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Showing posts from 2021

Your First 60 Seconds in Eternity (Video)

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  What if we could not just see how we might be remembered, but what if we could actually get a glimpse of what our life will be like beyond the grave? What would you do differently? What decisions might you make?   Jesus gave his audience a sobering experience. He gave them a glimpse beyond the grave.   In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus reveals what a person experiences after death. It’s like looking at your life 60 seconds after you die. What happens next? And the story involves two different men who experience different fates. Their lives could not have been more different. One man was rich, the other inhumanely poor. Two men who are nothing alike suddenly have one thing in common. They die.   We all die. No matter how much or how little you have, we die. But it’s what happens next that no one suspects. One realizes what has been eternally gained while one tragically realizes what is eternally lost. Which is which?   And the story begs the question, which one are you? Like these men, 60 second

Our Pharaonic Response to Pandemic

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Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. Exodus 9:13-17 The plague sequence in Exodus sets before us a collision between the sovereignty of God and the stubbornness of people. There are frogs, flies, darkness, and hail, but there is also the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. Both God and Pharaoh are active in the process. One about as often as the othe

Stop Being Relevant

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  Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God within the land." But Moses said, "It would not be right to do so, for the offerings we shall sacrifice to the Lord our God are an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice offerings abominable to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? We must go three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he tells us." So Pharaoh said, "I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you must not go very far away. Plead for me." Exodus 8:25-28 In the 1990's we began to use the word "relevant" to quantify emerging expressions of the Christian faith that connected with culture. You were relevant if you could hold to the central teachings of Christ but yet show the world a sanctified way of doing what you do. It's Christianity with better lights and more bass. It's pastors who use edgy films as

Conspiracy Theories and the Church

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Conspiracy theories have become common in our culture. Sadly, they have captivated and been circulated by people in the church. A recent article published by Lifeway reported that 49% of US Protestant pastors say they frequently hear members of their congregation repeating conspiracy theories. Pastors of churches with more than 250 in attendance are most likely to agree, 61%. I 100% agree. On January 6, as I watched the live coverage of the storming of Capitol Hill as the events began to unfold, I also had my social media accounts pulled up. I was curious about how people might respond. I began to see 3 versions of the story start to circulate from people I currently serve or have served as pastor. It wasn't really happening.  It was Antifa dressed up like Trump supporters. It was staged. People who attended the Trump rally were on a tour of the Capitol when they were attacked by capitol police. The riot was the response they were hoping to incite.   All three of those ideas are ro

Left-Hand Blessings

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What is it that you put before the Lord and asked Him to bless, but He hasn't? What was that great idea you had that you prayed about but couldn't get going? You put it before the Lord, but The Almighty took a pass.  It happens. And it's disappointing. You have a great vision, but God doesn't seem to see it the same way as you. Why does this happen? It happened to Joseph.  In Joseph's life, there was a definite precedent of blessing. Whether enslaved, accused, or imprisoned, God blessed him. Despite the evil against him, God used Joseph mightily. And now the health of Joseph's father is failing (Gen. 48). It's time for Israel's (formerly Jacob) blessing to be passed along to Joseph's children. So Joseph places his two sons before their grandfather. Israel cannot see well (Gen. 48:10), so Joseph lines them up the way he thinks they should be blessed. Manasseh, Joseph's eldest, should end up in Israel's right hand and Ephraim should end up in t

Conspiracy Theories, an Eternal Waste of Truth (Sermon Video)

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  Myths - fanciful stories, fables that are believable because they contain elements of truth.   And Paul says, please make sure that you put before the followers of Christ, that they need to have nothing to do with myths. We may not have a problem with mythical retellings of Old Testament stories or God’s revelation of the law, but we are living in a later time in which fanciful stories and fables that contain elements of truth are being circulated heavily. And unfortunately, the Bible was right again. The people of God are devoting themselves to these fabricated lies. In the past few years, the myths we commonly called conspiracy theories have run rampant in our culture and sadly in the church. A recent article published by Lifeway reported that 49% of US Protestant pastors say they frequently hear members of their congregation repeating conspiracy theories. Pastors of churches with more than 250 in attendance are most likely to agree, 61%. I 100% agree. On the day of the Capitol rio

The Eternal Waste of Suffering

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  People struggle with the purpose of God in suffering. Why do we suffer? Why does life hurt so bad? In addition to dealing with our broken bodies and our broken brains, those who seek to follow Christ will suffer rejection, persecution, and criticism from both inside and outside the church.  In 2 Corinthians 4 a man who was "afflicted on every side" gives us an eternal perspective on suffering. It is what keeps him going. It is the encouragement we need to realize that in Christ, our suffering is not an eternal waste of time. 

Digging New Wells in Cancel Culture

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Cancel culture has resulted in the removal of dissenting voices from social media. And if it finds its way through Congress to the President's desk, the  Equality Act  will give this cultural mentality legislative teeth.  Christians may soon find themselves  criminalized for expressing Biblical beliefs on abortion, trans-genderism, and homosexuality. Should it come to pass, expect to see online church services vanish with the Equality Act as fast as they appeared with Covid. Your church could be locked out of Facebook or forbidden from Twitter. Due to liability concerns, the company that owns the servers where your church website is parked may take it down, and you will have no voice or legal recourse in the matter.  What about people like me who use the internet to write about Biblical topics or people like you who like to use the digital domain to share the gospel and inform your faith? We've enjoyed a long era of religious freedom on an exciting and emerging technology. Thos