WHEN A KISS ISN’T JUST A KISS

How Greeting with a Holy Kiss Promotes Unity in the Church I love how the apostle Paul closes out his second letter to the Corinthians. "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (2 Cor. 13:12). My aim in this post and others to follow is to show how taking this command seriously can serve to guard oneness in your church. What is a holy kiss? The adjective tips us off that he means nothing sensual at all. Yet it still involves physical contact. This gesture promotes spiritual purposes, not amorous ones. In the ancient world, among the Jews and other cultures, even in ...

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CHURCH CLOSINGS FOR HURRICANE IRMA

It seems quite clear now that our region will experience tropical storm weather conditions throughout the day this Sunday. Prudence dictates calling the ball at this point. There will be no meetings held at OGC this Sunday, 9/10. Additionally the church office will be closed on Monday for sure, perhaps longer depending upon the state of things following the storm. Updates will be posted as made possible by the availability of necessary utilities. Needless to say, be in prayer for the citizens of our state and beyond. A call has gone out from CRU requesting any ...

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HURRICANE IRMA UPDATE

You may well be wondering what we intend to do about Sunday worship and classes this week in light of the pending threat of Hurricane Irma. We've had considerable internal discussion among our leadership team as well as conversation with other local churches. This storm presents a number of challenging factors and variables that make wisdom difficult to ascertain. At this point we are leaning heavily toward canceling meetings this Sunday. Our stance stems from the following considerations: 1. Tropical Storm Force Winds or Greater - As of 11 am this morning the ...

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ROBOJAW 3 REPORT

Update on My Most Recent Jaw Reconstruction Procedure Last Thursday, August 10, I underwent the third in a series of surgeries to rebuild my right-side mandible. Radiation treatment in 2005 eventually undermined the integrity of that bone. I suffered a pathological fracture as a result in late 2015. Tongue cancer was painful. A broken jaw was excruciating. Worse than that, one can't chew anything. Something had to be done. Fortunately Dr. Robert Marks, an oral surgeon in Miami, knew just what to do for me. He is one of a kind. I've complained about having to ...

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DIFFERENT DAYS & ASSIGNMENTS

How Ecclesiastes 7:14 Informs Choices in Plenty & Want In recent years I have returned to this text time and again: In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. Adversity has characterized the better part of my last three years. Great loss, grief, physical sufferings and more have visited my household. The wisdom writer calls for different responses for different days. Adversity necessitates reflection. Consider is the assignme...

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PEACEMAKING & “ALTAR BUILDING”

Marks of a God-Centered Lifestyle Essential for Peacemaking Excellence I posted recently on one of my favorite Bible peacemaking passages--Gen. 13. I failed to mention a critical component in the text--Abram's pattern of altar building. There is  a similarity between how the chapter begins and ends. In this is an insight—perhaps a secret—which explains why Abram could respond the way he did in the conflict with his nephew. Genesis 12:10-20 recounts how Abram barely escaped a near disastrous entanglement with Pharaoh in Egypt. That background sets the stage ...

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THREE ARE BETTER THAN ONE

How God Comforts Abundantly in Loss through the Grief of Others No worries. I'm not misquoting the sacred text in Ecc. 4:9-12. 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Two are better than one. No doubt ...

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BACK TO GENESIS

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we return to our study of the first book of the Bible—Genesis. We first started our expositional trek through what I have entitled “The Book of Beginnings” back in February of 2015. We made it as far as half of Gen. 14 in October of that year, before my fractured jaw brought us to a screeching halt. Two surgeries and medical leaves later we can finally get back to this strategic, foundational book of the Bible. I am excited for us to arrive at this point for several reasons. One, it means I have recovered sufficiently to climb back ...

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GUARDING ONENESS

How to Deal with the Killer of Unity in Any Relationship My mentor and friend surprised me the other day. I asked if he could recommend a go-to resource on marriage. I figured he would point to any number of more recent publications by major evangelical authors. Not so. He suggested Larry Crabb's 1991 publication Men & Women: Enjoying the Difference (Zondervan). It just so happens I have a copy in my library. I read it years ago. Never hurts to take another look, so I pulled it off the shelf and began reading again. It took only twenty-eight pages before these ...

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A PEACEMAKING WIFE

How Nancy Excelled at Safeguarding Oneness in Our Marriage Today would have marked our 42nd wedding anniversary. Ever since Nan went home to Jesus last May 31, I've wondered how this final major historical marker would unfold for me. As I paged through our wedding album this morning, tears fell again. I have so many great memories of life with the wife my youth. We enjoyed uncommon oneness by and large throughout the years. In this personal post, I want to pay tribute to Nan the peacemaker. She took Eph. 4:1-3 seriously in the church and in our marriage. She ...

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