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    Opportunities Like Never Before…

    We have almost completed the first week of the new year. Tomorrow begins the first full work-week of 2019, and for many of us, life will return to a sense of normalcy after the long holiday period. Usually the weeks around Christmas and New Years are characterized by reflection, evaluation, and goals for the future. I know this has been on our mind here at Kettering as we began our new curriculum year last month and have focused on self-evaluation, etc. I expect most of us have taken a hard look at where we are spiritually and have resolved to strengthen what is weak and cultivate our strengths as we…

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    How the Early Church Endured Adversity

    There are multiple forces working to suppress and even harass believers who exercise their faith in the public arena. Going forward, we will have to exercise wisdom and discernment in order to interact effectively inside the growing new reality.  We are not the first generation to experience hostility. How did the early Christians handle adversity? The Letter to Diognetus is dated to ~130 AD. It was written by someone who used the name Mathetes (not a proper name but the Greek word for disciple). Scholars believe it was either a personal letter written to defend the Christian faith or a formal written defense to a judge. Whoever the author was,…

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    We Rejoice in the Hope of God

    The opening verses of Romans 5 are some of the most beloved of Paul’s writing. Here, Paul is bringing to conclusion the first section of his letter, where he makes the stunning assertion that salvation is by faith and not by a system of law. We are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3.24. Because of this fact, Paul makes the following conclusions in the opening verses of chapter 5: we have peace with God. We have access to the grace in which we stand. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which will not put us…

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    All Stress is not Bad

    During December our sermons will attempt to take a sweeping view of our society and the church. How do things look? How are we handling the troubling things we see? What are some things that make us nervous about the future? One thing that ranks high on the list is the number of stressed and burned out lives. Think about yourself for a moment. How would you describe the level of stress you’re feeling right now? Most likely the stressors you are coping with come from several different areas of your life. How are you responding to that stress? While today’s sermon will focus mostly on the sinful type of…

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    Decrease Self. Increase Christ.

    Put off your old self, …and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self. – Ephesians 4.22-23  How can we become more successful in conquering the flesh and our selfish wants and desires? Cease to make excuses. The moment that some defense mechanism comes into play, recognize it, and ask yourself: Why am I letting this upset me? Practice self-examination. For a moment, reflect on how self enters into everything you do. It influences our actions, work, conduct, dress, appearance,..everything! Do you need to increase your personal discipline and moments of self-examination? In writing about himself, Paul said, I discipline my body and keep…

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    A Greater Appreciation for the Word of God

    Of his own will he brought us froth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures, James 1.18. As God’s children each of us have experienced the tremendous power of the word of God in it’s conviction and saving power. Think back to the time when pure gospel preaching moved you to action. You were hungry. You couldn’t get enough teaching. Classes were exciting and worship was exhilarating.  Wednesday evening after Bible class, Jim Grushon Sr. and I were talking. He mentioned the feeling he had the morning after his baptism. As he walked into work later that day and ran…

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    Do Good to Everyone

    Doing good is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22) and is the natural result of allowing God to shape our heart. In Galatians 6.8 Paul said that we will reap eternal life when we allow acts of service to characterize who we are.  What are some good things you can do? For those inside and outside of the church? Here are ten simple suggestions (in no particular order): Romans 12.10 – help your family – the ones you need to serve the most are often the ones closest to you. 1 Peter 4.10-11 – volunteer to serve in your spiritual family – what spiritual gifts do you possess that…

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    The Loneliest Generation

    Three weeks ago National Public Radio reported on a survey about loneliness which was conducted by one of America’s leading health insurance companies. Over 20,000 adults were contacted. Nearly 50% of respondents reported that “they feel alone” or “left out always or sometimes.” 54% said they “always or sometimes feel that no one knows them well.” 56% said they “sometimes or always felt like the people around them are not necessarily with them.” 40% felt like “they lack companionship,” and that their “relationships aren’t meaningful” and that they are “isolated from others.” The survey suggests that most Americans are considered lonely.  Along with this comes additional data suggesting that the…

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    When You Face Temptation

    Recently, I preached a series of lessons from Ephesians 6.10-17. This is where Paul is wrapping up the letter to the Ephesians. He began by writing about the marvelous salvation we have been given. God lavished His grace on us (1.8). God made us alive together with Christ (2.5). Our new life is a product of God’s work, not our own (2.8-10). All of this is according to His incredible plan which has been revealed to us through His apostles (3.9-10). He has endowed us with great power (3.20). Since all these things are true, we have been called to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which…

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    When Words Aren’t Necessary

    We’re doing a study on Christian fellowship this quarter. Today, I spent time in Romans 12.15-16 and mainly focused on the second part of 12.15: Weep with those who weep. Following through on this can be extremely difficult and unpleasant. I don’t know of anyone who is ever excited to run out and cry with someone as they roll through a situation that’s full of grief, betrayal, or extreme pain and sorrow. But, I do know from personal experience what it means for the person who is going through difficulty. Last week, I was called to help out with a family in our community whose son drowned in the Little Miami…