Are You Perfect In Every Way?

[533 words] Back in the 80’s Mac Davis sang, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” God deliver the family, the friends, the brethren and the congregation from those who think they are “perfect in every way.” Romans 12 is an awesome chapter. Paul challenges Christians (us) to be a “living sacrifice” (verse 1) and not to be “conformed to this world” (verse 2). The remainder of the chapter gives practical instruction on how to do it. What is the first thing Paul says? “For I say, through the grace given to me, to...

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Time is of the Essence

[374 words] Time. We all have a limited amount of it. We all know this, but we ignore it and waste time anyway. We are so selfish with time, not willing to share it or give it others. Time is of the essence is a legal term used in contracts to emphasize the necessity of meeting the date or dates stated in the agreement. If one of the parties does not, that person is liable. Why must we have contracts to force us to do what we are supposed to do? So it is with life in general. We must...

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What Money Can Buy

[311 words] “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof saving the beholding of them with their eyes? The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. But those riches...

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When 900 Million People Are Watching

[307 words] Ninety-percent of all people deal with some level of stage fright. How do you feel when all eyes are on you? Do your palms get cold and clammy? Do you become nervous and anxious? Do you blush, tremble, shake, or feel nauseated? There is at least one stage where the vast majority of people feel no fright at all. This stage is Facebook. Facebook recently exceeded 900 million active users. Potentially, then, depending on your privacy setting, up to 900 million people are watching what you say and do. Many who would be very careful in front of...

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Is Cremation Biblical?

[227 words] One of my sad duties as a minister is preaching funerals. One trend I have observed in recent years is the increasing number of cremations. Cremation is a subject I have often been asked about in 21 years of ministry. Many people are concerned if it is Scriptural to practice cremation. I believe cremation has gotten a bad rap for many reasons. First, historically cremation of the dead was a pagan practice. For this reason, Jews and early Christians avoided it and buried their dead. Second, some believe that it does violate Scriptural principles, but I am not...

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Turn About

[134 words] A soldier who was a Christian made it his practice to conclude every day with Bible reading and prayer. As his fellow soldiers gathered in the barrack and retired for the night, he would kneel by his bunk and offer prayers to the Lord. The other soldiers saw this and began to mock and harass him. But one night the abuse went beyond verbal assault. As the soldier bowed before His Lord in prayer, one antagonist threw his boot through the dark and hit him in the face. The other soldiers snickered and jeered, hoping for a fight....

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What Makes ‘In Jesus’ Name’ So Offensive?

[405 words] At Planet Fitness this morning I caught a glimpse of an old “Fresh Prince” episode, where Will Smith’s character was getting married. During the ceremony, the preacher prayed, beginning “Dear Heavenly Father” but ending “in Your Name, Amen.” With the recent controversy about the omission of Jesus’ name in prayers by the Robertsons on the very popular “Duck Dynasty” series, I was surprised that this trend goes back at least a few years. In an interview on YouTube, Phil Robertson talked to producers who surmised that editors in Hollywood thought the name of Jesus, in prayer, would offend...

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Emergency Contact Numbers

[269 words] If any of the following situations are happening in your life, please dial the appropriate numbers: If you are unsure that God loves you, dial John 3:16. If you need faith, dial Hebrews 11. If you need comfort, dial 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. If you are worried, dial Matthew 6:25-34. If you feel depressed, dial 1 Peter 5:6-7. If you hear gossip, dial Proverbs 26:22-25. If you feel overwhelmed by some force, dial 1 John 4:4. If you are unsure about your current friends, dial 1 Corinthians 15:33. If you love worldly things in life, dial 1 John 2:15....

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Forgiveness

[446 words] What on earth can we do about our sin? We can lie about it, ignore it, forget about it, refuse to confess our need for it, and blame it on others, but it will remain unchanged. However, if we understand the tragedy and burden of our sin (Is. .59:2; Rom 6:23), the one thing we really want can be ours: forgiveness! Forgiveness is an intriguing power, force, blessing, and incentive. It cannot be demanded, only accepted and received. It is found in grace and cannot be bought, but it is given only because a price has already been...

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Veneer

[313 words] A preacher tells the following story and makes a good point for all of us: “Recently,” he says, “while visiting the hospital, I parked in the section marked ‘Doctors Only’ (thanks to the courtesy of the parking attendant). Most of us try not to impose on these parking areas when doctors need the space; but hospitals usually give kind consideration to preachers visiting the sick. So it was that I was allowed to park in this otherwise restricted area. “As l left my car, walking to the hospital, I became aware of a lady walking toward me with...

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Your Example Still Matters

[458 words] In this wicked age we may be tempted to think that people no longer care or even notice immorality. Even in evil times, however, there is usually enough of a sense of decency in a community for people to recognize a shameful act. The period of the judges was a corrupt and dangerous time in Israel. Ruth lived in those days. When she went to glean in the field of Boaz, he told the young men not to disrespect her in any way (Ruth 2:9, 15). He didn’t want them to take advantage of her. Later he told...

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Partiality

[267 words] “To show partiality is not good” (Proverbs 28:21), but men do! God on the other hand does not and never has shown partiality the way men do. A good example of God’s impartiality is seen in comparing Ephesians 6:9 with Colossians 4:25. In Ephesians Paul tells the “masters” how they should treat their slaves and the reason is God shows no partiality. In the Colossians passage Paul tells the slaves how they should work for their masters (verses 22-25) and the reason is God shows no partiality. God has one standard for both the slave and the slave...

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Drop-Outs

[370 words] “Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” (Luke 8:14). Frequently members of the church, apparently for no reason at all, quit attending the services. This is usually preceded by a period of indifference and spasmodic attendance. Upon closer investigation it will be found that back of it all there is usually a hindering cause. It may be that the individual has become entangled with some sin, so that he feels so uncomfortable when...

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Don’t Save it for the Funeral

[315 words] An elderly man lay dying in his bed. In death’s agony, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs. He gathered his remaining strength and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom and with even greater effort forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands. With labored breath he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven! There, spread out on the...

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No Confusion on Marriage

[418 words] In my work as a minister I have had several opportunities to conduct weddings. There was never any confusion as to which person was the “bride” in contrast to the “bridegroom.” The woman was always the bride. The man was always the bridegroom. Each and every time, this was reflected in the language I used when officiating at the ceremony. For example, I would begin the nuptials by saying something like: “Dearly beloved, we are here gathered together in the sight of God to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony.” As the ceremony progressed...

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Wake Up!

[161 words] Those unfortunate souls who meander through life caring about nothing are at least consistently predictable: they do nothing, accomplish nothing, receive nothing, and – saddest of all – amount to nothing. They are the dead weight dragging down any church, business, or society. And worse still, their complacency is contagious. Even the tiniest seed of indifference has power to produce a bitter harvest of stagnation and decay. Robert Hutchins, the respected American educator, once predicted, “The death of a democracy is not likely to be an assassination by ambush. It will be slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and...

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The Spiritually Elite

[349 words] Paul gave some sage advice, yes a divine commandment, when he said, “Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think” (see Romans 12:3). There are two things to keep in mind here: (1) one should not think more lowly of himself than he should-this is a false humility that overlooks one’s strengths and abilities; and (2) neither should one think more highly of himself than he should-this is pride that causes one to look down on others and alienates from God (see James 5:5). The proud are the spiritually elite who exalt themselves in...

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Just Make Yourself!

[192 words] Dr. Paul Faulkner once said, “Sometimes you have to grab your ‘wanter’ by your ‘willer’ and just get busy.” In other words you must simply get up and do what needs to be done. Everything in life isn’t fun, or easy, or pleasant. Who really likes to clean a commode? Confront a brother who is in error, visit the sick, go to a nursing home. This things are not easy to do; but do them, we must, if we are to please our Lord! There is a vast difference between standing on the promises and simply setting on...

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Soaring Faith

[50 words] The eagle sweeps across the sky,Wind under its wings and opened breast.It glides upon the current, highAbove the earth, for food and rest.Wait, wait upon the Lord,Renew your strength where the Spirit blows;Your soaring faith its own reward,The quiet heights for your repose. J. Randal Matheny...

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Having Much Yet With So Little

[401 words] One of the first proverbs Solomon wrote was “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7). So many people grasp for knowledge in books, journal articles, magazines, digital media, and so on and so forth. People can search out knowledge of God in commentaries, Bible encyclopedias and dictionaries, try to understand the original languages with help from grammar books, lexicons, and computer software. With all these resources more readily available to the average person than ever before in the history of mankind, one will not scrape the surface of...

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God’s Faithful Children

[308 words] “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15). This verse from the Psalms causes our minds to reflect on the many Christians who have passed from this life. We know that, in spite of the great strides in the world of medicine, death comes to everyone. Just as surely as we are born we will die, unless, of course, the Lord comes again during our lifetime. The writer of the Hebrew letter tells us, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27)....

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You Lied, Didn’t You?

[377 words] Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, two Christians in the first century, got caught telling a lie (Acts 5:1-11). They lied to men and to God. You can often hide your lies from men but never from God. “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Deut. 32:23). The apostle Peter confronted the couple separately, three hours apart, and in effect said, “You lied, didn’t you?” They couldn’t deny lying. They had blatantly fabricated a bold-faced lie. They died on the spot. What was the last lie you told? When was that falsehood uttered – today, yesterday, a week...

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Think Before You Drink

[219 words] “Think Before You Drink” is a slogan used by the government and even the CDC to encourage people to keep the effects of alcohol in mind. And why must you “think before you drink?” Well, among a few other reasons, one that clearly stands out is because you can’t think while you drink! That’s why we call it being “under the influence,” and that’s why we call it “being intoxicated.” The alcohol industry promotes its product as a peacemaker. Tell that to the thousands and thousands and thousands of people who are raped, beaten, stabbed, shot and killed...

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Indictments of the Social Gospel

[269 words] THE SOCIAL GOSPEL is a philosophy in religion that the church should concern itself with worldly problems rather than spiritual ones. It is more interested in ecology, biology, psychology and sociology than in theology. It is more concerned about preserving the whooping crane and alligator than about preaching Christ the emancipator. It spends more time fighting earthly pollution that MAY damage the body than with fighting spiritual plagues that WILL certainly damn the soul. THE SOCIAL GOSPEL is more interested in feeding the body than in nurturing the soul. Its goal is education, not salvation; recreation, not sanctification;...

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Good News!

[217 words] The word gospel means “news that brings joy.” We often refer to it as “good news.” Writing about how gospel was used in the first century, Tim Keller provides this insight: A gospel was news of some event that changed things in a meaningful way. It could be an ascension to the throne, or it could be a victory. When Greece was invaded by Persia and the Greeks won the great battles of Marathon and Solnus, they sent heralds (or evangelists) who proclaimed the good news to the cities: “We have fought.for you, we have won, and now...

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Jump Start!

[361 words] Recently I was shopping at our local dollar store and there was a young woman and her two very young daughters in the store. They were traveling and their car had broken down in the parking lot. It was very cold and I went out to have a look. It seemed her battery was low, but not dead. Her lights worked and so did the horn, but the car wouldn’t quite turn over. Long story short, we jump started the car very easily and she was on her way. This incident got me to thinking… There are times...

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A Prayer for Our Elders

[181 words] Our Father, let me be a pillar of strength to them, not a thorn to sap their strength, nor a burden on their back to pull them down. Let me support them without striving to possess them; lift up their hands without placing shackles on them. Let me give them my help that they may devote more time to saving others and less time to gratifying my vanity. Let me be unselfish in what I do for them, not selfish and demanding that they do more for me. Help me remember they are ministers to the whole flock....

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Preparing For a Future Calling

[460 words] Have you ever wondered why things happen the way they do? Have you ever wondered why some strange and/or unusual events have taken place in your life, or why it seems nothing much out of the ordinary has ever happened to you? How did you end up living where you live? How did you end up working where you work? Why did you develop the skills you have? If you have ever wondered things like these, I have an answer for you: I don’t know! But God does know, and he may be preparing you for some future...

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Hiding It All Away

[359 words] A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went to see the new movie called Frozen. It’s a Disney movie that centers around two sisters named Elsa and Anna. Elsa was born with magical powers that allow her to make snow and ice. One night, she accidentally hurts her sister with her powers so her parent s tell her to hide her secret away. They buy her gloves she can wear so she won’t accidentally touch someone or something to reveal her powers and even make up a mantra for her to try to help her control...

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Funny Jokes for Church Bulletin

On the Lighter Side

[ The minister had been invited back to dinner after coming two months prior. Immediately after giving thanks for the food, one of the children said, “Know what? That’s the first time we’ve said grace since you ate with us before! — I’ve started a new exercise program. I do 20 sit-ups each morning. That may not sound like a lot, but you can only hit that snooze button so many times. — A little boy had just finished off all the cookies in the kitchen. His mother came in and, seeing the empty cookie jar and the crumbs, said...

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