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Who Are You Hanging Out With These Days?

When I was a college student living on a Christian college campus, I fell into the trap of often staying in the safety of the bubble. On campus, there was a bit of a micro-economy that remained pretty safe. You could eat, sleep, and study on campus and 'do life' only with those kids who were also Christian college students. While I wouldn't trade those days, I wish I'd chosen to venture out a bit. If anyone could have lived in a religious bubble, it would have been Jesus. …

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Public Enemy Number One

How is it that a husband and wife can turn into enemies? Why do churches get torn apart in relational wars? And why do we fight such fierce battles within our own hearts? Perhaps it's that we have allowed the real enemy to cloak himself. Jesus said, The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT) In other words, when there is stealing, killing, and destroying going on, it's because the real enemy …

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What Being a Follower of Jesus Is Really All About

Some of the scariest verses in the Bible are found at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount... “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s …

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Bless the Little Children

One of the sweetest scenes in the Bible is the little children gathering around Jesus to sit on His lap. The Bible describes the scene this way, One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. - Matthew 19:13 (NLT) What I love about this scene is the picture of Jesus' personality that comes through. There was something about Jesus that kids loved. He wasn't an intimidating, judgmental, cynical man who looked down on …

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Jesus Is a Treasure to Be Discovered

I still remember digging around in a treasure chest full of sand at the Browning Fair. I felt something like a rock and pulled it out - it was gold! Actually, it was a rock, spray-painted to look like gold. I traded it for a cheap plastic fire helmet which was probably the greater treasure to a little boy enamored with firefighters like his Dad and Granddaddy. There are wonderful and amazing truths to be discovered about our Creator, about eternity, and about our own souls. …

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Lavished!

Sometimes the phrase "God loves you" just seems so shallow, especially when we print it on little yellow smiley face bouncy balls. If we're not careful, we wind up with the impression that God's love is a novelty, a token of sorts. But that's not the love of God the Bible presents... How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!... 1 John 3:1 (NIV) This is no love in word only. God's love isn't merely …

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Jesus Is Everything We Really Need

Our view of Jesus is usually positive, but also usually limited. We see Him as a good man, maybe even a great man, but perhaps not the Creator, Redeemer, and King that He is. One of the characteristics of God is His self-sufficiency, which simply means that He exists independently of any of His creation. He doesn't need anything or anyone in order to continue to be. He is complete and perfect. And Jesus, as God, is all of those things. The Bible gives us a pretty awesome …

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Do You Know the Real Jesus?

Our culture is very familiar with Jesus, but often misinterprets Him and His words. Most people who have a problem with organized religion or the church in our culture don't necessarily have a problem with Jesus because of the image that we have of Him. Typically, we see Jesus as: A holy, religious leader A bit of a rebel Morally good Spiritually wise Friendly, gracious, and kind The problem with this picture is that it is incomplete. Yes, He was a religious leader. …

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God Has Great Ambitions For You

God never peddles Christianity as a spiritual benefits package to be enjoyed without challenges or adversity. He knows we're going to go through some hard stuff. He remembers that we are made of dust. And He is all too familiar with our sin nature and how incapable we are of achieving perfection in our own power. But He never softens His challenge. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus actually lifts up the highest possible standard... Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly …

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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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