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Be Like God

I had a professor in college who had equipped himself with a substantial vocabulary. His lectures were peppered with words that were new to me. Apparently those words were unfamiliar to other classmates as well. One day in the middle of a lecture, one of my brighter classmates interrupted our professor who may as well have been speaking a foreign language, and said, "Dr. W...

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Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Why Does God Allow Suffering? Because suffering is necessary. No suffering occurs without purpose. Peter tells us suffering only comes to us when the sovereign God of the universe deems it necessary. A sovereign and merciful God causes "all things to work together for our good"(Romans 8:28), meaning that a mixture of things that bring delight along with things that brin...

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Recently our congregation voted to sell our current facility for the yard sale price of $30,000. Surely a 24,000 s.f. building on an acre lot just off the square should be worth more than that! One would think so, but the science of economics can sometimes be hard to figure out. Case in pointHickory Hollow Mall in suburban Nashville, TN. Located in a booming area of Music...

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A Pig Pen Thanksgiving

A woman was visiting some people who lived on a farm when she noticed a pig limping in the backyard with a wooden leg. She asked the farmer, "What happened to the pig?" The farmer said, "Oh, Betsy is a wonderful pig. One night the house caught fire and she oinked so loud she woke us and we got the fire truck here in time to save the house." The woman said, "That's really s...

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There’s Nothing Else God Can Do

This week we return to the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. It's an intriguing parable, mainly because of the description of the afterlife. Virtually any time you hear a sermon on this parable, it's about Hell. To be sure, Jesus does pull the curtain back a little to give us a quick peek at life beyond the grave. But the point of this story isn't necessarily to describ...

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I Believe...

This week started off for me with a question from the Monday morning women's Bible study. It's always a little unsettling to hear, "Can you come here? We have a question." But it was a good question, and we had a good time discussing it. The question had to do with the Nicene Creed, which we recently recited together on a Sunday morning. Our church does not have a long his...

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One Whom God Helps

It's been used to rebuke the rich, defend salvation by poverty, teach about the afterlife, condemn antebellum slavery, and even promote women's suffrage. The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus certainly raises a series of questions. Can heaven be seen from hell? Does wealth make the difference between the two? Are those in heaven aware of (and indifferent to) the sufferin...

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The Even Better Good King

Note: to help with my own preparation for this Sunday's sermon, I decided to write out the basic points in the shortest, simplest way I could think of. That turned out to be a children's story. Here it is, as this week's article: Once upon a time, there was a good king. His name was Josiah. One cool thing about Josiah is that he was only eight years old when he became k...

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Jesus' Hardest Parable

After six weeks of exploring perhaps the best-known parable Jesus told, we come now to his hardest parablethe Parable of the Unjust Steward, found in Luke 16:1-13. I was planning to skip this parable and go straight to the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. But over lunch someone (OK, it was Richard) asked if I would be tackling the Parable of the Unjust Steward. It's a ...

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What Shame

The prodigal son comes home. But the elder son does not care that his brother is home, "safe and sound." What a shame. He doesn't even care that there is a celebration. Actually, he does care. He hates it. He despises it. He resents it. Yet, custom requires his presence. The older son has a responsibility. He should work alongside his father as the host. He should be at th...

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