your faith alone in His Son. It is an amazing plan that is totally…

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    What A Friend We Have in Jesus!

    In a recent blogpost titled, “Jesus will never unfriend you,” Pastor Patrick Thurmer explores the theme of the Son being the “friend of sinners” (see Matt 11:19; Luke 7:34). As the author notes, based on 1 Timothy 1:15, Jesus left the glories of heaven to offer Himself on the Cross as an atoning sacrifice. His intent was to make salvation freely available to eternally condemned “sinners.”   Pastor Thurmer draws attention to Facebook, where individuals one barely knows can either be “friended” or “unfriended” with the click of an on-screen button. In sharp contrast to this languid and watered-down notion of “friendship” popularized on social media, Jesus’ commitment to redeem…

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    Blessed are the Driven

    Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken When Blessings Abound Series The Beatitudes Attitude: Passionately Pursuing Christlikeness Through Desperate Dependence on Him { Blessed are the Driven } Blessed are those who hunger and thirst. . . (Mt. 5:6) Hungry and thirsty people are driven people. When we are hungry and thirsty, the drive for food and water takes over, and nothing else matters. After all, food and water mean life and not death. So when Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” He was saying that our longing for righteousness and freedom from the death that sin and the shame bring is a blessing. That’s…

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    Blessed are the Bankrupt

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . (Mt. 5:3) What stunning, shocking words! What king announces his rule by calling the poor in spirit to him, the bankrupt, those with no resources who bring nothing to him? Only one. The King who is lowly in heart, who offers a light burden because He is not bent down by the weight of pride. Amazingly these are the first recorded words of discipleship Jesus uttered. Jesus requires bankruptcy to enter His kingdom… That’s what it means to be poor in spirit: spiritual bankruptcy, a total lack of resources to do what ultimately…

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    Last Things First

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken The Great Commission was the last words Jesus said, but it was among the first thoughts in His mind as He began His ministry. Why was it that one of the first actions He took was to choose disciples (Mt. 4:18-22) if He did not have a purpose in mind for them? He certainly did not intend to spend the better part of three years preparing followers for nothing… And why did He persevere so relentlessly with them when they rejected His message and thought like Satan (Mark 8:33) or created more confusion than clarity when a father sought their help for…

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    Start With the End in View

      Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken Jesus started with the end in view. From the first day of His earthly ministry to the last, He had His two-fold purpose before Him: redemption and preparation, the cross and the commission. He came to provide redemption for dying men and women. But what good would His redemptive death be if there were no one to tell others what it means? How could He establish a redemptive movement if He had no one to start it? That’s why He declared to His Father before the cross that He had accomplished His will by making the Father known to those He had…