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Who Is In Charge Of This World Anyway?

     What happened when Jesus died on the Cross? The victory was won, and the ransom was paid. Let’s look at this from a fresh angle.
     We learn from Genesis that way back in the beginning, God gave man dominion over the earth, to take care of it and enjoy all of its blessings. But Adam and Eve effectively handed that authority over to Satan when they rebelled against God.
Since then, Satan has been the “ruler” of our earthly existence. This may be surprising but it’s true. Many supporting Scripture references are given in my message. Sin, evil, brokenness, immorality, temptation, death – the dark parts of life that are everywhere, every day, for everyone – none of it comes from God.

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Nothing But The Blood

The Cross represents Atonement and Blood, the central point in our faith. God punishes sin because He is just. The right punishment fits not only the crime, but also the person who was wronged. The right punishment for sin against our holy God is infinitely high. Adam and Eve were kicked out of their perfect life in the Garden of Eden forever: spiritual death (cut off from God). But God showed His love by clothing them in animal skins when they felt brokenness and shame for the first time.

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A Million Bucks or a Close Friend?

First up in our “Church Works” series is Fellowship, a big part of God’s Plan to Save the World. Church works if we follow God’s plan for His people. It’s more powerful than any of us realize. Remember the statistics I quoted last time about the health benefits of church attendance? Well it turns out that social support only accounts for about 25% of these benefits. The rest must be from something beyond human contribution.

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Church Works

I began our new series, Church Works, with some disturbing statistics about the unmistakable increase in depression, anxiety, and suicide globally over the past decade. But regular church attendance correlates to unmistakably better results in this area. Note that in the study I quoted, “regular church attendance” meant at least once a week – suggesting weekly Sunday service at a minimum, plus maybe a mid-week commitment such as Bible study, small group, etc. as well. In other words, these people aren’t on the fringe. Read more on those statistics here.

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The Christmas Story Is So Weird

What Can We Learn From It?
 
During this Advent month, we are looking at certain themes as we prepare our hearts for Christmas. We started with the Magi, a.k.a. the Wise Men. We can learn some pretty amazing things about God’s hand across history.

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Believe, Believe, Believe

We often hear about how we have to Believe, Believe, Believe. Just check out Disney movies. Believing was a recurring theme in Jesus’ teaching. But Christians must understand exactly what he meant.
 
Read John 6. After Jesus miraculously fed thousands, the crowds hunted him down. What followed was a frustrating back-and-forth conversation. The people wanted him as an eternal cash cow (bread cow?), but Jesus said that wasn’t the point. True eternal life comes from doing God’s work, which he spelled out as “to believe in the One He has sent.” He also foreshadowed his blood sacrifice required to make this possible.

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Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

A Small Church With Tons of Money

Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash
Small churches are chronically short of cash. They struggle to pay their small staff, often just a single pastor who is underpaid. They struggle to pay the bills, much less find money to improve and grow. They struggle to reach out beyond themselves, because its hard enough to maintain what they have.
 
The point of this post is simple. What would small church finances look like if everyone gave ten percent?

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Face The Fact – There’s Nowhere Else To Go

Are Christians hiding from reality?
Or are they the only ones really facing it?
 
This Sunday, my good friend Tyler Weatherly will be teaching about everything Jesus friends and students said about him in the book of John.
 
They said all kinds of grand things about him. They called him the Son of God, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world… But there is one very plain statement about him that has always stood out to me.

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Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

Tangible Consistent Faith

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

Faith without works is dead. That’s a quote from James the brother of Jesus.

It is one thing to say we believe in Jesus. It is a different thing to trust him in a specific situation where we feel unsafe.

 

Put your money where your mouth is. That expression became popular in the 1930s. It is one thing to talk about what you are going to do or what you believe. It is a different thing to put your own money behind a plan or a cause. It separates those who mean business from those who are just talking.


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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Out Of This World

Photo by NASA on Unsplash
 

Imagine if we were to travel back in time to an earlier society and show them how much we could help them with our cell phones, airplanes, antibiotics and vaccines, and high-tech home appliances. They could receive our help with awe and thanks. Or they could be scared and skeptical.


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Repent and Go

A bit of self-disclosure: if I had grown up during the nineties or later, I would likely have been diagnosed with ADD and probably be on the Asperger’s spectrum, or as my wife affectionately calls me, “a bit Aspy”. To this day, I still find it difficult to concentrate on things I’m not interested in (work, taxes, emotions), and find it hard to not block everything and everyone out when I am interested in something (theology, history, science).


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Could, Would, Should

Education and Parenting through COVID-19: Navigating the Coulds, Woulds and Shoulds.

I am a parent and an educator. Many of my friends are also parents and/or educators. This has not escaped the algorithms of social media – so I get a steady stream of posts, stories, webinar offers, online courses and lengthy commentaries about how we could, would and should be managing our children’s education during this time.

If those weren’t enough to navigate…


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