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An Uncommon Community

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We are meant to live in relationship with others. Christopher Langan was a genius with a staggering IQ of 195 (Einstein's IQ was 150). He got a perfect score on his SAT, even though at one point he fell asleep. But, Langan failed to use his exceptional gifts and ended up working on a horse farm in rural Missouri. Writer and speaker, Malcolm Gladwell summarizes his story: "...

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Are you bold?

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An episcopal priest once addressed the introverts desire to share the gospel "Let's pretend that you are someone who might be willing, in theory, at some point, possibly, to consider maybe doing something that, while not "evangelism-type" evangelism, still could be in some way construed as a sort of sharing of hope. Kind of." If this is you, may I suggest you begin with pr...

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The Gospel is What You Need

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I'm a "sugar coater," and I'm not talking about pecans! Have you ever noticed what happens when you ask a direct question to someone who is not a sugar coater, rather speaks quite direct? Maybe you've never noticed in today's story, but when the enemies of Peter ask him a direct question, well, he gives them a direct answer! And what he tells his enemies, those who were pa...

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It's Simple

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"My bad." Those words or similar ones, especially for men, seem to be the catch-all for repentance among people in our era. Often, it seems as if admitting fault is all we need to do to receive forgiveness or complete the process of repentance. Words of repentance mean little if they are not accompanied by action. Admitting fault is a great first step, but understanding th...

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Turned upside down: Transforming Communities

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If you typed "transform communities" into an online search engine, you would find articles on leadership, the arts as well as a TED talk on painting a neighborhood, and even ideas on the future of communities. Imagine what it would be like to actually experience a community that is radically different because of your impact and the impact of your church. Imagine having the...

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Love Your Neighbor

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Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood is a classic show about being a good neighbor. For over 30 years, his children's show taught countless Americans, young and old, how to be good neighbors (with or without sweaters). Mr. Rogers wanted children to understand what it meant to be a good neighbor. He would talk and sing about things that mattered to his TV neighbors. And, he imagined wi...

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Strengthen Families

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Can you imagine writing verses of the Bible around every door into your house? Some people etch verses into the slab of their home or when it's being built or even hang artwork with Scripture on it, but writing on the exterior doorways into your home would be a bold move. But, what does it mean to commit your family and your home to the Lord. Should we write on our doorway...

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Disciple-Making Missionaries

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When I was a child, our family had some friends who owned a motel in Rockport, TX. We would travel down about once a month to go fishing (my dad was an avid fisherman). Every night, we would walk out onto the long pier and fish under the lights. One night, everyone had been catching fish but me. I was ready to go back to the room, then all of a sudden, a good-sized flounde...

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Sent with nothing, Sent with everything

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Have you ever left for a trip and realized you had forgotten something? You ask yourself, "Do I keep going or turn back to get the item?" Often, your decision depends on the item, but imagine you were told to go to school or work without any supplies or told to go to another city with only a tank of gas in your car and your driver's license. That may excite some of you, bu...

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Ready or not…

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Do you remember your first job interview after high school or college? Or, perhaps your first evaluation at a job? One of the questions might have been, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Well, I have been thinking about that same question for our church. Our staff and lay leaders have been praying, discussing, dreaming and planning for what God wants to accomplish...

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The “Perfect” Church

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There's an old saying in church life, "if you ever find the perfect church, don't join it because you'll ruin it." That's not a very positive thing to say to someone, but it does speak to our desire to find a place that "fits us perfectly." However, the scripture is clear regarding God's plan for the (im)perfect church. It's a place where imperfect people look to a perfect...

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A Fearless Beginning

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Most people love stories of redemption. Countless movies are based on redemption stories; athletes and franchises experience it on occasion; and everyday people who never make the news see it happen. In the Bible, Peter is the poster child for redemption. He denied Jesus three times, ran away, went fishing and Jesus called him back. We are all like Peter; at times, close t...

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The Gospel is Unstoppable

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The gospel is unstoppable. Throughout history, tyrants, nations, evil people, and Satan have tried to stop the gospel message. They have failed. They will fail. On the first day of the church, a barrier existed, and God showed the disciples, and thousands of people in Jerusalem that His gospel would not be stopped. Sometimes, Christians see barriers to the gospel. Maybe yo...

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Obey and Pray

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Have you ever been mesmerized by an event? I think about watching fireworks; seeing a shuttle launch; not being able to "look away" from an auto accident or some crazy video on the internet. There are certain events that grab our attention and it's hard for us to pull ourselves away from them. I imagine the disciples feeling this way as Jesus ascended into heaven after dec...

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Get Ready

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Have you considered lately the type of people God uses to accomplish His purposes? The twelve disciples certainly weren't the religious "cream of the crop" and yet they launched the church and spread the gospel to the world. King David was too young to fight and Abraham was too old. Jeremiah lived in depression and Noah was a drunkard. Paul and Moses were murderers and Laz...

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A Test of Hope

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Since school starts in just a few days, have you ever been unprepared for a quiz or test? You knew it was coming, but didn't bother to prepare. You may have even thought you were smart enough to "do okay" without studying. Sometimes, your plan works out okay, but sometimes it doesn't and you reap the consequences of being unprepared. The best you can hope for is the teache...

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Seeking

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Have you ever lost something and searched high and low for it? Back when the boys were young, Brandie lost one of her favorite bracelets while we were on a trip and we looked everywhere for it. It was gone. Upon arriving home, we were unpacking the car seat from it's travel bag and what was at the bottom of the bag her bracelet! We couldn't believe it. We had stopped searc...

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Dirty Little Secret

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Keeping secrets is hard and it is bad for your health. Psychologists have studied people who had keep secrets and found that when a person is trying to hide something, he or she thinks about that thing far more than other issues in their life and their happiness suffered because of it. This is a great truth to set us free. The book of Zephaniah is a great guide for us as w...

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Into Your Hands I Commit My...

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Tests! As a child, I always hated "fill in the blank" tests because they required the most study. The blank always represented the unknown, especially with a lack of study. This Sunday we will look at Jesus' final prayer from the cross: "Into your hands I commit my spirit." After He uttered these words, His head dropped in death. It was finished, accomplished, completed. W...

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The Cure All

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Have you thought something wasn't "big enough" to pray about? Or, maybe it was "too big" to pray about? Either way, God wouldn't answer you. As we look at the Scripture, God is clear that we are to pray for all things. He calls us to praise and adore Him; intercede for others; confess our sin; bring our concerns to Him; and listen to Him. In the book of James, we see a sho...

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A Prayer for Us

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From 2001-2009 I had the privilege of officiating nearly 70 wedding ceremonies, including a couple from our church. In nearly half of those weddings I challenged couples to live out the prayer that Jesus prays for all of his followers that they would be united, living in harmony. Before marriage, the idea of unity and harmony sound easy enough, but the reality is, asking ...

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When, not if

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In May 2001, journalist Giles Brandeth interviewed South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu who was suffering from cancer. What might Tutu want to talk about? Perhaps the amazing transformation in the politics of his country, and of which he himself had a leading role. No. Here's what he told Brandeth: "If this is going to be my last interview, I am glad we are not g...

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Standing before the Lord

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Have you ever "gone to bat" for someone? That is, you have defended them in a time of need. For those who are close to us, we find it easy to defend them and plead their case, but often it is hard for us to stand in defense of a person with whom we disagree. Abraham stood before the Lord to intercede for a city and the righteous within its walls. In the same way, we need t...

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Pleading your Case

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None of us like to feel guilty. We want our conscience clear. Even when we are guilty, our natural tendency is to make excuses, blame others, and minimize the significance of our transgression. This is especially true when siblings are involved. Brothers and sisters are notorious for telling parents how innocent they are and how guilty their siblings are. The same is true ...

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G.O.A.T.

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Have you ever been a part of a "big reveal"? It seems to be the trend these days to have an elaborate spectacle to reveal the gender of your baby, your college choice, and who will have the first pick in the NBA draft. In the book of Chronicles, King David reveals to the nation of Israel that Solomon will be the next king. However, rather than celebrate Solomon, David chos...

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The Best Influencer In The Bible

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Many of us attempt to keep our personal and work calendars up to date so we can stay organized. Some do better than others when "interruptions" or changes to our plans happen that are out of our control. It is easy to get frustrated or even angry when people or things keep us from doing what we NEED to do. Sunday, we are going to take a look at a moment in the life of the ...

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Change the Story

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All of us want people to say nice things about us to others. Sometimes that is easy for them to do and other times it isn't. The challenge is to maintain our integrity and character in such a way that the story surrounding our lives is never tarnished. The apostle Paul encouraged this young church in Greece with that very narrative. Their God-honoring reputation had gone f...

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Shiplap and Fighter Jets

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No matter the day, it's always good to celebrate moms around the world. As we think about Mother's Day, there is a woman in the Bible that made great use of her position in the community to make a difference for eternity. Our challenge each day is to seek out the truth of God, loves others enough to share that truth with them and discover how God might use us to make a dif...

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Everyday Godliness

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Today is a special day in the life of the church and in our family's life. We will celebrate all of our graduating seniors! For those of you that have grown children, you know the joy and nervousness that comes with launching your child into the "real world". If you still have kids in the home, cherish the days you have with your children. Students, enjoy this season of yo...

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A strange way to Influence

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Marketing groups today focus a great deal on social media. Because of that, they have created a "title" for people who impact consumers in significant ways Influencers. Influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular topic. They have the power to change the course of a company, an artist, a product, an i...

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The Resurrection

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One of the unique privileges I had over 20 years ago was to drive west of Fort Worth on Easter Sunday morning to a small church and preach my first sermon. I had "preached" to students, taught Sunday school, and led Bible studies, but this was my first sermon in "big church." That Easter I was excited and a little nervous, but thrilled to share the hope of Christ. I preach...

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The Cross

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During my college years, I would visit my aunt and uncle's church every Easter season because they did a live re-enactment of Jesus' final hours. I would watch the young man portraying Jesus hang precariously on the cross, sometimes in chilly weather, other times in rain, and marvel at his ability to hang there for 2 or more hours. This scene only heightened my amazement, ...

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No Answers

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All of us have defining moments in life a poor decision; a miracle; the right answer at the right time; a moment of failure; a tragedy; an amazing event. As we look at Jesus before Pilate, it is easy to see how one decision can make or break a reputation and can change the trajectory of your life or someone else's. May our hearts and minds be so resolute that no matter th...

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Lord’s Supper

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Each Sunday we gather as a family of faith for worship. We consciously or subconsciously do so because Jesus has made a way for us to have a relationship with God. We gather in His name because He gave His life for you and me people who were God's enemy because of our sin. Today as we worship together, we remember His sacrifice and His command to eat and drink in remembran...

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To Sum it Up

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Comedian Steven Wright once said, "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments." All of us want someone to notice us (not the bill collector), but sometimes it's the non-descript things we do that matter most in God's Kingdom. The poor widow who gave less than a penny demonstrated her faithfulness when no one gave her a second look. However, Jesus...

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Go to Jesus

Quite often on Sunday or Monday evening, someone in our family realizes that we have forgotten to buy something at the grocery store that we "desperately" need for the week ahead. Invariably, a discussion ensues over the real need of the item (bread, milk or ice cream, usually) and then one of us heads up to the store to buy it. Jesus recognizes every person's real need. S...

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Finding Rest for the Soul

With so many responsibilities and distractions vying for our attention, too many of us have built unhealthy cycles of rest. As a result, we burn ourselves out, striving and straining against God's intent for our lives. We can only sustain a life of purpose if we really learn to rest. Taking steps toward understanding Sabbath in the way that God intends can dynamically affe...

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The Church

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Have you ever gone to church by yourself? Well, when I was an elementary student, I did that a lot. My parents divorced when I was young. When I would go visit my dad on the first and third weekends of the month, often, I would walk alone across the street to Sunday school and church. My dad's neighbors were members of the church and they would sit with me in worship. It w...

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Salvation

Have you ever had your belief in someone or something destroyed? I remember as a young baseball player how good our little league team was. I thought we would "win it all!" But, in the championship game, we lost in the last inning, 10-9. We were devastated. My hopes dashed. In ministry, I have put my trust in other pastors and lay leaders - many times they go above and bey...

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Good News/Bad News

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This past Christmas, my mom pulled out some family treasures from her keepsake collection. It was fun to look back at memories in photos, even hearing recordings of my Uncle David preaching when he was in his early 20's. We were blown away with the heritage of our family. Then, she pulled out some photos of her and my dad when they were young marrieds and my jaw dropped. I...

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The Word Of God

There are numerous opinions and thoughts about the Bible today. Some think of it as just another book, a great example of ancient literature, while others view it as God's special revelation to usHis very words. Can we trust that we have the words of God? Is it more than just a book? If we trust we have God's word, affirming it has authority over our lives, and it is livin...

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The Person of God

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Seeing is believing. We all have the desire to "see" the truth. We all want proof; we want to know the real story, the full story. Perhaps that is why unsolved mysteries and crime dramas intrigue our culture so much. The disciples were no different than you and me. They wanted to know God and they wanted Jesus to show them who God was! Little did they know, he was standing...

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The Nature of God

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In 1995, singer Joan Osborne had a hit song called "One of Us." The song was about God looking and acting like an ordinary person. The last verse is rather intriguing: Just tryin' to make his way home, Like a holy rolling stone, Back up to heaven all alone, Just tryin' to make his way home, Nobody callin' on the phone, 'Cept for the Pope maybe in Rome. What the songwriter ...

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