“I am the Lord”

It has been often noted that at the base of all sin is some form of pride. A man pridefully deems that the protection of his finances is more important than the government’s right to tax, so he is deceitful on his 1040 form.  A child yearns for a toy and is billigerent in his […]

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A steadfast mind

Author George Bernard Shaw went to visit fellow Brit and sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein on one occasion.  As the artist showed the writer his studio, Shaw noticed a huge block of stone in the corner and asked Epstein what his intention was for the granite. “I don’t know yet.  I’m still making plans.” “You mean […]

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A study in contrasts

Call this a study in contrasts. Isaiah 9 is a well-known passage for its description of the advent of the Messiah: For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal […]

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Let him who boasts

All men tend towards pride. A wise man’s temptation is to boast in his own wisdom.  A strong man is tempted to boast in his own strength.  A rich man is tempted to boast about his riches (Jer. 9:23). There is a two-fold problem with this pride.  First, the pride is rooted in an exaltation […]

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Church is not that complicated

There are many ideas about how to do ministry (I receive new ideas on postcards and flyers virtually everyday in my mailbox and inbox).  There have always been many diverse and divergent ideas about the priorities of ministry.  The temptation is often to take a pragmatic approach to “make the church grow.”  Now having dancing […]

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Do I believe this?

The Psalms repeatedly affirm the goodness and lovingkindness of God.  He is merciful.  He is trustworthy. Reading Psalm 118 this morning, I wondered, “Do I believe this?” So I turned the statements of the psalmist into a series of questions to test the condition of my heart — Do I believe that God is lovingly […]

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A sermon do-over

Every preacher has them:  sermons that they realized after-the-fact that they did the worst thing that can be done in a sermon.  They missed the point of the passage. I’ve had at least my fair share of them.  But one stands towering over all the others in my mind.  I remember studying that week, wondering […]

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Approved by God

It was an incredible offer.  Thousands and thousands of dollars were at my disposal. Power, I was told, would be mine.  Prestige.  Privilege.  All because I had been pre-approved for a Platinum Visa.  Or if I preferred, I could opt for the offer of a Gold MasterCard that came from another bank that same day.  […]

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An acceptable sin

Pride is an acceptable sin. It is not acceptable to God, of course, but both in culture and church, pride in its various forms is often not only accepted, but lauded. In another day, one might have written a book and then waited for others to write reviews of it.  Today, it apparently has become […]

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Humbled by grace

Followed relentlessly by police officer Javert, Jean Valjean finds himself with a unique opportunity:  another man has been accused of his crimes and is about to be convicted.  And if the innocent man is convicted, Valjean will be free.  The dilemma is, can he allow another man to be unjustly accused and imprisoned for the […]

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Dreaming of faithfulness

Have you ever had a dream?  I have… When I was five, I dreamed of being a garbage man. When I was ten, I dreamed of being fifteen. When I was fifteen, I dreamed of being a baseball player. When I was twenty, I day-dreamed. When I was twenty-five, I dreamed of finishing school. When […]

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Something for every person

You have been a Christian for years.  Ministry seemed intimidating at first, but you’ve been involved in your church for a number of years, you’ve volunteered in some civic organizations, and you have a fairly clear perspective on your spiritual giftedness and effectiveness.  Ministry is much more natural now. Yet, while the patterns of life […]

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