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How God Responds When His People Turn Back to Him

Repentance is a word that carries a lot of religious baggage with it. We usually define repentance as merely confession, or merely sorrow and guilt, or merely as changing our behavior. The truth is, it's all three. Repentance is changing our minds about sin, self and God so that we agree with God about our sin and commit to truly changing direction. It involves confession, conviction, and change but it's all three. Hosea gives us a really beautiful picture of how God …

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When You Don’t Feel Like Running to God

When you least feel like running to God, that's when you really need to run to God. And when you feel the least lovable, the least acceptable, that's when His mercy shows itself strongest. King David once cried out, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble... Oh, how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear you." (Psalm 31:9, 19 NKJV) David's language in this psalm is a lament over His own errors. He has strong words for those who ensnared …

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Living In Continual Repentance

The Protestant Reformation's beginning is usually marked by the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenburg on October 31, 1517. He began the document with these words, When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt. 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance. A life of repentance? Really? Doesn't that seem... sad? Not if we understand what repentance really means. Repentance isn't sorrow, though …

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Getting Off the Wrong Path

You are where you are because you have followed a path. You've made a series of choices that have brought you to your current spot on life's map, and the Bible lets us know that our default direction is always down the wrong path. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6 ESV There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12 …

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If You Love Anything More Than You Love Jesus…

I'm speaking to believers... is there anything in your life you've come to love more than you love Jesus? An entire church was guilty of this and Jesus addressed them in Revelation 2:1-7. The Ephesian church was like the average Baptist church as described by Vance Havner, "straight as a gun barrel doctrinally, and just as empty spiritually." They hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, an early heretical cult. They worked hard at being doctrinally pure, but they had …

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What Exactly Do You Mean by Being “Saved?”

Sometimes, we speak Christianese, and people outside the faith may have difficulty understanding it. Paul Washer uses a few tough phrases in this clip, such as "city of refuge" (a place where accused criminals could go for asylum in the Old Testament), but it's overall an excellent way to explain and invite people to salvation... …

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Do You REALLY Want to Change?

This is based on my sermon for New Year's, which comes from [youversion]2 Timothy 2:21[/youversion] and surrounding verses. Is it even possible to really change? Millions of people must be asking that question, especially as we face another new year. You may already have a list of areas of your life you're going to change. Whether they are "resolutions" or not, you're hoping you can make it this year. ONE GREAT TRUTH: Change is possible. In fact, it's God's plan for all …

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To Be Christian

What is it to be a Christian? Is it that we've had a one-time experience of salvation? Or is it that we experience growth in Christ daily, some evidence of change? I know the argument is endless, but I wanted to share this quote from Clyde Crandford's book Because We Love Him. Repentance that is not ongoing is not genuine; faith that does not involve surrender is not adequate; a life in which holiness does not develop is not Christian. You may or may not agree, but I think …

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Don’t Lose Your Moral Authority

I am currently reading Andy Stanley's book Visioneering and have just completed the chapter about having moral authority in leadership. Stanley gives a couple of examples of how moral authority works in our lives. One example was Mother Teresa's harsh words about abortion during a National Day of Prayer breakfast in Washington. Though the Clinton's and Gore's gave little response, the room erupted into a standing ovation after she spoke. Why would such a small woman have such …

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Real Pastors

"Turn... And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding..." -Jeremiah 3:14-15 The period of the prophets was marked with the terrible tragedy of a declining spiritual leadership. It was an age of false prophecies and empty messages. It was a duplication of the age of which the Apostle Paul speaks when he proclaims, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they …

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