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Archives for October 2012

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A Message of Gratitude

It's Sunday evening and I'm sitting on my sofa still winding down from our fantastic chili cook off. If you missed it, we had about 150 people scarf up 17 kinds of homemade chili. ...

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Change - A Word From Efrem Smith

Fall is a time of change. Soon we will change the time on our clocks and gain an extra hour. The weather will change and we will experience more rain, cooler breezes, and in some parts of our mission region â€" snow. Change definitely happens. Why do we often fight change?...

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Colossians, The Original

Much of the theology we attribute to Paul and the other New Testament writers didn’t actually exist when they wrote their letters. We’ve read more into them than the original readers ever could have. I expect it’s the Holy Spirit growing the understanding of Jesus. But, before they were scripture â€" dissected by doctorates, revered by reverends, an...

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The Risky Face of Grace

God’s grace is powerful! But so is dynamite. Both can be used for good or for devastating destruction. I’m a dedicated fan of grace, but today I explore its seldom-mentioned dangerous side....

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God's Holiness

Some days, I am just the court jester, a fool… a buffoon, offering a little different look at things we all know and understand. So it is today. So, if my ramblings don’t work for you, just consider the source. A fool....

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Inconsistencies in the Bible

I know I’ve lost many readers already by my title. They quickly skipped to something else, likely muttering, “Heretic!” under their breath. I don’t blame them. Not everyone can bear to closely examine the bumper sticker that proclaims, “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.”...

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Salt and Light

Jesus told his audience at the Sermon on the Mount that they were salt and light in a world of bland darkness....

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The Old Testament Warnings vs. The New Testament Gospel

Amos, Noah, and other First-Testament prophets warned of doom to come if the people didn’t turn back towards God. Their message produced dire prose, colorful metaphors, and qualified as fair warning, but it was completely ineffective and futile. Except for Jonah and maybe one or two other rare cases, the message wasn’t compelling. It was easily dismissed and ...

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"Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin's Path to God" by Brennan Manning

Confession time: I love God but struggle to trust him, especially when life goes sideways. Recently, I reached for Brennan Manning’s book Ruthless Trust for insight and guidance. Here is a summary of Ruthless Trust as distilled ruthlessly from Brennan’s own words in the book....

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Approaching Bible Study: Holding the Authors Accountable

You may not appreciate this article. I’m fine with that. You have every right to hold me accountable for my written words. If I write well and you get benefit, good. If I write poorly â€" I fail to make my points clearly or my points are stupid â€" or you believe I’m just wrong, my written words bear witness against me. Accountability is an occupational...

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Worship: The Father's Gift

What is worship? I don’t mean the five acts of worship â€" pray, sing, give, study the word, and eat the communion meal. Anyone can go through those motions in complete boredom. I want to dig deeper to the heart of worship....

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How To Be Unhappy At Church

If you’re happy with your church, good. But, if you thrive on anxiety and turmoil, here is the quickest way I know to get your drama fix at church. If you’re new to church and want to avoid the “land mines” of church life, sidestep these....

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What the Heck is "the Gospel"?

Peter's sermons and writings are drenched with the gospel. The problem is in our culture many people have lost the meaning of "the gospel" It has begun to mean anything and everything. However, for the early church and the writers of the New Testament it had a very specific meaning. Let's explore it together! ...

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Participation or Observation - Part I

Recently I was having conversation with a friend who was going to be participating in his first triathlon. It was one day before the big race. When I asked what he had done to prepare, he told me about his last 16 weeks of regimented training. He was intentional about what how he worked out, how he rested, what he ate, and when he slept. Every precaution that could be take...

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The World is Going to the Dogs and Why Maybe That Would Be a Good Thing

The Fox News headline says that two 2nd grade girls were found murdered in Zion, Illinois today. These best friends went out to ride their bikes together and never came back. Some despicable, evil bastard stabbed them multiple times and left them for dead. ...

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