Classic Repost: Elephant & Godly Maturity

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“How do you eat an elephant?” It’s a strange question, especially when talking about maturity. But it is a vital question when addressing the topic. How? Keep reading to find out. 😊

I am a pastor of teenagers. For many this means that I am not a real “pastor” (see Babylon Bee), but I don’t listen to them. I have been given the role to shepherd the hearts of these young adults, and that makes me a real pastor.

Now, being a pastor for youth, I have learned much about their state of mind. The #1 thing I believe they want more than anything else they pursue is to be treated as older than they are.… Continue reading

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The Holy Spirit & the ‘Ordinary’ Christian Life

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Over the last couple of months I’ve been preaching through a series on what the Bible says about the present-day ministry of the Holy Spirit; how the Holy Spirit works today.  As I’ve been coursing through the teaching of the New Testament on the ongoing works of the Spirit, what has stuck out to me are the repeated connections made in Scripture between the work of the Holy Spirit and what we might regard as the ordinary patterns and practices of the Christian life.  When we compare the emphasis of Scripture in regard to the ministry of the Holy Spirit to many (most?) of the ideas that tend to prevail in contemporary Christian teaching on the work of the Spirit however, there is a great deal of dissonance between them.… Continue reading

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Reprise: The Believer and Halloween

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pumpkinAlthough written over two years ago this post is still relevant; this topic still comes up every October. In The interest of full disclosure, we don’t have any pumpkins on the porch this year.

Halloween has become one the biggest holidays on the American calendar, spending over $6 billion last year on decorations, candy and costumes. What was once essentially a children’s holiday has become a cultural juggernaut, and as it has, Halloween has become an increasingly controversial and at times divisive topic in the Christian community. But it doesn’t have to be, and to that end I humbly offer a few thoughts.… Continue reading

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On Faith, Works, the Lordship of Christ, and Assurance

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The relationship between faith and works as it’s described in the Bible is not a very complicated one.  “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” says Jesus.  “If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live,” says Paul.  “Faith without works is dead,” says James.  Or as John says plainly, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  At least one major takeaway from all of this is that genuine faith in Jesus Christ – the kind that is required for a person to be brought into right standing with God – is a fruit-bearing faith.  True faith in Jesus bears the fruit of obedience to Jesus.  And so, a kind of faith that does not bear such fruit, is, in the words of James, “dead.”  It is a useless, counterfeit sort of faith that does not save.… Continue reading

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Reprise: You’re Using It Wrong: Ephesians 5:16 & Time

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persistance-of-timeIf you have been around Christian circles for any length of time you have no doubt been admonished at some point “you have to redeem the time” meaning that you need to quit loafing and get busy.  The days are evil, in other words, time is short and life is fleeting, so get to work.  You may have read this, you may have heard this from the pulpit, you may have had someone tell you this in private, you may even have said it to yourself (or someone else).  But I’m sorry to say, if you think Ephesians 5:16 is about industriousness and time management, You’re Using It Wrong!… Continue reading

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