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The Greatest Rescue Operation of All Time

As I write this, the United States government is weighing the possibility of using ground military forces to rescue the Yazidi people who are trapped on a mountain in Iraz, surrounded by the threat of extermination by the Islamic State, a terrorist group currently taking control of a growing number of towns in their region. Politicians and military strategists are debating whether this is the right thing to do or not from a variety of perspectives. The situation at hand …

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Communications In a Purpose Driven Church

I first read The Purpose Driven Church around 1998 and began to implement some of the core ideas of the book. Somewhere along the way, Christian leaders began to re-interpret Rick Warren's ideas and reduce the idea of being a purpose driven church down to a seeker-sensitive style of worship and nothing more. But being a purpose driven church is really about having an intentional process for disciple-making. This disciple-making process is rather simple. Bring your …

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You Are the Salt of the Earth

Salt is good. Jesus even said so. But it's pretty amazing, if you think about it, that two potentially toxic elements like sodium and chloride can be combined together into something that we put in shakers on our dinner tables. Jesus challenged his believers to see themselves as the salt of the earth, metaphorically speaking. “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled …

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The Gospel is the Great Equalizer

The gospel - the good news about Jesus - is the great equalizer. The message of the good news has universal applications. All of us are sinners in need of the good news of grace. And the good news of grace is freely available to all of us. No one is cleared of the guilt of sin without Jesus, and Jesus freely clears anyone who trusts Him from the guilt of sin. This equalizing nature of the gospel prompted Paul to include it in what he referred to as the "armor of God." He …

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Knowing Whom to Please Is Half the Battle

Keeping everyone happy is both exhausting and impossible. I know this from experience. I'm a recovering chronic people-pleaser and spent too many years of my life living for the approval of others, and it's a struggle that still creeps back up on a regular basis. As a Pastor, I don't want anyone to be upset with me at church. As a husband, I don't want to be honest enough to say something that might upset my wife. And in friendships, I've been afraid at times to get close …

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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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