My Musings

NO!
(Adventures in Answered Prayers)

NO! <br>(Adventures in Answered Prayers)

Have you noticed how delicious hot food can be in a cold wilderness? Surrounded by the wonders of nature, famished from the long hike, and tired from setting up camp, it hardly matters what kind of food you have. It’s all good!

The ancient Israelites, wandering through the Sinai desert for forty years, may have felt this way too… for a few days, weeks or months. But for the most part, praise for the food ...

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Goody Two-Shoes

Goody Two-Shoes

I wear two shoes everywhere I go, except to bed. Be thankful–my feet are ugly.

I also try to be good. With God’s help, sometimes I may actually come close. Does that make me a “goody two-shoes?”

In 1765, an anonymous children’s story about a little girl named Margery Meanwell was published in London. Margery’s nick-name was the title of this fictional bedtime story–“Goody Two-Shoes.” She was a poor orphan girl with just one ...

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A Momentous Change
(Missional Teaching)

A Momentous Change <br>(Missional Teaching)

As a little boy, I knew what I would be asked when I was met by my parents after school, including Sunday School. Most of my friends were asked the same question. Here it is:

“Joel, what did you learn today?”

As a young adult, I became the Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher. I also did some substitute teaching at a private school. I noticed a momentous change in the after-school question kids were ...

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The Days of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus

The Days of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus

    “These are the days of Elijah, Declaring the word of the Lord;
    And these are the days of Your servant Moses, Righteousness being restored

    Robin Mark, songwriter, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In the days of Moses, the enslaved children of Israel suffered under an Egyptian Pharaoh who made their lives miserable. It took ten powerful plagues to make Pharaoh listen to reason and let the Israelites go free. Moses delivered this message and God delivered ...

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THIS Marriage Will Last!

THIS Marriage Will Last!

In the Bible Jesus loved (the Old Testament), the chosen people of God were often described as His beloved bride. Their relationship became quite rocky due to her serial unfaithfulness. This inspired many prophetic calls for repentance and a remnant remained. God’s steadfast love for her endured.

In the New Testament, the church becomes the bride of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote of Jesus and His church in synonymous terms with husband and wife (Ephesians 5:22-33). ...

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“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8, NASB)

<strong>“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”</strong> (James 4:8, NASB)

Worship is about drawing near to God. There are no rigid formulas that can get you close to God if your heart clings to sin. If you humbly repent of your sins, however, no mere formula can keep God away.

James added, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8). Of course, hand-cleaning is worthless without a contrite heart. Ask Pilate. In calling for purity of heart, James surely knew ...

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Dear Church Critics, Here’s Why I Love Jesus’ Church

Dear Church Critics, Here’s Why I Love Jesus’ Church

I recently read a blog post by John Pavlovitz titled, “Dear Church, Here’s Why People Are REALLY Leaving You.” Instead of challenging all his negative stereotypes about Jesus’ church (His bride), I will offer seven undeniable truths about her:

    1. Jesus’ church is FLAWED!

    So are you. You’ll fit in fine.

    2. Jesus’ church is FREE!

    Compulsion in giving is forbidden (2 Corinthians 9:7), so if they charge admission, it’s not Jesus’ church. But ...

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Compounding Love
(The Pursuit of the Church)

Compounding Love <br>(The Pursuit of the Church)

Friendship and family are profound forces for good. They make life well worth living. Combine both of these loves and you have the greatest force for good this side of heaven—Jesus’ church!

And you thought I was going to say, a good marriage.

I could have. The apostle Paul saw the church and marriage on the same page at Ephesians 5:22-33, as vitally connected in character and principle. Sadly, both of these spiritually-rooted institutions are ...

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Which Way Does the Finger Point?

Which Way Does the Finger Point?

Preaching is as popular and unpopular today as ever.

I. Popular Preaching.

Preaching has always been a powerful and popular craft in America, whether it comes from politicians or preachers. Today, little “g” preachers (government) seem to go farther than big “G” preachers (God). Exceptions abound, but let me make my case.

On the merits of long sermons and little else, Barack Obama sailed through two national elections, preaching his way to the top. The ...

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Which Scrooge Are You?

Which Scrooge Are You?

“A Christmas Carol,” written in 1843 by Charles Dickens, is a riveting fictional tale about the transformation of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge into a renewed, joyful and generous man. After his conversion, Scrooge made a number of resolutions to help others and began to follow through on each one. Dickens wrote:

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, ...

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