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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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Let’s Fight FOR Worship!

Everybody worships. Not everyone believes in God, or in gods, or in the God of the Bible, but everyone worships. Everybody ascribes worth to something, which is one of the basic definitions of worship. My favorite book about worship, outside the Bible, is Warren Wiersbe's Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground?. Wiersbe offers this concise definition of worship... Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are—mind, emotions, will, and body—to …

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Getting Explicit About the Gospel

Rick Warren said, "If you read only one book this year, make it this one. It's that important." The gospel is a message that never loses its relevancy and always needs retelling. I found Matt Chandler's The Explicit Gospel to be an awesome retelling of it. Chandler's explanation of the gospel is ultra-clear, and while I detect that hint of his Reformed leanings (to which he alludes a time or two), his book avoids extremes, stays between the theological rails, and at least …

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Finding the Right Path In Life – Jesus

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father except through me." I remember a Bible college professor paraphrasing what Jesus meant with these lines: I am the Way... walk Me. I am the Truth... know Me. I am the Life... live Me. Jesus, paraphrased by Dr. Jesse Thomas I love that! I wrote last week about getting off the wrong path, but that can never be the end of the story. To jettison ourselves from any path, we need a new path to …

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Approaching Easter Sunday As a Pastor

Easter Sunday is special. In spite of the competition from little furry bunnies who deliver colored eggs and sugar-induced hyperactive episodes among children, it's still a holiday that is fairly "religious." That is to say, Jesus still gets a fair amount of attention, possibly because it's always on Sunday and churches draw such attention to the resurrection. This is good. As a Pastor, I know that Easter Sunday excites me because I'll see new and unfamiliar faces in our …

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Was the Grinch a Christian? Exposing the Real Grumps of Christmas

One of my favorite holiday movies is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, especially the new Jim Carrey version. Dr. Seuss invented a character that became so wildly popular, he's now a cliche (i.e. "Don't be such a grinch!"). Anyone who puts a damper on the holidays falls into the grinch category. As a Pastor, I'm immersed (often beyond my own comfort level) in what I've come to think of as the Christian subculture. This is the realm in which Christian believers live. We have …

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When Police Pepper Spray Peaceful Protestors… There Is Hope

I just watched a video of police pepper spraying peaceful protestors at UC Davis, which led me to investigate further into why people are occupying Wall Street (and plenty of other streets too), which further led me to read some of the testimonies of people who are suffering in this present economic recession. That last link is a collection of hand-written notes about where people are financially. Most are drowning in student loan or medical debt. Many work very hard for …

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