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Fasting: A Few Common Sense Resources for an Enigmatic Practice

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As we consider the topic of fasting this week, here are a few articles and books that you may find helpful. At the end of this resource blog is also a website calledThe Common Rule,that offers some common sense practices for creating habits (including fasting) that are aimed to cultivate godliness. Articles Drinking Deeply from Our Father in Heaven: Nine Observations a...

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Gospel Motivated Giving

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Gospel-Motivated Generosity is a Mark of True Obedience For the last two months, our church has thought about Jesus' words concerning giving. In Sunday School, we have considered Randy Alcorn's helpful little book called The Treasure Principle. You can listen to the series here. This Sunday we will again consider Jesus' words about giving in Matthew 6:14. And as we prepa...

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Like Father, Like Sons: A Father-Oriented Approach to Christian Maturity (Matthew 5:43)

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"Be mature as your Heavenly Father is perfectly mature." It doesn't have the same ring as "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect," but it may be closer to the reality of what Jesus is saying in Matthew 5:48. On Sunday we finished the last of six expositions of the law that Jesus gives in Matthew 5:4348. And as Jesus addresses the topic of love and hate, we learn h...

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What Should We Think About the Imprecatory Psalms?

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Imprecatory psalms (e.g., Pss 5, 10, 17, 35, 58, 59, 69, 70, 79, 83, 109, 129, 137, 140) are those psalms which call upon God to destroy the enemies of God. They come from the anguished hearts of persecuted Israelites, and they include some of the most shocking words in the Bible. Take just a few examples. Psalm 35 provides one of the most acceptable imprecatory Psalms. V...

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Nine Traits of a Peacemaker

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In Matthew 5:9Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God." A few verses later, Jesus instructs worshipers to leave their gifts at the altar in order to make peace with those who have something against them (5:21-26) and just a few verses later he tells us we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, that we might b...

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How Do I Feed On God’s Word?

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Yesterday, I wrote on the importance of feeding on the Word. Today, let me add another reflection on that themenamely, what it looks like to actually feed on the Word of God. Certainly, if God calls us to live upon every Word that proceeds from his mouth (Matthew 4:4), it should not surprise us that he is not silent on what it looks like to feed on his word. Just as the h...

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Blessed are the Pure in Heart, For They Will See God (Matthew 5:27

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Sexual sin. It is a destructive issue we face more often than we like to admit. Whether it is lust, pornography, adultery, same-sex attraction, or any number of other desires that deviate from God's good design, we are inclined to bury these parts of our lives in the dark. Yet, in Sermon on the Mount, Jesus wisely and lovingly shines a light on our hearts. Getting to the ...

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“Disciples Make Disciples”: A Vital Truth That Needs Further Elaboration

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"Disciples make disciples" It's an axiom that is thrown around by Christians who rightly make "making disciples" a priority for genuine discipleship. But is it really true? Do disciples make disciples? Or is there more to the story? Based on the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, we might think that Jesus words give definitive answer: Yes, disciples make disciples. Yet,...

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Razing Cain: How Christ Crucifies a Heart of Anger (Matthew 5:21

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This Sunday we looked at Matthew 5:2126, where we saw the first of six lessons Jesus gives us about the law of Moses applied to his new covenant disciples. Interpreting the sixth commandment, "Do not murder" (Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17), Jesus stressed the importance of making peace with those whom we have sinned against. In Sunday's sermon, we looked briefly at how Jesus appl...

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Approaching the Lord's Table "Together"

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For the last century, entertainment has becoming increasingly individualized. From the inception of record players, to drive-in theaters with individual speakers, to the release of headphones, and now the ever-common individualized playlist, we are a people trained to consume the world as individuals. And when we bring that approach to God, we can easily think of our spir...

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The Good News of the Law: “Getting” the Law, So That the Law Gets Into You (Matthew 5:17

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What is the purpose of the Law? How are we supposed to apply Moses' commands to our lives? How does Jesus read the Old Testament? Is there any good news for Christians in the Law of Moses? These questions and more have been raised by Christians for centuries.And one of the most challenging passages on the relationship of the Old Testament to the New is Matthew 5:1720. Thi...

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Salt and Light: What Y’All Are, When You Are in Christ (Matthew 5:13

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This little light of mine, I'm goin' let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. If you have been around church for any length of time, you've probably heard this children's song. It takes its wording from this week's passage, Matthew 5:1316, where Jesus tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. In truth, this is an important passa...

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The Center of the Sermon on the Mount: Twelve Truths About Our Father in Heaven

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All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:27 Perhaps of the most surprising (and edifying) aspect of the Sermon on the Mount is the emphasis Jesus makes on his Father in heaven. While we may consider the Sermon as ...

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Getting Into the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1

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This Sunday we started walking through the Sermon on the Mount. Considering the question of true happiness, we first looked athowwe should read Jesus' words. And then we looked at the nine statements of blessing/happiness known as the Beatitudes. After stating that the Beatitudes are not entrance requirements for the kingdom, but words of wisdom given to Christ's disciple...

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A Mountain, A Map, and a Mercy Seat: An Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 4:23

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This Sunday we started a new series on the Sermon on the Mount. In this introductory message, I sought to outline the whole message and to highlight the center section, where Jesus gives us the Lord's Prayer. You can listen to the sermon online. But be sure to listen with this visual aid. Discussion questions and additional resources can be found below. Discussion Ques...

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Approaching the Sermon on the Mount

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The Sermon on the Mount is probably the most famous sermon ever preached, and for good reason. Its speaker is the Lord Jesus Christ; its location on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee is unique; and its language is both beautiful and profound. Even non-believers are familiar with many of the words Jesus spoke in this sermon. Yet, for as well-known as the Sermon is, it ...

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Summer Reading: Five Books That Will Help You Read the Bible Better

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In many ways this weekend marks the start of summer and with that the chance to pick up a book or two that is not required by class or work. While the summer often provides some times of relaxation, it also provides chances to invest in things that are eternal. Here are five books that will help you read the Bible better. Each of them are available on the bookshelf at chu...

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Unshakeable Faith: Seeking Christ Through Haggai’s Temple

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The book of Haggai centers on God's great promise to restore the temple during the days of Judah's return from exile (520 BC). In this little book, there are four messages from the Lord. The second, third, and fourth messages in Haggai are all found in chapter 2, and respectively they speak about the temple (2:19), the priesthood (2:1019), and the kingdom (2:2023). These w...

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Unshakeable Faith: Seeing Christ Through Haggai’s Temple

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This Sunday we began a two-week series on the book of Haggai. If you are not familiar with this little book, it is the tenth book in the Minor Prophets, and its four-fold message serves as a turning point in the Twelve, as the Book of the Twelve shifts from looking at God's judgment (NahumZephaniah) to the restoration of God's people (HaggaiMalachi). In this week's sermon...

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Introducing Haggai

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An introduction to our new sermon series in Haggai....

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Looking to See the Gospel Flourish: What is a Minister-in-Residence and Why Does It Matter?

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Last week we announced in our members' meeting that Jonathan Matas, with his family (Christy, Jadon, Elijah) will be joining our OBC family as a minister-in-residence. For our church, this is a new venture in gospel ministry. And because the concept of a minister-in-residence may be unfamiliar and the specifics may be unknown to some in our church family, I want to explain...

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The Sword of the Lord: In Nineveh and Now (Nahum 1:9

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What did Jesus mean when he said, "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34)? On Sunday, we considered that question from the book of Nahum. The connection between Matthew and Nahum is found in the fact that Nahum presents the sword of the Lord in all of its flame and fury, while Jesus comes to first extinguish the Lord's wrath in his own flesh. Then, a...

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Seven Truths About the Doctrine of Vocation

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This month we are beginning a new series in Sunday School entitled The Doctrine of Vocation: Glorifying God in Your Good Work. If you have never thought or heard about the doctrine of vocation or how your faith informs, permeates, and motivates your daily work, this series is for you. Even better, if you have thought deeply about the subject, your insights will also be val...

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Getting Into Nahum, or Finding Comfort in the Lord of Wrath (Nahum 1:1-8)

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This week we began our second of three series out of the Minor Prophets, better known as the Book of the Twelve. After considering God's grace in the book of Jonah, we began to consider the complementary aspect of his holy justice from the book of Nahum. In two more weeks, we'll finish our study of the Minor Prophets by looking at Haggai. As for Nahum, it serves as Part...

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Let Us Behold (Not Begrudge) Our Gracious God (Jonah 4:1

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This Sunday we brought our study of Jonah to a close. After looking at the big picture of Jonah(Jonah 14),diving into his storm of disobedience (Jonah 1), going under the waters of Jonah's baptism (Jonah 1:17; cf. Matthew 12:3841), inspecting Jonah's prayer(Jonah 2), and learning what true repentance looks like (Jonah 3), we set our gaze on the God of sovereign grace. By ...

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Fire in the Soul: A Few Reflections from Together for the Gospel 2018

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For the last ten years, God has kindly provided me a season of refreshing every other April in the city of Louisville through a gathering known as Together for the Gospel. When I began going, I lived in that city as I studied at Southern Seminary. In 2010, our family moved fifty miles north to Southern Indiana. And in 2010, 2012, and 2014 I made the hour drive to attend ...

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Seven Good Words: The Work Jesus Did on the Cross

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. . . they crucified him . . . Luke 23:33 For six hours Jesus body hung on the cross. Nailed to the tree, another crucified enemy of the state, Jesus labored to breathe as pain racked his body and mockers filled the air with vitriol. Tempted by Satan one last time to save himself (see the words in Luke 23:35, 37, 39), Jesus remained, inching closer to death. Still, the e...

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The Sign of Jonah: Swallowed in Death, Raised in Life (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:38

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While the world went looking for Easter eggs and basketball games this weekend, the church of Jesus Christ remembered the resurrection of our Lord. More valuable than anything an egg can offer, and more reliable than any team we cheer, the resurrected Christ offers us forgiveness of sins and eternal life for all who turn from sin to trust him. This is what we celebrated o...

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Into the Depths: An Introduction to the Book of Jonah

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Jonah is an amazing book, but one that requires repeated readings, a willingness to learn, and a commitment to the God who created the world, controls the nations, and directs all history to the true prophet, priest, and kingJesus Christ. On Sunday we started a six week journey through the story of Jonah. Let me encourage you to read the book in one sittingit's only 48 ve...

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Into the Depths: Finding God's Grace in Jonah's Rebellion

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Starting this Sunday we will take the next six weeks to consider the story of Jonah.This story is more than a runaway prophet turned right. InJonah's rebellion, we find a story that calls us to flee from the hardness that grace-less religion can create. Likewise, in God's grace to Nineveh, wefind aglimpse ofthe surpassing beauty of God's salvation offered to all who repent...

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Red Carpet Christianity: A Summary and Conclusion to the Book of Ephesians

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Since September our church has studied the book of Ephesians. This week, we finished the sermon series with a summary and reflection on Paul's letter. In particular, I argued that the gospel creates communities of faith that learn how to walk together in love. It's this love that displays the wisdom of God to the world and that builds up the individual Christian. To turn ...

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“As Unto the Lord”: Work with Christ at the Center (Ephesians 6:5

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Paul is unashamedly Christ-centered. And it seems that in whatever subject he is discussing, he brings it back to the Lord who saved him and commissioned him to preach his gospel. On this note, we see in Ephesians 6:59 how Paul teaches us to bring Christ to work. In five verses written to slaves and masters, he gives us at least five motivations for the workplace. While w...

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The Final Days of Jesus: A 40-Day Reading Guide

This week marks 40 days until Resurrection Sunday. While some celebrate with Lentand others do not, we should all prepare our hearts to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. To help in that endeavor, let me encourage you to pick up and readThe Final Days of Jesusby Andreas Kstenberger and Justin Taylor. A few years ago I put together a 40-day read...

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“In the Lord”: Children, Obedience, and the Gospel (Ephesians 6:1

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In Ephesians Paul calls the church to walk in wisdom by the power of the Spirit. This includes children. And in this week's sermon, we saw how children in the Lord (believing children) are motivated to obey and honor their parents. Indeed, in only three verses (Ephesians 6:13) there are a lot of things to consider, especially with the way Paul uses Exodus 20:12 to motivat...

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How to Apply the Land Promise to Children: A Case Study in Ephesians 6:1

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In Ephesians 6:13 Paul calls believing children (i.e., childrenin the Lord)to obey (v. 1) and honor (v. 2) their parents. In verse 1, Paul gives the motivation, "for this is right," and in verses 23, he motivates children with the fifth commandment, 'the first commandment with a promise.' And importantly, the promise says, "that it may go well with you and that you may liv...

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The Drama of Marriage: What Christ and the Church Teaches Husbands and Wives (Ephesians 5:22

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Few things in life are more delightful and more difficult than marriage. And this week, as our church, returned to the book of Ephesians we picked up Paul's Christ-centered teaching on marriage. You can find the sermon online. Below there are discussion questions with additional resources that include some preliminary thoughts on marriage that fed into this weeks sermon. ...

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The Enduring Goodness of Marriage

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With his characteristic biblical insight and cultural engagement, Tim Keller's book on marriage,The Meaning of Marriage,is filled with wisdom and encouragement. Aimed at marrieds and singles considering marriage (and singles who have sworn off the institution), Keller provides a helpful look at God's design for marriage. Importantly, he spends the first chapter considerin...

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Learning to Love One Another: The Gospel, Racial Reconciliation, and Burden-Bearing (Galatians 1

In recent years, it's been hard to miss our country's rise in racial tensions. Or maybe we are just seeing what's been there under the surface all along. Our country seems overwhelmed by all kinds of racialized sentiments.And in the church, Christ's multi-ethnic bride continues to bear the scars of deep-seated racial division and hurt that goes back decades and centuries. ...

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Nine Spiritual Disciplines from Charles Octavius Boothe (1845

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As we finish up a month-long study on the personal and public spiritual disciplines, and this Sunday we turn to consider the subject of racial reconciliation, I want to share a book I've recently read: Plain Theology for Plain People by Charles Octavius Boothe (18451924), edited by Walter Strickland. In what follows I will introduce the man and his work, as well as the nin...

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True Religion Defends Life Against Abortion (James 1:19-27)

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Since 1973,60 million babies have been killed through the legal practice of abortion. Tragically, the legal nature of abortion doesn't change its lethal nature, nor does it change the fact that abortion unfairly targets minorities in our country. In other words, abortion is not unjust in general; abortion's injusticespecifically targets black and Hispanic babies. Since 20...

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Abortion: The Witness of the Church throughout History

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Scripture is clear on defending the life of the unborn, but so is church history. As we approach Sanctity of Life Sunday, here are a few quotes from church history. From the first century to the twenty-first century, care for orphans and the unborn is a priority of the church (see James 1:2627). (Many of these quotations listed below were collected from printed material f...

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Growing in Prayer: Six Books on Prayer

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This Sunday we will continue our study of spiritual disciplines with a focus on prayer. With Bible reading, prayer is one of two primary disciplines. It is the breath of the Christian life and one that we should continue to cultivate as we walk with God. However, growth in prayer only comes as the Word of God teaches us about prayer. For that reason, it is worthwhile to s...

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Ten Looks at Christ: A New Year’s Meditation on Isaiah 61:1

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Robert Murray McCheyne said famously and wisely: "For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Jesus." On this last day of 2017, we spent our Sunday considering the person and work of Christ from Isaiah 61:13. This sermon wraps up a three-part series on Isaiah 5961 and encourages us to look to Christ as we enter the new year. Indeed, whether we are coming off a great 2...

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Come and Worship the King (Isaiah 60)

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At Christmas we celebrate God's light come into the world. And on Christmas Eve this year we looked at how Isaiah 60 both predicts and expands our understanding of God's glorious light.In the fullness of time, we see how the Magi in Matthew 2 fulfill Isaiah's promise of the nations coming to worship the Lord. This teaches us that coming to Zion is not simply a future reali...

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Ten Looks at Christ

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As 2017 finishes and we look ahead to 2018, let us not fall into the trap of only looking at ourselves. How easily and yet how discouraging (or self-exalting) it can be to only look at our achievements in 2017 or our plans in 2018, and to do so while missing Christ, his work, and his plans. Instead, as we finish one year and go into the next, let us look to Christ first a...

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The Divine Warrior Wrapped in Swaddling Clothes

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And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacobwho turn from transgression," declares the Lord. Isaiah 59:20 Wars and rumors of war. Throughout the world right now, armies are planning and preparing for various military operations. Closer to home, domestic abuse, interpersonal strife, and political injustice continue unabated. Just this week, I learned that a man wa...

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The Divine Warrior in Mary’s Womb (Isaiah 59)

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Perhaps Isaiah 59 is not the first passage that comes to mind when you think of Christmas. A month ago, it wasn't on my radar as a "Christmas passage," either. However, after doing some preliminary study on the armor of God in Ephesians 6, which quotes Isaiah 59:17, I soon realized how much Isaiah 59 (with the rest of Isaiah 5666) prepares the way for Christ. Today, we be...

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Finding Rest in the Merry-Thon

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For many, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas leave us grateful but gassed. In the name of holiday festivities, December means attending multiple Christmas parties, traveling to see family and friends, and standing in line to get the ever-elusive "perfect gift." As much joy as Christmas brings, if we aren't careful, holiday cheer can sap our energy and steal ou...

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Walk Worthy (pt. 4): Walk Wisely by the Spirit of Wisdom (Ephesians 5:15

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What is a Spirit-filled church? What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? And if you feel empty of the Spirit, what sort of 'magic' does it take to feel full again? On Sunday, I sought to answer that question from Ephesians 5:1521, as we considered the last of Paul's instructions towalk worthy.In some ways this is the pinnacle of his instructions, going back to Ephesians 4...

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Walk Worthy (pt. 3): Walk in the Light of Christ (Ephesians 5:6

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Walking seems like such a simple thing until we break a toe or all the lights go out. Thankfully, the command to walk worthy of our calling is not something we must figure out on our own or something we must do in our own strength. Rather, in Christ the Christian has been given all they need to walk in love and light. Just as important, we have been given a community wit...

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Walk Worthy (pt 2): Walking in (His) Love (Ephesians 5:1

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After laying out the riches of God's grace and glory in Ephesians 13, Paul turns to the way in which Christians are to walk in their new life. Five times in Ephesians 45 he uses the word "walk: in light of Christ's work of salvation, Paul calls us to walk worthy of our calling (4:1), to walk unlike Gentiles (4:17), to walk in love (5:1), to walk in light (5:8), and to walk...

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Don’t You Want to Thank *Someone*: A Thanksgiving Meditation

As we enter thanksgiving week, it is good to reflect on the nature of giving thanks. Many have observed praise is fundamental to what it means to be human, yet, not all praise honors God in a way he deserves. Therefore, we should consider how we might give thanks and give thanks in a way that makes God the object of our gratitude. Ingratitude: The Arrhythmia of Man's He...

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Walking Worthy: Growing in Unity and Maturity (Ephesians 4:1

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Everwonder what unity in the body of Christ is supposed to look like? This Sunday we looked at Ephesians 4:116, to see how Christ builds up his church in unity and maturity. In short, through a well-tuned heart (vv. 13) and well-ordered doctrine (vv. 46), Christ, a well-supplied head (vv. 710), equips his church to be a well-developed body (vv. 1116). For me, this series ...

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Prayer That Works: Praying to the Father, for the Spirit, to Fill the Church with Christ’s Manifold

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In recent years, few passages have captured my imagination more than Ephesians 3:1421. That is to say, few texts of Scripture have struck me with such a vision for the need for prayer in the church and prayer for the church, and hence my own need to pray more for the church. In Ephesians 13:13, Paul outlines a glorious vision of the church created by Christ's cross and un...

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Martin Luther: Rediscovering the Gospel and Reforming the Church (A Biographical Sermon)

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As we gathered at church this Reformation Sunday, we did so with the fruits of the Reformation still impacting our lives. From the Bibles in our laps (or on our phones) to the message justification by faith alone in Christ alone, we who know the true gospel of grace are, in so many ways indebted to the men and women of the Reformation. Through their suffering, couple with ...

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Grace on Display: In Paul’s Ministry and Christ’s Church (Ephesians 3:1

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Most of the time when we read the Bible we seek to make direct application to ourselves. Because the Bible is for our instruction and sanctification, this is absolutely right. Sometimes in Scripture, however, we find that the first application isnotto ourselves. Ephesians 3:113 is one of those instances, and yet it is also a passage bubbling over with grace for the believe...

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God’s War Memorial (pt 2): How a Diverse Christian Community Displays Christ’s Glory (Ephesians 2:11

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The church is more than just a collection of individual Christians or a consumer-oriented store for the religious. It is a people created by the cross of Christ, joined together in Christ to display his power and grace to the world. For this reason, the church is called a temple. As we learned last week, temples display the power of the God who dwells therein. And in the c...

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“Give Me Life . . . According to Your Word”: How God’s Law Leads to Gospel Life

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There is a way of thinking today that says life and liberty are found by rejecting or rewriting the law. Personal expression is all that matters: "Just be yourself . . . Be authentically you!" And if any rules or lawsbe they religious or otherwiseget in the way, just reject or rewrite those restrictions. Importantly, Scripture is not silent on this matter. And it teaches ...

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God’s War Memorial: The Church of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:11

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This Sunday marks our fifth sermon in Ephesians and, with it, the consideration of the fifth sola. As our church remembers the Protestant Reformation this fall, we have sought to highlight the five solas from the text of Ephesians. After considering the material principles of the gospel in Ephesians 12 (e.g., Sola Gratis, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria), we con...

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By Grace, Through Faith: Getting Into God’s Grammar about Salvation (Ephesians 2:8

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When it comes to understanding the heart of the gospel, Ephesians 2:810 is an anchor passage. And this week I had the privilege and the challenge of preaching it. The privilege comes in the fact that, this verse encapsulates so much gospel truth. The challenge is unpacking all that is there in those three verses. As with many sermons, preaching this passage makes the prea...

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Our Mission Trip to Iceland: A Sunday Morning, Coffee House Update

On Facebook, I've had a chance to share a few updates from our mission trip. Today, as we get ready to go to church (at 2pm UTC), we are stopping in a local coffee shopthe Flagship Coffee House of the North Atlanticand stopping to give a brief update on our trip. So, here are six highlights from the trip. Six Highlights from Iceland The Landscape The first thing to me...

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What is the Protestant Reformation?

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Five-hundred years ago, on October 31, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Castle Church door. This action launched a series of disputations about the Bible, the gospel, and the churchto name only a few. In time, Luther's action would be considered the spark which ignited the Protestant Reformation. But whatisthe Protestant Reformation? And why do we need...

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The Warfare Worldview of Ephesians

When was the last time you prayed against the devil? Or, attributed your physical pain or emotional vexations to a demonic spirit? If it has been some time (or never), it's probably because you live in 21st Century America, where the evils of the worldmoral and naturalare explained by biological factors and scientific calculation. But if you lived in 16th Century Europe, ...

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Preaching the Psalms Canonically: A Postscript

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Instead of a Sermon Discussion guide this week, I've written up something of a Post-Script to the Psalms, a few reflections on reading and preaching the Psalms as one unified book. For the PDFs of each book, seeBook 1,Book 2,Book 3,Book 4,Book 5. Hopefully, in the next few days I can publish the bibliography of resources (books, chapters, articles) that I found useful in r...

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Great Commission Prayer: Gathering to Pray, Praying for Our Labors

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Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give go...

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From Dust to Trust: Rebuilding Shattered Dreams with the God of the Psalms

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What happens when your dreams are pulverized? To whom do you turn? Where do you run? In the Psalms, Book 3 (Psalms 7389) concludes with the crushing news that the crown of David had been buried in the dust of the earth. In short, because of Israel's sin, and the sin of David's sons in particular, God permitted the nations of Egypt and Babylon to plunder and then exile the...

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From Exaltation to Exile: The Tragic Fall of David’s House

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From Exaltation to Exile: The Tragic Fall of David's House In his chapter on the Psalms, Paul House writes of Book 3, Psalms 7389: Subtle shifts in tone, superscriptions and content leading up to historical summaries in Psalms 78 and 89 indicate that part three [Psalms 7389] reflects Israel's decline into sin and exile. This national demise occurs in about 930587 B.C. an...

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The Soundtrack of Salvation (pt. 2): The Family Tree of David in Psalms 42

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How do you know who you are? For all of us stories, especially family stories, define who we are. While the world tells us we can define ourselves however we want, the truth is we need an overarching story to set the context for our lives. Apart from Christ, we seek to write a story with our lives that satisfies our cravings and bolsters our self-confidence. When we come...

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From David’s Harp to Our Daily Devotions: Learning to Sing the Psalms in Four Keys

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Stretching from the time of Moses (Psalm 90) to the exile of Israel (Psalm 126 or 137), the Psalms as we know them 150 songs ordered in five books took a long time to write. So, how do we read them in their historical context? What is their historical context? And how do we sing them today, knowing that at least some of them were first written and sung in Solomon's templ...

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The Soundtrack of Salvation (pt. 1): Walking the Hills and Valley of Psalms 1

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The Psalters is comprised of 150 Psalms, divided into five books. Is this incidental? Or should we seek to discern the message of the Psalms by examining the five books? Last week, we started our journey through the Psalms, as we considered the way Psalms 12 introduce the whole book. This week, we looked at the first 41 Psalms. In particular we traced what I called three ...

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Wisdom, Kingdom, Salvation: A Three-Paneled Window into the Psalms (Psalms 1

The Psalms

Wisdom, Kingship, and Salvation: Looking at the Psalter through Psalms 1 and 2(Sermon Audio) Few books have had a more personal or profound impact on the worship of the church than the Psalms. And for the next two months our church is going to meditate on their message. But what is their message? And how do we find it? Is it possible to read the Psalms as one unified book...

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A Personal and Pastoral Reflection

The Psalms

Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Psalm 51, Psalm 103, Psalm 110, Psalm 121 and Psalm 139. These are just a few of my favorite Psalms. Through the years, I have prayed these Psalms, memorized them, preached them, and turned to them in dozens of counseling situations. In fact, I remember one Sunday a few years ago when in preaching Galatians, I called an audible and preached Psalm 103, b...

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Marriage Convenient or Marriage Covenant: Six Truths About and Six Threats Toward Marriage (Genesis

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The Bible begins with a marriage, and it ends with a marriage. In fact, the goal of all humanity is a spiritual union between Christ and his bride the Church. In between, we must decide if we will abide by God's design for marriage or design our own. To be completely honest, every single one of us has sinned and fallen short of God's ideal for sex and marriage. Born outsi...

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God’s Design for Marriage: A Story and a Song

marraige

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;it was granted her to clothe herself with fi...

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Attempting Great Things for God; Expecting Great Things from God: An Update

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What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow worker...

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Playing Your Part in the Gospel (pt. 1): Planning, Giving, Going, Hosting, and Helping (1 Corinthian

Life Changing Gospel Local Church 2

When Paul finishes his doctrinal defense of the resurrection, he says, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (15:58). Clearly, in his mind the resurrection is not an esoteric point of doctrine; rather, it fuels ministry andmissions. Indeed, in 1 Corinthians 16 ...

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Hospitality is Not Optional: Five Ways to Pursue Other People

welcome

A few months ago I wrote about the importance of hospitality and five ways to show hospitality in the church. Today, I want to offer five more. While much hospitality focuses on individuals or families opening their homes to others, a vital practice which enables "house churches" to meet (e.g., Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19), I am focusing attention on churches gatheri...

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Pierced ‘That I Might’ Praise: The Worship Only Penal Substitution Creates

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For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For Christ also suffered once for sins,the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God,being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. 1 Peter 3:18 In and around the church, there hasalways been a group of theolo...

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What Does the Resurrection Mean? (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)

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This week marks the sixth and final message on 1 Corinthians 15. Since Easter, I have preached 6 messages on the glories of this chapter. Whether the sermons are any good is debatable, but the chapter is indisputably glorious. So, take time to readit, and if interested you can listen to one (or a few) of thesix messages below. Resurrecting the Gospel: Its Frame, Focus, ...

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Glorifying God with Our Technology: Four Questions to Ask

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Over the past five weeks our adult Sunday School class has been considering Discipleship in a Digital Age. In one sense, discipleship in any age concerns certain common disciplines in order to become like Christ so that we no longer live to ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:14), but to Christ (Galatians 2:20). If we want to grow into Christ, we must discipline ourselves for god...

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Is It Finished? Clarity and Conviction about the Miraculous Gifts (1 Corinthians 12 -14)

Life Changing Gospel Local Church 2

On the cross Jesus exclaimed this glorious truth: Tetelestai! It is Finished! Our eternal security is settled by this truth. And this week we celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday because Jesus Christ finished his gracious work of redemption on on the cross. Strangely, we are less certain about the finished work of the Holy Spirit. Some might even question whethe...

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Life After Death (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)

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Few passages are more exhilarating than 1 Corinthians 15 and itspromise of resurrection life. For those who trust in Christ, Paul says what is buried in the dust will be raised in glory. Taking up a variety of images, he describes the indescribable in verses 3549 namely the way in whichchildrenof Adam formed from the dust of earth are raised to life in Christ to share his ...

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The Resurrection: Historical, Necessary, and More Than Sufficient (1 Corinthians 15:12 -20)

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Is the resurrection necessary? Evangelicals Christians say, "Absolutely. Undoubtedly. No question." Other "Christians," Protestant Liberals, are less committed. Who's right? Thankfully, the Bible is not indifferent or ambiguous to the question. In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul spends an entire chapter arguing for the centrality of the resurrection. Last week, we saw ...

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Raised with Christ (pt. 1): The Unfolding Effects of Christ’s Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20 -28)

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Nothing is more central to the Christian faith than Christ's resurrection. Yet, how exactly does his resurrection secure ours? In what way is his resurrection applied to our lives? Is the promise of our resurrection just divine fiat, or is there something more that unites us to Christ? And is the resurrection only a future reality or is there something present to it? All ...

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Raised with Christ (pt. 2): The Unfolding Reign of Christ’s Resurrection

Cross Sky

First Corinthians 15 is one giant meditation on Christ's glorious resurrection. Verses 111 speak of the resurrection's centrality in the gospel; verses 1219 explain the necessity of the resurrection; and now in verses 2034 we find how the resurrection of Christ applies to us. In what follows you can find discussion questions about Sunday's sermon and a few resources that ...

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Reading and Inhabiting the Drama of Scripture

Biblehands

For the first few years of my Christian life Our Daily Bread served as a vital part of my personal devotions. Each month or two, I'd pick up the short devotional in the church foyer, and each day I'd read it with accompanying Scripture references. About the same time, I began memorizing Bible verses. Behind my desk today is an index box full of the Scriptures I sought to m...

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Discipleship in a Digital Age

From Abraham to Abraham Lincoln, the speed of the world didn't change all that much. From the agrarian lifestyle of the Patriarch to the rural farms of North America, among which Lincoln grew up, the speed of news typically traveled at the pace of a horse. In this historical setting, the famed presidential debates between Lincoln and Douglas lasted for hours at a time, wit...

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This is the Day That the Lord Has Made

This is the Day That the Lord Has Made

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 Like many, I learned this verse not from reading it in the Bible but singing it in church. Les Garrett's chorus, "This is the Day," is a popular praise song that sets this verse to music. My wife and I have taught this song to our kids, and it is not unusual to find myself singing t...

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No Other Gospel: Reflections from The Gospel Coalition

The Gospel Coalition

For three days this week, ten of us from Occoquan Bible Church traveled to Indianapolis to join 8,500 other followers of Christ at The Gospel Coalition's bi-annual gathering. This year we celebrated the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and its recovery of the gospel. The theme of this week's conference was "No Other Gospel" and in less than 72 hours we heard...

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Six Lessons on Shepherding: A Pastoral Meditation on 1 Thessalonians 2

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In the Bible, leadership is likened to shepherding. In the Old Testament, God shepherded his people; he called shepherds like Moses and David to lead his people; and kings were often likened to shepherds. In the New Testament, the image continues. Elders are commanded to shepherd the people whom God gives them to oversee (1 Peter 5:14). And local churches are to recognize ...

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Speech Therapy: Training Our Tongues to Build Up Others (1 Corinthians 14:1

Life Changing Gospel Local Church 2

Proverbs says a soft answer turns away wrath. James 3 says that the tongue is a fire which can set a whole forest ablaze. 1 Corinthians 14 says to not forbid speaking in tongues, yet it also gives a long list of qualifications. With all these words about the tongue and tongues, how should we proceed? Our words have incredible power for building up or tearing down.This is ...

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Welcome One Another

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Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. -- Romans 15:7 -- In the Bible hospitality is no small matter. From Abraham to the Apostles, God called his people to greet one another with love and concern. For instance, in the Old Testament it was more than a cultural faux pas to deny hospitality; it was an indictment against the whole village. Lik...

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Love Never Ends (1 Corinthians 13:8

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This last Sunday we considered how love endures, looking at four movements in Paul's argument in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. From the temporary to the eternal (v. 8) From the partial to the perfect (vv. 9-10) From the child to the man (v. 11) From the mirror to face to face (v. 12) Sermon audio is available online; discussion question and study resources are listed bel...

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Saint Patrick: Separating Missionary Fact from Fictitious Malarkey

St. Patrick's Blog

What comes to mind when you think of St. Patrick's Day? Leprechauns. Ireland. Wearing green. Or drinking green beer. If that is it, you may want to re-read the record books. A few years back, Russell Moore gave a brief history lesson on the real Patrick that should make every missionally-minded Christian sit up and take notice. Drawing on the Philip Freeman's 2007 book, ...

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Thanksgiving: a practice of politeness, etiquette, and good decorum or something else?

Biblehands

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. -- Psalm 69:30 -- Thanksgiving is a practice of politeness, etiquette, and good decorum. Right? It is what we (are told to) express when Aunt Lucille buys you a sweater when you want the Super Hero action figures. Or something like that. It is a Christian command, but one that is more happe...

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Building the Body of Christ: Unity and Diversity, Mutuality and Charity (1 Corinthians 12:12

Open Bible

Building the Body of Christ: Unity and Diversity, Mutuality and Charity (Sermon Audio) What is the goal of Paul's discussion about spiritual gifts? If it is not clear from his words in 12:7, then his elongated illustration of the one body with many parts is unmistakable. Christ gave multiple gifts to his church in order for the various part to build one another up in love...

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Blessed Assurance: “Jesus is Yours”

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Assurance. It is a precious gift the Lord gives his people. As 1 John 5:13 says, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life." Yet, despite God's promise of assurance, sometimes experientially our personal assurance wanes. There are many reasons for thissome caused by God's sovereign and mysterious p...

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The Church’s One Foundation: Spiritual Gifts and the Universal Church (1 Corinthians 12:1

Life Changing Gospel Local Church 2

The Church's One Foundation: Spiritual Gifts and the Universal Church (Sermon Audio) This week's sermon looked more closely at the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:810. I argued that the sign gifts were given to the apostles and prophets to "lay the foundation" of the universal church, which is described as Christ's body in 1 Corinthians 12:13. Just as Paul des...

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The Final Days of Jesus: A 40 Day Reading Guide

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It has been said of Mark's Gospel that it is a passion narrative with an extended introduction. The same could be said of all the Gospels. In each account, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John introduce Jesus of Nazareth as the long-awaited Messiah of Israel. In various ways they display his divine power and human personality. Yet, with each evangelist, the focus of each Gospel t...

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Holy Spirit Power: The Gift, the Giver, the Goal, and the Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-11)

Life Changing Gospel Local Church 2

Holy Spirit Power: The Gift, the Giver, the Goal, and the Gifts (sermon audio) Despite their obvious flaws, Paul loved the church at Corinth. And in his section on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 1214, he aims to help his spiritual children come to a true understanding of the Holy Spirit and the purpose of the spiritual gifts. Important for us standing twenty centuries ...

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Rightly Dividing the Cultural Background to 1 Corinthians 11

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There are a lot of cultural challenges to 1 Corinthians 11:216, a passage that invites discussion about the trinity, gender roles, the use of head coverings, and the role of angels in public worship. Tomorrow I will preach on this passage, but today I share a number of quotations from various commentaries related to various cultural and theological challenges in this passa...

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You Are What You Eat: A Lord’s Supper Meditation

Communion

"Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,not like the covenant that I made with their fatherson the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.For they did not continue in my covenant,and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.For this ...

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Love Your Neighbor: A Biblical Theology of Race and Ethnicity

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and...

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Learning to See the Beauty of a Gospel-Centered Church

This Sunday we start up a new cycle of Discover OBC classes. And in our first part we look at the Gospel and the Church. I love teaching about these two subjects, because they are at the core of Christianity. The gospel is the message which brings hope to a sinful world; the church is the community created by that gospel and commissioned to protect and proclaim that gospel...

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Exposing Abortion's Allies (pt. 1): Expressive Individualism ( Genesis 4:1-8)

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Abortion is a bloody evil that has taken the lives of almost sixty million children since 1973. Rightly, Christians (and non-Christians like Secular Pro-Life) have stood up against this modern-day holocaust. Through prayer vigils, sermons, information campaigns, legislation, and pro-life marches, much ground has been gained ground in the fight against abortion. But much gr...

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Exposing the Allies of Abortion

46209_Sanctity_of_Life

An abortifacient is any man-made device which leads to an intentional miscarriage. Typically, this word is used to describe drugs or devices which terminate a pregnancy. But I want to suggest that it is not only chemicals and syringes that abort babies. Ideas do too! For instance, when a Christian learns their method of birth control kills embryos, they change. Why? Becau...

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Discipleship Fever: Disciple-Making as Treasure-Seeking (Luke 12:32

Rhythms of Holiness

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:78 Yesterday I preached a message on disciple-making that, for me, is the culmination of about 15 years of thinking on discipleship and Christian hedonism. In college God used...

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‘Cardiac Discipleship’: Five Ways to Pursue the Heart in Spiritual Formation

You Are What You Loveby James K. A. Smith is a needed corrective to overly cerebral approaches to discipleship. It is a challenge to followers of Christ to evaluate how 'secular liturgies' are training our hearts to love things other than God and our neighbor. And it presents a vision of discipleship that does more than just cement spiritual disciplines in new believers; i...

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Mercies Anew: Thanksgiving for 2016, Prayers for 2017

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." Lamentations 3:2224 With every new day, God grants new mercies. And the same is true with the dawning of a new year. Just as Israel participated in annual feasts that...

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Praying with Passion (Psalm 126)

Rhythms of Holiness

As we begin 2017, our church has taken January to focus on a handful of spiritual disciplinespersonal and public. The first in our series is prayer. But instead of just commending its importance and techniques to help, I took the route of seeing how God forms desire for prayer in our hearts. By drawing near to God, by remembering the promises of his Word, and by desiring ...

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Desiring the Disciplines

Rhythms of Holiness

The new year is always a good time to recalibrate habits and reconsider spiritual disciplines. Over the next month, we will do both at Occoquan Bible Church. First, as we begin the new year, we will be starting some new habits with regards to worship services, church communications (in the form of an app), and Bible reading. Read these blog posts to learn more: A new ...

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Peace To End All Wars: What Christ’s Birth Has Done and Will Do

A story from WWI reminds us that there's still hope in the worst of times. In December of 1914, British soldiers heard German troops singing Christmas Carols. In the dark, huddled in their cold trenches, the British soldiers wondered what to make of this. But soon, they joined in the singing. And so, through Christmas Eve, the two warring armies celebrated the birth of the...

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What Death Steals, the Lord Can Restore: Remembering Easter at Christmas (Matthew 2:16)

The Promised One

Few passages of Scripture are heavier than Matthew 2:1618, the historical account of Herod's slaughter of the innocent children in Bethlehem. But few passages are also able to reach the depths of human loss and comfort the grieving in their deepest pain. When read in conjunction with Jeremiah 31:15, which Matthew quotes in verse 18, we find in Matthew's Gospel a promise o...

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The Good News ‘Out of Egypt’ (Matthew 2:13

The Promised One

Christmas is a time of holiday cheer, or at least that's the way it's usually sold. But biblically, we find something much different, something much more like what happened in Egypt yesterday morning. In the infancy narratives of Matthew, Jesus becomes a refugee when Herod seeks to take his life. Matthew tells this brief account in Matthew 2:1315 and explains that this was...

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Choose Your Focus This Christmas: Learning from Herod, the Magi, and Matthew (Matthew 2:1)

The Promised One

In Matthew 2:112 we find the incredible story of the Magi. Sunday, Ron Comoglio, one of OBC's elders preached a message on that passage. What follows are discussion questions related to that sermon and further resources for studying the incredible account of the Bethlehem Star which led the Magi to meet the Christ-child and offer him worship. Matthew 12:112 Now after Jes...

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Immanuel: How God Came to Us (Matthew 1:18

The Promised One

This week we started a new sermon series through Matthew 1-2. As we celebrate the birth of our Lord, we look to the way Matthew explained his birth as the "fulfillment" of God's promises of old. For instance, as Matthew writes, Jesus is Son of Abraham and the Son of David (Matthew 1:1), the "Immanuel" promised in Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:23), the royal son born in Bethlehem,...

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Take Hold of Christ and His Kingdom: 16 Gospel-Motivated Considerations for Election 2016

What do we say to our church in the face of the impending election? In the spirit of 2016, here are six ways we can take hold of God, even as we wrestle with the challenges of this year's election. May God use these to encourage and challenge your heart. May he be pleased to use them to purify our hope in him and our church's commitment to the Great Commandment and the Gr...

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A Plate Full of Faithfulness: How Food Reveals and Reforms Our Faith

Life Changing Gospel Local Church 2

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him," is John Piper's famous dictum fusing God's passion to be worshiped and man's passion to be happy. Yet, spoken into our hyper-individualistic culture, this glorious truth might lead some to think glorifying God is an individual's task. In truth, God is glorified as we use our freedom to serve others. We canno...

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A Reformation Day Meditation: The Law, the Gospel, and Martin Luther

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7 On Monday, October 31, the world celebrates Halloween. But Protestants with a sense of history will celebrate the birth of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517 the Augustinian Monk, Martin Luther, "published" his gr...

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Finding a Redemptive Rhythm: Communion, Culture and Co-Mission Pt. 2

Life Changing Gospel Local Church 2

Last week we saw the covenantal nature of communion and how the Lord's Table not only creates a thick relationship with Christ but also with one another. This week's sermon furthered that discussion looking at ways we must resist the pulls of demonic-inspired idols. In an applicational message on 1 Corinthians 10:14-22, I argued Communion creates culture-for good or ba...

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The Disciple-Making Church: Teaching Disciples to Obey All Christ Has Said About the Church

Family Worship

In 2001 I took a summer job at the Harris Teeter in Virginia Beach. While on "project" with Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru), I sought a place to work and witness for three months. Harris Teeter fit the bill, and hiring me they knew I'd return to Michigan in August. That being known, Harris Teeter invested 20 man-hours to train me, like they did every new employee. On top ...

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Recapping Occoquan Bible Church's EQUIP Conference

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This past September, Occoquan Bible Church hosted a weekend conference aimed to equip the saints for their works of service. This year's conference was twofold, considering marriage and evangelism. Typically seen as two silos of Christian discipleship, we learned how marriage displays the gospel and how evangelism powerfully communicated through our homes. Together marria...

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Beholding Christ at the Lord's Table: Substitution in the Old Testament

The Lord's Table proclaims to us the death of Christ, and interpreted with our eyes to the Scripture, we are reminded of Christ's precious substitution....

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A Biblical Theology of Feasting

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A Covenant-Making, Identity-Defining Meal ...

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Resting in a Received Ministry

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Scripture is filled with commands to wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14; 37:34; Isaiah 8:17; etc.). While the contexts of these and other "wait" imperatives are varied and often relate to the Lord's eschatological deliverance, the pattern of waiting is normative for the believer (e.g., 1 Corinthians 1:7; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:12). Coupled with these commands are the verses that...

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We are All Foodies: How Feasting with the Lord Retrains Our Appetites

Communion

Where should we eat? What should we eat? Where's the best place to eat? Whether we take time to think about it or not, questions about food come up every day. Wherever you live, food plays a large part in who we are. Restaurants are often associated with various countries, ethnicities, or even religious practices. Shall we eat at the Mexican grocery or the Kosher deli? Is...

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Love Disciplines: Answering Five Objections to Church Discipline

For the last eight weeks, we have walked through Paul's instructions on church discipline, legal proceedings and sexual purity, and singleness, marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Now we will consider how these teachings are meant to shape life together in the church. But first let's consider five faulty objections that come against church discipline. ...

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Are You Equipped?

EQUIP Conf 2016 1

"...to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.." Ephesians 4:12 In the 1980s edutainment games were coming of age and infiltrating American schools. Leading the way was a game called Oregon Trail. Perhaps you remember playing the game, shooting Buffalo, fording rivers, and fighting off dysentery. In truth, for most 20th and 21st cen...

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Seven Truths About Doctrine of Vocation

In 1 Corinthians 7:17 – 24 Paul speaks of our calling before God. In all of his writings, this may be one that most directly deals with the doctrine of vocation. Here are seven truths that relate to “vocation” and our calling to live for and before God in all we say and do....

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From Capital Punishment to Christ’s Propitiation: What Leviticus 20:13 Means for Christians Today

Orlando Tragedy

The recent, horrible killing in Orlando prompts us to pray fervently and think carefully. ...

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How the Lord's Table Defines Its Dinner Party

Communion

A number of years ago, as I ate dinner with friends at an outdoor caf, I was wrongly identified as a famous race car driver. It was more than a little awkward, as the mistaken gentleman belted out: "Dale!! Dale Earnhardt, Jr.?!? Is that you? Awww . . . I love you, man!" With sorrow and embarrassment, I had to say: "Sorry, you've got the wrong guy." He quickly recognized h...

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True Love Admonishes

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Though only used eight times in the New Testamentall by Paul (7x in his Epistles; 1x in Acts)the word "admonish" lays a special charge on believers. While only commanded as "admonish one another" in two places (Romans 15:14 and Colossians 3:16), the command is implied in all its uses, with especial consideration for leaders. To get a sense of its meaning consider these ei...

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The Gospel Perfectly and Proportionately Humbles and Exalts

Gospel of Jesus Christ

Why is the Gospel of Jesus Christ so vital to the restoration of mankind?...

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What is the Gospel?

The gospel is often assumed. Rarely defined. Abstract, not concrete. It is a good word to use in church, but it is a word more quickly said than studied. Who needs the gospel? What do we do with the gospel?...

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The Minister's Rest and the Rest of the Summer

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Rest in the Bible is never a time of inactivity and lethargy. Rather it is a time when God and his people enjoy one another. This principle of rest is true for all Christians, and especially those who labor to feed and tend the flock....

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How Scripture and the Spirit Prepare Us for the Lord's Supper

How do you approach the Lord's table when your heart is uncertain of its spiritual condition?...

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Discipleship 101: Who Makes Disciples?

At the institutional level, God has created the church to be a disciple-making community. At the individual level, mature believers are the ones who make disciples. ...

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Together for the Gospel

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Empowered by God's omnipotence, the gospel is not confined by space, time, distance, or resources. As Paul says in Romans 1:16, the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Therefore, the gospel is bigger than a conference. Still, this week in Louisville, Kentucky there is a big conference celebrating and exclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. The name of the conference ...

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Enlarging Our Mission Footprint

Reykjavík Missionary

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." Isaiah 52:7 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without ...

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Looking at the Old Testament on Good Friday

Ram 2

Although the centerpiece of the BibleChrist's crossis revealed in the New Testament, we cannot understand its meaning without the Old Testament. Indeed, Paul says Christ's death and resurrection happened "according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4), which means according to the Old Testament Scriptures. Similarly, Peter says the prophets were led by the Spirit of ...

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What does the Bible say about the doctrine of election?

What Bible Says About Election

While debated and sometime distorted, the doctrine of election is plainly biblical. ...

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Discipleship 101: What is a Disciple?

Labels fail us. In popular Christianity, there are various definitions of discipleship. And this difference comes before we begin to discuss discipleship programs and practices. So how do we decide what a disciple is?...

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The Lord's Supper is a Family Making Meal

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might rec...

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Reframing "Membership" in the Church

Membership Matters

The term "membership" is misleading because of how it is commonly used. Often "membership" connotes privilege in a club. Costco members get access to deals. Country club members get reduced green fees. Jelly of the month club members get, well . . . you get the point. If you pay your dues, membership entitles you to get something. Because of these various commercial "mem...

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The Life-Changing Gospel in God's Local Church

Life Changing Gospel Local Church 2

Sunday we begin a new series in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Written to bring the gospel light to a number of problems in that local church, our series is entitled, "The Life-Changing Gospel in God's Local Church. Excluding the introduction (Cor. 1:19) and the conclusion (Cor. 16:524), 1 Corinthians can be broken into two main parts. First, Paul responds to the...

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For the Sake of His Name

World Map

In the New Testament evangelism was propelled by an overarching concern for the glory of God. As Paul writes in Romans 1, he was an apostle of God’s gospel . . . "so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God". ...

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An Opportunity to Redeem the Time

Worship is our every-hour spiritual act of service to the Lord who has redeemed us. Make use of these resources to encourage your worship this wintery weekend....

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FAQ's in the Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual Disciplines Psalms

"Discipline yourself for godliness" 1 Timothy 4:7...

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Word-Centered Examination Leads to Spirit-Filled Assurance

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. -- Psalm 19:12-14 -- The ...

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What Kind of News is “God with Us”?

Immanuel

Immanuel. God with us. This is the good news, right?...

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Communion is a Community Meal

community

"Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread."...

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Christmas Carols: Beholding Christ in the Psalms

Christmas Carols

In our new series for the Advent season "Christmas Carols: Beholding Christ in the Psalms", we will be surveying the whole book of Psalm. ...

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Giving Thanks for the Gospel at Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 2

At this time of year when we recall God's many blessings, it is worth probing deeper to examine the danger of ingratitude and the greatest reason to give thanks....

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Recommended Reading: Books on Prayer

32624_Prayer

In truth, nothing teaches you how to pray like praying, and especially by praying with others who know how to pray. Certainly, the Scriptures are the place to learn what it means to "pray in the Spirit." But if you are like me, you are helped when men and women gifted to teach and gifted to pray write books that relate Scriptural truth to real life. ...

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All Together at the Lord's Table

Communion

The Lord's Supper is entrusted to the church and shared by the whole body - whether that's 15 believers hiding in a house church in China, or 3000 saints sitting on cushioned pews....

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Life Together: A Short Review

Bonhoeffer Life Together

As we consider the One Anothers, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book "Life Together" invites you to think deeply about God's design for his people....

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How the Lord's Supper Fuels Us to Love One Another

This Sunday we will take the Lord’s Supper. And instead of coming in unprepared (as is so easy to do), let us consider how the Lord’s Supper fuels Jesus’ New Commandment to “Love One Another.”...

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Psalm 133: Life Together in Jesus Family

So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another....

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Joy in the Lord, in the Church, and in the Ministry

"Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith."...

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