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A Family of Royal Priests

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"You were made for this!" This phrase seems to be thrown around quite a bit these days: Sports commentators talk this way about athletes; teachers about pupils; mentors about those they coach. In short, it is a way of speaking that comes from a recognized "authority" on someone who is ascending in their field. It is language meant to boost esteem and put everyone on alert...

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A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament: Seven Videos on Location in Iceland

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Last weekend, I was in Iceland teaching a biblical theology of the Old Testament. Drawing on The Drama of ScripturebyCraig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, I sought to explain how the Old Testament is organized around the twin concepts of Kingdom and Covenant. The following videos are put up by Loftstofan Baptistakirkja (Upper Room Baptist Church) and their pastor Gunnar...

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Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

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This past Sunday we continued our consideration of the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 7:1-6 is a difficult passage and is often quoted and applied out of context. From the whole counsel of God's Word, it is clear that the prohibition in verse 1 does not leave us unable to ever make a judgment or exercise discernment. In fact, many places in Scripture give us explicit instruc...

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The Gospel According to Moses: Three Reasons Why We Should Study Deuteronomy

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If you could only take one book of the Bible with you on a deserted island, what would it be? Psalms? The Gospel of John? Hebrews? What about Deuteronomy? Amazingly, when we put that question to the life Jesus, we discover it was the book of Deuteronomy and the Psalms, which Jesus took with him when the Spirit led him into the wilderness. In Matthew 4:111 we find the acco...

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The Gospel According to Moses: Three Reasons Why We Should Study Deuteronomy

deurteronomy01

If you could only take one book of the Bible with you on a deserted island, what would it be? Psalms? The Gospel of John? Hebrews? What about Deuteronomy? Amazingly, when we put that question to the life Jesus, we discover it was the book of Deuteronomy and the Psalms, which Jesus took with him when the Spirit led him into the wilderness. In Matthew 4:111 we find the acco...

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Separation Anxiety (Matthew 6:25-43)

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This last Sunday Jeff Dionise preached from Matthew 6:25-43 as Jesus teaches His disciples about anxiety and faith. This passage is a good encouragement to look to our Heavenly Father who provides for His children Listen to the sermon from this last Sunday, and discussion questions are below: Matthew 6:25-3425"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what...

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God’s Currency Exchange: How God Funds His Gospel Mission

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Over the summer, our church considered many of the things Jesus said about money. In a Sunday School series following Randy Alcorn'sThe Treasure Principle,we learned much about how to invest our lives in things eternal. This Sunday, in our Sermon on the Mount series, we will again look at Jesus's words about storing up treasure in heaven and not on earth. Reflecting on th...

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Are You Going To(o) Fast? (Matthew 6:16

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Fasting. If you have read the Bible, you've probably come across it. It's mentioned about 75 times. Maybe you've even tried to it. But what is it? Some testify to the miraculous results of this ancient practice. Others just skip over it, an impossible practice that is for "major league" Christians. And still others may be confused by the whole thing, or practice it for t...

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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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How to Pray (Matthew 6:5-15)

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Have you experienced the sweet hour of prayer in your daily time with the Lord, or does it seem your words just bounce off the walls and ceiling and go nowhere? In the next portion of our study of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:5-15), Pastor Ron Comoglio preaches on the Lord's instruction for prayer. Jesus gives elements to avoid, and aspects to embrace to ensure o...

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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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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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The Extra Mile: Matthew 5:38-42

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The Extra Mile In a world of retaliation and self-protection, what does it look like to follow Jesus when one's security is threatened? How ought Jesus' disciples to turn the other cheek, and go the extra mile? Listen to this last Sunday's sermon, and go deeper with the discussion questions below: Matthew 5:38-42 38You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an ey...

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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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“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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Approaching the Lord's Table "Together"

Communion

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 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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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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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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Gospel-Shaped Theology: How to Hold the Truth in Love

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This last Sunday we concluded our Sunday School series: Gospel-Shaped Theology: How to Hold the Truth in Love. If you have missed past sessions, I invite you to catch up via our podcast: Gospel-Shaped Theology: How to Hold the Truth in Love Gospel-Shaped Theology: An Introduction to Theological Triage First-Order Doctrines: The First Importance of the Gospel Secon...

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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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Scripture Readings for Holy Week

We invite you to read through one or more of the Gospel accounts of the Passion Week listed below listed below as we prepare to celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection....

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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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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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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 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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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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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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The Joy of My Heart

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"Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart" (Psalm 119:111). Is your time in God's Word is marked by joy and delight? Let me encourage you as we enter this new year to read and meditate on Psalm 119. I have found this psalm to be personally transformative in growing in love for God's Word during my own personal study over the years. Psalm...

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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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Celebrating and Proclaiming Christ at Christmastime

We look forward to Christmas for many reasons, but most of all we rejoice at the miracle of Christ's birth, and the grace of God in the Word become flesh. One of the traditions my family looks forward to is our advent calendar. Each day of December leading up to Christmas we tuck a slip of paper with a daily Scripture reading and a Christmas tradition behind the miniatu...

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November 2017 Shepherd's Letter

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, "Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations" (Psalm 100:4b-5). We are thankful to the Lord for you, for our church family, and for how the Lord is working in our midst. We are thankful for the grace and faithfulness of God that we heard proclaimed durin...

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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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Adoption and Orphan Care: More Than a Sunday Announcement

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"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27 Last week our church recognized Orphan Care Sunday and I shared the verse above. Clearly, our Father intendsand expectshis people to care for the helpless, which in first century Palestine consi...

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October 2017 Shepherd's Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters, "Post Tenebras Lux" "After darkness, light." This is how the Reformers described the recovery of the gospel in the Protestant Reformation as the truths of Scripture ignited across Europe. We are thankful for God's grace as we consider how He has built His church over the centuries, especially as we commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Prot...

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Growing up with "Papa” vs. Going to the Father through the Son

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A Conversation with Jeff Dionise ...

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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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September 2017 Shepherd's Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters, We hope and pray that you are encouraged and strengthened by the grace of God as we move deeper into the book of Ephesians this fall. It has been encouraging over these last few weeks to see Christ exalted above all things, and then to see the promise of the immeasurable riches of grace that God in His kindness has given to us in His Son. When...

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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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NextGen Kids: A Program with A Purpose

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Church programs can be dangerous. Most of the time, the danger lies in that many programs tend toward losing purpose, and often begin to serve the program itself rather than its intended purpose. We've probably all been a part of church programs that have long outlasted their relevance or effectiveness. That's how (as an example) a church ends up spending thousands of dol...

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Christ in the Psalms

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Do you see Jesus in the Psalms? Where do the Psalms teach us about Jesus?...

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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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June 2017 Shepherd's Letter

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, This last month has been full of activity in our community. We are glad for the opportunity to partner in the gospel with other churches in our county for Community VBS, and thankful for the host families and the many volunteers who served. They devoted time for training, preparation, and then a week of ministry to the children and families of...

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

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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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Ministry, Minors, and Millstones: On Protecting the Children We Receive in Church

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On paper, we Americans are all about putting children first. You see it everywhere from politicians who perennially promise "to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren," to people who step out of public life to "spend more time with their children," to otherwise divorcing couples who vow to stay together "for the children." We want our children to have the...

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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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May 2017 Shepherd's Letter

May 2017 Shepherd's Letter. A monthly review and update of ministry happenings at Occoquan Bible Church....

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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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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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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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Discipleship in a Digital Age: Resources

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Resources accompanying our "Discipleship in a Digital Age" series....

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

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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

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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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The Bread and the Cup

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A Lord's Table meditation....

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April 2017 Shepherd's Letter

Shepherd's Letter

The April 2017 Shepherd's Letter of Occoquan Bible Church....

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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

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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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March 2017 Shepherd's Letter

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March 2017 Shepherd's Letter for Occoquan Bible Church....

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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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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?

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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

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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 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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Pray for our Youth Ministry

This afternoon we are taking 35 youth and leaders up to Pennsylvania for our annual winter retreat which is one of our favorite ministry events of the year. We are driving up this afternoon for a weekend filled with fellowship and teaching at the Greenwood Hills Retreat Center. From Friday evening to Sunday morning we will gather for five sessions of singing, teaching,...

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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

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"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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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 the Allies of Abortion

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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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Five Ways You Can Participate in Sanctity of Life

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We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life....

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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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Concert of Prayer Postponed

Concert of Prayer Postponed...

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Hey Brother, Can You Share Some Change?

Hey Brother, Can You Share Some Change? It's probably happened to you. You're at church one Sunday morning and see a face that doesn't look familiar. Wanting to be a good host, you approach and introduce yourself. "Are you new to OBC?" you ask. "Well I've been attending for about 6 months," they reply. After overcoming your initial embarrassment for failing to recogniz...

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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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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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Bible Reading Plans for 2017

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Do you have a Bible reading plan for 2017?...

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Why take our kids to worship?

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Taking your child to the Sunday worship service can be jarring, but helpful! Pastor Jared Bridges, Elder over Family Ministry at OBC, believes this is helpful for discipleship, education, tradition, and opportunity....

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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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New for the New Year

2017 Snowflake

As we are getting close to the new year, I'm glad to share news about a few things that are coming quickly this January: (1) We have created an Occoquan Bible Church App, and (2) we are transitioning to an improved mobile and desktop giving system. The OBC App In the next few weeks we will be launching an Occoquan Bible Church app for iOS and Android devices. As we live ...

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How to Help a Child Attend a Worship Service

Jared Sketch

We invite you to reread Jared's helpful post "How to Help a Child Attend a Worship Service," as weget ready for the upcoming change to our Sunday morning schedule. With that transition and the holidays approaching, please take note of schedule for the next few weeks: December 11 18 (Worship Services and Sunday School at 9:30am 11:00am) December 24 (Christmas Eve Servi...

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Looking to Jesus this Christmas

During the Christmas season, it is far too easy for our attention to be consumed with the busyness of decorating, gift shopping, menu planning, travel, family traditions, and more. In all these things, we have a great need to pause and intentionally focus our hearts to consider the meaning and miracle of Jesus' birth. Below are a few ways for you and your family to look...

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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 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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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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Care Net's Banquet and 100 Years of Planned Parenthood

Choose Life

We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. ...

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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 Call to Prayer and Fasting

The elders of OBC invite you to join with your brothers and sisters in prayer and fasting for the people, events and decisions that will be part of tomorrow night's Prince William County School Board meeting at 7:00 p.m....

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A Biblical Theology of Feasting

community

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

Ax

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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Leading Your Children in Worship

Family Worship

Parents, do you lead your children in worship of God? No, I'm not talking about a mandatory song session led by you and your guitar. We can be thankful that's not required of us, and as we grow in our understanding of the nature of true worship, we understand that worship goes beyond our singing and encapsulates all we do (Rom 12:1-2; 1 Cor 10:31). And yet, God has given ...

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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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Remembering the Passion Week

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Every Spring as we approach the Passion Week we have special opportunities to remember Christ’s death and celebrate His resurrection. Let me encourage you with a few practical ways in which you as an individual, or you as a family might draw near to the Lord and celebrate the Gospel....

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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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Justice and Super Tuesday

I-Voted-sticker

As we approach Super Tuesday it is important that we understand our voting through the lens of God's Word. The Scripture speaks to every area of life, and no square inch of our existence is exempt from the rule of Christ and His authoritative Word. So what should it look like for us to seek God's glory during this election season? As we consider our role and responsibili...

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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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Our Journey to a Missions Commitment to Iceland

Reykjavík Missionary

In 2010, Iceland experienced volcanic eruptions at Eyjafjallajökull that spewed dark clouds of ash into the atmosphere, which spread into Europe and resulted in 20 nations closing their airspace to commercial jet traffic. The dark ash clouds have long since dissipated, yet a more ominous darkness envelopes Iceland that tragically shows no signs of dissipating ...

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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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Joy to the World

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Did you know that we only sing the second half of the Christmas hymn “Joy to the World’? Is this a Christmas song, and what kind of joy are you proclaiming? Read Pastor Ben’s Christmas blog post here....

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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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The Expected One

The Expected One

The Christmas devotional "The Expected One" will take you through December with daily meditations from the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. This book would also be a great way to begin having family devotions at home....

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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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Recommended Reading: Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman

Leeman Church Membership

The local church is a heavenly embassy which affirms the heavenly citizenship of believers. Membership in the local church practically marks our identity in the kingdom of God....

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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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Reflecting on Hymns

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What exactly is a hymn? How do we distinguish a hymn from a praise chorus? Is it the instrumentation; does an organ or piano equal a hymn?...

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Biblical Counseling: Why It Matters and How to Get Involved

Spiritual Care

The question is asked from time-to-time, what is biblical counseling? Is it a fad? What makes it really biblical? Is it different from "Christian counseling?" If so, how?...

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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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Elders' Christmas Letter

May the Lord bless you and your family with His grace and peace as you celebrate the Gospel this Christmas! ...

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Merry Christmas

Nativity

This season is rightly filled with joy as we remember the angel's famous announcement to the shepherds, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people" (Luke 2:10)...

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Embracing God's Family

As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, family is frequently on our minds as we make plans, travel, and gather together with relatives to celebrate. Do we share this same warmth and eagerness to see each other when it comes to the body of Christ? ...

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Why We Gather: Hearing Together

As we enter into moments of fellowship, it is God's design that we intentionally seek to minister to our brothers and sisters by encouraging and provoking each other to good works while we await Christ’s return....

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Why We Gather

For the next few weeks I’ll be writing a blog series on why we gather together as a church. For God’s people, it is vital for us to be together with each other. As we start this series, let’s begin with a classic text on fellowship ”” Hebrews 10:24-25....

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