Serving Appetizers: Worship Services That Keep Their Promises

Matthew Westerholm

As a worship pastor, I am saddened to read polls reporting young people leaving our churches. True, this happens in each generation (remember the Boomer-angs who returned to church in the 1990s?), but how can service planners encourage the continued participation of young people within our churches?

One of the regular ways churches respond is to adopt a more contemporary style of music. But if you know two different teenagers,…

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Preach the Gospel to Yourself

David Mathis

No one is more influential in your life than you are. Because no one talks to you more than you do.

So observes Paul Tripp — and in doing so, he accents our need to daily preach the gospel to ourselves.

In our sin, we constantly find our responses to life in our fallen world to be disconnected from the theology that we confess. Anger, fear, panic, discouragement stalk our…

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One Shining Moment — And Everyone Else a Loser

Ed Uszynski

What does every athletic team in the world have in common with every reality-TV-show contestant at the end of each season? All, except one, go home with a loss on their mind.

While watching our premier American sports and music combatants this spring, it seems that everyone expects to be the last one standing, and everyone seems shocked when they are sent home with that final loss, as though winning…

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Why God Gives Us More Than We Can Handle

Jon Bloom

The next time someone says that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, point them to Judges chapter seven. God instructing Gideon to take on over 100,000 enemy soldiers with just 300 fits in the “more than you can handle” category. Imagine how Gideon and his servant, Purah, must have felt trying to come to grips with a humanly impossible assignment.

Standing on the side of Mount Gilboa,…

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God Wants You to Know How Much He Loves You

Jon Bloom

The greatest love you can know is when someone lays down his life for you (John 15:13). Especially when you were an enemy when he laid his life down for you (Romans 5:10).

And that’s when Jesus laid his life down for you (1 John 3:16),

  • on a Roman cross of torture (Philippians 2:8),

  • to bear the guilt of your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3),

  • and pay your debt of infinite…

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Six Lessons in Good Listening

David Mathis

Listening is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do, and one of the hardest.

In a sense, listening is easy — or hearing is easy. It doesn’t demand the initiative and energy required in speaking. That’s why “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The point is that hearing is easy, and faith is not an expression of our activity, but our receiving…

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Whose Approval Do You Crave?

Joseph Scheumann

When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (Matthew 6:16)

Perhaps Jesus’s words about prayer and fasting are more relevant than ever. Not that the human heart has changed. Quite the opposite — the heart has been, and always will be, apart from God, “desperately…

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When Scripture Is the Controversy

Jonathan Parnell

If we learned anything from last week, maybe it’s that the real controversy among evangelicals in the coming days will be about the Bible, not homosexuality.

Beneath the surface of the recent scuffle is the more vital issue of how disciples of Jesus posture themselves toward God’s word. It’s not simply about our grasp of what Scripture is, or our conviction of Scripture’s inerrancy, or even where we land with…

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Don’t Give Up on Joy

Jonathan Parnell

You don’t have to wallow in sadness.

Ben Stuart says this realization was one of the greatest gifts God gave him in his fight against sadness. He learned from the Psalms that we could push back against sad feelings with the truths of God’s word. We can fight back for joy in God.

In this three minute video, Ben talks about three weapons in the fight against sadness and encourages…

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Four Things to Teach Your Children This Easter

Christina Fox

Spring is upon us. Flowers are beginning to bud, leaves are reappearing on trees, and birds are building their nests. Signs and decorations herald the arrival of our favorite season when we walk into local stores. Bags of plastic eggs and bunny-shaped confections line the shelves.

While we Christians enjoy all the signs of spring, this season is special for us in another way. In a couple weeks, we’ll celebrate…

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