The real thing
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Most of us have absolutely no idea when we are going to die. At best, even as the day approaches, we have only hazy guesses. Jesus Christ, however, knew exactly how much time he had left on earth, for he knew in terrible detail how and when he would be slain. That means that he chose the content of his last teachings to his disciples with great care and that he designed carefully some important actions for their learning and... Read More
Pray for leaders
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You know the old saying about what drives the value of real estate, right? Location, location, location. Do you know what drives the growth of congregations and parachurch ministries? Leadership, leadership, leadership. Only God and his mighty Word can turn an unbeliever into a believer. But God is determined to wait for us to gather a crowd, proclaim that powerful Word, and shepherd the flock. It pained Jesus to see what happened to the flock when the spiritual leadership was... Read More
Eternity in my heart
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Blaise Pascal was a 17th-century French mathematician, physicist, and Christian philosopher. He said once, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Pascal was right. There is no meaning in the universe if you deny the Creator, no love in the universe if you deny Christ the Savior, and no wisdom in the universe if you deny the Spirit.... Read More
I feel left out
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Being an outcast is an unfortunately common experience. I can still remember being the last one chosen for playground softball, and the only reason I was chosen at all is that the teacher made the captains involve everybody. I still remember my sophomore basketball season on the bench as a third-stringer. Most women can remember the experience of being left out of the desirable girls’ group. Every high school cafeteria has kids sitting at tables who feel like they don’t... Read More
Why the church?
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If God grants me an exit interview, I have one question: Why the church? Why did he make people responsible for something where the stakes are so high? Surely the almighty God had other options. When Jesus ascended to heaven, he commissioned his followers to be his church. They didn’t get it, and he left anyway. We’re talking about the church of cathedrals and revival tents, of controversies and Holy Communion. This is the church of reformations and counter-reformations. It... Read More
Easter: The Big Deal
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The magnificent pyramids of Egypt were actually constructed as burial vaults for the pharaohs: the bodies of Djoser, Khufu, and Khafra, carefully mummified and wrapped, were interred there. The burial chambers today, however, are empty. Jesus Christ was executed like the worst criminal, but he was buried like a prince in a newly hewn rock mausoleum. His vault is empty also, but for a completely different reason. Grave robbers looted the tombs of the pharaohs. Jesus walked out of his... Read More
Spending money God's way
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Do you tend to be a Scrooge or a spendaholic? Here is another example of when it’s best to steer the middle course in life. God gives no special honor to misers and skinflints, but there is also terrible danger in out-of-control spending. Be intentional about the money flowing from you. Do you go shopping when you are feeling bad about yourself? Do you need new clothes to feel important? When you find something on sale, do you then buy... Read More
Who did it?
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There is plenty of blame to go around for the horrible crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The religious leaders of the Israelite people plotted his midnight arrest. Judas betrayed him with a kiss. The Jewish council convicted him on trumped-up charges. The Roman legal system sacrificed him to quiet a mob. Does it surprise you to know that behind it all was the punishing hand of God the Father? Seriously! The prophet Isaiah takes us behind the scenes to see the... Read More
What do you mean, "Maundy"?
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The evening of Jesus’ arrest and condemnation in Jewish and Roman courts began quietly with the annual Passover meal in an upper room in Jerusalem. Jesus used those final golden hours of freedom as a teaching retreat. Much of what he said and did shocked the disciples: he knelt and washed their feet, he predicted his death and resurrection, and then he said this: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you... Read More
Your status update
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Social media is reprogramming our brains. Typical users are logging in 15 times a day, hoping for the rush of adrenaline that comes from a notification. College students—and some older honest people too—confess that they spend a lot of their brainpower thinking about what they will tweet, post, or update. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we were as connected with our God as we think we are with our online friends? If we, like King David, could honestly say, “Oh,... Read More