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To Understand the Gospel, First Understand God

There are three things I know beyond the shadow of a doubt... There is a God. I am not him. Neither are you. I know that if we were to make up our own "god," he wouldn't resemble the God of the Bible much. I know that because that's what humanity has done repeatedly and still does today. It's easier to serve an idol that looks like our idea of god than it is to serve the Living God. That's why I cringe when people say things like, "Well I just think God probably doesn't …

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Defining God’s Holiness

Did you ever sing that hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty...? It's based on a couple of passages of Scripture, one of which was written by the prophet Isaiah... And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” - Isaiah 6:3 (ESV) I think we often get confused about what holiness means, both in our own lives as well as in describing God with this word. But when we understand what God's holiness is, …

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God, Help Me to Be Weird

I've just finished reading the weirdest book I've ever read - Weird by Craig Groeschel... and I'm glad I did. I don't ever want to be normal again. As Craig puts it, "normal isn't working." We've used various terms for the kind of lifestyle Groeschel is calling us to live - sanctified, set apart, separated, consecrated - but the bottom line is that believers should be choosing to live differently than the surrounding culture. Why? Because being "normal" means settling for …

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My Great Eager Expectation for My Life

A few days ago, I quoted Paul from Philippians 1 as essentially saying, "live or die... I'm good either way." This doesn't simply mean being ready to die, it also means being ready to live. Paul also said in the same breath, For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. ~Philippians 1:20 …

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A Video for Every Man – Slow Fade

"People never crumble in a day. It's a slow fade." ~ Casting Crowns How true! Failures of a spiritual or moral nature happen as we chip away at our own integrity, as Satan gains one little foothold after another, and as sin creeps up behind us. It happens little by little. Everybody, but especially ever man ought to watch this teaching video by Casting Crowns explaining how their song, Slow Fade, illustrates Psalm 1. Or here's a link to Casting Crowns - Slow …

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Striving for Holiness

I'll just try harder. That's the mentality of most people who are trying to be good Christians. "Well, I tried and I blew it, so I'll just try harder." The problem is that God resists the proud, so the more you think you can handle sin and temptation on your own, the less God will help. But He gives grace to the humble, so when you admit your helplessness, God comes to the rescue and gives grace, which provides strength. …

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To Be Christian

What is it to be a Christian? Is it that we've had a one-time experience of salvation? Or is it that we experience growth in Christ daily, some evidence of change? I know the argument is endless, but I wanted to share this quote from Clyde Crandford's book Because We Love Him. Repentance that is not ongoing is not genuine; faith that does not involve surrender is not adequate; a life in which holiness does not develop is not Christian. You may or may not agree, but I think …

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The Discipline of Purity and the Growth of the Church

Yesterday, in our Tuesday morning Men's Bible Study, we tackled one of the toughest issues of life - the discipline of purity. We're currently studying through R. Kent Hughes' book The Disciplines of a Godly Man (I'd highly recommend it to all men, more on that in a future post). Allow me to allow Hughes to introduce the topic... “Sensuality is easily the biggest obstacle to godliness among men today and is wreaking havoc in the Church. Godliness and sensuality are mutually …

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Glory Filled My Soul

This past Sunday was perhaps the most awesome day of ministry I've ever experienced. Like the old gospel song says, "Heaven came down and glory filled my soul." It wasn't great planning, great music, or great preaching that made the day great, it was our great God visiting us in a powerful way in response to a whole lot of concerted, passionate praying. Last Wednesday, our prayer service, which normally consists of calling out some requests, a short pastoral prayer, and a …

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Cast Into the Fire

"The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." -Matthew 13:41-43 Jesus is the gentle, compassionate Lamb of God. Angels are those cute little winged cherubs we have displayed on water fountains. But the picture Jesus …

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