Archives for August 2014

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Calling the Lost to Trust in Jesus

This is what making disciples of Jesus all boils down to. In fact, there is a real sense in which this is the only absolutely necessary step in the process to making disciples. Everything about this process hinges on whether or not our lost friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors, by God's sovereign grace, place their trust in Jesus, and Jesus alone, for their p...

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Keeping the Home

At age 60 I remember the days when church women’s ministries were focused on Titus 2: 3-5 which in part teaches women to be “keepers at home.” In fact, I was one of those pastor’s wives who taught this passage in our own church’s women’s ministry. Honestly, I benefited from this. I gained a vision for my home as the primary focus of my gifts and ministry. I lea...

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Welcome to the Priesthood

For hours our group of foreign and Chinese teachers drove south through rice paddies and terraced tea hills to the famed Yellow Mountains of east central China. My initial fascination worn thin through endless unfamiliarity, I felt I had been dropped on another planet and wished I could switch off my senses. But we kept driving and entered the town of Mt. Jihua (pronounced...

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Moses and the Burning Bush: A Sermon Review

When God appears to Moses in the form of a burning bush, this is a moment that affects everyone. God steps forward and speaks His name. But before God tells Moses who He is, He shows him who He is. A messenger speaks on God’s behalf. This is called a theophany, God appearing in another form. There are many in the Old Testament. This burning bush is a temple of the living...

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Errands, Tantrums, and the Gospel

My sister’s baby had a fever, so I ran by her house the other week to pick up two of her kids and take them with me on my errands to give her a little break. They were prattling on like little girls do, talking about nothing and everything. On our way home, we were listening to a local Christian radio station and Everfound’s “God of the Impossible” came on. Now, I...

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Should Women Be Leaders in the Church?

An automated spiritual gifts test once assumed I was a man. It was a generic test, so at the end, the tally of my results indicated (to the formula of the test results) that I should serve as a teaching pastor or lead men’s ministry. I cried, and the elder leading our class had no idea how to console me. In his mumbling, he said this, “God didn’t mess up and you aren...

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Tying Lost Friends into the Church

In reading last week's post, some of you may have wondered how by yourself you could ever teach your lost friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers "all" that Jesus has commanded us (see Matt. 28:18-20). If that was you, there's good news: you don't have to do this alone. In fact, you shouldn't. The wonderful truth about our witness to the lost is that it is a comm...

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Counseling: The Gospel for the Details

So far this series, we’ve discussed how the gospel is more than a reference point for ministry, and we have seen how that shapes our approach to preaching. This week, we discuss how that affects our approach to counseling....

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Fickleness, Faithfulness, and Freedom

A man is working hard in obscurity. His intent is to work in obscurity because any attention was bad attention (or so he thought). But he drew the attention of the Lord, who came to him and instructed him that he would be used to rescue his people from their oppressors. The Lord filled the man with strength and bravery, and miraculously everything the Lord said would happe...

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If Only We Were All In Middle School Again…In the 1930’s. A Response to Thomas Umstattd Jr.’s Straw Men

My cousin Doug Hodges (pretty much a big brother to the Phillips kids), pointed me to an article he had come across recently by a gentleman named Thomas Umstattd Jr. regarding why he felt like courtship, as opposed to traditional dating, was fundamentally flawed. Since the article was very thorough, if haphazard, and encapsulated a lot of the criticism I have heard of cour...

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The Heart of Women and Work

This month in our cultural value series we are sharing thoughts on different issues women face. Last week, Janelle discussed the issue of women and image. This week I want to touch on the topic of women and work. When you think about women and work there is SO much that has already been said and written on the subject. I am not going to attempt to address the question on w...

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Teaching the Gospel to the Lost

Over the last few weeks, I've been painting a picture of how we can practically apply our wonderful responsibility of sharing the gospel with the lost in a simple, step-by-step approach. By following these steps I believe each of us can obey Jesus' radical call to make disciples by simply interacting with the lost people who are already in our lives in intentional, Jesus-i...

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Preaching More Than Moralism

Last week, we looked at the gospel as Scripture’s paradigm for ministry in general. Today, we are looking at the gospel as Scripture’s paradigm for preaching for interpreting and applying God’s Word for God’s people on God’s terms....

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Deliverer in the Furnace

Dad (Benny) continued our series "Age of Heroes" with the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the three men thrown into a fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar. As Dad explained, the story is a story of faith on trial....

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Work Ethics Part 1

The issue of what it means to work, where we should work, and how the gospel applies to our work is an important issue, and one that Alex Thermenos somewhat addressed in an earlier post. We want to look at the issue more in-depth; this is Part I of a series on “Work and the Gospel,” and I want to address an issue that is relevant to whatever “work” we are doing. Wh...

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Image is Not Everything

Our culture gets it wrong when it comes to women and image. That is no surprise, and much has been said on the topic. Recently the Huffington Post did a piece on what tabloids would look like if they treated men the way they treated women. Westminster College has a well-researched article about beauty standards, women in the media, and how women internalize the “thin-bea...

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Inviting Sinners to Your Table

Who would you invite into your home for dinner? Perhaps more significantly, who would you not invite over for dinner? If we're honest, most of us probably have some real restrictions on who makes it to our dinner table. It's one thing to have people come over for a large event, it's another thing to have a few people over for the game, but we tend to reserve our dinner tab...

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More Than a Reference Point

If you've been around the church world long enough, you've probably heard someone somewhere talk about being "gospel-centered" - gospel-centered preaching, gospel-centered worship, gospel-centered counseling, gospel-centered everything. And you've probably had one of a number of reactions to these pretentious-sounding assertions of unique commitment to the gospel reactions...

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Babylon, Jerusalem, and the Kingdom of God

“Israel and Hamas broke their ceasefire today and resumed fighting. This means the war has now gone on for…let me just check my watch here. Is it July 31st? Ok that means the war has been going on for…3000 years.” That joke (roughly) was how Stephen Colbert began his show on Friday, and it was either hilarious or insensitive. But it was also illustrative of a far m...

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True Peace for Israel

I forget things all the time. Just ask my husband. He has formed a habit of following behind me whenever we leave somewhere, whether it’s a restaurant or a friend’s house, to grab my phone, keys, and wallet that I left behind. My forgetfulness is my dad’s fault (right, Mom?), or so I claim. I tend to forget other things, too. I tend to look at what is going on around...

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