Posts Tagged with "redeemer 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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Fire Burning

Janelle writes a poem about the hidden hatred in all of us, and what the solution is. ...

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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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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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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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Summary of Jesse Phillips' Ordination Service

Sunday was an historic day at Redeemer Church, as we celebrated the ordination of Jesse Phillips, son of Pastor Benny Phillips and his wife Sheree. Numerous visitors were present for the service, including guests from Metro Life Church, Orlando, where Jesse grew up and was called to ministry....

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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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Mercy's Slave

A twisted seed writhing forth, converging in the soil Bringing darkness, birthing fear, mindless in its toil Distorts the call of shameless grace, rejects the call of hope It cannot see the barren soul from which its blackness sloped...

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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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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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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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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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Love That Changes Us - Then and Now

Ephesians 5:23-30 is a familiar passage to most of us. (It’s the one about husbands and wives relating to one another as Christ and the church do.) While it’s a great passage about husbands and wives, it carries far greater significance. There are many different images in the Bible to describe the church, but none more clearly communicate the way God binds Himself in l...

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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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Immigration Part 2: Sojourners in a Foreign Land

In Part 1 of the #CulturalValues post about Immigration, Joey pointed out that fundamentally, Christians should think about this issue through the lens of Jesus’ teaching about the “least of these.” Our primary concern about this issue should be for people, not fences. It’s important to remember that neither of us are advocating for a specific policy position. Our ...

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Worship and Art

In this, the third and final post of the series on worship, I am hoping that you have been challenged with how you prepare your heart, as well as your physical expressiveness in times of corporate worship. Today, I would like to stir up the pot a little with what is an ongoing debate amongst churches and hopefully encourage us all to use our gifts and talents for the glory...

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Getting in Touch with the Lost

Last week, I introduced a seven-step approach to making disciples that I believe can serve as a helpful, step-by-step way for us to follow Jesus in fulfilling his Great Commission. By way of reminder, here is the basic approach....

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What Our Identity in Christ Says About Our Suffering

The suffering in our lives keeps us from doing and experiencing many good things, and it often teaches us bad things. Suffering has the tendency to pervert our perception of the world around us. Children who grow up abused often have uniquely distorted views of God, self, and others. Those who suffer traumatic experiences in any stage of life often have difficulty engaging...

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Expressiveness in Worship

There is a reason that the first post in this three part series was on preparing our hearts for worship and the fact that every aspect of our lives during the week is a form of worshiping the Creator. We were created to worship God and we are emotional creatures, but just as in everything else we are called to do, we are to direct those around us to God’s glory and not o...

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How Should a Christian Respond to the Immigration Crisis? Part 1

By all accounts, thousands and thousands of children are entering the United States from Mexico every month. What has been a political issue for a long time has become something of a crisis. It is at the point that the government is asking for help from churches in the areas most affected. (See http://tinyurl.com/ow93le3) This issue has a lot of facets, not the least of w...

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A Progressive Approach to Making Disciples

If you've been with us at Redeemer Church for a bit, you may have heard us use the term "disciple-making disciple" as a way to encapsulate what we believe is our role as followers of Jesus in our God-created, fallen, yet redeemed and soon to be restored world. As I've explained elsewhere, as we seek to follow Jesus in his mission of redemption for the world, we are to draw...

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Why Image-Bearing Isn't Only About Responsibility

In my last article, I described our core identity in terms of being God's image-bearers, but if you survey the New Testament, you'll find its overarching understanding of our identity in Christ is that we are sons, co-heirs, siblings of Christ destined to become like Christ. So, we must ask the question: is the New Testament replacing the Old Testament image-bearer motif w...

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Preparing Our Hearts For Worship

When asked to do a three part series on worship, numerous topics came to mind as I sat down to start writing. What would be helpful to talk about? How do I prepare for writing these posts? And that’s when I thought this: if I need to prepare for writing this, how much more important is it for me to prepare my heart for corporate worship? So, this week we are going t...

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Does the World See Christ Through Us?

Walking purposefully along the winding sidewalk towards the host hotel for my final day at The Gospel Coalition’s national women’s conference, I was stopped by an inquisitive taxi driver who looked at my name tag and asked me what was going on inside. As if to aid me in my answer, I held out my nametag for him to read and replied “It’s an event put on by The Gospel...

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