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What I Really Deserve

This week, I'm staying in a nice hotel in Ocala, Florida, driving around in a rented Camaro, and eating fresh fruit - all sweet gifts from The Church at the Springs where Pastor Ron Sylvia and others are hosting Nuts & Bolts, a conference for church planters. I feel very blessed to be here. I don't deserve it. What I do deserve is the full weight of the wrath of God toward sin for my rebellion against God. I learned a huge lesson a long time ago from my friend, Bobby …

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What Good Is Your Church Anyway?

I recently read the quote of a skeptical unbeliever that stopped me in my tracks... The church is a parasite. It owns the best property, doesn't pay any taxes, and doesn't help anybody. As a Pastor who loves the local church rather deeply, everything in me wants to argue. Who does this anonymous skeptic think he is? He's just never been to the right church! But sometimes arguing with someone's perspective is rather pointless. In the end, it's better to be introspective …

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When We Disagree, We Should Declare…

There are a few options here, but typically we fall to either declaring war or declaring love for those with whom we disagree. Some causes are worth fighting for and many issues demand a debate, but when Christians choose the wrong battles, it gives the distinct impression it's an "us vs. them" situation. The better alternative is "us FOR them." That is, us laying down our self-interests and even our very lives for those with whom we disagree, and especially for those who …

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Cages Are Lonely

... so break free. In Jesus, be free indeed. …

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Jesus’ Crystal Clear Theological Affirmations

Jesus wasn't always clear. He told parables not for the purpose of simplifying and illustrating truths to make them more understandable, but to present the mysteries of the kingdom to the few who would catch the underlying meanings. Jesus is the greatest philosopher the world has ever known. He could go deep, get confusing, and be abstract anytime He chose to do so. But... Jesus made certain truths very, very clear. For example... …

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What You Should Know About Rick Warren’s Worldview

For some time now, I've been serving as a Pastor to Saddleback Church's correspondence team, a group of dedicated staff and volunteers who answer over 100,000 emails per year about a range of subjects. Not a week goes by that I don't see an email (or twenty) asking for Pastor Rick's response to what someone said in criticism of his views on a variety of subjects. …

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My Christmas Greeting to You

The angels opened the portal of heaven and their sound and the brightness of their glory was overwhelming to the humble shepherds in the field. But their message was that Jesus wasn't to be found in that throng of angels. He would be found in a manger in a stable in the sleepy hamlet called Bethlehem. Jesus isn't hard to find, unless we're looking for the wrong thing. My greatest hope for you this holiday season, more than anything else, is that you will FIND …

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My Second Birthday Matters Even More

My wife and I turn 33 today. Yes, we were born the same day, 500 miles apart, and she has a twin brother, Josh. I will point out that I'm about nine hours older, so I get to be the leader! We mark birthdays as milestones, as if surviving another year is a great accomplishment. To me, this is kind of like the trophy all the kids on the baseball team get whether they played well or not. In the grand scheme of things, 33 years is so little. That's what I wanted to address …

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Jesus Manifesto, by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola (Book Review)

About Jesus Manifesto Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2010 Video Review Jesus Manifesto (Book Review) from Brandon Cox on Vimeo. Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have written an excellent treatise on returning to Jesus as the core of what life is all about. They move us away from thinking about methodologies and regulations and back to the idea of just knowing the Person of Christ. One Big …

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All Things… For Christ

Today, I'll be preaching my final sermon to the wonderful people at Bethel Baptist Church. Tomorrow at 8:10 a.m., we'll board a plane headed for Orange County, California. I've spent a long time thinking about my final words to my congregation. Almost five years ago now, I preached in view of a call in October of 2005 and used as my main passage, Isaiah 45:22: Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. …

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