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Posts by Mike Pulley

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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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Practical Spirituality: Reality and Truth

The first step to building belief and faith is to separate fact from fiction. Believing in something doesn't make it so. Believing in the realities that God built into the universe, on the other hand, leads to strong, effective faith. Truth is our firm foundation. ...

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Practical Spirituality: One Thing Led to Another

Life’s big moments rarely come from a single factor, but from a chain of small, contributing factors. God provides us with the “secrets”, the seeds that lead to blessings, not tragedies. Read more… ...

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Holy, Holy, Holy

God is holy. We are told to be holy, too. But wait! How can we be holy like God? What does that word -- holy -- mean, anyway? Today, we peek beyond the traditional definitions to the root meaning that ties and relates them. Yes, we can be holy like God, but not the way we always assumed. ...

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Disciples or Duplicates

Jesus calls us to be disciples, not the poorly-defined term “Christians”. But there’s a popular notion that has sprung up in mainstream churches that confuses many disciples. It’s “Christlike”. Read more. ...

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Practical Spiritually: The Transforming Power of Worship

Worship is more than songs and prayers and sermons (and even announcements!). It's about celebrating the worth and value of the One we worship. It's God's gift to you and me. Worship transforms us in a way that little else can. ...

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Practical Spirituality : The Purpose of Authority

Many are naturally suspicious of authority and have the scars to prove why. But authority is a fundamental principle of the physical and spiritual universe. Sometimes we follow it, sometimes we exercise it. Healthy authority begins with the fifth of God's Ten Commandments -- "Honor your father and your mother". ...

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Fighting a Battle Long Since Finished

What's worse than spending your life struggling in hardship and pain? The answer: When the struggle is completely unnecessary. Wasted tears and sacrifices are the bitterest. Let's fight the battles God intends for us and completely bypass those he has already handled himself. ...

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Practical Spirituality: The Tie That Binds

Gravity and nuclear forces hold the physical universe together. What holds the spiritual universe together, preventing us from fragmenting into separate specks of spiritual dust? It's Love. But love draws us so close together that bumps and bruises are inevitable. So God gave us lubricants to reduce the friction and heat that would otherwise destroy us as surely as a r...

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Find a Truth Worth Believing

How can we know the truth...the realities that God built into the universe? We never have all the facts, but we must decide what to believe. Here's the key: Doubt that leads to investigation. It works in the scientific world; it works in practical spirituality. Otherwise, we build our spiritual house on sinking sand....

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For Spiritual Laws of the Universe

The universe is built with all sorts of invisible laws and principles, forces and particles. But we know lots of these laws. Even though we can't actually see them, we can see how they behave. Gravity pulls downwards, lift pulls upwards, magnetism attracts and repels, but we've never seen any of these forces directly. God has shown us some of the universal laws that ar...

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Practical Faith

We sometimes talk about faith as if it was a special, church-only phenomenon. But in fact, faith is both practical and common. We use it every day, though we might not recognize it. We rely on faith when our eyes fail us....

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HALLELUJAH? YEA GOD!

I'm not a fan of "church" words. I don't mean technical terms – redeem, sanctify, and baptize, for example – that mean specific things and belong in church. I mean those words that we use out of habit long after we've forgotten why. My past is littered with lots of King James thees and thous, and spiritual-sounding words like mindful… words I never use in casual c...

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How Are You?

How are you? Before they came to America, my foreign exchange daughters were told that Americans ask this question never expecting an answer. It's just a conversation starter. We're internationally known as insincere that way. It doesn't help that our canned response is an equally-insincere "Fine!"...

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Does God Play Soltaire?

Who would have guessed back in the heady, space-race '60s that the most common use of computers in the 21st century would be solitaire?...

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Jesus the Word

Confession time. I don't enjoy reading the Apostle John. The engineer in me is drawn to the clear narratives of Matthew, Mark, and Luke......

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