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  1 – Would you consider yourself spiritual or religious? Why or why not? 2 – Did grow up with any kind of religious tradition? How did that shape who you are today? 3- Why do you think the world is in such a mess today? Do you think there is a solution? 4 – Why do you think we die? 5 – What do you think happens when …

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Give thanks with a grateful heart Give thanks to the Holy One Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son And now let the weak say, “I am strong” Let the poor say, “I am rich Because of what the Lord has done for us” “Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart” was written in 1978 by Henry Smith. It was his only published worship song out of 300 unpublished …

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Perhaps you’ve had this experience – You’re driving down a road for a few minutes, perhaps longer…when all of a sudden you have an epiphany – you’re going the wrong way! “No!” In a moment, you turn around and get ‘on the way.’ And all is well with the world, at least as it pertains to that particular excursion in that particular moment in time. In the spiritual realm, until …

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Today’s environment is highly visual—television, Web sites, video, and images dominate our lives—and visuals created with new technologies are changing the way we take in and process information. Welcome to our 21st Century context for communication. As we think about sharing the gospel, the Master Teacher, our Lord Jesus, is our example for sharing gospel truths in a context familiar with the audience. First century Judea was primarily an agricultural …

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Evangelism is generally comprised of prayer, good works and good words. For most of us, praying for the lost and taking opportunity to demonstrate God’s love through serving others  is something we can do – and is typically non-threatening. It’s the talking part that becomes a stumbling block for many – it’s generally the most intimidating and riskiest component of the evangelistic endeavor. I don’t know about you, but there …

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As a minister of the gospel, I have enjoyed the privilege of regular public speaking since 2003. Whether serving as missionary to my Jewish people, as an outreach pastor at my local church in Johnson City, TN, or in my current capacity as director of a ministry, I derive great joy from teaching and preaching the Word of God! To open God’s Word with God’s people is thoroughly satisfying. So …

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It was simply called ‘the bomb.’ The most powerful weapon ever devised in military history was about to be unleashed upon human beings for the first time. Since 1942, more than 100,000 scientists of the Manhattan Project had been working on the bomb’s development. At the time, it was the largest collective scientific effort ever undertaken. On July 16, 1945, scientists carried out the first trial of the bomb in …

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Being a missionary to my Jewish people for 6+ years in New York City from 2003-2009 was a remarkable experience. It was a privilege be salt and light in a place very much in need of salt and light. Street outreach was a normal part of my weekly routine. Standing on the streets of New York City handing out gospel tracts while donning a t-shirt that says ‘Jews for Jesus’ …

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Have you ever been accused of having blind faith? I know I have. And to be honest, it irks me a bit. You see faith is not blind, it is substantive and based upon evidence. People demonstrate faith all the time. For example, you drive down the road and have faith the other human beings behind their own set of wheels know what their doing (most of the time!) and …

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It’s very common to think of evangelism as a combination of doing and saying. But there is a component of our witness that may, at times, transcend even our words and our deeds. In fact, this aspect of our testimony can have a dramatic impact upon others. And what is it, you may wonder? It is our being! You see, the power of a loving, joyful, and peaceful countenance upon …

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The guest speaker made a simple, yet profound observation during the introduction to his Sunday morning message at my home church. He had prefaced his comment by noting he doesn’t like to get into arguments. Rather, he preferred to be agreeable with others if at all possible. Following the preface, he proclaimed, “The world is in a mess!” This British brother then asked the congregation – “Does anyone have a …

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Cramped quarters. Isolation. Lack of natural light. Tiny sleeping areas, where beds are sometimes referred to as ‘coffins.’ Minimal restroom facilities. Showers – as small as possible. The food – good enough to sustain life, even after any perishable items are gone. Normal sense of time – as in day and night – is absent. “Sign me up!” – some people say. Such is life on a submarine! I know …

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The Apple Watch is life-changing! It helps you manage your life in various ways. The Apple Watch can: track every step you take; manage your physical activity; monitor your diet; serve as a day-timer; check your investments; and even enhance interpersonal communication – for example, you can draw out a small doodle to send to one of your contacts, send an animated emoji character, or you can even send your heartbeat as …

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Nervousness filled my being. I had one shot to get this right. There would be no do-over, no replay, no second chance! The one question that raced through my mind was, “Am I ready?” It was my senior project in a Television/Radio Broadcasting course at the University of Florida. I was a telecommunications major. Our project team was presenting a start-up proposal for a new television station to a group …

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During my missionary life in New York City, I ministered to one Jewish man who was enthralled by and attracted to Jesus. He wanted to learn more about Jesus with me. Taking a few visits to his apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I opened up the gospel of John, sharing some of Jesus’ claims to be the Jewish Messiah. He seemed to be resonating with what the …

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The party crashers had arrived! It was the annual Israel Day Parade along 5th Avenue in Manhattan (New York City). Our team of missionaries were wearing shirts that stated in Hebrew and in English “Jesus is Messiah”. Over 100,000 people lined up along the parade route to cheer Jewish groups, floats and others making a statement in support of Israel. As you might imagine, our group wasn’t so well received for …

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What’s your story? It certainly is a topic that on occasion comes up in conversation, during an interview, and in other venues. For most of us, sharing some of our story is in the context of safe, non-threatening situations. But what of the rising pressure against believers sharing their faith worldwide, even here in the United States? When given an opportunity to stand up and speak up amidst the pressure …

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“Less is more,” I simply stated as looked into the eyes of my student. To their surprise, once they took my words to heart and applied this principle, they discovered it to be true. Yes, they actually hit the tennis ball harder when they held the tennis racquet looser! As a professional tennis coach for 14 years, I commonly found newcomers to the game thinking that if they squeezed the …

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Did you know that forest fires generally move faster uphill than downhill? Upon first glance, the uphill versus downhill dynamic is perhaps something we think about initially in relation to walking, jogging, driving, or snow skiing. It’s a bit counterintuitive to think of anything moving uphill faster than downhill. Yet, upon review, the scientific fact bears out that wild fires usually move faster uphill than downhill. Why? In simple terms, …

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Billy Graham once was asked, “Billy, how do you grow in the Christian life?” Billy responded, “That’s simple. If you want to grow in the Christian life, wallow in God’s Word like a pig wallows in the mud.” Sometimes the most basic of endeavors are also the most fundamental, profound and powerful! In games like tennis, golf, and baseball, watching the ball is at the same time elementary and essential …

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Stepping on board brought forth a sense of excitement, nervousness, opportunity and adventure. This would be a milestone in my life – not earth-shattering mind you. Yet, stepping into the cabin of a helicopter in Glacier National Park (Montana) with three teammates from my traveling Jewish gospel music team was a thrill…and we hadn’t even taken off! The tour of the park from the air in early August was …

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He was just out of college, not much older than us. It was my junior year of high school – an English class – fantasy literature to be exact. “What were we doing?” – I thought. Sure, I loved music, but the teacher led our class in breaking down the lyrics of some popular rock n roll songs of the day – exploring deep meanings. This was school, right? Looking back …

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Acts 17:1-15 The Christian walk is a walk of faith. And so is the process of sharing our faith. For there are times in the providence of God when doors of opportunity open and times when doors that were once open seem to close. “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” For “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11) As we …

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Like a vast array of of parachutists descending from an airplane, seeds travel the wind currents and gentle breezes of the earth, possibly colonizing a distant mountain slope, a fertile valley, or perhaps your back yard. Literally hundreds of species in many plant families have adopted this remarkable method of dispersal. As believers in Jesus, the method by which God disperses us in the world is also remarkable. Instead of …

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I enjoy internet research. I find it fascinating that with a click of a button, one can access a literal world of information. Curiously, upon thinking about this submission, I wondered about our result-oriented society and the longing for success. Hence, I typed ‘three easy steps’ into the google search engine, figuring someone out there, regardless of their endeavor, wants success and a simple path to get there. There were …

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Frenetic, meet confusion and chaos. Speed dating? No! Rather, the afternoon rush hour on the lower East Side of Manhattan – New York City. I’m walking around trying to find an apartment building – for I had an appointment to meet a Jewish man in order to share the gospel of Messiah Jesus. For 6 1/2 years (2003-2009) this was a core ministry as a missionary to my Jewish people …

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It was Earth Day and I happened to be visiting my sister in Atlanta. I must admit, I don’t get too excited about Earth Day, but on this particular Earth Day I was confronted with a sad reality. You see, as we meandered through Centennial Olympic Park gazing at the revelry surrounding this ‘holiday,’ I thought to myself – ‘Interesting, people worshipping mother Earth, when they should be worshipping Father …

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Once I was witnessing to a friend of my sister-in-law named Don*. We were having an engaging dialogue about spiritual things. After asking Don about his spiritual orientation, he said he leaned toward Hinduism, as was his parents orientation. I asked Don if he wanted to experience nirvana, and he responded in the affirmative. In Hinduism and Buddhism, nirvana is the highest state that someone can attain, a state of …

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The Christian life is full of paradoxes, seemingly absurd propositions that when investigated prove to be true!  There are theological paradoxes. For example, we believe in the Trinity, that God is one and God is three. One God eternally exists as three distinct Persons – Father, Son, and Spirit. The oneness of God is the plurality of Persons in community. We also have living paradoxes – like slavery leads to …

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Smallpox was responsible for an estimated 300 million to 500 million deaths during the 20th century alone, making it one of humanity’s most merciless scourges. The smallpox vaccine was the first successful vaccine to be developed. It was discovered by Edward Jenner in 1796, after he noticed that people who caught the more innocuous cowpox virus seemed to be immune to the smallpox virus. A worldwide eradication campaign in the …

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Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) was a Baptist minister’s son from upstate New York. He distinguished himself in oratory at the University of Rochester before following his father to the pulpit, preaching at churches in New York and Boston. Later in his life, while working for a family magazine called the Youth’s Companion, he set to work on a patriotic program for schools around the country, commemorating Christopher Columbus’ 400th anniversary of …

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Have you ever felt tempted to quit praying for a lost person in your sphere of influence – be it a family member, long-time friend, or anyone else you’ve known for a period of years? It’s one thing to talk about persevering in prayer. It’s another thing to actually do it! Why? Because somewhere within may lurk the idea that there is no way this person is going to come …

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Friday morning – Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, July 1. I’m flying home to Tennessee. As I’m passing through security I notice the gentlemen directly behind me also putting his MacIntosh Computer in a bin. The computers looked alike. I made eye contact with him and jokingly commented, “I wonder if people have ever gotten their computers mixed up.” Moments later, a security official told me to take my shoes off just before …

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I recently had lunch with a pastor friend of mine named Jim. He’s been witnessing to his pediatrist – a Jewish man named Mark, who is open to spiritual things and is searching. Jim, has shared Isaiah 53 with the man in the midst of their conversations, and the Lord has used that to draw Mark closer to Himself. Mark told Jim he also read Isaiah 53 on his own. …

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Bottled water is a fascinating phenomenon. I sometimes wonder if bottled water today is a matter of necessity or nicety – do we consume it because it’s convenient or because we think our tap water may not be so good? Perhaps, it’s a combination of both, depending on where you are at any particular moment. Whatever your view of the bottled water industry, there is no debating that it’s big …

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A careful reading of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution reveals that it protects several basic liberties — freedom of religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly. Interpretation of the amendment is far from easy, as court case after court case has tried to define the limits of these freedoms. In regards to speech, the First Amendment specifically prohibits the making of any law impeding abridging the freedom of …

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The bomb – it’s a beautiful thing! You may be thinking, ‘What? A bomb – beautiful?’ Yes, I’m actually talking about a pass in football, otherwise known as the long bomb. If you don’t watch football, it is a long, distinctly arcing pass that – when completed for a touchdown or score, can be one of the most breathtaking, exhilarating, and graceful moments in sport. So simple – a pitch …

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We are swimming in an ocean of injustice! One needn’t look too critically at our world today in order to come to this conclusion. Are you in a good mood, content, happy? Access the news for a few minutes – and after you’ve watched the television, gone online, or listened to the radio – that peaceful easy feeling will go poof! And if we’re not careful, this sense of injustice …

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“And they lived happily ever after!” That lovely phrase evocative of childhood fairy tales illustrates a hopeful desire within us. For there is a perpetual desire within the human heart for things to turn out good, not only in time, but in eternity. In the first Lord of the Rings movie ‘The Fellowship of the Ring,’ during a quiet moment, Frodo Baggins and his friend Sam Wise Gamgee ponder a …

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The journey of the salmon is an incredible natural phenomena. Born in a fresh water stream, they will swim to the ocean after a year of life. After spending 2-4 years in the salt water they are mature and ready for the final and most difficult journey of their lives. Research indicates that salmon have a special sensory system that allows them to find their way in the ocean by …

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In May I was called to serve on jury duty a Federal Circuit Court. Unlike the other two times I have been called to jury duty, on this particular occasion I was actually called to to serve on a jury to hear a case. One by one witnesses were called to the stand to give testimony. Even in an ever-increasing secular society, each witness, upon taking the stand, was asked …

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‘You have to tell your family you believe in Jesus,’ he exclaimed! These were not words I wanted to hear. They startled, shook, and challenged me. And yet, this charge was the will of God. It was late December, 1987, and I had just came to faith in Jesus weeks earlier. I was on the phone with my good friend Greg, who had been a key witness for Christ during …

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Growing up in the Tampa Bay area in Florida, lightning was a common occurrence. In fact, Tampa Bay is known as the lightning capital of the nation. In June, 1993, more than 21,000 cloud-to-ground lightning flashes occurred within a 50-mile radius of Tampa Bay. In June 1994, the number of flashes rose to an incredible 50,000. And you know what? Every one of them happened in a flash! I actually …

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When we think of evangelism, we often think of it in terms of the church going to out and engaging the lost. For we understand the Great Commission, when Jesus told his followers in Matthew 28, “Go out and make disciples of all nations.” What we may overlook in the evangelistic process is not ‘the church going out,’ but ‘the church being the church.’ Let me explain. While Jesus was …

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Sharing Jesus is a team thing! While we may think evangelism a solo activity, it is actually done in tandem with the Holy Spirit. In fact, no matter how, when, or to whom you’re witnessing, the Lord is always with you. As Jesus taught the disciples just before He ascended into heaven: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all …

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Power! In the mechanical realm, nothing works without it, One afternoon in mid-August 2003, the lights went out in New York City! In fact, there were 50 million people in the Northeast affected by the blackout. Our family was living in New York City at the time, as we were doing missions work with Jews for Jesus. Can you say interruption! It lasted about 24 hours and when the power …

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The power of modeling or setting an example is replete throughout life! As a young tennis player, my idol was American John McEnroe. Johnny ‘Mac’ was the one of the best players in the world in the mid-1980’s and even to this day, is my all-time favorite. My friends and I would try to hit certain shots just like McEnroe, for he was artistic in the way he played …

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I like to describe evangelism as a process. From a witnessing perspective, we as believers are in the process of being conformed more into the image of Christ through what the bible calls sanctification. This takes a lifetime. And so it takes time to grow as a witness for Jesus. Unbelievers with whom you’re engaging in conversation are also in process – meaning their beliefs about God and ‘the way …

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Earlier in my life I was a professional tennis coach for fourteen years. And I can assure you no beginner ever took a lesson or series of lessons with the expectation of becoming an accomplished player in that brief time. To play well requires some basic instruction and lots and lots of practice. Spiritual conversations are very similar to playing tennis in that it takes time and practice to grow …

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While a missionary to my Jewish people in New York City, I was meeting regularly with an orthodox Jewish man in Brooklyn named Ben. I’d go to his apartment once or twice a month and share the claims of Jesus to be Messiah. One day Ben raised a very intimidating objection. He said Jesus couldn’t possibly be the Messiah due to the curse of Jeconiah! What did I know about …

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“So, then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  James 1:19 In my years as a missionary, a pastor, and witness for Jesus Christ, I’ve had the privilege of verbalizing the wonders of Jesus and the gift of His salvation in a variety of venues, both formal and informal. Yes,I do enjoy talking. But ministering the gospel to the person …

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“How are you doing?”  We hear it and use it all the time.  Often the response is, “I’m fine, thank you.”  But there are times where that seemingly benign question can open up deep meaningful conversations about the most important issues in life! In fact, there are times when a seemingly benign question may open up the door to be able to pose the most important of questions: “Who do …

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One morning while enjoying breakfast with a pastor friend named Luke, he shared something about his devotional life that moved me – something simple, yet profound and powerful. Luke said everyday he includes his morning prayers with this: “Lord, today please give me divine appointments, ministry opportunities and open doors.” I have seen God answer that prayer in my own life. And in regards to engaging in spiritual conversations with people, …

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In the well-known movie simply titled in honor of the lead character, played by one Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump famously evoked one of one of his momma’s sayings when he quipped: ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ Oh the mystery! As we think about the witnessing endeavor, fulfilling the Great Commission certainly includes conversations, conversations with others regarding the person and …

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You can handle the truth about different worldviews. As we’ve noted, various religions and philosophies can be distilled down into a few basic worldviews – including naturalism, pantheism, theism, spiritism & polytheism, and postmodernism. Naturalism holds that the physical universe is all that exists. There is no spirit or soul – therefore man is simply the chance product of evolution. All things are explained on the basis of natural law. Truth …

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You can handle the truth about Postmodernism. In simplest terms, this complex and abstract worldview holds that people are simply products of of their social setting or culture and truths are mental constructs of individuals based upon their own individual cultural setting.  Therefore values are individual based upon those same cultural paradigms – the implication being there are no universal values.  In essence, the postmodernist creates his or her own sense …

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You can handle the truth about Spiritism and Polytheism. According to this worldview, the earth is populated by spirit beings who govern what goes on. Gods and demons are the real reason behind “natural” events. Material things are real, but they have spirits associated with them and, therefore, can be interpreted spiritually. In many primitive cultures it’s believed that inanimate objects, plants and/or animals are possessed by spirits (good or …

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You can handle the truth about Theism. As Christians we are certainly theists, but we are not alone. Judaism and Islam are also theistic. For purposes of comparison and contrast, we first look at general beliefs Theism espouses, of which we’re well versed. Regarding reality, an infinite, personal God exists. Reality is both material and spiritual. The universe as we know it had a beginning and will have an end. Humankind is …

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You can handle the truth about Pantheism. In sharp contrast to Naturalism, which believes the natural order is all there is, Pantheism comes from two Greek words, pan meaning ‘all’ and theos meaning ‘god.’ Pantheism is a worldview that believes only the spiritual dimension exists – all else is an illusion. Spiritual reality, in general, is eternal, impersonal, and unknowable. Pantheism teaches that everything is part of God, or that God is in everything and …

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You can handle the truth about Naturalism! What is it? It’s a view that believes the material universe is all that exists. According to Naturalism there is no such thing as a soul or a spirit. Therefore everything is explained on the basis of natural law. In other words, Naturalism rejects the supernatural. Under the umbrella of Naturalism, subsets include Atheism, Agnosticism, and Existentialism. Atheism says there is no God, while agnosticism acknowledges that while …

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I like movies – good movies! I’m not the kind of a person who simply likes to go see a show just to see a show. I like a compelling story and fine acting. In addition, riveting dialogue will also enhance the movie-going experience. A Few Good Men is a 1992 film about the trial of two U.S. Marines accused of murder while serving at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In my humble estimation, it’s quite a powerful movie! One of …

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Out of curiosity I googled ‘the most distracted society in history’ – and received over 28 million results! Wow! Whether we are in fact ‘the most distracted society in history’ may be debatable. But what is indisputable is that we are living in a world of distraction. For example, in our 21st Century world amidst the tsunami of technological revolution and all the associated gadgets accompanying its’ power and convenience, there are some unintended consequences. One of …

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We live in a world that often says hard work and doing the right thing will bring the desired results. To promote the desired result there are a myriad of tools at our disposal – self-help tools, user guides, how to’s, the three steps to this and the four steps to that. They may come in the form of seminars, DVD’s, CD’s, books, television shows, and so on. And we get …

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Getting there on time – it can be a daily grind! Getting to where you need to be when you need to be there. Ah, life in the modern world. I spend lots of time in transit. These days in East Tennessee most transit time is spent driving. While living in New York City for 6 years, aside from walking – a must in the Big Apple – it was often using public transportation like subways or taxis. No matter …

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“It can’t be that easy! All you have to do is believe?” This sentiment is expressed by many an unbeliever regarding the healing power of Jesus to forgive our sins. Pride is arguably the greatest obstacle to belief and spiritual healing. In contrast, humility is one key that unlocks the door to belief – “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up (James 4:10)  The Aramean general Naaman was a man filled with pride. When afflicted by …

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I love music! My affinity began in the early 1970’s as a youth when I began listening to my older sisters’ records. I was hooked. At 16 I bought a used drum kit and put it in the garage of a friend. I was self-taught and had trouble keeping time, but that didn’t curb my enthusiasm. I would put on a pair of headphones, the rock radio station and jammed for …

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I don’t have the gift of evangelism. This may surprise you. You might be thinking, “You don’t have the gift of evangelism? I thought you direct an evangelism equipping ministry and spent years as a missionary among your Jewish people…and you don’t have the gift??” It’s true. I can, however, tell you that I do have a mandate – to be a witness for Jesus. In fact, whether you have the …

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I have one mantra for the Christian life – If we don’t have grace, we don’t have nothin’! Grace, grace, wonderful grace. God’s unmerited favor bestowed upon sinful undeserving man – that is grace. What’s so amazing about grace? Philip Yancey, author of What’s So Amazing about Grace? simply states –  “God loves people because of who God is, not because of who we are. Grace does not depend on what we have …

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A few weeks ago I was sitting at Starbucks talking with another believer about spiritual things – specifically the Word of God – when a man in his early 40’s chimed in.  He said he heard us talking about the bible and he wanted to know if I believed the Book of Job was inspired. I responded in the affirmative, as I believe all of Scripture is inspired. He then began …

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 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 We discussed last time that the reason personal evangelism is difficult is that we’re smack dab in the middle …

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You’ve certainly hear the expression, “If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.” Well, that expression certainly fits personal evangelism. Yes, personal evangelism is a difficult and demanding proposition. In my Christian life, whether serving as a missionary to my Jewish people or sharing the gospel with family, friends, and others, there are times I ask myself, “Why is this so hard?” How about you? Do you ever …

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I did two missionary stints with the Jews for Jesus ministry.  The first included playing guitar and singing with the mobile evangelistic music team called the Liberated Wailing Wall from 1997-1999.  We did presentations in over 500 churches, sharing the gospel of Jesus through music drama and testimony – picture in your mind ‘Fiddler on the Roof meets Jesus’ and you’ll have a better idea of what those presentations looked like. …

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While a missionary to my Jewish people for a number of years, I would on occasion get accused of ‘targeting’ Jews.  During street outreach in the Big Apple and other major US cities, some of my unbelieving Jewish brethren would take exception to my wanting them in particular to believe in Jesus. When you wear a t-shirt with ‘Jews for Jesus’ emblazoned on your chest you tend to create a bit of …

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I grew up in a condominium in Treasure Island, Florida. We were only a 10-minute drive from the beach.  I loved the water and the sun. But had you told me growing up that one day I would become a farmer and that these two elements, the sun and water, would be critical to that endeavor, I would have thought you a bit off! Today I am a farmer. Now I don’t …

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The Great Commission is the Great GO Mission, for God has called each of us to go! Go be witnesses for Jesus – this is our mandate.  And remember, He will always be with us. Much can learned from the example of others.  Hence, we focus briefly on the case study of Philip from Acts 8.  Here, we follow his witness to the Ethiopian eunuch and here we see …

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Having played and coached competitive tennis for many years, losing is probably the closest thing I can connect to the rejection we experience in the endeavor of evangelism. Losing stings and every competitive player has to learn to process this reality, for it is a real possibility every time a player steps on the court. In fact, every player experiences losing, even the champion.   In our evangelistic efforts, when we step out in Jesus’ name, rejection is part of the process, regardless of …

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In the spiritual life of a Jesus follower, fear, whether real or imagined, is one emotion we all face. When engaged in personal evangelism, our fear may become so debilitating that it may cause us to quit or never engage the process. In my book, Serving in His Court: Biblical Principles for Personal Evangelism from the Heart of a Coach, I penned an entire chapter entitled ‘Facing Fear.’ So yes, it’s important to face fear associated with …

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“Captured Crew Saved after Sending Message in a Bottle” headlined the following story from Metro, an online British news agency. The report stated: In 2011, a crew from a hijacked cargo boat was saved by British commandos after sending their rescuers a message in a bottle. The captured seamen, trapped in a sealed and armored part of their vessel as it was over-run by pirates, threw their note into the …

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Having become believer in 1987, I have, over time, distilled the Christian life down to one mantra: If we ain’t got grace, we ain’t got nothin’!  Grace – God’s unmerited favor – is one thing we have that the world can neither take away from us nor offer to lost sinners. Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense …

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Image is everything was the name of an ad campaign by Canon in the 80’s which promoted the EOS Rebel camera.  It was a brilliant marketing ploy, selling and promoting the quality of the image caught and created by that camera.  What you saw is what you got and with the EOS Rebel, you got a great image. In a world obsessed with image as being what’s on the surface, a biblical …

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“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus followers are called to introduce Him to others.  Witnessing in one sense may simply be defined as introducing people to Jesus. As we think of our personal witness, we’ll generally have the greatest impact potential in the context of personal relationships. Why? Because in our personal relationships we have the time, margins, and opportunity to build …

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I recently read this caption of a major newspaper’s reaction to the latest mass murder: ‘God Isn’t Fixing This!’ My response – And you think man will? Yes, war is running rampant on the earth, but what of the solution? Is there hope? 2,000 years ago a multitude of the heavenly host appeared to some frightened shepherds in the Judean countryside, announcing the solution and the hope: “Glory to God …

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Faith conversations are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get! And because of the organic, fluid, and unpredictable nature of discussions surrounding spiritual matters, some people are paralyzed into thinking, “I won’t know what to say!” How about you? It’s no wonder the most popular phrase Jesus uttered in the gospels was, “Fear not!” And while this general call to trust in the Lord …

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To be or not to be…welcome? That was the question 2,000 years ago when Jesus sent out the apostles on their first evangelistic expedition: “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your …

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Light – essential for living and foundational to life! Yet so easily and often taken for granted – at least until the electricity goes out at night. In the spiritual, our light as Christians is the Lord Jesus Himself (John 8:12, 1 John 1:5) and the truth embodied in Him and His revelation (John 1:4, John 14:6). As His witnesses we are to be intentional in sharing Him with others: …

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Have you ever heard a statement of fact and your first reaction was, “Nah!” Well, try a couple of these on for size: A strawberry is not a berry. A banana is a berry. There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America in one foot of liquid. An octopus has three hearts.These facts may be disputed by our human ‘sensibilities.’ And you know …

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Perhaps you’ve seen on a church marque or bumper sticker the following quip: “Be a fisher of men – you catch em’, Jesus cleans em’.” I’m not so sure about the ‘catch em’ part, but I do know the whole phrase is a reference to Jesus calling the first disciples in Matthew 4: And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his …

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Purim is the Jewish holiday commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman’s wicked plot to exterminate the Jewish people during the reign of the Persian King Ahasuerus. We find the story in the book of Esther, named after the heroine of this tense and tenuous time. You see, when her Uncle Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to Haman, vizier to the King, Haman hatches a wicked and diabolical plot …

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As believers in Jesus I would venture a guess we have all prayed the Lord’s Prayer on occasion, some of us on many an occasion. Yet I wonder if you realize there is another prayer Jesus commended His followers to pray – one that has had great impact upon your life and continues to impact the life of the Church to this very day. In fact, this prayer intersects with the Great Commission …

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To say that personal evangelism is personal is to state the obvious. And while we all would affirm in principle the need to be in relationships with unbelievers for the purpose of being salt and light, the practical application may in fact be challenging. Why?  Because relationships are messy and hard work.  Sometimes, we just don’t want to deal with it.  Additionally, we’re very distracted with ‘life’ – sometimes so much so that redemptive …

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One night my son Elijah and I were eating a local restaurant. As the waitress approached us I noticed her nametag, smiled and said, “Hello Sarah!” Stunned, she retorted, “Thank you! You’re the first customer that’s uttered my name all day!” I can assure you that there was a time in my life that I wouldn’t acknowledge people by name in the marketplace if they had a nametag. But in …

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Personal evangelism is personal by nature and requires a degree of availability. This seems so simple in principle, yet in our busy 21st Century lives, it may be in practice quite daunting. This is where intentionality meets availability – “Hi, how are you?” Let me explain.  As we think about three keys to personal evangelism, I mentioned in our last post that intentionality is all about the ‘I will.’ And we …

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I recently did an interview talking about personal evangelism and my book Serving In His Court: Biblical Principles For Personal Evangelism From The Heart Of A Coach. The interviewer noted I had used the term ‘intentionality’ several times in describing the evangelistic process. He then asked me why I thought this concept was so critical. I replied, “Typically, we don’t engage anything of value without first being intentional!’ For example, if …

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I remember it well – I was 23 years old, walking in quiet desperation, empty inside and going nowhere fast. Aside from that life was hunky- dory! Sarcasm aside, I was a lost person and knew it on some level. As a Jewish person, I was taught Jesus was not the Messiah and certainly not the answer to any need, much less my greatest need – the need to be forgiven. …

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Jay was a man I’d been ministering to in New York City for about a year.  His condition was terminal – lying in a hospital bed dying of congestive heart failure. Jay had not yet trusted in Jesus. Having done many bible studies and shared the gospel many times previously, I pondered what I would share with Jay as I took the subway to lower Manhattan. On this day I …

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I don’t know what to do! Ever felt this way in your evangelistic efforts? There are times in our evangelistic efforts we are prone to default to this statement because let’s face it – personal evangelism is hard work, it’s messy and it’s risky. But beware…don’t let feelings be confused with facts. And the fact is we can do something.  In fact, we can do some things that have eternal significance! PRAY …

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Do you have what you need?  We’ve all had that question posed on occasion while striving to accomplish a duty or task. What are the divine resources or raw materials necessary to accomplish the work of evangelism, you may wonder?  Well, they include everything God has given us: “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 …

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“I just wouldn’t know where to start.” This common refrain keeps many people from engaging many things, including the work of evangelism. Analysis paralysis, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, may also contribute to this attitude. Yet I have found the process of personal evangelism to be simple, yet challenging. No doubt, it’s the challenging part that often keeps people on the sidelines. …

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Evangelism is a team thing. It is not exclusively a “God thing,” nor exclusively a “Me thing.” Evangelism is a “We thing.”  Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, said to His disciples “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). At the end of His ministry, just before ascending to heaven He stated, “Go and make disciples of all nations…and I will be with you always.”   We, the Church, are called to do the work …

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When we think about praying evangelistically, praying for the lost is kind of like hitting the ball in tennis – it’s imperative.  And we get that. But what we may not get are the various components needed in order to do it effectively.  In tennis, hitting the ball effectively includes things like footwork, watching the ball, and a proper swing and follow-through. In the same way, praying effectively for the …

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“How are you doing?” We hear it and use it all the time. Often the response is, “I’m fine, thank you.” But there are times where that seemingly benign question can open up deep meaningful conversations about the most important issues in life! And ultimately a seemingly benign question may open up the door to be able to pose the most important of questions: “Who do you think Jesus is?” …

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Last year during the Christmas holidays our family was blessed to visit my mother in sunny warm Florida. One night as we were having dinner in her waterfront condominium, I did something I don’t remember doing in a long, long time.   I obliged my daughter’s request to get her soft drink from the balcony, which was directly behind me. As I got up out of my seat and turned, …

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I remember years ago while as a missionary in New York City, I was doing street outreach around the South Street Seaport area in lower Manhattan one afternoon.  I was heading back to the subway on my way home when I made eye contact with a man sitting alone on a bench.  I stopped for a moment and inquired, “Can I ask you something?” “Sure,” he responded.  “Who do you think Jesus is?” He smiled, and …

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We are at war!  As believers we find ourselves in the midst of a spiritual conflict of cosmic proportions!  In the arena of personal evangelism, our enemy – the devil and his minions – want to keep us from sharing the truth that sets men and women free.  For the souls of people hang in the balance. In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul describes the spiritual war that the devil …

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Fear is a powerful emotion and in the witnessing endeavor, one that can debilitate and demotivate us from sharing our faith. In fact, fear may simply keep us from engaging others. Fear is perhaps one of biggest reasons people don’t witness to others about Jesus. So we need peace, the peace of God, and prayer is the key! Two Scriptures that are instructive and powerful to memorize and apply include: …

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Once I was talking with one of my fellow little league baseball dads (our son Elijah played) – and he mentioned he started going to church with his family and really liked it.  I said, ‘That’s great!  What do you think about Jesus?’  His response – “I don’t want to go there.”   Now I could have said, “Why not?” or better yet “But Jesus is really what church is …

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Readiness plays a key role in acquiring confidence in any endeavor, including personal evangelism.  When we pray, we are preparing to be ready. In 1 Peter 3:15 we read, “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” Specifically, praying for readiness is universal for the Christian in any endeavor, including evangelism, but the application of what that …

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Personal Evangelism is as much about the want to, than perhaps it is about the how to. More specifically, if we don’t have the want to, our knowledge of the how to will be of little use to us.  It’s like putting the cart before the horse.  So as we think about prayer as a key component of personal evangelism, we start with the issue of our heart. 1 Peter 3:15 …

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Go to God on behalf of people before you go to people on behalf of God.  This is a primary principle of prayer in evangelism and one we need to take to heart. For we are in a spiritual war, where the souls of men and women hang in the balance.  As followers of Jesus we should understand prayer is not only essential in the evangelistic endeavor, it should be …

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We are opposed in our efforts to do the work of evangelism.  And while fear is part of that opposition, boldness and courage are the tonic to help us overcome the fear that can debilitate our efforts in reaching out to the lost. Two keys to acquiring boldness & courage in the spiritual I want us to ponder are preparation and perspective. Preparation first involves prayer.  While prayer needs little …

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When we think of powerful witnessing, it can be tempting to fall into the trap of focusing on the how. Ultimately, in the personal evangelistic endeavor we desire to be effective. Technique, presentations and methods are all well and good, but without the power source, we’ll be like a powerful machine (one with all the answers, techniques, and methods) that happens to be unplugged! You see, the power to witness …

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During the Christmas holidays last year our family was blessed to visit my mother in sun-kissed Florida. One balmy night as we were enjoying dinner in her waterfront condominium, I did something I don’t remember doing in a long, long time. I obliged my daughter’s request to get her soft drink from the balcony, which was directly behind me. As I got up out of my seat and turned, I …

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A new year is upon us and with it new opportunities of various sorts. Resolutions abound, goals for 2014 in the fore. As time continues its’ constant march, so God’s heart continues to beat for the lost. For people need the Lord, and God desires that no one die without Christ, but that all would come to repentance. As we think about how we will spend our time and energy …

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When Jesus was just a boy of 12 years old, His relieved parents found their son, who had been separated from the traveling party on their return to Nazareth from Jerusalem following Passover. Jesus was at the temple, talking with the religious leaders. Upon finding Him, Mary said to Jesus, “Why have you done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought you anxiously.” Jesus responded in Luke …

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There’s a reason we used to do Show and Tell in school growing up. One without the other is incomplete. The audience will be left wanting and we’ll be scratching our heads wondering why they didn’t quite understand. Biblical Evangelism is about showing and telling the gospel. It’s not an either/or proposition – rather it’s a both/and endeavor.  And when we do it well, we’ll make the greatest impact for …

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On occasion, I’ve had people share their frustration in witnessing in terms like, “I just can’t get so and so to see the light!” As you’ve shared the gospel with people, you’ve more than likely had the experience of an individual not understand, be confused by, or categorically reject the message. My advice is, “Stop trying to get them to see the light. You can’t! Only God can!” In past …

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“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 As I’ve mentioned previously the spiritual weapons formed against us, that battle against our gospel witness are the world, the …

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I witnessed many a hard fought match when I was a college tennis coach. Two competitors, bashing shot after shot, each point hotly contested. Hours later, after lots of sweat, emotion and a handful of game-changing points, the match concluded – one player victorious, the other galiant in defeat. In tennis terms, we’d call a match like that a war. In the spiritual realm, especially in the arena of personal …

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In the midst of the information age and the advent of 21st Century technologies, we are literally bombarded with messages on a daily basis. Frankly, it takes much work to sift through and determine what messages are important, what messages to engage, and ultimately what messages to act upon. Yet, one message is singular, transcendent, powerful, and life changing. In fact, amidst the noise and clutter of a message-saturated world, …

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Larry’s teaching connects the dots between the Old & New Testaments – read more here

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Why do Passover and Easter overlap?

I’m a huge sports fan!  The Florida Gators and New York Yankees are my two favorite teams.  Now you’re probably not a Gators or Yankees fan, and you might not even like sports, but there’s an important principle from the sporting world that applies to us as Christians. Teamwork is critical in both team sports and even individual sports.  A common thread in award acceptance speeches given by champions of …

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“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) This key verse regarding the witnessing endeavor packs a punch. The prerequisite for what we share and the spirit in which we share is in alignment when Christ is …

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Evangelism is a process, not an event! Paradoxically, “the process” is made up of separate events which God uses in an individual’s journey to faith. Jesus’ parable of the soils in the Gospels (Luke 8:4-15, Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20) sheds light on this reality. We’re called to sow gospel seed, which is the Word of God, and that takes time.  The soil is the condition of a human heart, as …

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I like physical training.  I’ve been working out since my youth.  But to be honest, I also like when a workout is completed.  The satisfaction I derive includes all the immediate benefits of a relaxed mind and body, and longer-term benefits such as the decreased risk of various health problems.  A physical training routine is also a huge victory in another way – for most of us it’s a victory …

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