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Contributed By:
Chris Edmondson
 
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• Practice openness and accountability.
This is the one thing we desperately need the most, and the one thing we most resist. We need support. Some things in life are just too hard to do on your own. We need people to come along side of us and encourage us. Whether you are dieting, or exercising, or trying to change a bad habit in your life—we all need people in our lives to support us, encourage us, and to ask us some hard questions about whether we are really following
through on our commitment to change. This is going to be hard when it comes to our finances.
• 82% of us have never discussed our income with another soul.
• 89% of us have never discussed our family budget with another person.
• 92% have never discussed what we have given to the church.
Get this: The people who are least likely in this country to talk about their personal financial matters are Christians.
People who rarely go to church—1 out of 4 of them admit that they have talked to their friends about how much money they make. Do you know how many Christians have done that? 1 out of every 8.
Christians don’t talk about this. In fact, we don’t talk about a lot of stuff that really matters in our day to day lives: Sex, money, parenting, jobs. Let’s pop the top off our dirty little secrets and start holding each other accountable. Let’s start encouraging and edifying one another; life and money troubles are just to hard to go at it
alone.

 
Contributed By:
Ed Vasicek
 
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John Piper compares the gift of teaching to the gift of prophecy: "And yet, even though the gift of teaching is fallible and even though it lacks intrinsic, divine authority, we know it is of immense value to the church. We are all edified and built up by gifted teachers. God is in it. He does use it. It is a spiritual gift.
Now compare this to the gift of prophecy. It is prompted by the Spirit and sustained by the Spirit and based on a revelation from God. God reveals something to the mind of the prophet (in some way beyond ordinary sense perception), and since God never makes a mistake, we know that his revelation is true. It has no error in it. But the gift of prophecy does not guarantee the infallible transmission of that revelation. The prophet may perceive the revelation imperfectly, he may understand it imperfectly, and he may deliver it imperfectly. That’s why Paul says we see in a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12). The gift of prophecy results in fallible prophecy just like the gift of teaching results in fallible teaching. So I would ask, "If teaching can be good for the edification of the church, could not prophecy be good for edifying as well, just as Paul says it is (1 Corinthians 14:3, 12, 26)—even though both of them are fallible, mixed with human imperfection, and in need of testing?

 
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A reality check on how we sabotage ourselves:

Do you at times long for days gone by where you did certain activities that you now do not do? This is our unredeemed flesh working on a mind that is not renewed by the word of God. We need to immediately cast out these unhelpful distractions, recognize the futility that they deliver, and fill our mind with what is edifying.

This previous life suffices (arketos) in this context means more than simply adequate, but conveys the sense of being more than enough. Peter’s readers had had a whole life full of opportunity to sin, and that is more than enough in doing what the Gentiles (the unconverted peoples) want to do living to fulfill sinful passions (cf. Eph. 2:1–3).

Source: From Matthew Kratz’s Sermon: But It’s Not Fair: Unjust Suffering

 
Contributed By:
Michael McCartney
 
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Murren helps us to see a clear picture of a healthy and a healing church by reminding us what the Bible says we as the Body of Christ should be doing:

The Believers are devoted to one another and give preference to one another (Romans 12:10).
They love one another (Romans 13:8).
They refrain from judging one another (Romans 14:13).
They edify one another (Romans 15:14).
They serve one another (Galatians 5:13).
They don’t hurt one another (Galatians 5:15).
They don’t provoke one another through conceit (Galatians 5:26)
They help carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).
They are patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2).
They are kind and forgiving toward one another (Ephesians 4:32).
They submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21).
They esteem one another (Philippians 2:3)
They stimulate one another to do good works (Hebrews 10:24).
They don’t...

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Sermon Central
 
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-A reality check on how we sabotage ourselves: Do you at times, long for days gone by where you did certain activities that do now do not do. This is our unredeemed flesh working on a mind that is not renewed by the word of God. We need to immediately cast out these unhelpful distractions, recognize the futility that they deliver, and fill our mind with what is edifying.

This previous life suffices (arketos) in this context means more than simply adequate, but conveys the sense of being more than enough. Peter’s readers had had a whole life full of opportunity to sin, and that is more than enough in doing what the Gentiles (the unconverted peoples) want to do living to fulfill sinful passions (cf. Eph. 2:1–3).


From Matthew Kratz’ Sermon "But It’s Not Fair: Unjust Suffering"

 
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Sermon Central
 
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MORE THAN ENOUGH

A reality check on how we sabotage ourselves:

Do you at times, long for days gone by where you did certain activities that do now do not do? This is our unredeemed flesh working on a mind that is not renewed by the word of God. We need to immediately cast out these unhelpful distractions, recognize the futility that they deliver, and fill our mind with what is edifying.

This previous life suffices (arketos) in this context means more than simply adequate, but conveys the sense of being more than enough. Peter's readers had had a whole life full of opportunity to sin, and that is more than enough in doing what the Gentiles (the unconverted peoples) want to do living to fulfill sinful passions (cf. Eph. 2:1-3).

From Matthew Kratz's Sermon "But It's Not Fair: Unjust Suffering"

 
Contributed By:
Mark Brunner
 
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“Step Into The Image of Christ!” Hebrews 5:1-9 Key verse(s): 8-9:“Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him . . .”

Why do we love the Constitution so! A document that is nearly 220 years old and written in the flowery English of our forefathers, a musty old thing that some say has little relevance to the way we live our lives today; why is it that it occupies a central display in our national archives and governs yet after all these years? As a charter, some say, it is certainly without equal. Many have compared it to the Magna Carta presented by the English barons to King John in 1215. Others have held it up as the hallmark of all governing charters. Certainly we can all be proud of our Constitution. In reality, nearly every other democratic nation in the world has made it their epitome as they craft their own charters of state. But, what is it about this charter that holds us so tightly after all these years? It must be more than the “bigger-than-life” characters that wrote it and signed it. Ultimately, it must be the relevance of what it grants not what it so eloquently states that so binds us since the lives we lead today bear little resemblance to those led by its authors.

A charter is something that engraves for all time. It is meant to be held in high esteem and altered only with utmost diligence. For a charter grants privileges and reserves rights which are endemic to life itself not just living. In a sense, it reflects the character of those who wrote it on-in-perpetuity. Though gone for hundreds of years, when we open the pages of our Constitution, we see reflected not just words but images; character images of those who bore this document. When I read our Constitution I can see and feel Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and the all the others who shaped it word by word and then embraced it for all ages. As you cannot look at Michelangelo’s Pieta and not see the sculptor or Rembrandt’s The Black Watch and not see the artist, it is impossible to divorce the Sons of Liberty from pages of our Constitution.

A charter is a likeness of those who drew it up; a reflection of their thought. When we read a charter and live under it as we do the Constitution, we are not simply edified. Rather, we enter into it and become like Jefferson and Madison. Their words become our words because once a charter is so drawn up, ownership of it belongs to those to whom it is granted. It is not Jefferson’s Constitution. It is Mark Brunner’s Constitution and so on. Since it is my charter and your charter, and we receive from it rights and privileges reserved only for those who live under it, we in turn strive to protect it, defend it, and cherish it. To love it become natural. In that love we follow naturally into obedience. For it is natural to obey something which provides us with essential security and well-being. The more and more we crave that security and well-being, the more and more we strive to conform to the image of the charter that provides it. In a sense we are holding the document up to the light of understanding and trying to step into it and sound its depths. In our love of freedom and liberty we long to make the Constitution, the charter of our freedom-loving forefathers, the portal by which we enter into and conform to their understanding of what freedom is.

Jesus Christ came down from heaven over two thousands years ago and presented us with the greatest charter of all time, the charter of freedom from sin and death through His sacrifice once for all on the cross of Calvary. His Word is our charter to freedom that is irresistible to a sinner. It draws us into Christ Jesus himself and because of what it promises, remains r...

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Contributed By:
Ken Pell
 
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POLYCARP(2nd Century)

Can you imagine what it was like for the church in Smyrna as they watched their beloved and aged pastor burn at the stake? Polycarp was his name. he was a disciple of Jesus’ disciple, the Apostle John. One could tell it immediately because he possessed the same tenderness and compassion as his mentor.

Polycarp was Bishop of the church at Smyrna (present day Turkey). Persecution broke out in Smyrna and many Christians were fed to the wild beasts in the arena. The godless and bloodthirsty crowd called for the carcass of the leader – Polycarp.

The authorities sent a search party to find him. He had been taken into hiding for some Christians but the Romans tortured two young believers until they finally disclosed his location. When the authorities arrival was announced there was still time to whisk Polycarp away but he refused to go saying, “God’s will be done.”

In one of the most touching instances of Christian grace imaginable Polycarp welcome his captors as if they were friends. He talked with them and insisted they eat a meal. Ha made only one request before being taken away – he asked for one hour to pray. The Roman soldiers listened to his prayer. Their hearts melted and they gave him 2 hours to pray. They had second thoughts as well and were overheard asking each other why they were sent to arrest him?

Other authorities also experienced a warmed heart when Polycarp arrived. The Proconsul tried to find a way to release him too. “curse God and I will let you go!” he pleaded.

Polycarp’s reply was: “For eighty-six years I have served him. He has never done me wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King was has saved me?”

The Proconsul again looked for a way out. “The do this old man, just swear by the spirit of the emperor and that will be sufficient.’

Polycarp’s reply was: “If you imagine for a moment that I would do that, then I think you pretend that you don’t know who I am. Hear it plainly. I am a Christian.”

More entreaties by the Proconsul

Polycarp stood firm.

The proconsul threatened with the wild beasts.

Polycarp’s reply was: “Bring them forth. I would...

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