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Post Category: Sermon Reflection

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Sin & The Righteous Older Brother

SIn & The righteous older brother

"At the end of the story, we are left with the younger son reconciled to his father while we are uncertain as to the status of the older son; though the sins of the younger may have been more severe, the ultimate reconciliation of the younger son to the father made any gradations of sin irrelevant in light of the category of being in grace. And this, then, is the principle...

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God's Place

God's Place

"Many of God’s promises, fulfillments of prophecy, and visions sent to his people were completed within the wilderness. Our God is a God of descension. He has shown time and time again that he is present in the wilderness. When we are in communion with God the wilderness is no longer a place of fear, but a place of renewal and strengthening. We may often exist in a dese...

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The Grift

The Grift

"Maybe I’ve been so frustrated with Jacob because I’m so much like Issac, attempting to pull the grift over on God because I’m so attached to my way of thinking. I’m caught up in my expectations, those expectations that have been shaped by my culture and how my world might view me, that I ignore the possible bigger picture the Lord is working through His unconvent...

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Can You Find Hope in the Desert?

Can you find hope in the desert_

"When we throw our hands up, and we are wondering where our unanswered prayers went, we forget that God has given us glimpses of blessings during our trials, according to His plan. We will not have total relief from suffering on this side of heaven, but we will have beautiful glimpses of the Lord’s rest to give us hope in the desert place until the plan for our ultimate ...

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Trust: A Five Letter Word

Trust

“You are loved with an everlasting love and underneath are the everlasting arms.” It’s a beautiful picture and a relieving truth. Unlike the relationships with our fellow human beings, God’s character promises that it is impossible for him to break his trust with us, to deceive us or break a promise. God is perfect. God is everlasting Love. God is unchanging." ...

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The Waiting Place...

The Waiting place...

"We have all experienced seasons of waiting. Whether it is waiting for Christmas to come, a baby to arrive, or a work project to be finished, we all know what it is like to wait. Waiting can bring uncertainty, stress, and pessimism. It can make you wish that time went faster or slower depending on the situation. However, waiting can also bring growth, faith, and hope. If G...

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Good News

Good News

"Friends, don’t look within yourself. Look outside yourself to the Triune God who (like Jacob) chose you even before time began. Enjoy his immeasurable favor, and then go make His glory your only aim."...

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Time Marches On

Time Marches On

"When the weight of the day, the missed opportunities, my discontentment, the sorrow I feel over a life lost, hits me as I climb into bed at night, I need the Lord to redeem my days. Time marches on. But, I serve a God who is outside of time, who planned all my days since before he created the world and who gives me new mercies each morning."...

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Listening!

Listening!

"After recognizing that God wants to speak to us, another important part of listening is to put ourselves in situations where we can hear him clearly. God is perfectly capable of speaking to me in a thundering voice from the sky next time I go for a hike in the wilderness, but until that happens I’ve learned to also hear him in Scripture, in preaching, during quiet times...

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Summoned by the King of the Universe

Summoned by the King of the universe

"I am so caught up in my busy life, and my busy heart, that it can be all that I see, and I treat it as my kingdom and desperately try to hold it up. It makes me laugh cynically when thinking of all of this, because we are all laboring in vain and working so hard to do it, all the while being completely oblivious to it. I am deeply thankful for the good news that God calls...

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A Rule of Life

rule of life

"There is no emphasis on my action, my behavior, my commitment level, or my productivity...the emphasis is on how out of my own control my own identity is… which feels uncomfortable… and liberating. I have favor from God. That’s the final word. My identity, the “what” of who I am, is already set in stone."...

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Ladder Climbing

Apple Branch

"I know I'm ladder climbing when I'm angry." When Justin spoke those words this Sunday reality hit me like a ton of bricks. Up until that point I had been struggling to think of what kinds of things I climb the ladder towards instead of Christ, but those words brought to light a whole lot of things that made me see the reality of my struggles as a sinner in a broken world....

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Faith By Faithfulness

buried (2)

Last night, I sat around with my community group sipping on some decaf coffee and half-listening to the conversation as my ear was partially attuned to my son dumping a whole box of building blocks onto the floor in the room around the corner. The discussion had centered around God's faithfulness to Abraham throughout his life, and the many promises proclaimed directly to ...

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Will You Go?

buried (1)

Justin's question to the little Christians in the room stuck with me as I listened to the sermon Will you go? And if you choose to go, what motivates you? Certainty and control motivate me... So, saying yes to something that involves mystery, faith, trust, and risk...is just really hard for me. What motivates me to go when certainty is not promised and control is out of ...

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Where Are You Buried?

buried

One summer about 20 years ago, my family spent a couple of days on a genealogical pilgrimage. We visited the town in Quebec where my great great (...I don't remember how many greats) grandfather John Hinks and his wife Elsie settled after they immigrated from England. We traced their children to Powerscourt, Quebec, about a mile north of the US border, and found their name...

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Intersection of Sorrow and Hope

intersection

I rememberso much in highschool and young adulthood thinking that I just needed to try harder if I loved God enough, I wouldn't be sinning so much. I knew that I was a *sinner* at my core. I understood that sanctification was a work of grace and that I was saved by faith alone, not by my works but somehow I felt such great pressure to be stronger in my faith and better in ...

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Remembering God's Goodness

remembering god's goodness

"Now theLordwas gracious to Sarah as he had said, and theLorddid for Sarah what he had promised.Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.Abraham gave the name Isaacto the son Sarah said, 'God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.' "After twenty-five years of waiting, God k...

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Swaddled

swaddled

A couple years ago I asked for a weighted blanket for Christmas. My counselor's office had one and every time I went there I would immediately grab it and place it on my lap. The heaviness of it gave me a sense of comfort and the barrier it placed between me and my counselor made me feel safe or at least less exposed. In his sermon on Sunday, Justin talked about all the ti...

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Impossible Prayers: Relationships

relationships

I used to live under the illusion that I was "good" at relationships. The brokenness that I heard and saw around me was always because of someone else's stupidity, ignorance, or brash words. I thought I was the sole peacemaker in the world: always fixing and never to blame. Ilovedpeople. Myjobwas to be relational and to be in community. Why wouldn't I be good at ...

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Crossing Taboo Lines

crossingtaboolines

This week, our 2 year old wild child ran around the dining room table, and shrieked and sang as Zach and I tried really hard to sit at the dinner table and focus in on our advent devotional. Eventually we somewhat successfully got through it. This week we talked about Salvation. After reading about Saul, someone who severely misinterpreted salvation, and the woman at the w...

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Praying the Impossible

prayingtheimpossible

This Sunday as Justin started to reintroduce us to the heart behind the Impossible Prayer Requests, I felt my guard go up, for the fourth year in a row. As I mentioned in my write up for the advent devotional this year, the first two years I was so paralyzed with fear over asking and facing disappointment, I hid behind reason and judgement and bypassed participa...

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Bitter Laughter

bitterlaughter

"I am so familiar with this type of laughter, and I identify deeply with it. The kind of laughter that hints at constant heartache, hysteria, and frustration, so much to a point that all you have left to do is laugh. Where were you all of this time, God? Why have you waited by as I have suffered?"...

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Sermon Reflection: Genesis 16

the chaos monster (2)

The question that rattled around in my head as I listened and reflected on Pastor Justin's sermon this week was "What promise?" Before I expand on that, let me take a few steps back to explain how I ended up where I am in my thinking. In this Series,The Gospel According to Abraham, we have returned to Genesis and have begun tracing the story of Abraham from his calling ou...

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Signs of Faithfulness Between Already and Not Yet

genesis 12_10-20 (3)

"So while I continue to live in fear of being found out, I am reminded that Christ has already fully redeemed me, and that my value comes exclusively from Him. That value is completely independent of anything I might offer or pretend to offer, and that in fact is says more about His love and his grace if I acknowledge that I really had nothing to offer to begin with."...

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Genesis 12:10-20

genesis 12_10-20

"We are all longing to be loved. We long for something steadfast enough to put our trust in... but we are broken, and our relationships pay the price. God’s love is not the same, it isn’t fickle...it’s resolute, more than we could ever hope or dream of."...

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The Time is Near

the time is near

Augustine wrote in hisConfessions, "What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know; but if I wish to explain it to one who asks, I know not." I think this is a most astute observation of time, for I spend all my waking moments oriented around time - I wake up at this time; I go to work at this time; I spend this amount of time doing this task; I wasted this amount of time ...

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Weeds & Wheat

Weeds & Wheat

My confused and ignorant heart doesn’t win, because God’s plan is permanently set, unlike my wavering thoughts....

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A Tale of Two Women

A Tale of two women

There is a great temptation, we all face it, to look for our fulfillment, our meaning, our satisfaction in something or someone other than Jesus and His kingdom....

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Countering the Propaganda of Subtraction Narratives

Countering the Propaganda of Subtraction Narratives

What do I see as my ultimate goal and my story - what’s the point of my life? ...

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The Real Thing

The Real Thing

So here I sit, wrestling through this reality, all the while examining areas of my life where my worship is misplaced. How have I been duped? ...

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Wartime Realities

WartimeRealities

I may feel exhausted or discouraged or wounded by events in my life, but do I recognize the underlying battle? ...

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Every Syllable

every syllable

“How long this world will suffer, how long I will suffer… Do you hear my cries? Do you know the brokenness?”...

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White Stone

Whitestone

Much like the city of Pergamum, I followed the only way I had known, and in doing so I had no compass for my life......

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Pressure and Promises

Pressure&Promises

Even in the midst of our hardships in this life we can feel the Lord drawing us near to himself. ...

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Return to Your First Love

Return to Your First Love

When does anyone have time to take 5 minutes to read a chapter a day, much less think about it and pray about it? Yet the purpose of this isn’t to add one more thing to a to-do list....

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A Paradox

A Paradox

Our common sense, our most natural desire, as we face the icy challenges that life throws at us is to “white-knuckle” it; to strive to control and over-power difficulty by making our name great, or by demonstrating our own righteousness, or by building up our own little kingdom. And yet, the paradox is that it is precisely by relinquishing control to God, by forgoing o...

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Hand of Protection

Hand of Protection

I am a parent now of my nearly two year old daughter, and it has been challenging as of late to guide her and help her navigate new things. It is surprising sometimes when I have to set limits and boundaries for her, and she tests them and pushes them. Who would know that you could make a toddler so mad by asking her to eat her breakfast....

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