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The Blameless Heart

In Christ, the deepest problems have the simplest solutions. Two Sundays ago, we saw that King Asa did not finish well; his prosperity shielded from himself and others the bent of his heart, away from God. God responded by calling him to faith: "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless towa...

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Your Place in the Sunday "Dinner Party"

In the evangelical world, churches grow through "assimilation" - a process from the world of marketing that "converts" guests into "customers". I sneeze at that. Nevertheless, when we peel away the inedible husk of that buzzword, there is still something useful underneath. Much of what is labeled "effective assimilation" is simply gracious hosting. For instance: Invite: ...

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Bible Reading - Part 3

I have written recentlyabout Bible reading plans (here and here). A few more thoughts: The first is from Robert Murray M'Cheyne, to a friend: "You read your Bible regularly, of course; but do try and understand it, and still more to feel it. Read more parts than one at a time. For example, if you are reading Genesis, read a Psalm also; or if you are reading Matthew, read ...

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The Post-Christmas Doldrums

Why the post-Christmas doldrums? What to do about it? 1. Realize that it may be partly a physical problem. We are embodied souls. After eating our way through the holidays, and sleeping differently, and catching germs on a plane or from your niece, you may simply be tired. Getting back into a more healthy rhythm may help. 2. Understand, however, that you may have spent t...

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On Bible Reading, and Conversation in Our Homes

Does your Bible reading result in spiritual conversations in your home? By "spiritual conversations", I mean conversations between spouses or friends, and what we call "family devotions" - deliberate, structured times of teaching in the home about God and the gospel. I would like to offer two simple suggestions for freeing you and simplifying this act of spiritual conversa...

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About Bible Reading Plans

Between Christmas and New Year, many of us will begin thinking about a Bible reading plan for the new year. I want to offer some thoughts that have been helpful to me over the years, as I have wrestled with and failed over Bible reading plans as much as I have succeeded: The goal of Bible reading can be put in many ways from Scripture, but nowhere do I read, "To be more...

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When You Can't See God

What do you do when you can't see God, when He seems distant, behind a constant swirl of clouds? I want to share a few thoughts that have been helpful for me: Be open to some unseen need for repentance. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matt. 5:8) This is not always the cause, but we are all sinners - we're really good at sin - automatic, sometim...

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Get Yourself Connected

Not feeling connected here at EFree? I want to offer you a reason that might surprise you. But first, let me review how we shape our church life: First, the Sunday Worship Celebration. I will assume that you come at least twice a month, and that this is not a problem for you. But we also consider the 9 am Life Training Classes a part of Sunday, and an important part - the...

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Thinking About Self-Control

Thanksgiving is powerful - the act, that is, that the holiday emphasizes. Ironically, in America, the holiday, however, has become more about the very thing thanksgiving is meant to penetrate and kill - self-centered indulgence. I don't mean don't enjoy the pumpkin pie - I myself like a little pumpkin pie with my Cool Whip. But ironically, it is only through the act of tha...

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The Painful Nothing

One of life's deepest pains is a lack of connection to others. When you know someone with clinical depression, assume first that it hurts. Depression often feels like disconnection from everything - others, oneself, even God. It hurts, because previously there was a connection, and now it's mysteriously missing - the odd pain of a vacuum, the pain of nothing, where there s...

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