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Beyond Good Intentions

When we consider how to approach those who are struggling, I believe most of us would agree that our disposition is of utmost importance. How many of us can look back with regret on a conversation we've had with someone grieving a lost loved one, bemoaning a challenging circumstance at work or home, or even struggling with a besetting sin and see where we were short, quick...

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A New Young Friend and the Old, Old Story

If you’re like me sometimes it’s hard to know what the gospel really looks like in relationships. I actually used to think the gospel was something you spoke only to the lost who needed to hear how the sinless life, atoning death and glorious resurrection of Christ made a way for them to have a relationship with God, brings meaning to suffering and provides hope for th...

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What is Important This Christmas Part 2: To Incarnate Christ

I’m one of those crazy people who gets up early on Black Friday to shop. It’s a tradition my daughters and I have enjoyed for years. Frankly, I don’t buy much. For me it’s primarily a sentimental opportunity to spend time with my girls and have our yearly lunch at Olive Garden....

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What is Important This Christmas Part 1: To Sit at Jesus Feet

Well here it is...the holiday season. The traffic's getting busier, the office seems a bit more cheery, and, I confess, I'm playing Christmas music most of the time I'm in my car (at least until a few days before Christmas after I've overindulged in it). I've gotta say that I love this time of year. I love that many of us consciously spend more time with those we love. I l...

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A Little Old Lady and the Fruit of Godly Sorrow

Recently I’ve been reminded several times of various situations, or particular patients I’ve taken care of, when I was a nurse. Maybe it’s because as a stay at home mom part of me misses my former job. Or perhaps it’s because these things had such an impact on me. I’ve written here about a particular patient who was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve also written here...

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Casting Out Legalism

Pastor Benny began his message on Sunday by saying these are difficult verses because of how radical Paul’s message was. The Galatian churches were being affected by “men from James,” the Jerusalem church that James led. The Judaizers, whom James did not agree with, were saying, it’s fine and important to become a Christian, and yes, Jesus is the Messiah. But to be...

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The Day I Watched a Man Die

I watched a man die once. It was not an experience I’ve ever wanted to repeat again. He was a quiet, pleasant patient whom I had taken care of a few times since he had been placed within our unit. That day, my friend was his nurse. She called me in to come help her, stating he was having difficulty breathing. Sure enough, he was in his recliner gasping for breath. As she...

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My Little Bit of Scripture Surprise

This past Monday started out pretty gloomy. I had trouble sleeping the night before, partly because aging brings sleeping issues and, yeah, I’m in “that season” of life when sleeping is typically challenging. But my restlessness was also related to some weighty concerns I’ve been having about people I love…a lot....

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From the Grave

Fascinated by scenes unfurled, fascinated they come and dance This vision of a Son of Man, who melts my heart with soulful glance Across the vision of cautious mind, foreboding foresight still I see the Maker of all things, bear a cross uphill...

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Wanting a Better Past

Often the moments I hear heart-wrenching comments like this are while sitting on the couch in my living room sharing a glass of sweet tea with women from my church. Like me, they’re dealing with the often-weighty consequences of sins by or against them: pain that runs deep like a knife being slowly twisted through the heart. It’s not always there. But when it’s trigg...

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Waiting and the Mercy of God

Recently, Sheree Phillips wrote a transparent and helpful post on the struggle of waiting for God. If you're like her (and me), then you probably have an aversion to waiting for just about anything. And the reality is that if you're a Westerner, you're probably just like us in this way. It's no new revelation that with our culture-wide embrace of fast food, fast cash, and ...

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Modest is Hottest Or Something Like That

Modest dress is a worthy discussion (after all, the Bible does talk about it!) but modesty includes far more than what can be seen on the outside. In fact, the definition of modest is not “Women who dress culturally appropriate.” Rather, the definition is “the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.” I didn’t see “Modest is hottest” a...

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Toward a Better Understanding of Suffering Part 1

suffering4 This likely won't be my most popular post (not that I'm under any illusion that any of my posts are widely read). But I believe this issue to be so important that it needs to be discussed, particularly among those of us from a younger generation. For those of us who haven't experienced the pressures of real financial hardship, who haven't mourned the death of...

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The Law and Freedom's Promise

Benny Phillips continued Redeemer's Galatians series, preaching on Galatians 3:15-25 on Sunday. So far in the letter to the Galatians, Paul has a specific flow of thought: He has established that we are saved, justified and redeemed only by faith in Christ and not through righteousness of our own. Any careful reader (or listener) will inevitably have questions about wher...

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The Word of God in Jeremiah

I love God's Word. I hope you do too. I love knowing that because of what Jesus accomplished for me in the gospel, earning my righteousness by living a perfect life, absorbing the penalty for my sin at the cross, and rising from the dead to secure my new life in him, I can sit at his feet and commune with the living God in a completely restored relationship. And I love tha...

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Freedom to Think: A Sermon Review

If we assess the idea that “faith alone in Christ alone by grace alone” is all we need for salvation, we need to evaluate this in the light of scripture. And we need to evaluate the Judaizers’ idea that something more than Christ’s sacrifice is needed. Let’s not be too quick to condemn them. They were trying to protect something good: Godâ...

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I Will Offend You

I will offend you. And you will offend me. This is the harsh reality of life as a part of God's eternal kingdom while still living in our sinful flesh as inhabitants of our broken world. As brothers and sisters in Christ we will offend each other, and it will likely happen often. I wish this was not true, but both experience and Scripture validate this hard truth (see Matt...

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Freedom to Change: A Sermon Review

Jesse began by talking about the concept of change. Turning away from unwanted behavior is something common to everyone. Whether it is silly habits, or more serious addictions, we all have aspects of behavior that we want to modify. 12 step programs abound for every sort of sin, addiction or compulsion. Many of these programs borrow from biblical wisdom in their approach, ...

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I Am Inadequate

Up until a couple of weeks before the birth of my son, Silas, I worked full time as an orthopedic nurse in a large hospital in Orlando. I took care of a large number of people, 90% of whom had surgery to fix broken bones; people who had been in horrible car accidents, people who had broken bones from slipping and falling at Disney, and a large population of the elderly who...

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Freedom to Live

In this passage Paul is at the heart of his argument in Galatians. There are only two ways to relate to God: either on the basis of law and your good works or on the basis of faith and God’s grace. The key phrase in Reformed theology is “Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.”...

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Desiring God...Again

I'm currently doing something that I rarely do: re-reading a book. Not that I am opposed this practice, but I suppose I believe there are just too many good books I haven't read to consider going through what I've found to be excellent books that are worthy of a second read. However, I am delighted to say that I'm going against my custom right now. Because for me, John Pip...

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5 Things to Remember For Parenting Teens

As the parents of 7 and grandparents of 15, people sometimes ask us for parenting advice. Perhaps we've gotten to a place in our lives where we have something to offer, if only due to the fact that we survived 35 years of parenting, are still married and actually have a warm relationship with all the once-little people who are now giving us little ones of their own. Really...

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God's Masterpiece of Unified Diversity

Something unexpected happened to me on Sunday morning. While I was preparing to teach for our children's ministry, Truth Miners, I was struck by the profundity of the passage I was about to teach from. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how God reveals to both young and old the same truths in profound ways. I was so affected by what I studied that I want to share s...

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Freedom Fighter for Truth

On Sunday morning Pastor Benny reprised his excellent intro to the Book of Galatians by focusing on the Apostle Paul as a “freedom fighter for truth.” Judaizers from Jerusalem had come to the churches Paul had planted in Galatia making three accusations against Paul: 1. He was not an apostle. 2. He was not preaching the true gospel. 3. The gospel (of grace) he preac...

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The Gospel and the Military

Being a Christian in modern military life could be compared to a salmon making the tough journey up stream. There are times it can feel as though everything in life is coming at you trying to drive you in the mainstream direction, opposite of what you're striving towards. There are so many hardships and uncertainties: low finances, multiple moves, many times having a lack ...

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5 Lessons Parents of Toddlers Learn

The other lesson we have learned as parents is to trust. With each new child comes a new challenge. As each child enters a new season of life, a new challenge is introduced. As parents we are constantly relearning how to be parents, trying to remember how we did things with our older kids and driven to our knees to trust God for wisdom when we have none of our own. If your...

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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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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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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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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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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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Two Things the Gospel Does for Us When We Suffer

The gospel does two things for us when we suffer: it comforts us, and it calls us. In my last post, I surveyed the glorious hope our identity in Christ gives us in the face of suffering:...

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The Message of Redemption through Joshua

Yesterday’s message from Pastor Benny Phillips continues with the "Age of Heroes" series. I am thankful to God for this message of inspiration, hope, and redemption. We were reminded of God's immense power in how God uses His people to overcome many obstacles that are seemingly insurmountable. It is amazing how the gospel is connected to every story in scripture. Many of...

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God's Precious Gift of Life

This past week Christians and advocates throughout the country commemorated the 41st anniversary of Roe. V. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that has legalized abortion and resulted in the death of 55 million unborn children....

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Most Human Problems Are Caused By Mistaken Identity

Launching a new teaching series, Benny Phillips, pastor of Redeemer Church at Lake Nona, claimed that humanity faces an identity crisis. Citing a new book by Mark Driscoll ("Who Do You Think You Are"), he argued that most human problems can be traced to a lack of self-understanding....

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Parenting Is Hard

Are you a parent? Need help? Join Benny and Sheree Phillips, a pastor and wife with seven children, eleven grandchildren and authors of five books on parenting and related topics, as they host “Redemptive Parenting”, a free two-day event that will equip and envision parents of kids of all ages. Check it out here http://tinyurl.com/c3h3ewe...

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Abounding Hope

Recap of our Sunday gathering. Benny Phillips preached on our Abounding Hope from Isaiah 11:1-10, continuing our series on the Gospel According to Isaiah....

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Bible Reading Plan

What a joy it will be to read the Word of God together as a Church family! Throughout this journey it will be exciting to hear about what God is showing and teaching us through His Word. Please feel free to post on our Facebook Page as you are reading over the next three months to give us all updates and to share how God is speaking to you personally. ...

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It's official: We exist.

There are many reasons this is a moment we are excited to share with you. Like the Bible says, nothing is official until it is online. The launching of this website represents a major landmark for the beginning of Redeemer Church of Lake Nona. The beginning is really here....

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