Weekend Guide for the week of March 31

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“Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but upon Your word I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. (Luke 5.4-7)

There must be 3 words on the lips of every Christian. Without these 3 words discipleship will be a lackadaisical and sentimental stroll of common sense, convenience, and conviviality. Without these 3 words, it is easy to walk though life spiritually unfocused yet feeling entitled to nothing but bouquets of prosperity blessings. Without these 3 words, one would never conceive that the Christian life might require fortitude, sacrifice, and counter-intuitive decisions. Without these 3 words, the Christian life will simply be a spiritual delusion that echoes the old school round: “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”

These 3 words are right here…


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Weekend Guide for the week of March 24

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Romans 8.31-35: If God is for us, who is against us?… Who will bring any charge against God’s elect?… Who will separate us from the love of Christ?

Here’s a Christian syllogism…

  1. A Christian is one who has the omnipotent God in charge of his life. 

  2. No assault can overpower God and there is no force that can compel Him. 

  3. Therefore a Christian can stop worrying about how to fight his daily battles because there is no one who can overpower God. 

Nothing can penetrate the “front lines” of a Christian’s life unless God allows it to happen. An attack against a Christian is not merely an attack against a man but against the presence of God who fills the believer’s life. 


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Weekend Guide for the week of March 17

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Two words… Chutzpah: Yiddish word implying shameless audacity, impudence; presumptuous nerve. Chutzpah breaches all social convention and tact to ask for that which it is deemed inappropriate or absurd to receive or expect… Parrhesia: New Testament Greek word implying boldness, trust, certainty, conquest, effective power, and expectation. Parrhesiaasks for and expects that which social convention considers impossible if not implausible. 

Question:When a Christian asks God for power is it chutzpahor is it parrhesia

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Weekend Guide for the week of March 10

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Intimidation is a powerful and unique fear... Intimidation is powerful because it alone can cause a man to sacrifice the opportunities of tomorrow for the status quo of yesterday. Intimidation browbeats a man into deep feelings of inadequacy as his creativity, vision, and might wilt before it. Intimidation is unique because it is a fear that threatens our willingness to embrace God’s future for our lives. All intimidation has to do is recite reality because it wants to disqualify you because you are not perfect... Intimidation goes so far as to use our heroes against us by reminding us that we can never be as good as those we highly esteem/idolize!

God showed Joshua three strategic tactics for overcoming obstacles and intimidation. Last week we examined the first one (Walk around it... don’t talk about it). This week we’ll look at the other two...

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Weekend Guide for the week of March 3

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Intimidation is a powerful and unique fear… Powerful because it alone can cause us to sacrifice the opportunities of tomorrow for the status quo of yesterday. Intimidation browbeats us into deep feelings of inadequacy as our creativity, vision, and might wilt before it. Unique because intimidation is a fear that threatens our willingness to embrace God’s future for our lives. All intimidation has to do is recite reality because it wants to disqualify us because we are not perfect. Intimidation starts those old tapes playing: “you are neither smart enough or ingenius”… “you are not a great—or even a good—leader”… “you are ineffective and unfruitful”… “you have nothing in your past to suggest that you have it within you”…And on and on and on it goes… Intimidation goes so far as to use our heroes against us by reminding us that we can never be as good, effective, or fruitful as those we highly esteem or idolize…

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Weekend Guide for the week of February 24

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Loved ones, you stand at a threshold full of our Father’s opportunities for you. What happened in the past must no longer influence your determination to possess the strategic present and future God has for you. Your greatest challenge in the coming months will not be acquisitions, growth, change, loss, sorrow, or your age. Your greatest challenge will be to bow before, surrender to, and embrace fully the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Remember: faith and vision without surrender is thinly disguised vanity…

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Weekend Guide for the week of February 17

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Acts 9.13–15: Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name." 15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel.

Ananias had a problem. God summoned him to share the message of the gospel with the rabbi, Saul of Tarsus—the man we know as the apostle Paul. Yet, for Ananias, there was not a more unlikely man to become a follower of
Jesus Christ than Paul. Paul was a man with passion. He was esteemed and he was also an opinionated, legalistic, zealous man who was so sure of what he believed that he was willing to see people killed who departed from his understanding of faith in God. Paul literally had a “take-no-prisoners” approach to his faith

Ananias’ problem is our problem too! We have many people in our circle of relationships that we have judged unlikely (impossible?) to ever respond positively to Jesus Christ. Yet those we consider unlikely, God may consider a  "sure thing" because He personally knows the hearts of all. 

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Weekend Guide for the week of February 10

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I have noticed that the witness of any Christian is more effective than the witness of a pastor. People expect a pastor to speak about Jesus— after all we are paid to do it! People are far more impacted when their co-workers or friends talk about Him because this is unexpected (!) and because you are approachable and relevant because you share some of the same commitments and/or interests which your friends or co-workers can easily relate with.

Loved ones, you are surrounded by men and women who Jesus wants to impact through you. I am convinced that no one else has the chance to reach them like you do. Why? Because you are a Christian— not by what you do (or refrain from!) but because Jesus Christ dwells in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. He desires to work through you to touch the hearts of other men and women. The market place is His mission field. It is the field to which he has called you as a full time Christian minister so that He might do the extraordinary through you…

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Weekend Guide for the week of February 3

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In the New Testament the “new” surpasses the “old” rendering it archaic, primitive, and obsolete (see Hebrews 8.13 as one example). You cannot enjoy the newness of your life in Christ while clinging to the old anymore than you can successfully replace your car engine’s spark plugs with matches and expect it to run—let alone start!

The Holy Spirit speaks to us through this verse challenging each of us to let go of what He has determined must pass away from our lives. We can make no better start than             

            to take a moment…
consider the vestiges of the old you still cling to…
 ask the Lord to have it pass away… and
 prayerfully consider what steps you will begin taking TODAY!

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Weekend Guide for the week of January 27

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Prayer without confidence and expectation is nothing more than a desperate sigh or a wish-filled exhale adrift to no one. Jesus’ teaching on prayer encourages us to pray with confidence that there is Someone listening. This Someone is your Father — who is alert to your voice, attentive to your needs, and affectionate with His care. While, like any parent, His answers might disappoint and even anger His children, He, nevertheless, invites our expectations in light of 

the Son He gave us,
   His grace that cleansed us, 
      His love that embraced us, 
         and the promises He spoke over us.

Consider afresh these excerpts from Psalm 34:

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Weekend Guide for the week of January 20

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When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God…
(Acts 4:24)

Prayer is a powerful word. Mention it in a room full of Christians and watch the tone of the conversation become subdued. Invite people to dinner and faces light up. Invite someone to a time to pray together and anxiety arises. Most participants in churches across the country will find something else that demands their time rather than attend a prayer gathering— even when the gathering is scheduled on a night and time when a previously attended weekly event occurs! Most followers of Jesus Christ say they should pray more, but most of us rarely do. We can recite pat quips that “prayer is the most powerful thing we can do” but other less “powerful” pursuits generally seem to crowd it out. Nationwide the average attendance at prayer meetings is running less than 10% of a congregation’s attendance. How is it that something that God intended as a gift fosters so much intimidation and remorse? Is it possible that we have created an expectation for prayer that very few individuals can live up to?

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Weekend Guide for the week of January 13

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… according to my earnest expectation and hope, 
that I will not be put to shame in anything, 
but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, 
be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death…

(Philippians 1.20)

Welcome back! This year I began reading my “go-to” devotional again: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Chambers was not particularly well known when he died from his decision to delay an appendectomy while a chaplain for the YMCA in Egypt with the British Army. He was known for his ardent faith, generosity, and his conviction that the Christian life doesn’t just happen. The Christian life is intentional, challenging, and requires a daily choice for faithfulness. 

So consider his entry for January 1: 

 “…my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed….”

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Weekend Guide for the week of November 25

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Poverty and affluence alike test the soul— albeit from opposite ends of the spectrum. We may cry out amidst poverty, “My God why have you forgotten me?” But God may cry out to us amidst our affluence, “My child, why have you forgotten me?” Both sift the soul looking for responsive obedience, sincere gratitude, and a confident trust in the promises of God…

It came about when the sons of Israel became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely… So Joshua said to the sons of Israel, “How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your father has given you? (Joshua 17.13; 18.3)

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Weekend Guide for the week of November 11

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Without this daily resolve followers of Jesus Christ will become nondescript residents of society with little to distinguish them from the world they reside in. Oh, some may still retain peculiar habits like go to church, pray occasionally, read the Bible or observe Christian holidays. But in reality the values, concerns, and pleasures of this world will draw them back and they will again be subject to its demands and mastery. Such Christians will hardly influence and impact lives around them.

Our freedom is maintained by our steadfast commitment to struggle against “powers and spiritual forces” that seek to enslave us (Ephesians 6.12). How do we do this? “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” Free is the one who daily seeks the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

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Weekend Guide for the week of November 4

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In the 1994 book, Sex in America,the authors reported that twenty percent of all women and as many as thirty-five percent of all men have been unfaithful in marriage. Christianity Today surveyed its readers and discovered that twenty-three percent of their subscribers admitted to having had affairs. Leadership Journal found that ten percent of the pastors and church leaders they surveyed had committed adultery. Can something so common be so wrong? The seventh commandment says yes, it can.

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Weekend Guide for the week of October 28

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I believe that the world, the flesh, and the devil conspire to persuade us that there is no hurry about turning to God and/or responding to His call. However, if the truth be told, time is running out fast. Procrastination is a very dangerous vice because it masquerades as “deferred obedience.” When we procrastinate we dodge the call of God. We delude ourselves when we perceive that the problem is “timing” rather than our resolve to respond promptly. The right time to respond to God’s voice is always /now/— as soon as we hear it.

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Weekend Guide for the week of October 21

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There is never a time when we do not need our faith buttressed by God’s promises for our future. Life is dynamic not static—despite the attempts by some to control everything! Each day we face sin’s troika—the world, the flesh, and the devil. Their assaults are as endless as the ongoing campaigns against Israel by her enemies. Tomorrow’s insecurities and disappointments may quickly unseat today’s triumphs. Therefore, God promises that He will fight for us and deliver us safely as we cling to Him and order our lives under His authority. The ones whose minds are fastened on God’s promises for their future will not act precipitously in the present because they understand that God’s promises have already secured their future today.

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Weekend Guide for the week of October 14

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How tragic that we live in an age in which many aspire to be spiritual yet deprive themselves  of a relational spirituality because they will not be embraced by the God who created us “spiritual.” Our understanding of spirituality is destined to be self-centered when it arises from the created rather than a revelation that comes from our Creator.  We learn from Scripture that spirituality is inherently relational, practical, and doable…

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Weekend Guide for the week of October 7

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There is nothing more heart-breaking than watching someone you love lose their memory. This personal and private treasury contains their knowledge, wisdom, history, sensitivities, and most of all relationships. The slow and relentless decay of one’s memory reduces adult intellect to infancy, vacates wisdom, erases history, neuters joy, and slowly disintegrates one’s most precious relationships. Watching my father lose his mind will forever be etched in my memory unless or until I might lose mine. 

Dementia and Alzheimer’s do highlight a simple truth about relationships. We intentionally remember the relationships we value the most. Friendships and marriages that are not intentional and begin to “forget” to share life and time together are in jeopardy. Therefore, it should be no surprise that, because God is relational, He exhorts us to remember. In fact, the vibrancy of our faith will be contingent upon the spiritual discipline of “remembering.”

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Weekend Guide for the week of September 30

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God is unique.
There is no other.
There is no one like Him. He has no equal.

Everything that exists from the Andromeda to an amoeba, 
From black holes to black panthers, was created by Him.
He has enemies but no threats.
He has friends but no peers.

He is God alone. There are no others…God is exclusively God.

We live in an age where exclusivism of any sort is close to being the unpardonable sin. Indulgent tolerance is encouraged so that it is understood that all religions are equally valid as expressions of each worshiper’s personal preference. What is often overlooked is that our confession of faith is based on the exclusive God whose inclusive love embraces all people. If God is NOT exclusive then the tenets we hold dear are, at best, moral aspirations not divine revelation.

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