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Abide in my (Unexpected, Surprising) Love

It is an awesome thing to think that this command in John 15:9 "abide in my love," has been uttered by the infinite God. If ever there was a command to embrace, this is it. In fact, it is made even more mind-blowing when Jesus says immediately before this command that "just as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you." How can this be? Jesus loves us with the depth...

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Church Growth Tactic: Join the Grave-Digging Team?

What should the atmosphere of the church be like? Many churches today want you to know what their atmosphere is like. Their websites tell you what you can expect when you arrive. This is understandable and helpful. However, many churches are quick to let you know that they are casual and easy-going. And often times this is only half the truth. The reality is they are fun...

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Bear Fruit or Perish

The gospel is not only the good news of salvation, the gospel is also good news of fruitful living. But those two things, salvation and fruit-bearing, are not separate and exclusive features. A part of being saved is being saved from barren, fruitless living. In one of the most precious portions of Scripture, John 15, Jesus is teaching his disciples in the Upper Room ...

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Who Does the Keeping?

In the book of Jude we find another striking example of how divine sovereignty and human responsibility operate together. Finding divine sovereignty and human responsibility brought together closely, even in single verses, is not uncommon in the Scripture. But in Jude, these concepts stand out all the more starkly because this letter is so short. Jude didn't have a lot...

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Why Easter Resonates Within You

No matter how hard people try, they can't escape the fear of death. They can surround themselves with a stack of evolutionary textbooks, a hoard of hardened atheists, and a phone full of comedy routines about aging, but death still haunts them. My understanding is that the original zombie movies were a representation of the slow and creeping inevitability of death. Sure,...

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Throwing Grace Under the Bus

Bad things happen. We understand that is part of this living in this world. Cars break down, parades get rained on and raisins are put into cookies instead of chocolate chips. Some bad things are on another level. People get diseases, relationships are broken and wars are fought. But a tragedy is something unique. A tragedy is when an exceptionally wonderful good is ...

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The Judas-Heart in All False Belief

There is a remarkable side note made in John chapter 14 that cuts to the heart of what true and false belief is. The verse states: John 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?" "Not Iscariot" is a very brief note indeed, but it tells us something p...

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In Class with Professor Grace

All teachers are not created equal. Most of us have had a few teachers in our past that truly changed us. Perhaps it was their ability to communicate. Maybe it was how they taught a paradigm-shifting truth that upended what you thought you knew. Or maybe it was their servant-hearted investment into you that made you learn and do what you didn't think was possible. Tod...

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If It Were Not So

I have always been intrigued by something Jesus said in his upper room discourse found in John 13-16. In chapter 14 he says; John 14:2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. There are two wonderful realities here that are easy to see. First, the Father has a special place where he...

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How does the Creature help the Creator?

There is a unique moment in the earthly life of our Lord Jesus that I have thought about numerous times. This moment is recorded only in the gospel of Luke and it takes place during Jesus' praying in the garden of Gethsemane. The single verse reads as follows: Luke 22:43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. What is going on in this moment? ...

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Dreams From God Are Cool, But Not What You Really Want

One of the primary drivers behind the charismatic movement is the desire for an experience with God. While we should always pray for and seek God's power in our midst, we have to be careful what we mean when we speak of these things. Do we mean watching God change lives, illuminate his Word, meet needs, and providentially orchestrate details? Or do we mean visions, dre...

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Better To Be Poor

The health, wealth, and prosperity gospel is a well-established and growing segment of the church worldwide. Though there are countless reasons why the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel is a prostitution of the truth, it just keeps raking in the followers. Why is this? Because there are two powerful forces at work: people are incurably religious and incurably self-ce...

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The Subtle Undermining of the Sufficiency of Scripture

There is always a war waging over the Bible. It will be different at different times, but it will be waging. In the last few generations we have seen battles over the full inspiration of Scripture and postmodern approaches to hermeneutics (what it means to me). One of the latest battles over the Bible has to do with sufficiency. People will say that the Scripture is ...

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Who are these Elect people in the Tribulation?

A great question was laid before me after my latest sermon from Matthew 24. The question had to do with verse 22. Matthew 24:22 "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. The question went something like this, "Verse 22 says that the elect people of God will be in the Tribulation. ...

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Putting God in your Debt

One should not want to give even a whisper of support to an abomination such as prosperity theology. The tradecraft of all such false teaching is the ability to twist and distort the Scripture so that it ends up pointing in the exact opposite direction the author intended (2 Peter 3:16). Let's not forget, however, that the Scripture is being used (though in a wrong way...

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A New Tool for Bible Study

We are living in a golden age of resources. The technological revolution has opened up to the common man incredible abilities to search information and use information by way of digital tools. This has never been so accessible or so easy to use. For Christians, this means we can access the writings and work of past Christians more than ever before. This also means that...

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Five Characteristics of Sexual Sin

We live in a pornified culture. Sexual sin has become so commonplace that people don't recognize it as the sin that it is. This means Christians, and the church as a whole, need to become very good at speaking to sexual matters in a way that is clear, serious, and unashamed. As a caveat, we must always protect the innocence of young children, not giving them what the...

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You Must Suffer To Be Glorified

Romans 8 is a gloriously rich chapter of the Bible that should fill the mind of every believer. But gloriously rich doesn't mean easily swallowed. Such is the case with verse 16-17. Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Hi...

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Counting promises is better than counting blessings

Worry is a disease. It can eat at you relentlessly and steal your joy, your focus, and your health. Such a terrible disease needs a powerful antidote and God has not left us empty handed. In fact, he has filled our hand with a glorious book that will deal a decisive blow to the scourge of worry. But, like all medications, you must take it as prescribed. Poor applicatio...

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A Powerful Verse for the Perseverance of the Saints

One of those doctrines that is often debated among Christians is the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. This doctrine states that those who are truly born again will have a faith that endures to the end. There is a reason that this doctrine is debated. That reason is we all know people who used to zealously profess faith in Christ, but then fell away completely,...

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Why do you obey?

One of the realities of raising young children is that you begin to be asked a lot of "why" questions. Why do we brush our teeth? Why do we pray before we eat? Why do we have to go to bed? The benefit to this is you find yourself having to justify things you perhaps have not thought through in a long time. That is a good thing. Useless your response is to rely unthinking...

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