Accepting

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Freedom. It’s a word we all love. More than that, it is an experience we both enjoy and expect in our culture. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is free. For some, freedom is a distant dream. They long for the day when they can be free. For Christians, however, freedom is a reality that defines our faith. The Bible says that “It is for freedom that that Christ has set us free” (Gal 5:1, NIV). Followers of Christ are not bound to God by religious tradition or Continue reading

Citizens

c9ee3ab6a1443cfec2e341ba151f127fSeveral years ago, my wife and I had a house build, but only the downstairs. I took the next year-in-a half to finish the upstairs. As I spent my nights and weekends working, there were times when my son, who was only three, would come by my side and mimic what I was doing. I have a fond memory of him picking up his little plastic hammer and trying to nail a 2×4. As we come to our text (Romans 13:1-14) Paul is urging the church to become Continue reading

Sacrifices

 

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Not long ago I watched a documentary on the transformation that takes place inside a cocoon. With less than scientific language, let me explain it: a caterpillar is enveloped by a cocoon. While in that state the caterpillar literally dissolves into a pile of goo, then miraculously is rebuilt into a lifeform utterly different from what it was. It goes in as an ugly little worm and comes out a beautiful flying butterfly. The scientist’s explanation was longer, but not clearer. Quite simply, Continue reading

Mercy

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Adoption is something that is common. Families adopt children every day. What is unique is that these families have a bond of love as strong as families who have not adopted children. God’s love is like that. It is strong enough to love adopted children as much as natural children.

In our text (Romans 11:17-32), Paul is addressing Continue reading

Saved

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We were walking through Calcutta when we saw the temple for Kali. Curious, we walked to the gate and looked inside. A Hindu priest was holding a goat in one hand and holding up a knife in the other. To our surprise, he suddenly sacrificed the animal. He then dragged the goat through the temple to the Kali idol. As he did, the Kali devotees frantically took the blood from the animal and put it on the idol. Our interpreter told us they did this because they believed Continue reading

Secured

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There is nothing like knowing you have a home. Many are familiar with the Christmas song, “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” I was a young soldier in the army as Desert Storm began in 1991. As the prospect of war became real, and as our training began to reveal the dangers we would be exposed to, thoughts of home and knowing that I had a place to go back to one day, gave me both courage and hope. No matter where you are or what you are going through, knowing you have a home waiting for you Continue reading

Raised

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“It’s just too good to be true. And besides, I was always told that if something is too good to be true, then it must not be true.” I understand. We live in a world filled with uncertainty and hopelessness. Indeed, as I write this, the COVID-19 virus is wreaking havoc around the world. Many are filled with fear. Just yesterday (March 17) I made the painful decision to cancel all church activities and services in light of the virus. In fact, in the minds of many, the only thing certain in this life is death and taxes. Our current circumstances do not offer encouragement.

But … Continue reading

Free

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“So, I’m saved. Now what? I was told that if I confess my sin and call on Jesus I am saved by faith. Further, I was told that because of what Jesus did on the cross I am justified before God, have peace with God, and am declared righteous. But I don’t feel righteous. I still struggle with sinful thoughts and impulses. I feel old urges coming to the surface. Preacher, was I Continue reading

At Peace

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There are many religions in the world. As a result, people speak about different “faiths.” Used this way, the word faith refers to a set of beliefs that people share. For example, people will say, “I am of the Hindu faith,” or “I am of the Buddhist faith.” Christians will even say, “I am of the Christian faith.” However, according to scripture faith is not a set of shared beliefs. In the biblical economy of language, faith is (and always has been) trust in God’s provision for sin. Specifically, true saving faith trusts that Jesus paid the penalty for sin on the cross at Calvary. It’s for that reason the Bible says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Faith always and only looks Continue reading

Justified

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As our team crossed the finish line, we were all covered from head to foot in thick mud. There stood a preacher, a lawyer, a housewife, and a construction worker – all looking grimy and tired. The Marine Corps mud run taxed our strength and made us all look like we walked out of a pig pen. The only way to get clean was to allow someone to spray us down with a hose. In Romans 3:19-20 Paul observed that the law has only one real function, to expose our sin. As we stand before a holy God our sin is like that mud. It indiscriminately covers all people and makes Continue reading