• 1 Corinthians 3,  Sermon/Devotional

    God’s Puzzle Box: The Bible in the Christian Life

    My kids love to put together puzzles. Our son, who is almost four, is particularly adept at putting them together but his sister is quickly gaining proficiency. The thing about puzzles, and I’m sure you realize this from your own experience, is that even the most elementary puzzle is very hard to put together without seeing the picture on the lid of the box. At this point you’re probably thinking I’m going to talk about “seeing the big picture” or something like that. Well, I’m not, at least not directly. What I want to address is the Word of God – the Bible. Specifically, the role that we allow the…

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  • 1 Corinthians 3,  Sermon/Devotional,  Thoughts/Reflections

    Self-confidence to God-confidence

    If you’re anything like me, it is easy to listen to all the voices that speak into your life. People who either encourage, or discourage you. People who believe in you, and those who don’t. Those who try to affirm your gifts and calling, and those who try to convince you that you’re mistaken. The list could go on. Now, Dr. Phil, and Oprah, and Dr. Drew, and Joel Osteen, and Tony Robbins are all going to give you some ideas about how to deal with those negative voices that bark into your ear. Some might even have some advice about what to do when the voice is your’s. Well,…

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  • Biblical,  the truth about,  Tough stuff

    Christianity and Weed

    Two nights a week I teach Adult Basic Education at our local prison…I mean “correctional institution.” Naturally, many of the people who find their way into prison have had some experience with drugs, and sadly, many are hoping to have more experience with drugs after they leave. So, last night somehow the topic of marijuana (weed, smoke, bud, pot, Mary Jane, etc.) was brought up in our discussion of World War Two (Please don’t ask me how. They can turn the conversation to weed if you’re talking about Mother Teresa). Of course, these guys know that I am a pastor and a Christian so comments were made about how the…

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  • 1 Corinthians 3,  Sermon/Devotional,  the Church,  Theology

    4 Things You Need to Know About the Church

    We’re just going to keep making our way through 1 Corinthians 3 by looking at verses 16-17 today. If the foundational truth is that Jesus is the foundation, then these two verses help describe what he is building. This is not a comprehensive statement about what the Church is but these four truths will help us gain a healthy and biblical view of the Church.  1. You (y’all) are the temple of God. Throughout human history God has always found a way to dwell with his people. During the time before the Fall God simply walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. The first two humans…

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  • 1 Corinthians 3,  Sermon/Devotional

    Foundational Truths

    In this post I want to continue with the notion that the local church is to be a missionary outpost and consider the foundation upon which we are to build that outpost. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 Paul writes, According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one is to be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation that what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ.  Risking a pun, it could be said that this truth is “foundational” for the life of each…

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  • Sermon/Devotional,  Thoughts/Reflections,  Tough stuff

    Cultural Icon to Missionary Outpost: The Shift We Must Make in How We View the Local Church

    There was a time, not so long ago, when Christianity was the dominant religious force in our culture. As you may or may not know, I write from the context of the “Bible Belt” and I believe this shift away from cultural Christianity has happened slower here than in other places in our nation and world. However, even if it has happened almost imperceptibly, it has happened none the less. You see even back when I was a kid (1980’s and 90’s) there was an overall sense that going to church was what you did on Sunday morning, and it was good and right. Generally speaking the values and morals…

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  • 1 Corinthians 3,  Biblical,  Sermon/Devotional

    Milk vs Steak

    The church that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to had a problem. Sure, there were divisions among them over which teacher the preferred, or which pastor had baptized them. Some claimed Paul, others Apollos or Cephas; others still simply claimed Christ. However, as Paul points out in the beginning of chapter 3, this was just a symptom of a larger problem – spiritual immaturity. For this reason Paul calls them “babies in Christ” who were only capable of feeding on milk rather than solid food. What would Paul have to say if he were writing 1 Americans today? First let me make an important point of clarification before digging into this…

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  • Biblical,  Theology,  Tough stuff

    How Can I know That I Am Saved?

    I’m sure many Christians, and most pastors, have been asked, “How can I know that I’m saved?” Let’s just state up front that this is a monumental question that deserves our utmost attention and care. After all, we’re talking about someone’s everlasting soul here, and there have been volumes written on the subject. What follows is my feeble attempt to answer that question concisely, carefully, and biblically (I care more about the last one than the other two).   Before we go any further I want to answer the precursor question which is also very important, “Can I know that I am saved?” Some would say, no, you cannot know…

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  • Biblical,  books,  I Yahweh Take You Israel,  Sermon/Devotional

    Book Preview: A Wedding at Sinai

    What follows is the first draft of a book I’m working on tentatively titled “I Yahweh, Take You Israel” which is based on a series of messages I did on the 10 Commandments. As Christians we often have a jaded view of the Law and hopefully this book will give us a fresh look at one of the most important parts of the Bible. Hopefully the book will be available later in 2018. Stay tuned for more previews!   Chapter 2: A Wedding at Sinai. It rained on my wedding day. Some people would take that as a bad omen, but we really didn’t care and for a variety of…

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  • family discipleship,  manhood,  Theology

    Semper Virilis Part 4: Passing the Torch

    For much of human history cultures have created ways to initiate boys into manhood. Often these rites of passage were violent and painful, and failure to perform could result in being ostracized from the community. In modern, American culture we often associate rites of passage with the military and, though in a negative sense, college fraternities. The underlying belief is that boys need to make a clean break with childhood and be given a point of reference so that they deeply understand that they have become men. Rick Bundschuh notes, “Throughout history, the honor of being a guardian of a culture’s spiritual values, core beliefs, and standards of behavior was…

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