NEWS & STORIES
The Summer months can be particularly challenging as people tend to have church attendance a bit lower on their list of priorities than during the Fall, Winter, and Spring. This can be for a variety of reasons, with the primary one being various vacations and family outings, yet I want to encourage you to “stay the course” and continue to plan and prepare for your ministry as if the “multitudes” were showing up!read more
Plantinga recognized that not only did religious belief not conflict with serious philosophical work, but that it could make crucial contributions to addressing perennial problems in philosophy,read more
I love the Internet, I love technology. You can actually calculate your value at a website called Human For Sale. Human For Sale calculates one’s worth based on an assessment quiz; income level, your education, physical attributes, your appearance, you weight, your athleticism. Plotting these factors in their calculator and, all of a sudden, a number spits out. My value came in at $3.06 million; and my wife quickly hit the sell button. She was pounding that button, “Sell him, Lord.” No, I’m joking. She didn’t do that. It’s the look she gave me, but that’s not what happened.read more
A Sheep, A coin, and Value 3/21/17 Devotional Exodus 12:5-8 3 So Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he...read more
This is a great a prayer of great contrast; a Pharisee and the tax collector, someone who is marginalized in society as opposed to the religiously righteous. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself, ‘God, I thank you that you have not made me like other people, swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all I get.” In this prayer of the Pharisee, in this dichotomy of a prayer, in another portion of Scripture, it even says the Pharisees would pray, “Thank you God for not making me a woman.” In fact, it went on to say that the women should pray, “Thank you God for making me just as you have seen fit,” that there was a hard line in Jewish understanding of men and women; that women were second-class citizens. The Pharisees, the religious leaders, would even say, “Thank God I’m not like that lower-class citizen.” Cultural context exposing the great dichotomy Jesus is describing.read more
If something has glory and honor, if it has a sense of dignity and worth, it should be sought after. If you had something of great prize and it was lost, holding a sense of dignity and worth or value, you would search after it. I can remember losing my wedding ring a few times. It doesn’t happen often because I don’t take it off. Wedding rings, obviously they’re a symbol of God’s love, a symbol of the love that a wife has for a husband or a husband has for a wife. Laurie and my wedding rings, I think are particularly special because we designed the jewelry we wear. I remember going through the process and fine tuning the mold that would become my wife’s ring, the placement of the diamonds. One step after another, the jeweler forged the metal, it became hard and set to form. The ring was polished and a very rare beauty came to life as the diamonds were set. A valuable piece of jewelry was forged that day. Not because of the cost os diamonds, not because of the precious metals, but because of all the work that went into constructing it. Value I place in that item goes beyond the physical elements. There’s a long song love story behind the rings that Laurie and I wear on our hands. Our rings are so great in value that, if lost, we would feverously search for them.read more
We need to re-hone, re-intensify faith. A re-intensified faith accomplishes something great at the table of communion. When we come to the table of communion in full faith that the promise of God will be realized in our life, it’s a moment of covenant contract. We take on God.s covenant. Taking in the blood, taking in the body as a reminder of what He has done for us.read more
Jesus taught about importunity. Jesus taught about this idea that we would repeatedly and annoyingly make requests to God. Luke 18: 1-8,read more
How would you describe a flower to a blindman? How would you describe the Beatles Abbey Road album to a deaf person? How do you describe the thrill of ice-skating to a paraplegic? How do we describe the boundless, perfect love of God to broken, finite persons?read more
Believing – this lift gift of believing – is what God uses to enrich our soul. Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul. the breath of faith is the inspiration of encouragement. Our souls are blessed when faith rises up. Faith [belief] sets you free and it makes life so much easier.
A life of faith hinges on one word and it’s simply growth. Growth. Faith to step out on troubled waters when there is no rational way the waves should hold. Yet in the life of Christ it happened all too easily as one man stepped out of a boat on waves that should have overtaken him.read more
Let me ask you this in context of church: why is ‘more’ considered greed and not growth? Do we ever ask ourselves that question when it comes to our relationship with God? Why is ‘more’ constantly considered greed? I’m not talking about a society that just wants to go after stuff for the sake of stuff,read more
Why would we go to something as insignificant as money, time or ability and ask it’s permission to fulfill the vision of God for our life?
You were never expected to PAY for the vision God placed in your heart, only to believe for it. Don’t let something as insignificant as money, time or ability steal the vision God has placed in your heart.read more
Belief is an internal compass. It’s your gyroscope that keeps your life on a set path. If you’ve ever wondered about someone who walks out their path well, you notice there is some guiding principle that seems to take them towards their destination. This guiding principle keeps their footing sure. It keeps them moving forward. It’s a belief that the faith of God is positive in their heart will actually work. This faith will produce what it set out to accomplish. Belief being that internal gyroscope, that compass, that motivating factor that drives us towards our destination.read more
How often do we run to what God has already forgiven, bring it back full force and start to re-identify with it as if nothing had changed? As if Christ’s cleansing blood was not enough for that moment. How often do we bring old issues back from the grave in our hearts and in our minds? We should be like the children of Israel instructing ourselves, in our heart, to say “I don’t care if it wants to come back. I don’t care if it wants to make itself present again in my life. I will run the other way. I’ll pick up my tent. I’ll pack up my village. I will run because I know what God has forgiven, no man can bring back.” What God has forgiven, no one has the right to bring up.read more
“My sin on me looks like it needs to be forgiven, but my sin on you looks like it needs to be judged.“
The priest would confess on the scapegoat all the sins of God’s people. Think for just one moment, these are not the Egyptians, the Hittites, the Amorites or other pagan nations . These are not out of covenant, violent offenders. These are people of God connected in communion with him needing a scapegoat. How much more do we need that today?
How much more do we need to come to the table of communion, taking the elements and knowing that the very weight of our sin is lifted? That in this very moment we can take the elements of communion with a new understanding that we don’t have to live dead in our sin anymore. Remember this whole study is on communion. The scapegoat being a major missing factor in the doctrine of many in regard to communion.
God is a covenant God. That’s why we have Old and New Testaments. Because it’s all about covenants. A testament is a unique type of covenant where one person writes the terms. We understand this in today’s common vernacular in this idea of ‘last will and testament’, where one person decides to write out and describe all the terms of this covenant.
It’s the nature of a covenant though that it must be enacted. Somebody has to do something to enact the covenant. Someone takes delivery of certain types of covenants. We take delivery of a last will and testament by our signature. We sign on the line and whatever was made provision for in that last will and testament is then given over to the individual whose signature is on the piece of paper. We get that idea, right?
THE SCAPEGOAT. 1/11/17 Devotional Leviticus 16:9,10 Communion embeds many traditional elements of ancient Judaism. One tradition overlooked many times as we take the elements is the concept of the scapegoat. Those who've never heard of Jesus or who've never heard of...read more
STRENGTH FOR THE JOURNEY. 1/09/17 Devotional Exodus 12:5-8 “5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the...read more
Why consubstantiation? 1/04/17 Devotional Exodus 12:5-8 “5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation...read more
THE GREAT EXCHANGE Cashing in on the promised new nature, found in salvation, can only be realized as we exchange. Fall in live with the process of exchange, the only process destined to fulfill the promise of being made new. In some variation or another we've all...read more
Expression of God’s Glory Why does God love? I am constantly stammered by this question. Meditate on this perplexing thought. How many times have we hurt, disappointed, misrepresented or otherwise defamed Him? Yet He refuses to let us go. What could possibly be the...read more
MONKEY TRAPS THE ART OF EXCHANGE I love what Isaiah said, “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (30:21). Maybe the same challenges keep happening in your life. They...read more
“I have been crucified alone with Christ”. The passive voice represents the subject as being the recipient of the action. That adds to the meaning as Paul using the passive voice says “someone else crucified me, I didn’t do it myself.” The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be rendered in the indicative mood. Paul’s use of the indicative mood adds the meaning that “this really happened to me, it is not hypothetical or fanciful thing – it is a fact.”read more
Two elements? 1/02/17 Devotional Exodus 12:5-8 “5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel...read more
Being devoted to growth requires the need for realism. intentionally make relationships with those who elevate you life and thinking. As scripture warns, “Bad company corrupts.”read more