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Endurance Is The Pathway To Living Free

James said that suffering leads to endurance and endurance makes us complete. Paul said that endurance builds character and character leads to hope. Chumbawamba said "I get knocked down; but I get up again." We would all like to think that once we start something, we work at it until we finish it. We believe that once we quit something, we never have to worry about it again. Truth is, we rarely finish what we start without slipping up a time or two along the way. We are rarely successful at quitting cold turkey. The secret is ENDURANCE. Success is the result of continuous effort in the face of overwhelming odds. Growth occurs when we dust ourselves off and keep going no matter how badly we've failed. Peter said we need to work out our salvation daily. On the cross, Jesus did everything necessary to set us free from the sin that enslaves us. He offers us that freedom, we only need to accept it and keep accepting it. John said if we confes

You Will Become Like The People Who Surround You

Many churches consistently push people toward small groups as a vehicle to help them grow. This isn't just a churchy thing, though. "Secular" research also suggests that the people whom we allow to influence us will either drag us down or pull us up to their level.

9 reMARKable thoughts from Mark 1.

Mark 1:14-15: Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Our question is not just "How did Jesus act?" In view of His action, we must also ask, "What should be my reaction?" Don't be so consumed waiting for tomorrow's miracle, that you miss God's provisions and opportunities today. Anywhere the King's authority is accepted and obeyed is a kingdom outpost. Jesus came to inaugurate the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men . Repentance is more than just an apology. It is words, not actions. It is an intentional effort to discontinue the old in favor of the new. Belief is more than just a one time prayer asking Jesus into your heart. It is the full embrace of a new way of life. Repentance and belief is like remodeling an old house. It's best to simply tear out the old so that the new can be built appropriately. J

Where Do You Look for Help When It Seems God Isn't Paying Attention?

Psalm 121:4: Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep If you've ever had a difficult day, or week, or month, or year; you know that it can't be hard to find comfort in words like Psalm 121:1-2. These verses were made famous by the Von Trapp family, "I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth." You might read those verses and say, "Great. But I don't have any hills to look up to, and I don't feel like anyone is coming to help." We can't all be Maria. We don't all stumble into the perfect family and the perfect solution for our problems. So, what do you do? How do you find hope, when all you see in front of you is despair? This morning I stumbled out of verses 1 and 2, sidestepped verse 3 and then got tackled by verse 4. Indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep Look! Israel's protector does not sleep or slu

Do You Have A Talking Problem?

I recently read somewhere that if you can't go an entire day without saying something negative about another person, then you have a problem. Imagine someone says, "I like to drink, but I don't have a drinking problem." You might ask, "How often do you drink?" If they respond that they cannot go a day without drinking, you might suggest that they do indeed have a drinking problem. Consider the person who says they never go a day without getting angry at least once. Would you recommend anger management? So then... If a day never passes in which you don't say at least one negative thing about one other person; do you have a "negative speech" problem? I do. Remember what James said. "And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself." (James 3:6) He also said, "For if we could control our to

5 Things Every Christian Can DO In Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Since I already stuck my nose in this, I thought I'd follow up last night's thoughts with a more practical post. Vast amounts of bandwidth have been used in recent days as American Christians debate what other people (namely the government) should do in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. I am fascinated by the intensity of outrage some direct toward others because of their opinion about what someone else should or should not do. Realistically, most of us have little to no impact on what our country will do in response to this crisis. So where our national policy finally lands seems like a really silly thing to get angry about. This comes back to a simple principle I express quiet often. "Don't allow the things you cannot control to control you." You cannot control what the Senate, the House or the President does. So don't allow their actions to control your behavior or your relationships. Instead, consider these five things EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN DO

About the Syrian Refugees: It's more complicated than you're saying it is

I've watched for the past couple days as the Starbucks cup outrage has been replaced by refugee rage. I'm sure by next week, the outrage will have moved along. Frankly, I'm a little surprised so many people are so focused on the refugee issue this quickly after the Russian plane, Lebanon bombings and Parisian terrorism. The refugee question is really not connected to these occasions of terrorism. (I know it seems like it, but it really isn't) Anyway, I've been wrestling with this for a couple days and feel like I might as well throw some thoughts out. More than anything else, I hope anyone who reads this can recognize that I'm calling for EVERYONE to think through this a little bit more. There are lots of sides to this issue, and not all of them line up neatly into one concise talking point.  So, here are 8 things I think about the stuff I see going on around me... God loves a cheerful giver.   When we use the gifts God has given us to help those in