Funeral for a Faithful Woman

If Christ is not risen then all our self-denial of carnal pleasures was for nothing.  If Christ is not risen then all our prayers were pointless.  If Christ is not risen then there is no blessed hope, no heaven, no eternal healing, no restoration of all things, no point, no purpose, and no promise … if … Christ is not risen.

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Christmas: Luke’s Musical

Luke includes four songs in the birth narratives, each following a powerful moment in the narrative.  The early church gave each of these songs a title in Latin, which as the language of Rome, became the main language of the early church.  Today I want to look at these four songs in the order they appear and explore the main message of each of them as an outline for the Christmas story.

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Multicultural Sunday: From Tribe to Kingdom

MULTICULTURAL SUNDAY: FROM TRIBE TO KINGDOM By Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD Revelation 5:8-10 8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new...

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First Things First

Jesus said they were like sheep without a shepherd, and then Mark records, “So He began to teach them many things” This brings us back to the topics of priorities, goals, and training.  Jesus saw the spiritual need of the people and moved with compassion He began to teach them.  They were walking in spiritual darkness and His teaching was the light that could lead them out of darkness and into a new life of significance and purpose.  They were wandering around without spiritual direction or focus, so based upon His priorities and goals, before doing anything else, Jesus taught them.

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Godly Fathers

  Think about it, of all the titles God could have chosen for Himself—and there are many names for God indicating His power and character—the most intimate and relational title He chose was “Father.”  The Bible instructs us to pray in the name of Jesus, but Jesus teaches us to open our prayers with, “Our Father who is in heaven.” 

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Looking Up to Look Ahead

I think that for a number of reasons, this past year has been like that for many people. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the non-stop negative news on the media featuring abuse, bombings, and burning cities, along with a culture determined to divide and conquer the community of faith, this has been a very difficult year. But like David in Psalm 138 we can keep singing.

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3 Keys to Christian Communication

THE TRIFECTA FOR CONSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATION

The people to whom James was writing had returned to hostile environments where they were marginalized by the Gentiles for their race and religion, and ostracized by their own people because their faith in Jesus Christ put them at odds with the prevailing dogma and culture of their Jewish communities. James knew that this daily reality could easily lead to hostile confrontations, which would be detrimental to the witness of the church. To these believers James gives godly guidance, and in verse 19 we find the trifecta for open, clear, and calm communication: "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath."

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Caution: Fathers Under Construction

The relationship between children and their parents, and especially between a father and his children is a key characteristic that differentiates between the evil end of days when God will pour out His wrath, and the restoration of all things, when God “will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” In Romans 1:30, apostle Paul speaks of the decline of civilization, which will result in the wrath and judgement of God upon the earth, and among the list of things he mentions are that men will be “backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents”

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Preaching During A Crisis

The world is in a state of crisis with the coronavirus, and churches have definitely felt the impact.  In many cases services have shifted to online, and while I have not been very good at following effective practices for online sermons, there are a few keys to successful live broadcasting that one should consider: First,...

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The Great Faith of a Desperate Mother

In our text we see a Gentile mother going to a man from Galilee named Jesus—a man some were saying was the Jewish Messiah. Only a mother desperate for her daughter’s deliverance would presume to go to person from an ethnic group who considered her to be an unclean dog. Yet, before this encounter was over, Jesus said this Canaanite woman had “great faith.” This is significant, because only two times in the Bible does Jesus call someone’s faith “great,” and in both cases they are Gentile.

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