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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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When You Go with the Gospel, You Never Go Alone

There is no feeling on earth like the feeling of helping someone find Jesus and trust Him for the very first time. Sometimes, in our talk about "missions," we forget that this is really what missions is all about. Going to every nation starts with going to the next person with the good news. The problem is, there is a natural intimidation factor when it comes to sharing our faith. I think talking about our faith should come as naturally as talking about any other deeper …

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Make Disciples Out of Everybody, Without Limits

When I was a kid, we sang a sweet song that went Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world. Years later, I saw a different take on that song designed to point out our tendency to be ethnocentric. They edited the words to White and white and white and white, they are precious in His sight... And the point was proven. Sometimes, even passively or …

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You’ve Been Called Out

I wasn't exactly Mr. Athlete as a kid, so when we played sports in school or in the neighborhood and captains started picking teams, I usually wasn't first choice... or second or third. But when it comes to my role as a member of God's kingdom, the Bible says I'm part of a people that God has chosen and called out for a special task. We've been recruited to turn the world upside down. Peter put it this way, "However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy …

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How Good Works Brings Real Faith to Life

"Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works." - James 2:26 NLT A human body without breath is responseless, inanimate, and lifeless. Without breath, the blood stops flowing and the brain shuts down. In the same way, faith dies when it isn't put to work. Faith, without works, is cold and dead. Most people interpret James' words to be a kind of litmus test for what real faith is, and I certainly think James had this nuance in mind as …

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We Are Saved by Grace Alone Through Faith Alone

Here's the blunt, simple truth. We are all sinners. We've all broken God's commandments and have rebelled against His will. Like sheep, we've gone astray, every last one of us. And because of our rebellion, we have positioned ourselves for judgment and separation from God for eternity in hell. We've come up against a Law that we cannot, would not, and do not keep. We. Are. Doomed. Except... God loves us, deeply. He sent His Son Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins. …

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The Heaviness of My Heart for Spiritual Awakening In America

I've probably been reading too much news lately, and it has created a sense of heaviness in my heart. I tweeted yesterday, "For me, today, the world seems 'scary big.' And God is infinitely bigger." A few friends assumed I must be going through some personal pain, but my feeling really flowed out of my observations about the erosion of our national conscience. We have little clue what life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness are really all about anymore. In America, …

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Let’s Blame the Good Stuff on Jesus

I paid a compliment to my friend Bobby once about the kind of husband and all-around good guy he was. His response never left me. "Let's blame that on Jesus, okay?" It wasn't false humility. He genuinely desire to recognize that any good work displayed in his life was a work of the grace of God deep within him. Paul once said essentially the same thing to the Colossians, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to …

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Being Generous in Works and Deeds Too

Writing a check is easy. Perhaps the work of earning the money represented by the check is hard, but in terms of generosity and serving other people, writing a check is usually the easy part, especially for people with wealth. Time often feels much more costly to us in the developed world because money seems so replaceable, even in a slow economy. Serving people, hands on and face-to-face, is hard. It requires that we get out of our comfort zone, risk rejection, do …

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Charles Stanley: The Gift of Forgiveness

I couldn't help but be moved by Charles Stanley's definition of unforgiveness. It's something we ultimately do to ourselves, not to others: Webster defines gift as “something given to show friendship, affection, support, etc.” Using this definition, it seems logical to give gifts only to people we love, not to those who hurt or abuse us. Yet Scripture clearly tells us to offer one of the greatest possible gifts—forgiveness—to those who mistreat us. To forgive means “to …

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