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For Freedom Christ Set Us Free

Captivity does something to the human brain. Captivity trains us to act like captives. There have been instances of people having been kidnapped and held captive for long periods of time who, when faced with an opportunity to flee, actually choose to remain in captivity. In fact, that's what we often do spiritually as well. Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." You see, at one …

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A Fiery Crucible for Your Heart

In one of Tom Cruise's newest movies, The Edge of Tomorrow, there is a line that gets repeated multiple times and really serves as the underlying plot as well as the big takeaway. Cage plays a soldier who winds up repeating a battle over and over... and over again, learning from his mistakes each time. His commanding officer, Master Sergeant Farell, tells him on the morning of every repeat that, "Glorious combat (is) the fiery crucible, where the only true heroes are …

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Mary Poppins Theology: Enough Is As Good As a Feast

The Disney classic Mary Poppins turned 20 and came out of the vault when I was seven years old and going through a phase of life in which I was convinced I should be allowed to have a pet penguin... in Kentucky. When it was re-released from the vault again on its 40th anniversary, I bought a DVD copy so my two-year-old Ella could enjoy it the way I did. And one of my favorite lines from Mary, whom I consider to be a pretty decent theologian, was offered in response to a …

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It’s Not That We DON’T Know, It’s That We WON’T Know…

The "wrath of God" is a touchy subject in our current culture, partly because we have a broken sense of fairness. We have the assumption that what we think we know ought to count in the place of what we really should know about God. In our arrogance, we assume that our postulations and philosophies are so amazing, God should somehow be impressed with the conclusions we've made up about Him. And if He is still upset about our lack of response and obedience to Him, then He's …

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Why Do Christians See the Hobby Lobby Decision as a Big Win?

The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a ruling today in the rather controversial Hobby Lobby religious liberty case. It was extremely significant in that it ultimately upheld the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and made it clear that closely held corporations cannot be separated from the individual identities of their owners. I, along with many other Christians, are elated that the decision went the way it did. It will be used to uphold religious freedom for …

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The Two Big Lies Money Tells

If "money talks," then money most certainly lies. Jesus, who never had much money and never depended on having any warned in the parable of the sower that "the deceitful pleasures of riches choke the word so that it can’t produce anything." (Matthew 13:22 GW) Can money really be deceptive? It's it morally neutral? The truth is, the origin of money's deception is actually within us - the broken, sinful, side of us that refuses to be satisfied. When we listen to the wrong …

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Is Money the Root of All Evil?

Is money really the root of all evil? I mean, it seems like there's a lot of evil out there and to blame it all on money seems unfair. Actually, the Bible doesn't say money is the root of all evil, but that's how 1 Timothy 6:10 gets misquoted quite often. It actually says that "The LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil." The problem isn't money, it's us. And while the love of money is one root of evil, it's not the only one. What Paul was trying to get across is …

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Is Social Media Really THAT Important?

No. Oh, did you expect me to say yes? To sell you on the undeniable need for developing a social media platform? To convince you that if you don't start tweeting, your influence is going down in flames? Let me elaborate. Social media is important. It matters so much that I wrote a book about using social media to share the gospel. I think you should buy it, read it, and pass it along. And yes, people, businesses, churches, and other organizations that ignore it are …

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Acknowledging the Ultimate Gift Giver

James, the brother of Jesus, once said, "Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father..." (James 1:17 GW) All the stuff we possess is a gift from God, and failing to recognize Him as the Giver is to miss the opportunity to glorify Him in our lives and in the world. Acknowledging and thanking God as the Giver does two things for us. First, it helps us worship. That is, it elevates Him in our minds, causes us to feel dependent upon Him, and …

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Four Commitments the Church Ought to Keep for the World’s Sake

I'm not an SBC Pastor (Southern Baptist Convention). I'm a BMA Pastor (Baptist Missionary Association of America), but I did grow up in an SBC church, served as a Pastor at an SBC church, and many of my great heroes in ministry have been SBC leaders. So I remain somewhat tuned into SBC happenings, especially via the blogosphere. I was especially intrigued by the election of Dr. Ronnie Floyd as SBC President earlier this month. Dr. Floyd, for me, ties together the posture …

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