23 Life Changing Rock Solid Promises of Scripture

Paul argues in Galatians 4 that Christians are the true Sons of Abraham because we share the faith of Abraham. God made promise to Abraham to bless the entire world through his offspring. Abraham didn’t know the whole story; he trusted God for the revelation God had given him at that time. But now, in Christ, we are able to see all the full grandeur of God’s redemptive promise that he initiated through Abraham. We share the faith of Abraham, but we cling to better promises (Hebrews 8:6), built on a better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:23), and provides for us a better possession (Hebrews 10:34) as we await a better life (Hebrews 11:35) and a better destiny (Hebrews 11:16). This following list is the content of that better promise provided for us by Jesus Christ. God’s promise to Abraham was a shadow of the things to come; but here are 23…

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Is this Gossip?

Two Kinds of Gossip There are two ways to gossip. We can gossip with things we say or with things we listen to other people say. Both are participating in gossip. But the Bible does not forbid talking about other people. There are numerous instances in the New Testament where people are called out by name because their sin has affected other people and those actions were reported to church leaders. A great example is Philippians 4, where a conflict between Euodia and Syntyche was permanently canonized in scripture because someone talked to Paul about it. So we need some way to diagnose our words and our motives in order to gain wisdom about what gossip is. The questions below reveal that most of the things we say about other people are harmful rather than helpful. Gossip through Speaking Will I help or hurt the person’s character by repeating this information? If I talk…

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One of the hardest verses in the Bible

There is an apparent contradiction between two verses in the Bible. James says, “A person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). Paul says, “One is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3:28). Although they appear contradictory on the surface, a closer examination of how James and Paul are using words shows that they are talking about two different things. Both James and Paul (and Jesus, for that matter!) argue forcefully that saving faith will always result in a changed life; a life that is characterized by good works. But Paul and James are referring to two different things when they use the word “justified.” Paul uses the word “justified” to refer to the declaration of a person’s initial pardon at the moment of his conversion. James uses the word “justified” to refer to the final accounting of a person’s life before…

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10 Ways to Redeem Your Time

I gave a recent sermon at Christ the King Church regarding the Bible’s teaching that we should “redeem the time.” This means that every second of every day counts and should be dedicated to God. But how do we do this when time always seems so short? After some reflection, I’ve compiled a list of several things that have helped me to make the most of my time. Repent of wasted time. I needed to change my orientation towards time and realize that there was just way too much wasted time in my life. Ask yourself: how many hours per week do I spend using Facebook, or mindlessly touring the internet? How many hours a week staring glassy eyed at a TV screen? How much time reading mindless novels or magazines? Video games? I’m convinced that much of what we commonly consider “entertainment” can easily be refiled under “waste of…

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What Happened on Good Friday?

Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition blog has posted a chronology of events that took place from the biblical accounts of Good Friday. This would make some worthwhile reading and meditation for the most sober day of the year.

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church In Cincinnati (10 Reasons)

The first reason why I’m planting a racially diverse church in Cincinnati: it’s biblical. The second reason is this: The world wants racial reconciliation, but only the gospel can deliver it. Everywhere you look, from corporate advertisements to college promotional materials to fashion magazines, it is clear that people want to see a diversity of faces in the imagery. Martin Luther King, Jr. did our country a great service by helping to expose racial hypocrisy. He was (perhaps naively) convinced that white Christians would rush to his aid but most didn’t. During the civil rights era, our country has come a long way to give all people of various races equal opportunities for advancement. Everyone is clamoring for it. You can’t watch the evening news without seeing it in the advertisements, or hearing of someone being sentences to probation and “diversity training,” or a story about someone violating political correctness…

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati

The number one reason why I’m planting a racially diverse church in Cincinnati is simply this: It’s Biblical. I’m not doing this because a focus group survey revealed a “market niche” for a racially diverse church. I’m doing this because I simply cannot escape what the Bible has to say about race. All the way back in the very beginning of things, back when God spoke to Abraham and made a covenant with him, God promised that Abraham would be a blessing to every nation on the earth (Genesis 12). And then God gives us a flash forward glimpse into the future, when Jesus is praised in heaven precisely because he “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” God’s worth is demonstrated by the diversity of His admirers. Between these two major events in the beginning of all things and at the end of…

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Backwards Bible Verse: Are You Blind?

Backwards Verse of the Day #15: John 9:39-41 The state of unbelief in Christ is not a matter of whether or not one chooses to believe in Christ, but rather it is a much more profound condition. Throughout the Scriptures God calls this, in one form or another, “Spiritual Blindness.” The biggest problem with spiritual blindness is that those who are blind don’t know they are blind. Here are a couple of examples. 1. Isaiah’s call to ministry in Isaiah 6 is to preach to people who “keep on seeing but do not perceive.” 2. When the ministry of the Messiah is summarized in Matthew 11, it includes this: “the blind receive their sight…” 3. Paul explains the power of the gospel by calling it a shining of the gospel’s light into spiritual darkness. God says “Let there be light!” to the spiritually blind person and “creates” light and sight…

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Noisy Worship Music

When your church gathers for worship, what are you really doing? If you truly want to worship, then you should be giving ascent to the things God says are important. What, then, are the things God really wants to see from you when you gather for worship? Does he want to see good musicians and a talented vocalists? Does he want to hear skillful arrangements and prayers laced with tender piano music, led by an up and coming worship leader with diving board hair? If you have a kick-butt worship band, and everybody comes and raises their hands and sings out really loud, and the offering plate is overflowing, and everybody is having a great time… if you have all of this but your church does not have any sort of outreach to the poor, needy, broken, psychologically troubled, physically handicapped, or the otherwise down-and-out, and your church favors the…

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BVOTD #14: The Homeless Man is Your Boss

Backwards Verse of the Day: Luke 22:25-30 Since Jesus was going around announcing his Kingdom to everyone, the natural questions started to arise among his followers. Who will be the chief of staff? Who will be the Press Secretary? Communications Director? Secretary of State? Who will be VP? Its hard to run a kingdom alone and his disciples knew that when Jesus’ kingdom is fulfilled he’d need to surround himself with the right personnel. Naturally, then, they wondered: “Who is the greatest?” This is not a school-yard conversation between bullies. This was a legitimate question to ask when one expects to be in the inner circle of a revolutionary new king. This is how Jesus answers the question: And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest…

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