THE REFORMATION – 500 YEARS LATER

THE REFORMATION – 500 YEARS LATER

October 31st marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. I hope I didn’t lose you on that sentence. Perhaps you are saying, “Things that happened 500 years ago are history (school/boring), and those other words are long and capitalized. Are you going to give me a history lesson using big words I have to Google?” No (Well, maybe). The Protestant Reformation was simply a movement to address corruption in the Church. Five hundred years ago, there were only two kinds of churches—there had been only one church split in the entire history of the church! One church dominated Europe and it was not pretty. There was political corruption, moral decay, and doctrinal error...

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ACQUIRING A TASTE FOR GOD

ACQUIRING A TASTE FOR GOD

When Jesus begins his ministry on earth, he does not go to a posh retreat center, or a pastor’s conference. He goes to the desert. He goes to a dry and weary land where there is no water or food. Now as the eternal Son of God, he is able to create food out of nothing, and as a fully flesh and blood human being, he desperately wants to eat. Satan is quick to point this out, “Hey man, you’re the Son of God! You are surrounded by stuff you could turn into bread. Why not just transubstantiate yourself up some waffles?” Jesus’s answer to Satan gives us the meaning of fasting: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by everything that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” Jesus’s soul was satisfied by the Father. Jesus prepares himself for ministry by honing that desire...

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FOSTER CARE: A MEANS OF GRACE

FOSTER CARE: A MEANS OF GRACE

Foster care is a complex ministry. We entered this new season with the intention to keep children safe. We now realize Jesus had an even broader brushstroke in mind. Certainly, our primary responsibility is to open our lives to a child from traumatic experiences. But we never considered the abundance of new people our lives would intersect—therapists, case managers, attorneys, CASA volunteers, WIC office employees, biological family members. At every turn there seems to be someone in need of the hope of Jesus.  These new rhythms in our lives have jolted us out of our comfort and into a reality that our culture is far more broken than we ever imagined.  Yet it’s given us a chance to share about Jesus more boldly than before this journey began...

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Scripture Memory

Scripture Memory

Internalizing Scripture and locking it into your memory is one of the surest ways to grow in holiness and in one’s capacity for a conversational relationship with God. If you want to consistently hear God’s voice in your life, memorize Scripture. Those who meditate on his law day and night, and delight in His word are promised blessing, wisdom, and fruitfulness (Psalm 1; Psalm 119:1, 97; Joshua 1:8). Memorizing Scripture is one of the greatest and most fruitful disciplines you can give yourself to...

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PERSONAL IMPACT OF EPHESIANS SERIES

PERSONAL IMPACT OF EPHESIANS SERIES

Our community recently wrapped up 41 weeks in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. I enjoyed teaching through the letter and hope you were built up from hearing it preached as much as I was built up by preaching it. It was a rich study for me personally. Ephesians has always been one of my favorite books in all the Bible and preaching through it only increased my delight in it. I don’t want us to close the letter and move on to the next series without reflecting a bit on all that we have walked through.  Here are eight truths that encouraged, challenged and strengthened me in my study that I hope you will hold on to...

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APOSTLES’ CREED

APOSTLES’ CREED

A creed is simply a summary statement of Christian faith and belief. It is believed the original intent for these creeds was to present a short summary of Christian doctrine that a follower of Jesus would affirm at baptism. They later became tools for instruction of new converts, for guarding against heresy, and for use in corporate worship. The Apostles’ Creed is one of the three most famous creeds established in the first five centuries of church history...The Apostles’ Creed pulls our faith from the margins of our lives right into our hearts. As we reflect on it, our faith grows, our minds are renewed, and our hearts are warmed to the God of this creed....

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Prayer: Not a Sentimental Gesture

Prayer: Not a Sentimental Gesture

If we would see God move in our lives, our families, our communities, our nation, we must be committed. Committed not simply to the idea of prayer, but to the act of prayer. If we want to see God heal the sick, renew relationships, save the lost, call home the prodigals, ...it will be by his power activated by faith-filled prayer. It is not enough that we affirm the necessity and power of prayer; we must give ourselves to the discipline and duty of prayer.

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"2am" | A Psalm from Darkness

"2am" | A Psalm from Darkness

Megan has chosen a profession that requires her to take up residence in the Valley of Tears. Joseph Tenney, worship pastor at Church at the Cross, spoke a few weeks ago on people who are called to live lives of suffering, never experiencing deliverance from the Valley. For the first time in her life, something in her head and heart connected, she realized that her home was in that Valley−and it was good. “I’ve been a nurse for seven years and [Joseph’s sermon] helped me to finally see the whole reason God has put me in the place He has. It’s okay to be frustrated and to voice that, but it’s unrealistic of me to ever ask for God to take all of this away, because that’s not going to happen in my environment. When He comes back we will not have to face death anymore. Babies will not die. Nobody will have to die. All those tears we have cried will be dried up, and it will be no more.”...

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Souls that Rest in the Love of God

Souls that Rest in the Love of God

Many of us are weary in our communion with God because we’ve passed over this essential foundation to our communion. Our faith is on a 24/7 mission to find rest for our souls, and many of us are restless because we struggle to simply see him as loving. Again, Owen rightly notes, “every discovery of God without this will but make the soul fly from him.” Why? Why will every other discovery of God result in us flying from him if we don’t see and receive his love for us? Because if his sovereignty and authority were at work against us and not for us through his love, we would all fly and hide from him. We would buckle under the weight of living to gain his approval versus living life as approved sons and daughters...

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WHY BOTHER WITH LENT?

WHY BOTHER WITH LENT?

Typically, evangelicals are shy about Lent. The 40 days prior to Easter—Sundays excepted—are known popularly as a season for giving up chocolate or other extras in order to show God how much we love him. With such impoverished notions, it is no wonder that Lent has fallen on hard times...So should evangelicals bother with Lent? Whatever the popular conceptions, the season can encourage gospel-centered piety...

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