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The Greatest Rescue Operation of All Time

As I write this, the United States government is weighing the possibility of using ground military forces to rescue the Yazidi people who are trapped on a mountain in Iraz, surrounded by the threat of extermination by the Islamic State, a terrorist group currently taking control of a growing number of towns in their region. Politicians and military strategists are debating whether this is the right thing to do or not from a variety of perspectives. The situation at hand …

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Knowing Whom to Please Is Half the Battle

Keeping everyone happy is both exhausting and impossible. I know this from experience. I'm a recovering chronic people-pleaser and spent too many years of my life living for the approval of others, and it's a struggle that still creeps back up on a regular basis. As a Pastor, I don't want anyone to be upset with me at church. As a husband, I don't want to be honest enough to say something that might upset my wife. And in friendships, I've been afraid at times to get close …

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We Are Saved by Grace Alone Through Faith Alone

Here's the blunt, simple truth. We are all sinners. We've all broken God's commandments and have rebelled against His will. Like sheep, we've gone astray, every last one of us. And because of our rebellion, we have positioned ourselves for judgment and separation from God for eternity in hell. We've come up against a Law that we cannot, would not, and do not keep. We. Are. Doomed. Except... God loves us, deeply. He sent His Son Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins. …

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It’s Not That We DON’T Know, It’s That We WON’T Know…

The "wrath of God" is a touchy subject in our current culture, partly because we have a broken sense of fairness. We have the assumption that what we think we know ought to count in the place of what we really should know about God. In our arrogance, we assume that our postulations and philosophies are so amazing, God should somehow be impressed with the conclusions we've made up about Him. And if He is still upset about our lack of response and obedience to Him, then He's …

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Just How Good Do You Have to Be?

God has rules. The problem is, none of us can or do keep them. But the point of God's rules isn't so that, in keeping them, we can be made right with Him. The point of His rules is to make apparent to us our glaring inadequacies and failure and sin. When we are left with no further claim to earning God's favor through our own goodness we are finally ready to look to Jesus alone as Savior. The Bible says, The Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we …

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In a Culture War, There Can Be No Truce Nor Victory, So…

Hobby Lobby went to court. World Vision changed its hiring policy. Then they changed it back. The President visited the Pope. It's been a big week - not for the kingdom, but for western evangelicalism. And it hasn't been pretty. The church is called, in Scripture, the "pillar and ground of truth," so I believe we have a responsibility to be a voice for God's truth in the middle of a society that doesn't recognize or understand Him. That being said, I don't believe our …

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Always Remember Where You Came From

We need to be able to move past the sins God has forgiven us while retaining the memory of the beauty of that forgiveness. Paul said it this way... And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. - 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NIV) If you are a believer then you ARE forgiven. You are defined by His creative work in you and by His regenerative work in you. You belong …

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5 Ways to Preach Like a Pharisee

Many of the Pharisees were probably great teachers and skilled speakers. I'm sure many were charismatic, skilled communicators. But by the time Jesus arrived on the scene, the Pharisees, on the whole, were killing the culture around them spiritually. Jesus had a lot of work to do just to unwire people from the performance-driven, legalistic trap of pharisaism. I've been guilty of preaching like a Pharisee before, and as I review my sermons from the past, I cringe a bit as …

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I’m Going to Join Jen Hatmaker In the Basement

I avoid writing about politics and culture wars here, and it's because, frankly, the arguments from both sides often annoy me. Occasionally, someone who writes far better than I do is able to articulate what I wish I could say, and in regards to the current debacle over Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A, Jen Hatmaker has done that job quite well. Here's a clipping... So a business leader is no longer entitled to an opinion, even one that roughly half of America shares? Is that …

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Be On Guard So You Can Pounce on People!

My wife pointed out to me a powerful post on the website of People of the Second Chance entitled I am the Vulture. And I am sometimes. A few days ago, I wrote an article about preaching for SermonCentral and in the comments section, someone used the article as an opportunity to make some assumptions about me, and even about one of my mentors, without actually knowing either of us. The world recently learned that the Duggar family is now expecting child number twenty. …

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