What's a Reformed Church Like Ours Doing Washing Cars this Saturday?

Good question. Let me explain. Some folks at lunch today asked me how I was doing. As usual, my response included my assessment of the state of affairs in my church. I told them how excited I was about the rewording of our mission/vision/values verbiage to make things more memorable and catalytic to our fellowship. So I laid the BRIDE acrostic on them and quickly rattled off what each of those letters stands for in the way we want to accomplish our mission. Lately we've been making a big deal out of the "B" for "Bridge Building."  That's our metaphor for crossing over ...

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How Shall We Give Thanks This Sunday?

This coming Sunday brings us to our annual Thanksgiving service. I will not preach. Rather we will give the sermon time to congregational sharing. We will give thanks for God’s goodness and kindness to us in manifold ways. The Psalmist expressed his determination to do that very thing in the temple in places like Psalm 111:1. Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. The question remains. Give thanks for what? Some things come quickly to mind. Health, provision, relationships, family, etc. ...

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In Praise of Constructive Peacemakers

OGC made the local paper not long ago. Someone sent this little ditty into the Ticked Off section a few weeks back. A sign that says "The Future Home of the Orlando Grace Church" has been posted on Maitland Avenue in Altamonte Springs across from St. Mary Magdalene Church for at least 38 years now. How much longer do we have to wait? I have to admit. At first I wondered if someone from OGC put that in the paper! Just kidding, sort of. No matter who submitted it, I sincerely hope no one will have to wait much longer for us to get into a facility, certainly not another ...

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Powerful Incentive to Pray

Jesus taught His followers to open their prayers this way: "Our Father in heaven" (Matt. 6:9). Paul wrote in Eph. 3:14, "For this reason I bow my knees before the  Father." Before both the Lord and the apostle revealed the content of their praying, they prescribed and modeled a certain manner of address toward God in praying. Call Him "Father." This is no small thing, particularly in the ancient eastern culture. The ancients revered their fathers as those who led the family unit and cared for its well being, doing it good and bestowing upon it favors. So by using the ...

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Soldiers, Athletes, Farmers, Web Designers & Other Workers for the Kingdom

Following Christ is decidedly not easy. It involves a lot of hard work. That much seems clear from the variety of word pictures Paul uses in 2 Tim. 2:1-15 to motivate his pastoral charge, Timothy. Every one of them - soldiers, athletes, farmers, workers of all kinds - engages in strenuous activity to accomplish his objectives. Terry Johnson, in this month's edition of Tabletalk Magazine, observes: Success in these endeavours requires aggressive, focused, energetic involvement. Each may, and should, pray to God for help, for wisdom, and for strength. God's strength is ...

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Why Pray for Power?

We have biblical precedent to pray for God's power in our lives. For example, Paul prays this way for the Ephesians in 3:16 - that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being. The question remains why? The answer comes in v. 17 - so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. The key to understanding what Paul means by this purpose lies within the word dwell. D. A. Carson, in his book A Call to Spiritual Reformation, observes: The verb rendered "to dwell" is a strong one. Paul's hope ...

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What's a Church to Do with So Many Support Requests?

Most of us have had numerous “asks” in recent months with several folks from our church heading for the mission field in one direction or another. Truthfully, there are more to come. We’ve got "asks" from new candidates for the mission field as well as already deployed servants whose support has deteriorated with the economy. The demand has the potential to strain relationships in our midst in one way or another.  Here’s what we all can do when an “ask” comes our way to keep the process redemptive as opposed to divisive:  Welcome the request as a possible ...

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Grudem Systematic Download

Someone tipped me off earlier today that Barnes & Noble has Wayne Grudem's excellent one-volume systematic theology available for download right now for $14.99. You can order it by clicking on here. If you have yet to invest in a resource of this kind, I highly recommend you start here.

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J. C. Ryle on Heb. 11:24-26

I neglected to mention a quote by Bishop Ryle regarding Moses and his astonishing choices in this morning's sermon text. Wonder not that he chose affliction, a despised people, and reproach. He beheld things below the surface. He saw with the eye of faith affliction lasting but for a moment, reproach rolled away, and ending in everlasting honour, and the despised people of God reigning as kings with Christ in glory. On this International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church we are reminded that many of our brothers and sisters around the world in 2009 must make similar ...

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Ten Ways To Think Rightly About Murderous Rampages

First Fort Hood in Texas, now Gateway Center in Orlando. Back to back. Crazy men lock and load and blow folks away - the last episode striking far too close to home, right in our own back yard. How are we to think in light of all we feel? I ask the question in light of Jesus' response to certain horrific tragedies in His day in Luke 13:1-5. When informed about Pilate's murderous rampage in mingling the blood of Galileans with their sacrifices, Jesus asked, "Do you think." It matters greatly what and how we think in the face of such things. Thoughts give way to feelings ...

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