Pruning the Branches

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." - John 15:1-2 This past weekend, my sermon was on the passage from John 15 where Jesus talks about being the...

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Righteousness by Faith, Not Works

"But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely...

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If Jesus Was Not Raised

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.For if the dead are not raised,...

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A Tangible Faith

He Is Risen!! "Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” "  John 20:27-28 I watched the movie, Jumanji - Welcome to the Jungle, the other night.  If you aren't familiar with the Jumanji movies, the...

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Lenten Blog – 3/27/2018

 Yesterday in our school chapel, we talked about Thoughtfulness.  The book of Philippians talks about thoughtfulness like this:"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." - Philippians 2:4Thoughtfulness is a combination of thinking of others and making their needs and interests important to you.  Both of these things can be...

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Lenten Blog – 3/26/2018

Yesterday began Holy Week.  We start the week with Palm Sunday and End with Easter.  During this week we have some unique worship services during the week, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  It can seem like nothing is really going on Monday through Wednesday, but the Bible records several things that Jesus did during this time.  He wasn't just sitting...

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Lenten Blog – 3/25/2018

Yesterday, several of us from the church went to Fort De Soto for fishing and playing on the beach.  It was a beautiful day for it.  As we approached Fort De Soto, I noticed something, there were more and more palm trees as we got closer to the beach.  I couldn't help but think of Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is an...

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Lenten Blog – 3/20/2018

  "[Love] is not irritable or resentful." - 1 Corinthians 13:5 When I read this verse, my first thought was of Vicki Portfolio.  I can't think of a time I've seen her when she wasn't cheerful and kind.  I wish I could say that I am always like that, but I must confess that I have my days when I'm...

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Lenten Blog – 3/19/2018

My 1-year-old son, Eli, likes to have things his way.  When he wants something, he goes and grabs it.  When someone tries to make him do something he doesn't want to do, like take a nap, he throws a tantrum... I mean a full-on, scream-his-head-off, throw stuff, throw-himself-to-the-ground, tantrum.  It's bad when 1-year-old acts like this, but it's expected.  When...

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Lenten Blog – 3/18/2018

I had a discussion with someone recently about pride. Pride is difficult concept today because it can have different meanings, some good and some bad. You can be prideful (meaning arrogant) or you can be proud of the work you've done (satisfied and pleased). You can be known as being a proud person (boastful) or you can be known as...

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Lenten Blog – 3/11/2018

Yesterday we talked about Jesus knocking at the door in Revelation 3:20.  I am always surprised and blessed by the reading of the next few verses. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear,...

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Lenten Blog – 3/10/2018

Knock-knock. Who’s there? Hatch. Hatch who? God bless you. Knock-knock! Who’s there? Doris. Doris, who? Doris locked, that’s why I had to knock! Knock-knock! Who’s there? Nobel. Nobel who? No bell so I’ll knock. I was reading this passage and it made me think of knock-knock jokes. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my...

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Lenten Blog – 3/9/2018

It (love) does not envy.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4 Envy is wanting what others have.  But envy isn’t so much about what others have.  It’s really about not being content with what you have.  God blesses us with so much.  Sometimes He gives us a lot and sometimes little.  The question isn’t how to get more, it’s how to be...

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Lenten Blog – 3/8/2018

“Love is kind.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4 I’ve seen images like the one here many times.  Practice acts of random kindness.  I love the sentiment because it gets to the core of the kind of love God shows us.  Random acts of kindness tend to have these two characteristics: They are not limited to just the people we know.  Any...

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Lenten Blog 3/7/2018

Love can make us do things that we wouldn't normally do. I've always found it interesting how things that irritate us when one person does them don't bother us when someone else, whom we love, does them. Patience can definitely be one of those things we give some, but not others. Love is patient." (1 Corinthians 13:4) However, God does...

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Lenten Blog 3/6/2018

I am officiating a wedding this weekend and I have been going through some of the more common Bible passages read at weddings.  One of the most popular has to 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.  As we look at the love of Jesus during this Lent season, this passage seemed very appropriate to reflect on.     If I speak in the...

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Lenten Blog 2/27/2018

One of the more challenging things in life is to always speak the truth.  There is a Jim Carrey movie that plays on this whole theme called Liar, Liar.  Jim is an attorney who for 24 hours has to tell the truth because of a wish of his son. This is terrible because as a lawyer he would often spin...

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Lenten Blog – 2/26/2018

Most of us, at least at some point, want to be known for something.  For some, you may want to be known as a great musician or artist.  For others, it may be as a great teacher.  Watching the Winter Olympics, I see a bunch of people who want to be known not only as a great athlete but as...

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Lenten Blog – 2/25/2018

The Gospel reading for today is Mark 8:27-38. In this passage there are several great things.  We have Peter's confession of who Jesus is (The Messiah), Jesus tells the disciples of the suffering and death He would face, and we learn about following Jesus.  That last one can be pretty challenging.  Jesus doesn't describe a life of ease, free from...

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Lenten Blog 2/24/2018

I love to travel, but there's just something about being home that you can't get anywhere else.  I remember right after college I took a trip around the country with a friend of mine.  We rented an SUV which served not only as transportation but often as our lodging and drove to Texas and Arizona, then to Colorado, then California. ...

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Praying With Jesus: Waiting…

Yesterday was one of the most important days of the church year when we remember Jesus' death on the cross. Tomorrow is another important day, Easter, when we celebrate Jesus' resurrection. But today... We wait. "But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me." (Micah...

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Praying with Jesus: Not My Will, But Thine

We want what we want, but that's not necessarily what is best either for us or for others. Are you willing to submit to the will of God when you pray? "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." -Luke 22:42 I've got a long list of things I pray...

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Praying with Jesus: Praying in Secret

Sometimes we pray for others while we are with them.  Sometimes we pray together in a worship service.  Sometimes we pray together before a meal or in family devotions.  Sometimes, though, we pray by ourselves, alone...in secret. "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who...

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Praying with Jesus: Strong Enough Faith?

"I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" - Mark 9:24 Yesterday, we looked at how we can ask God to help us when we struggle to believe. This verse speaks to another reality as well...whether God responds to weak faith. Some people have made the claim that if we have super strong faith, God will do super amazing miracles,...

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Praying with Jesus: I Believe. Help My Unbelief

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24 These are the words of a father desperate for his demon-possessed son to be made well. He had just watched the disciples fail time after time for hours trying to drive out the demon and now Jesus was there. His belief was waning, but now Jesus, Himself, was there...

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Praying with Jesus: Then You Will Call On Me

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you." - Jeremiah 29:12 Suffering isn't fun.  No one really wants to go through a tough time.  But sometimes we need to. When this passage from Jeremiah was written (it was in a letter from Jeremiah), the Israelites had lost the promised land and...

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Praying with Jesus: Praying for the Lost

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people" - Ephesians 1:18 Today was my son, Eli's, baptism. I've always loved baptisms because of the promise God gives us that through baptism He will...

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