Posts Tagged with "church blog"

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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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Obsessed with the Cross

Most people know what you’re obsessed with. It’s clear because you live devoted to you obsession. ...

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Torture and Situational Ethics

This past week, Senate Democrats released a 6,000 page report about CIA tactics in the post-9/11 but pre-Obama world. It is colloquially known as the “torture report,” although it centers around what the CIA called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which were approved by the Bush administration, funded by Congress, and considered legal by various...

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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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I Hate Waiting

I hate waiting. Like last week when I sat at a light. I was in a hurry to get home before the Florida skies open up like they do on most warm, sunny days. The light turned green but there was no movement. Too quickly it turned yellow, then red again. Humph. Huge raindrops started pelting my windshield. Then I noticed flashing lights on a car ahead. I waited some more, h...

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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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The Coming Light

Constant friend, my soul's own darkness, constant still, my soul's repose In the alley of soul's shadow, lurks a monster of my own Chained by sinful thoughts immoral, chained by sinful deeds done bold Soul and spirit war between me, making war, my corpse gone cold...

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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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Sexual Ethics and Controlling the Discourse

“Oh, great,” said everyone. “Another church railing against promiscuity, homosexuality, and how society is going to hell in a handbasket. Just what I want to read today (this is not what I want to read today).” I know there is something archaic and cliché to read a blog post about sexual ethics from an evangelical church. Having admitted that, I hope you’ll bear...

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Written Art: One Way the Gospel Makes Its Presence Known

If you step inside a major city, you see art everywhere. You see it on the billboards and the crossing signs; you hear it in the form of music on radio or see it on giant T.V.'s in places like New York City. If you pay attention to those things, they have one thing in common--communication. These mediums of art usually bring a message to the viewer or listener to express s...

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Longing For a Culture of Grace

There is something that's been on my heart about the life of our church (and others) for some time. Although I've discussed it briefly in various contexts I've never really sat down to try and succinctly articulate what it is...here it goes. I hope this turns out to be helpful for you. Week in and week out, as we gather together to lift up our Savior with one voice as a ch...

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Kill Them or Convert Them: Duck Dynasty Styled Evangelism

There are reasons to respect Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family at the center of AMC’s blockbuster hit Duck Dynasty. He was a good enough athlete to start over 4-time Super Bowl champion Terry Bradshaw while in college even though he didn’t think much about practice. He was, by his own admission, a borderline alcoholic and druggie until he was miraculously sav...

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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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Compassion for Criminals: A Christian Calling

When I decided to go to law school, I received many comments like “Are you going to be one of the ones who keeps the criminals off the street?” and “Nice. So you’re going to get the bad guys and make sure they pay.” At the time, I had no difficulty with these statements. Though I had no intention of pursuing a career in criminal law, I figured that if I did, it w...

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Training New Disciples to Make Disciples

Like my good friend Alex Thermenos, you may have thought that last week's post was the final post in this series on making disciples. Now this is understandable. I mean, after touching base with the lost, talking to them, enjoying meals with them at your dinner table, teaching them how the gospel relates to their lives, tying them into the fellowship of the church, and cal...

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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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