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Piles of Anxieties

I must say that yesterday was one of the most stressful days of my ministry thus far at Bethel. It seemed as though God had a bulleted list of tests for me to take. Last night as I sat through the church-wide interview with our potential Associate Pastor, my mind was taken to a familiar passage of Scripture, 1 Peter 5:6-7, which says, "Humle yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, …

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A Biblical Recovery Plan

"Remember therefore form where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place - unless you repent." -Revelation 2:5 (NKJV)John, writing on Jesus' behalf to the church at Ephesus, gives them a simple, three-step approach to recovering their first love. It's a plan that applies to us anytime we turn our gaze from Jesus to something less, base, and worldly. When our heart's affection turns from our …

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Sincere Intentions with Terrible Infractions

Throughout the book of Judges, we see the phrase repeated again and again, "in those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." The word "right" always sounds good, but what was really happening was a postmodern revolution... in the ancient world. Moral and religious relativism pervaded the land.One such example is the mother of Micah who, in chapter 17, dedicated 11,000 shekels of silver to the Lord (sounds good, might have the …

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If You Only Had This Moment

Every leader has to be a good decision maker, and an even better decision manager. We often assume that great leaders are instantly decisive, but often the best leaders take a great deal of time to think decisions through and consult wise people.Personally, I get a little nervous under a soon-coming deadline on a decision… unless of course the decision is obvious. I sometimes begin to hear the tune to Jeopardy going through my head. When it comes to eternity, however, we have …

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To the Bitter End

"And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords (of the Philistines), and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life... And he judged Israel twenty years." -Judges 16:30-31The old Testament is filled with stories that seem very disconnected with us culturally and religiously. Samson is no exception. His life seems to be …

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Can You Handle the Truth?

And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”—2 Timothy 2:2 (NKJV)In order for Christianity to triumph in the modern age, Christian truth must be passed on from disciple to disciple. There are two key people involved in the process. First, the one holding the truths of Christianity must be willing to share, to invest into the lives of others. Second, there must be “faithful” people willing …

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Oh, To Be Four Again

Today, my daughter Ella turned four years old. We spent part of our day traveling to the Mall at Fayetteville to exchange doll houses (I'd bought the wrong one, of course). While there, we managed to pick up a few rooms worth of furniture for this new house. I couldn't believe the way the manufacturer had paid attention to detail. Ella chose a kitchen set with mock stainless steel appliances including a fridge (with ice and water dispenser), microwave, and little tiny …

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Little Things Matter

"Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth graet things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" -James 3:5Yesterday, as I was trying to act goofy to get a laugh out of my daughter Ella, I bounced off our bed and my kneecap landed square against the angle-iron of our bedframe. For several hours, I wondered if I'd broken it. I couldn't straigten it out, bend it, or lift it. It was red, swollen, and hot to the touch. We proceeded to go to the Mall twenty …

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Earthen Vessels

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”—2 Corinthians 4:7When I was a kid, I collected baseball cards. Occasionally I would hear a story of someone who discovered some old cards tucked away in a special place. One such story relates to a man who found an old rusty coffee can that contained a T-206 Honus Wagner card from the early 1900’s. He sold it at auction and the famous hockey player, Wayne Gretzky and …

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Growing With Difficult People

"I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not." -Judges 2:21-22When I first entered ministry, I had a dream of serving as Pastor of a church as quickly as possible. That hasty attitude led me to two very difficult experiences. I encountered churches that were saturated with problems, …

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