Pursuing happiness…

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield seriously said in an interview a few years before his death, “I have never been happy. My whole life has been a downer. Similarly, Katherine Hepburn once said, “I don’t know what one means by happy.  I’m happy spasmodically.  If I eat chocolate turtle, I’m happy.  When the box is empty, I’m […]

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The gospel is good — today

Many years ago when doing evangelism training with him, a friend asked me, “what is the benefit of the gospel?  I know we get Heaven, but is there good news in the gospel now?  What good is the gospel for people today?” I don’t remember what I told my friend on that occasion, but I know […]

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Sermon: The Fruit of the Spirit

The Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:16-26 March 16, 2014 It’s about the size of a bowling ball, covered with sharp, stiff, spiny points, and grows on trees throughout southeast Asia, most predominantly in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The business end of a durian, which is the inside, is mucuslike in consistency, and the unique […]

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The fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 reveals to us the kinds of fruit that the Spirit produces in the life of the believer who is walking with and filled with Him (Gal. 5:16; Eph. 5:18-21).  These are not only in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, but they also relate to virtually every aspect of life, as shown […]

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Real joy

How fickle our joy is. If our favorite sports team (or our child’s sports team) wins “the big game,” or even just “a” game, we’re happy. If a T-bone steak shows up on the dinner plate, we’re happy.  Brussels sprouts and sauerkraut?  Not so happy. If there’s more money than month?  Happiness.  More month than […]

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An unusual commendation?

We all like to be complimented.  We identify with the boy who said to his father, “Dad, let’s play darts.  I’ll throw.  And you say, ‘great shot!’” We want people to say we’ve done a job well, that we look good for our age, that it looks like we’ve lost a few pounds, that our […]

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Bearing fruit

Several years ago, a friend gave my wife a plum tree for her birthday.  I think I was as excited about the gift as my wife, as I had memories of my grandmother’s plum jam and anticipated spreading that succulent delight on fresh-baked bread. With eagerness I anticipated the first year’s crop.  And there was […]

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Need a little encouragement?

In an essay on the life of Dwight Eisenhower, historian Stephen Ambrose recounts the following story: In 1963, when he was filming with Walter Cronkite a television special entitled “D-Day Plus 20 Years,” Cronkite asked [Eisenhower] what he thought about when he returned to Normandy.  In reply, Eisenhower spoke not of the tanks, the guns, […]

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R. C. Sproul on spiritual fruit

From R. C. Sproul, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit [pp. 165-7.]: Here [in Galatians 5:22-25] the Apostle exhibits the model of authentic righteousness. The fruit is designated as the fruit of the Spirit. Fruit is something that is produced in us. It is not of ourselves. In ourselves we are only flesh. The flesh […]

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Spiritual fruit defined

As you think about the presence of spiritual fruit in your life, consider the following definitions of the various aspects of the fruit mentioned in Galatians 5.  Is this the kind of fruit that is being produced in your life? LOVE DEFINED:  “Love is the commitment of my will and affections to your needs and […]

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Are you growing in fruitfulness?

Are you growing in spiritual fruitfulness? There are many questions that can be asked to evaluate one’s spiritual life. (Don Whitney’s book, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health is a particularly helpful resource). But I ask this question because I think it encompasses many other questions that we might ask about the spiritual life, […]

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Life on the farm

One of my favorite pictures from my childhood is a picture that was taken of me and my farmer grandfather.  I was maybe four or five-years-old and I was standing with my grandfather in one of his fields.  He was surveying the crop; I was more interested in the camera. In those years, I would […]

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Grumbling about grace

It is a skill we begin to hone early in life.  Its first manifestations are the belligerent screams of a demanding infant at feeding time (or diaper changing time or bath time or getting dressed time).  By the time the child is a toddler, the screams morph into whines, mixed with occasion tears.  In the […]

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A sweet aroma

A writer for Leadership Journal recounted the following story: Deep-sea divers recently recovered a leather case containing 40 small vials of perfume oil from the wreck of the Titanic. The little bottles, which probably would have been sold in New York as the ingredients for cologne, belonged to a businessman from Manchester, England. When they […]

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Sins of the flesh

Galatians 5:19-21 tells us the kinds of sins that when practiced habitually without repentance will preclude one from entering into the kingdom of God and eternal fellowship with Him.  These are not only in contrast to the fruit and work of the Spirit of God, but they also relate to virtually every aspect of life, […]

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