Flag Day
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People are intensely proud of their national flags. That simple piece of colored cloth evokes powerful feelings. Brits love their Union Jack, Canadians love their maple leaf, and Americans love their star-spangled banner. Flags give people a sense of history, of belonging, of place, of identity. The message of salvation won for us by Jesus Christ is central to Christianity, and the symbol of the cross elegantly sums up his blood-purchase on our behalf. The most important message we have,... Read More
The Word
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I think I know why so many people underestimate the power of the Bible. Jesus Christ himself, the Son of God, came to earth “disguised” as one of us, walked in humility, took a lot of abuse, and died in shame. And yet it is through his wounds that we are healed. In the same way, the Bible seems like a lot of not much. It’s just words on a page. Talk, as we all know, is cheap. The Bible... Read More
Fly like an eagle
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Michael Joncas, priest and church musician, was only 27 when he wrote the words to “On Eagle’s Wings,” without a doubt one of the most popular Christian hymns today. Had he already known major suffering, despair, and a feeling of hopelessness in his short life? Had he personally experienced the tremendous lift that comes from God’s chosen time of rescue? Millions of struggling believers have rejoiced to sing with him: He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, Bear you... Read More
I gotta tell somebody
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When we’re pleased with a product or service, nobody has to nag us to share our experience. When we finally find a good auto mechanic, hairdresser, cabernet sauvignon, laundry detergent, or thrift store, we will happily tell everybody who will listen. Do you get animated when talking about your faith? Are you excited about what you’ve found? “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing... Read More
Care for the weak
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A strange paradox takes place when people become caregivers to special needs people. If you didn’t know the families, you would think that a child with Down syndrome or spina bifida or cerebral palsy would be a terrible burden. You’d think that it would be a terrible curse to be stuck with years, even decades, of the enormous responsibility of that level of care. Actually the reverse occurs. The family is ennobled and lifted up by learning how to be... Read More
I need proof
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Biblical Christians are sometimes accused of being anti-scientific because they can’t accept the theories of evolution and natural selection. Actually the reverse is true. Christians make great scientists—after all, there is only one truth, God’s truth. God himself loves science—his natural universe is full of order, design, rules, and laws. All its intricacies that we humans discover bit by bit were placed there by him long ago. Some features of the Christian faith, however, will forever be beyond the reach... Read More
Money or God?
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God has a lot of competition in the category of what people most desire. Jesus had been watching human behavior for many millennia and saw a sad pattern emerge. He saw it in the materialistic heart of one of his closest friends, one of his own chosen disciples, Judas. He saw how easily money could become an idol, a substitute god that ruled in people’s hearts. He said once, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the... Read More
First the cross, then the crown
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The Christian faith is one of paradoxes, isn’t it? God has designed a set of opposite principles that at first seem to contradict and nullify each other. He says he is a God who condemns sin and forgives sin. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human. He is a King who made himself a slave. We are saved by grace (inclusive—given freely to all) through faith (exclusive—only some believe). Here’s another: we are simultaneously mortal and immortal. Our bodies... Read More
Time to listen to your teachers
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One of the things I’ve learned the hard way in life is that I need people. It’s good to be independent and self-reliant. But you can’t invent the wheel in absolutely every aspect of your life. Listening to a teacher gets you farther faster. I could be a much better mandolin player if I had taken some lessons and had a master nudge me and guide me along. I could have been a far better woodworker with a mentor. I... Read More
Noah believed and obeyed
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Noah wasn’t the first or the only believer to whom God gave difficult instructions. But he surely had the biggest task—the construction of a gigantic floating barge, big enough for all the animals that God was going to send him. Not only did he have no heavy construction machinery or electricity, but he wasn’t a pharaoh and couldn’t command an army of thousands of construction slaves. He and presumably his boys were the work crew, plugging away at their gigantic... Read More