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Why God Gets All the Credit

When I hit dating age, I was afraid to ask girls out on dates. Until I met Angie. I asked her repeatedly, and she repeatedly said no, until she finally said yes, and the rest is a beautiful history. Sometimes we view our relationship with God as though we asked God to save us and, as if it was the first time the thought had even occurred to Him, He reluctantly and finally said yes. But the opposite is actually true. Paul described salvation this way in Romans 8, "For God …

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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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Dream Bigger – Ask More

"You do not have, because you do not ask." (James 4:2 ESV) James the Apostle had the spiritual gift of bluntness. We've received the benefit of his brutally honest thoughts, such as when he answers a common question with such a common sense answer. Why don't I have? Because I didn't ask. And he goes on to point out that often when we ask, we're doing so for selfish reasons. I want to challenge you today to do some pretty important things. Dream Bigger Whatever it is …

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Why Gathering with the Church On the Weekend Matters

We need some terminology shifts in our discussion about weekend gatherings of the church. First of all, the word "attendance" implies that church is an event that we support and make happen with our attendance. But church isn't an event. And while the church is "local" in its expression, it isn't defined by a building or a location either. Church is people. The church is a covenant people who are united by our belief in Jesus, our baptism, and by communion, and we commonly …

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Why We Need a Bigger View of God

Our tendency is to put God at the center of our universe and treat Him as a sort of crystal ball or magic genie who is all about us and our happiness. The problem is, this makes for a much smaller God than the one represented in the Bible. The most powerful perspective change we can have is to echo the sentiments of John the Baptist who said of Jesus, "he must increase, and I must decrease." (John 3:30) The book of Acts says of the early church that "a deep sense of awe …

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The Way to Find Your Life Is to Lose It

Success is something we place a lot of value on in the culture in which we live. We place a high value on achieving, on pushing forward and climbing higher and grasping at what we perceive as success. This comes as a result of our spirit of conquest and our competitive natures. But God's Kingdom people have values that are flipped on their heads. The American Way isn't necessarily the Kingdom Way. Jesus put it this way to his bewildered followers, "If you cling to your …

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The Golden Rule for Revolutionaries

Jesus has called His followers to a revolution - an overthrow of the culture. It isn't military or material in nature. In fact, it is driven forward by love instead of hate accompanied by mercy, justice, and compassionate service to others. He has called us to subvert the very value system that surrounds us and to live differently and distinctly in a way that slowly becomes more noticeable until its witness is undeniable. As this quiet kingdom expansion takes place, He …

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Spiritual Truth is Understood by Spirit-Guided People

We are inundated with marketing messages each moment of each day. From billboards to commercials to our email inboxes, someone is always trying to convince us we ought to "find out more" about a product or service. And sometimes, this marketing message affects the way we present the gospel. We unwittingly begin trying to convince people that the gospel is believable and therefore worth investigating further. If we aren't careful, we'll reverse God's intended order of …

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Everyone Lives By Their Values

A few years ago, we heard the term "values voters" thrown around a bit in the media to refer to those who were voting for political candidates primarily on the basis of moral issues, as if the other voters weren't voting based on their personal values. What is sometimes misunderstood is that we all act out our values. Whatever we give our attention and affection to, we value. And what we value determines how we make decisions. The question is, where do we get our values to …

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Dare to Be More Than a Copy

The world around us lives by values that are the product of its dominant philosophies such as materialism ("things" matter more than anything), humanism (we are all basically good without God's help), and secularism (the majority determines right from wrong without God's Word). Each of these, and many other false ways of thinking, results in decisions and behaviors that lead nowhere good. Paul told us, "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God …

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