December 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Like Elsie and me, many of you go to church on Sundays. We hear messages proclaimed from the pulpit but is your pastor great at preaching? How would you know? What are the qualities of great preaching against which to measure your pastor’s preaching? To find the standard for great preaching, let’s look to the Bible for answers. In Acts 2 we read of one of the greatest messages ever preached. It is the message preached by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost. Preaching to unsaved Jews from all over the known world, the Lord uses Peter’s message to save 3000 souls. It is an amazing message! It also gives us a model of great preaching seldom seen today.

Based on Peter’s Pentecost sermon, all great preaching speaks...

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December 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Here comes Christmas, ready or not! I don't know why it always seems to catch me off guard. I depend on Thanksgiving to help me prepare mentally and practically for Christmas, but this year it feels like Thanksgiving got lost in the shuffle. It seems that we jumped straight from October right into the “Holiday” shopping season. The Christmas decorations went up, but the emphasis is not on Christmas. The emphasis is on shopping. Christmas and Thanksgiving are both getting lost.

We need Thanksgiving to help us prepare for Christmas in many important ways. We desperately need to have humble and thankful hearts. When did “Black Friday” become all about getting really good deals and shopping for ourselves? In fact, ...

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December 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

All of us have heard them. The trite expressions bantered about in the world around us. Here is my Top 10 list of expressions used by the world and my comments on each:

1. “Bigger is better.”

No, better is better. Just because something is big doesn’t mean it is better.

2: ”The More the Merrier.”

See the comment on #1. More of something doesn’t make us merrier. I think of the biography of Howard Hughes, America’s first billionaire. Hughes was married three times yet declared in his biography, “I never knew if any of them loved me or my money.” More does not necessarily mean merrier.

3. “Sex sells.”

Yep, an attractive woman showing some skin on the cover of a magazine or...

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December 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Shortly after I was saved while serving in the United States Air Force, a friend in the Baptist church we attended convinced Elsie and me to join the choir. Just so you won’t think it was because of our sterling voices, Elsie and I have “choir voices.” Since there were only 20 or so in the choir, they needed people. We rehearsed every week and sang every Sunday. All special music: solos, duets, trios, came from choir members. It was fun and a great way to serve the Lord. So whatever happened to the choir? Yes, Teen Challenge has a 300 voice choir and several mainline churches have choirs but the choir has fallen out of fashion. Now most evangelical churches have a praise band with singers leading the worship. I’m not...

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November 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

When couples come for marriage counseling they often say that communication is their main problem. There typically are deeper problems as well, but communication is a good place to start. Without safe and respectful communication, it is not even possible to work on the deeper issues. One of the largest longitudinal research studies of marriage ever conducted was begun in 1980 at the Center for Marriage and Family Studies at Denver University. Drs. Scott Stanley, Daniel Trathan, and Savanna McCain used the research findings from this 20 year longitudinal study to develop curriculum to help couples function well in their relationships. The primary finding was that the best overall predictor of how well a couple is going to do in the future is...

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November 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Proverbs 29:19 teaches us that, “A slave will not be instructed by words alone; For though he understands, there will be no response” (NIV). Is this a case of cognitive deficiency? No, the slave understands what’s being asked of him by the master. If he understands what is being asked of him, why doesn’t he obey? We have modern sayings that speak to this: “Talk is cheap.” “Actions speak louder than words.” This slave has chosen to not obey. This is a matter of the will and this slave has a rebel will and has chosen not to obey his master.

What could the master do to get the rebellious slave to obey? He could threaten him but that is no substitute for ACTIONS! The master needs to take action ...

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November 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

 

After becoming a believer in Christ I was discipled by a man named Don Christianson. We called Don, the Silver Fox, because he had snow white hair. At the time I was 31 years old, married to Elsie, fresh out of seminary, and knew everything! Don, on the other hand, was a 60 something retired grade school principal. Don was a layman and I was a professional! Don and his wife, Inez (we called her Inie), had two married daughters. All were vibrant Christians.

One Sunday as I was exiting the Baptist church where I was the associate pastor, Don stopped me. He took an interest in me and asked if I would like to be discipled by an older man. I knew that the Bible told older men to disciple younger men (Titus 2:2, 2 Timothy 2:2) but ......

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November 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Like many of you, addiction has touched our family. Many years ago, my aunt’s brother, who was my age, began drinking heavily. A super-talented guy, he had no problem finding a job but after a few months of outstanding work, he would show up drunk and get himself fired. Upon occasion he would wind up in jail for driving drunk. His mother would always bail him out or take him in after he got fired. Because he was broke she gave him spending money which he, as you might guess, drank up. He went through numerous treatment programs but to no available but with each crisis there was mom to rescue him. Was she helping him or hurting him? Obviously she loved him, or did she?

What separates helping from enabling? As Hannah Harrison writes in...

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October 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

When couples come for premarital counseling, we talk about being team players. We give them two assessments to help them gain personal insights and also relationship awareness of strengths and growth areas. PREPARE/ENRICH is the assessment that looks specifically at the dynamics of their relationship. One of the most important things they need to know going into marriage is what they have in common and how are they different. What do they agree on and what are the areas of disagreement? Though there are other factors to consider as well, in general, couples who have similar interests and values are more likely to be like-minded and able to function as a team. No two people see eye-to-eye on everything. Differences keep life interesting and ...

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October 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Few terms in our modern world evoke more disdain than the term “repent.” Upon hearing the word, many envision a long bearded, wild-eyed man carrying a placard that reads, “Repent! The end is near!” To many repent means complete upheaval of life to become a religious zealot. Is that what it means to repent and, if so, why would anyone repent in the first place?

The Bible paints a very different picture of what it means to repent. The Greek word for repent is metanoia which means a change of mind or thinking. A change of mind does not simply happen. It is typically preceded by pain, crisis, and brokenness. We are stubborn creatures and until we experience pain and misery we resist changing. The status quo, no matter ...

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