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In January 1935, J. Gresham Machen gave a series of radio messages “on the deity of Christ.” This was only a month after the New York Times reported that his church trial (not criminal) would begin in the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church, USA). He was put on trial for taking a stand against taking the church's money to fund missionaries like Pearl S. Buck, who didn't believe in the virgin birth or the deity of Christ and didn't feel such issues should be part of the gospel message on the mission field. In February of 1935, Machen would lose his ordination credentials. Yet,…

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Last week we finished our Isaiah series, a rich time with one who is perhaps the greatest writing prophet of the Old Testament. Isaiah took us to the heights of God's glory and to the depths of human depravity and helped us see new aspects of Jesus Christ.

But what now? What is the plan for sermons to come? 

Praises, Hallelujahs, and Monday Mornings

For the next two sermons we'll spend a bit of time thinking about worship. This Sunday we'll look at the Psalms, and then next Sunday we'll look think about worship as both a way of…

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“Better than…silver…better than gold.”

We spend a lot of time seeking some version of “silver” and “gold,” but there’s something “better.” Proverbs tells us that something better is wisdom. Silver and gold can buy cars and houses but not happiness. They can buy wedding rings but not a happy marriage. They can buy vacation homes but not peace. We need wisdom.

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Robert Compton and his wife have been making pottery in Bristol, VT for decades. They produce beautiful pieces in a variety of ways. To finish a piece, the clay is often heated to over 2000 degrees. And for one process in the middle of this burning, they sprinkle water on the pieces. The cold water hitting the burning hot clay produces spackles that add unique design elements.

In his experimentation with different clays, glazes, and firing methods Robert Compton does…whatever he wants. He is the complete master over the clay in all of his endeavors.

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Someone recently asked about the upcoming sermon schedule, because they wanted to read ahead and prepare for the preaching. That is a great desire and an excellent way to get even more out of the sermons. So, below is the plan for part one of the Isaiah series. We’ll be dividing it into three parts over the next several months).

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This Sunday we begin a sermon series from the book of Isaiah: “Holy, Wholly, Holy.” The prophet Isaiah is the Shakespeare of the Bible. He covers the heights and depths of human experience, takes us from the cesspool of our depravity to the very glory of the presence of God, and calls us from his first words to his last to be wholly God's. Our tendency is to be immersed in our own lives and to dabble in the things of God. Isaiah beckons us to stop and consider the King who gave us the breath….

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Last Sunday I looked at the topic of homosexuality and tried to speak clearly and lovingly to the issue. One thing I didn't do is provide specific help for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. This post is a small attempt to do that. Most of it comes from Michael R. Emlet, who wrote a 2014 article on the topic (“Five Ministry Priorities for Those Struggling with Same-Sex Attraction,” Journal of Biblical Counseling 28:3).

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In a 2002 Dilbert cartoon, Wally hands a piece of paper to the “pointy-haired boss.” The oblivious boss says, “Wally, your status report is just a bunch of buzzwords strung together.” Wally responds in the next panel, “I've been giving you that same status report every week for eleven years.” And in the third panel he adds, “Five years ago you adopted it as our mission statement.”

That's the risk with a mission statement—that it would become a trite, trendy, and lifeless set of words that mean something at one time but die out after a few weeks of use.

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A tired, older ex-convict once sent a letter to a younger minister of the gospel. The two had worked together for years, and now the younger minister was venturing off on his own. The older man had traveled extensively for the sake of the gospel and wanted his younger protege to do well in the face of significant challenges. He would need guidance on some critical areas, courage to face the inevitable challenges to gospel ministry in a hostile land, and a heavy dose of reminders about the grace of God. We call this writing, “The Letter of Paul to Titus.”

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