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Blessed Persecution

”And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad… Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” –Acts 8:1, 4 At the close of Jesus’ ministry, just after His resurrection, He instructed the apostles and the church they would lead to “go into all the world” and preach the gospel everywhere. God has always wanted to be known to men everywhere, hence His great effort to …

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No Turning Back

”This is that Moses… To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt.” –Acts 7:39Egypt has always symbolized the world, not in the physical sense, but in the sense of a false, humanistic, hedonistic philosophy which runs counter to the philosophy of God’s Kingdom. To the Jews in the wilderness, Egypt was looking good. Even though they had to endure slavery, they at least were enjoying momentary pleasures. Now they …

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Qualities of a Growing Church: LEADERSHIP

Did you know that the Bible is the greatest book on leadership ever written? Jesus was the greatest leader of all time, of course, but there are also many other examples of great leadership in Scripture. Joseph was an excellent leader among his brethren but he had to learn some lessons early on. Nehemiah was one of the greatest leaders of history. Moses had to lead the most difficult crowd ever through a trying forty-year adventure through a barren wilderness. The apostles …

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Sermon Brief: Prepare to Be God’s Instrument

God’s Message to Mary: Prepare to Be God’s Instrument Sermon Series: God's Christmas Messages to You Based on Luke 1:26-38, 46-56 A couple of years ago I attended a men’s retreat in Richwoods, Missouri and decided to go horseback riding. I got on a horse that had a mind of its own (and it was my first time). I did okay and got control of the animal but it kept jerking its head downward. Once, going up a steep, rocky path, the horse jerked the reigns right out of my hand …

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I Just Can’t Help It

”For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” –Acts 4:20One of the greatest excuses in life is “I can’t help it.” I’m guilty of saying it often. We overeat, we overreact, we overdo it and we say, “well, I just can’t help it, that’s just how I am.” Even worse, we’ll say, “I just can’t help it, that’s just how God made me.” Here’s a new challenge: Let’s use the phrase “I can’t help it” in a good way.Jeremiah once decided that he wanted to quit preaching …

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Called, Chosen, and Faithful

"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." -Revelation 17:14When I was a kid, I remember getting mad at my older brother from time to time (okay, almost daily). He always had the advantage though, for while I was kicking and hitting, he would simply hold out his hand against my forehead and I would flail away to no avail. As a matter of …

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Be Ready Always

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." -1 Peter 3:15Yesterday I went for a haircut from the lady who's been cutting my hair for sevearl years now. She's Vietnamese and her name is Thuy (pronounced "Twee"). When I first started going to see her I witnessed to her and she said, "Oh yes, I know Jesus" and we talked about how she worked in the …

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Jesus’ Touch – Our Treasure

When no one likes you, it's easy to become bitter. When you're untouchable, it's easy to give up on life. Jesus always seemed to search out the unliked and the untouchable. When He found them, He would do more than like them, He would love them. And He would touch them! Mark commits only four verses of material to the conversation Jesus held with this particular leper (Mark 8:1-4), but the story is overwhelmingly moving. Can you just imagine it, an untouchable leper with …

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The Greatest Offering of All

“So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.”—1 Thess. 2:8Today I read an update from a missions team that is currently in the Ukraine. Their luggage is lost somewhere on the planet, along with all of the supplies that they had brought with them to help with the camp where they intend to minister. I was moved by their spirit… “We are grateful to have …

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God, Fair and Balanced

The world around us does not always value equality. I’m writing this devotional from the sixth floor of a downtown Atlanta Hotel. Here I can order room service and pay an exorbitant fee, have the USA Today at my door each morning, and sleep in a king-size bed. Within a block are people sleeping under cardboard. If we’re not careful, we may become cynical or bitter about the nature of society to size people up and dole out privileges to the already privileged.God, however, is …

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