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When It Comes to Worship, Don’t Hold Back!

Christians like to talk about church music and call it worship. Church music usually is a means by which Christians worship. But worship is much more than music. We even have our own "worship wars" in which we decide what "style" of worship is right, wrong, or most biblical. I still see the phrases "contemporary worship" and "traditional worship" plastered on church signs, as though worship can be defined by such descriptors. In our debates about the biblical nature of …

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Don’t Believe the Rumors [Audio]

Pastor, you will always have critics, and you will always have fans. At the end of the day, you need to have the guts to believe neither, but rather to allow your affirmation to flow only from the truth God has declared about you in His Word. …

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Praise: Life’s Toughest of Tests

Jesus' followers are constantly being tested - not in the sense that He's trying to make us fail, but in the sense that He's preparing us to pass. He tests us through trials and troubles, just as a craftsman "tries" or purifies metals in intense and melting heat. But the toughest of tests isn't loneliness or loss. It isn't suffering. It's praise. "Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised." ~ [youversion]Proverbs 27:21 …

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Saddleback Praise – Where Alva Copeland Brings Worship to Life

Yesterday, the Host Pastor of Praise, one of Saddleback's Lake Forest venues, was unable to be at services and I happened to be standing in sight of our Program Director, so I was drafted into service to fill in for the day. Saddleback offers one message in many venues so that people who connect in worship through various styles can express themselves the way God wired them. And thus far, I think Praise is my own personal favorite place to sing on Sunday. …

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You Are Not Who I Think You Are, and Neither Am I

There are two things that will test a person's character more than anything else: criticism and praise. Here's the thing you probably don't know about me. I'm pretty good at being pretty good when things are pretty good. But when the pressure is up, I sometimes fall apart. Ever happen to you? …

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Gleanings from Easter Sunday

I just wanted to take a minute to pass along my own personal blessings gleaned from yesterday and from the whole Easter week. Here are some things that have touched my heart... Jesus was glorified all over the world as people presented the truth of the death, burial and resurrection. Our church was packed with people, some of whom brought friends and family to hear the message. My parents came into town and spent the weekend with us, so we hung out, talked, and ate …

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The Power of Praise in Prayer

Jesus began the model prayer with these words... "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...," demonstrating for all of His disciples the prominence of praise in prayer. I define prayer in its simplest terms with two meanings: 1.) asking, and 2.) conversing. A conversation is two-way and prayer is a conversation that often includes asking God for something. But praise is a part of prayer we often forget. …

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I Am Bound to Give Thanks

In his second letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul begins by saying "I am bound to thank God always for you all..." I've always loved that little snippet of Scripture because of its plain message - I am bound, obligated, indebted to give thanks. It's the least I can do in light of all that our wonderful God has done for me. I wanted to take a few moments and list out some of those things for all who will read. …

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Three Years And Counting!

I love being the Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church. This past Sunday marked three years that my family and I have been serving here and as I said from the pulpit last night, God has blessed us so far beyond what we deserve! We've come to love and know the people here and we've built a trust-relationship with them. They appreciate the Word of God and they show appreciation for their leadership. I am so humbled by them! Yesterday was an awesome day. We closed out our Sunday …

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In the Beginning

This week is very monumental for me. I am preparing to begin preaching through the entire Bible this Sunday morning. It has been a ministry-long dream. Since reading the autobiography of Dr. W. A. Criswell, who preached through the Scriptures over an almost eighteen year period at First Baptist Church in Dallas, it has seemed an unreachable and impossible task. I can't tell you how much I've thought and prayed about this assignment. In my mind, I've tried to place myself …

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