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Beauty and the Beast

At first glance the story of Esther looks like an ancient version of Beauty and the Beast. But this is no fairytale story of a poor, Jewish girl falling in love with Prince Charming. There’s nothing romantic about the story of Xerxes and Esther. Rather, it is a dark and uncomfortable tale of abduction and even abuse. The king’s men scour the empire for its fair...

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May Song of the Month: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy

My favorite song for the start of a worship service is also this month's Song of the Month:  "Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy."  Maybe you're used to thinking of this as a song of invitation.  And it probably has been used most often at the end of a sermon or evangelistic service, sung while waiting for people to come forward. But for me, this old hymn is ...

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What Is This Story Doing in the Bible?

Many Christians have a pretty clear-cut idea of what the Bible ought to be about. It should be about God. It should come right out and tell us how to live. It should reflect spiritual and historical truth. It should be solemn and serious. This is how much of the Bible is written. But there is one book of the Bible that is different. The book of Esther never mentions God, n...

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Does Jesus Need Us to Accomplish His Work?

We come now to the end of the series of sermons from John’s gospel. Most of the time I’m eager to move on to the next series, but I’m a little reluctant this time. I discovered so many enlightening things about Jesus while working through the Gospel according to John. Back in January we began a series on the miraculous signs in John’s gospel that Je...

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Drinking the Cup--The Denial

Peter was ready to face anything for Jesus Christ. Or so he thought. Perhaps he thought that he had endured the worst of his trials with Christ in the Garden. He had impulsively drawn his sword, slicing through the air until his mark lopped off the ear of the high priest's servant. None of the other disciples had acted so courageously. Peter stood alone. Pumped by his gla...

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Drinking the Cup--Smitten of God

For the past few weeks we have been focusing on the cup from which Jesus drank—the cup of judgment and of wrath. He tasted the bitterness of this cup when he was betrayed and arrested. He sipped deeper from this cup when Peter denied him. The bitterness intensified through the rejection of the Jews and of Pilate. Ultimately, Jesus would finish drinking the cup as he ...

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April Song of the Month

Since we celebrate Easter this month, we'll be featuring a song that celebrates the resurrection of Christ.  April's song of the month will be "Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed!" by Keith and Kristyn Getty along with Ed Cash. You can listen to it by clicking here, and read brief interview with Keith Getty about the song, along with the lyrics, here.  The...

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Drinking the Cup

Last Sunday we completed the seventh of the signs recorded by John in his account of the Lord’s life and ministry. There is one more sign that Jesus performed—the miraculous catch of fish. Instead of jumping ahead and considering the significance of the last sign now, I want to go back to the first sign and draw out some themes that are common to the first and ...

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March Song of the Month: Not In Me

Our song for the month is “Not In Me.” You can listen to it and read the words by clicking here, and read lyricist Eric Schumacher’s explanation of the backstory and meaning of the song here. This modern hymn is a meditation on Luke’s Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector: He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that th...

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Comfort Food

Today I want to talk about a subject that interests every single one of us, every single day of our lives—eating. Eating is important to us because it’s much more than fuel for the body. Food means things to us. Have you ever heard the term “comfort food”? Comfort food is a simple, traditional food that does more than fill you up—it brings to...

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