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Transformed by the Spirit

There is a great deal in scripture that we immediately recognize to be complex, mysterious or even foreign to our experience, but if there is one thing we as good 21st century Americans know, it's freedom. And so when we run across Galatians 5:1, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free," it is tempting to relax and assume that Paul is finally speaking our language....

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Jesus Plus?

Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of India's independence movement. He was a pacifist. Before the movement, he trained to become a lawyer. He went to South Africa to get his education. He was there during the time of apartheid and came across a bunch of legalistic, racist, bigoted Christians. Upon returning to India, Gandhi said, "I like their Christ, but I do not like their C...

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Living the Gospel

The desire for heroes seems to be deeply and perhaps universally human. As far back as we can find literature, we find literary heroes. The ancient Greeks certainly loved them and produced them memorably and in staggering quantity: Perseus, Heracles, Achilles, Jason, Odysseus, Socrates and many more besides. It says something about the power and importance of heroes that t...

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Our Mission In Exile

Many generations had passed since the old glory days of King David. Jerusalem had been sacked by the Babylonian king named Nebuchadnezzar. The bodies of the dead Israelites were stacked and burned in the Valley of Hinnom. This was the same place that previous wayward kings of Israel (or more specifically the kings of southern kingdom of Judah) allowed God's people to sacri...

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Love Your Enemies

We recently began a new sermon series titled, "Road Map For Relationships: Loving Like Jesus." As I began doing some background research, my thoughts naturally gravitated to my most significant and prominent relationships: my wife, my children, my in-laws, parents, coworkers, and friends. I would suggest this is natural, after all these people are important to me. I want t...

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A Journey to the Cross

Back in the year 2000, the National Gallery in London decided that the most appropriate way to celebrate the arrival of the new millennium was to mount an exhibition of art on "the Image of Christ". It was presented in the belief that even secular audiences could engage with the different artist's portrayals of the life and death of Jesus. Near the end of the exhibition, t...

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Something's Not Right

In December of 2009, my youngest brother was diagnosed with cancer. Among the many thoughts careening through my mind, one that often floated to the surface was simply, "this isn't right." He was young, only 22. He was vibrant, active and good. He loved nature, and would frequently take inner city kids on camping trips out into the Georgia wilderness. He loved people, love...

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The King's Strategy

In Matthew's gospel Jesus gives a parable that describes the process of building the kingdom. Jesus chooses his words carefully and deliberately. The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gavea wedding feast for his son, andsent his servantsto call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, "Tell...

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More Than Faithful

Genesis 12; 2 Sam 7; Mt. 28 Back when Abraham was still Abram, back when he was a nomad, when he travelled wherever he could find good grazing, Yahweh, the God of all creation broke suddenly into his life. Yahweh gave Abram a new identity, and many spectacular promises. Though Abraham had no children, Yahweh promised to give him so many descendants that their number woul...

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Promise of Better Days Ahead

Early this past fall, as my wife was cleaning out our son's closet, she came across his North Face winter coat. Our son, Jacob, had not taken it to college, because the zipper was broken. But then my wife remembered North Face's promise, their lifetime guarantee behind defects in all materials and workmanship. So we decided to test their promise. We sent the coat back to ...

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