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    Repentance = Reparations: Time Does Not Heal All Sin

    Come back in time with me to first-century Jericho. Jesus has just entered the town, and there’s this short guy named Zach trying to see him through the crowd. Zach is a tax collector—and not just any tax collector. He’s the chief, and he’s rich. And he got that wealth via corruption.   Now imagine you’re one of the people this mob boss ripped off. It happened twenty years ago. And let’s assume that it went like this: you once owned property inherited from your parents. And they got it from their parents. Every good childhood memory you have rests on that precious property.   But one day Zach sent a…

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    Heartprints

    The Problem of Pain

    Pain is not partial. It rears its ugly head in every home in every neighborhood in every city on every continent. It is not a respecter of age, race, or gender. Pain is almost always caused by loss. Pain can be brought on by a medical condition resulting in a loss of health. It can be caused by the loss of a relationship through a disagreement, a divorce, or the death. Sometimes a person is attacked physically, emotionally, verbally, or mentally and this develops a loss of safety. The opposite of someone attacking would be someone neglecting and this ends in a loss of nurture. The list could go on…

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    The Testimony of Onelio Gonzalez

    “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Communist Cuba, circa 1963, four years after La Revolución. The young pastor, still in his twenties, had just finished conducting evening services when four men in a Jeep pulled up outside of the church, exited the vehicle, spread out around the building, and then entered. “Onelio Gonzalez,” they said, confiscating the preacher’s Bible, his hymn book, the pulpit, and the forty cents given in the evening offering, “We have orders to take you to prison.” They gave no reasons. Five days later, having already moved him through two prison locations, they finally spoke to him: “Do you know…

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    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Part III)

    “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David; such is my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8).  And so we arrive at the final installment of a study looking at the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In part I and part II, I gave the following proofs or reasons why Christians believe in the literal and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ: 1. Jesus predicted his own resurrection. 2. The authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as the Apostle Paul in his letters, provide at least five different historic sources about the events. 3. The testimony of eyewitnesses. 4. The testimony of the earliest Christian writings. 5. The…

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    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Part II)

    “[I]f Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead…. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost” (1 Corinthians 15:14-18, NIV 1984). Once again we are examining the foundational cornerstone of Christianity: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Click here to read the first part of this study.) The resurrection of Jesus is central to all Christian belief, as…

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    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

    “[I]f you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). On this Resurrection Sunday, it is important that we look at the foundational cornerstone of Christianity: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death and the grave.. The resurrection of Jesus is central to all Christian belief. The Apostle Paul even went as far as to say, “[I]f Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he…

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    Three.Words.Story

    Maybe the right words to share your faith story in a conversation come naturally to you. Praise God for that verbal gift! I am willing to declare that for most of us (including me), those words just don’t come easily. We don’t know where to start. We don’t know how much to say. We say too much. Frankly, I have not been in a church yet that stressed the importance of being able to share one’s faith story by actually EQUPPING EVERYONE to do it — including frequent opportunities to practice it! Why is that? How many hours do we spend practicing other things? But not this. Not “the word…

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    They don’t call it work for nothing!

    War and turmoil, conflict, anger and moral decay confront us on every side.  The words of Francis Shaffer echo in my heart, “How then shall we live?” As we groan at the darkness, how can we make a difference for eternity? Where shall we turn today? What "works?" It helps me to recall that Jesus walked our planet in the flesh at the height of Roman rule. The Greco-Roman world was rife with idolatry, immorality, and all manner of depravity.  His own people, Israel, were hard-hearted and resistant to His message. How then did He live and how did He instruct His followers to “make a difference?” My mind returns…

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    Death or Deny? Do I care?

    Imagine being awakened by loudspeakers travelling through your neighborhood blaring an ultimatum to you as a Christian; convert to Islam, pay a religious tax, face death or leave.  For those of us who live today in a society protected from such overt Government persecution, it is chilling to read of these very circumstances facing believers in rebel-occupied Iraq. Tragically many of our sisters and brothers in Christ face this horrific choice; recant their faith or face death.  Mosul, the capital of the Nineveh province is located about 250 miles from Bagdad and the Wall Street Journal reports this ultimatum demanded by the rebels of Christians in this city of historical…

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    God’s Not Dead (The Movie)

    “Whom are you worried about? Whom do you fear, that you would act so deceitfully and not remember me or think about me? Because I have been silent for so long, you are not afraid of me.” – God (Isaiah 57:11). I remember the apprehension I felt when I registered for Philosophy 150, World Religions Class. I knew what I was potentially getting myself into. (Out of the frying pan and into the fire.) I expected to be tried and tested in that class, but I signed up anyway. Thus six months ago, when I saw the preview for the movie “God’s Not Dead”,[1] I was very interested in seeing…