What God can do with whatever you do well

Many of us often ask ourselves “What can I do to serve God?” but we’re less likely to combine that question with this one: “What do I love to do, and do well?” The narrative of 1 Samuel 17—one of the most commonly told and perhaps most commonly mis-told narratives in the Bible—brings those two

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What is the “lead story” for Easter?

If you were to ask the average believer what Easter’s “lead story” is, you might receive this response: “God did the biggest miracle of all time.” Or, someone might answer, “God proved that He can do great miracles.” Someone else might answer, “Now we know what our future will be like.” Yet another common response

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Meanings of the Cross: Jesus experiences our loneliness

Genesis 2:18 claims that God knew from the beginning that “It is not good for the human to be alone.” Nevertheless, a reality upon which modern literature, art, and theater often focus is human loneliness.  God has allowed something to become a part of the wounds of our existence that God knows is “not good.”

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Gehenna: The garden-turned-garbage dump

In my previous post (Is Hell a Key Tenet of the Christian Faith?), I focused on showing that references to “Hell/Gehenna” in the New Testament are almost all from words credited to Jesus and are almost all warnings to church/religious leaders not to abuse their influence. Never once does Jesus threaten the tax gatherers, the

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Is “Hell” a key tenet of the Christian faith?

Quite a number of you have mentioned the current controversy about the PR surrounding a book by Rob Bell, a prominent pastor in Grand Rapids. Since neither I nor almost anyone else has read the book (“Love Wins”), which is just being released today, I have no interest in pretending I know exactly what he

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Playing Bit Parts in God’s Great Story

In 2 Kings 5 there is a fairly well-known account that features two somewhat-known people to Bible readers (Naaman and Gehazi) and one person who is quite well known (Elisha). But do you ever think about how indispensable the “bit players” are in God’s great story? Or, in your life’s story for that matter? In

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Renewal & Reality: Being a Part of God’s Great Story

The need for corporate renewal is a constant theme among most of the Biblical writers. The very fact that the challenge occurs again and again should warn us against two of our most common mistakes when we think about corporate renewal. One mistake is that we tend to think that real renewal would be a

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Leaders as servants in God’s Great Story

What makes a good leader? Do good leaders today have the same qualities as the good leaders in the stories of the Bible? At New Covenant Fellowship, we’re in the process of defining and selecting a leadership team. I was asked to do a teaching on leadership and wanted to incorporate it into our “Being

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Seeing Advent Every Day

Advent might be over, but there is much we can learn from the season and continue to reflect on throughout the year. An Advent sermon by Dominican Priest Oscar Uzin from Bolivia ended with this challenge: “The Lord is Coming, always coming. Be alert to his coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes

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Questioning, doubting & hoping

Do you ever doubt? I imagine (and hope) so! It is impossible for most of us to live in the 21st century without having times when we are filled with questions and doubts concerning God, and/or what God has done in Jesus.  We look at the condition of the church now and through the ages,

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