Marks of a True Church, pt. 2

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In August 2016, my wife and I took a trip to South Africa to visit a pastor friend and his small church in Nelspriut. I was amazed at how much it felt like being at my home church during our two-weeks visit. It dawned on me after our trip that the reason we felt at home was because the true church of Jesus Christ will always be the same no matter the location. If a local church is being faithful to God’s calling—that is, they are being obedient to the Scriptures—then they will have the same vibe as other faithful churches throughout the globe.… Continue reading

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When God Takes a Faithful Servant Suddenly and Unexpectedly

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Pastor Jim Barrick (Feb. 9, 1948 – Aug. 11, 2017)

As my wife and I were boarding our flight from Gatwick Airport in London my cell phone buzzed. It was not a good time to answer it and I knew if it were important, the call would be repeated when we landed in California. Sure enough, as soon as our plane touched down in Los Angeles I turned on my phone and the call came immediately. The news rocked me—my brother Jim had died at home in his sleep—suddenly and unexpectedly. Memories flooded my mind as I expressed to his wife my sorrow for his family.… Continue reading

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Excuses….Excuses….

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I don’t know about you, but I am an excellent excuse-maker. For example, I am a master at convincing myself why I don’t need to exercise, or why I need another bowl of ice cream, or why I need to watch “this” sporting event, even if I am up late. My personal excuses, in these ways and others, are (to me!) water-tight, air-locked, drop-the-mic conclusive. To be persuaded otherwise, it would take an incredible proof or motivation ……. or just my wife giving me that “look” (and you married guys know what I am saying).

Now, this “master of excuses” I have observed in what many non-believers do when confronted with call to surrender their life to Jesus Christ.… Continue reading

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Readiness = Godliness

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“Ready or not, here I come” is a common phrase used of children (or their parents) when playing Hide-and-Seek. This phrase could also be applied to Jesus’ return. God the Father has set redemptive history before the foundation of the world and Jesus’ return will come exactly when He has planned. The question is, are you ready? Because He is coming whether you are ready or not. Let’s explore readiness for a few moments.

There are two major sermons in the Gospel of Matthew. The first being the Sermon on the Mount in chs 5-7, in which Jesus shows what kingdom people look like.… Continue reading

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Reprise: A Gospel Conversation

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Oh NoThe adult Sunday School Class at the local church I serve has recently taken up the topic of evangelism. In this class we are all seeking to better understand the concept of evangelism and what it is as well as what it is not. During the first part of our study of this topic we are focusing on answering the question “What is the Gospel?” by utilizing the book of the same name authored by Greg Gilbert (reviewed here). As part of this endeavor each week we look to provide biblical answers to questions which arise from our study. This week part of the assignment is to answer a series of questions which explain to whom man is accountable, what is the chief problem facing man, what is the solution to this problem as provided by God, and finally how do we respond to this information.Continue reading

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