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Jesus charged us to go into all the world and preach the gospel. He said He would be with us always. He also said that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. He not only believed the church could be successful, He actually commanded the church to go and be successful.

I am reminded of the situation in the wilderness when Israel was told to go and take the land. After sending spies into the land, the people demonstrated a lack of trust in God. It was not the first such demonstration, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When they disregarded God’s charge and listened to the “evil report” of the ten spies rather than the good report of the two, God disinherited them and took their children instead (40 years later). What did God expect them to do when they saw the giants that made them look like grasshoppers in their own sight? What did God expect them to do when they heard of the great walled (fortified) cities? He expected them to trust Him. He told them He would be with them. He had shown them that He would be with them.

Google Doesn't Know Everything...But God Does!

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Logo 2013 Google

Have you ever been given bad directions? I remember one year while in Jamaica we were driving the mountain roads trying to find our way back from Ocho Rios to a town called Maypen. We had a map, but the road we were supposed to travel was closed due to a bridge being out, so we had to make our way by going from town to town asking directions as we went. Well, it was getting late, real late, the mountain roads were getting dark and it didn’t seem like we were making much progress. I decided to put a newly developed theory to the test. I saw a man walking down the road and I pulled over and (in my best Jamaican accent) asked, "Which way to Maypen, man?" He said, "Dat way, man," pointing in the direction we were going. About a half mile or so further I saw another man and I pulled over and asked, "Which way to Maypen, man?" He pointed in the opposite direction and said, "Dat way, man." My theory was this: we were so far from Maypen that the locals didn’t know where it was, but rather than tell us that, they gave us bad (uninformed) information.

I'm Thankful For Mercy

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I found this painting on the internest the other day when I was looking for a piece of clip art to use on a sermon power point. I hadn’t seen it before, but I liked it. It is entitled, "Mercy" and it is by a man named Ron DiCianni. As far as I can tell it is the author’s rendition of the woman of John 8:1-11. You know the story. A woman caught in the act of adul-tery was brought before Jesus, not so much for trial, but as an effort to entrap Jesus in His teachings. This is the story where Jesus wrote on the ground and told those accusers that those among them who were without sin should cast the first stone. When no one did, Jesus spoke to the woman and mercifully extended to her forgiveness telling her not to go back to her sinful life.

My Beloved Son

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Jordan River

Why was Jesus baptized? It’s a debated question, different scholars approach it from various points of view and come up with different answers. The Bible simply says He was baptized to "fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). To speculate further than that would be, well, speculation. But how does one define “to fulfill all righteousness”? Again, different scholars approach the question from various points of view and we end up no closer to an understanding as to why. Some say that He did it to give us an example. Some say that as a king would do a thing for (in the place of) his nation, or a prophet would confess the sins of His people, so Jesus was baptized for His people. Some say that “to fulfill all righteousness” simply means to obey all the commands and since baptism was a command, Jesus submitted even though He had no sins from which to repent. I am sure there is great significance to this event and to the reason behind it as it is mentioned in all four of the gospels. My studies, however, have not yet lead me to the place where I can say “this is what it is all about.”

Who Turned The World Upside Down?

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Upside Down

In the city of Thessalonica, Paul was preaching in the Jewish Synagogue saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” Some of the Jews believed as well as did some of the Greeks. There was a segment of the Jews there, however, who were like Paul was before he became a Christian; they wanted nothing of the preaching that "Jesus is the Christ.” Oh, they believed in Christ (Messiah); they just didn’t believe Jesus was He. Jesus, to them, was a criminal who was crucified for blaspheming God. Well, at least that is what they told themselves when they tried to sleep at night. The Holy Spirit says their objection was due to jealousy. Anyway, these guys got so upset that they incited a mob and got the whole city of Thessalonica stirred up. They believed the apostles to be in the house of a man named Jason, so they went there to get them. Not finding them there the Jews took Jason and some of the brethren and brought them before the city council with this charge: “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also …” They go on to say that these men have given shelter to political rebels (because they were preaching Jesus rather than Caesar as King).