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Time for Yet Another Quote on the Holy Spirit from A.W. Tozer!

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2021 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #30 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 2

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.

I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study with verses 1-2.

The first critical imperative that I suggested was —

1. The believer is to OFFER HIS BODY AS A LIVING SACRIFICE! (v. 1).

The second critical imperative that I see is —

2. The believer is NOT TO CONFORM TO THE PATTERN OF THIS WORLD (v. 1)

“World” can mean the planet, the people of the planet, or the pagan system opposing God and the things of God. We are not to adopt the pattern of the pagan system opposing God and the things of God. That means we have to recognize the lies of this world and of the Evil One — and turn away from them!

We choose not to conform. We recognize the sinful thoughts and actions and attitudes of this world and we make choices. I have found much help in the following C.S. Lewis quote:

“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.” (C.S. Lewis)

Today’s Challenge: What choice will you make today NOT to conform to the pattern of this world?

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Why Shouldn’t the World Think Us WEIRD? (A Study of I Peter 1:8-9) Part 1

My friend Frank and I are now going through I Peter. This is our read-the-same-chapter-every-day-for-a-week online Bible study which I’ve described here. We’re making great progress going through the epistles of the New Testament. But the following passage from I Peter really got me thinking:

Please forgive my underlining and bolding and changing colors, but these two verses kind of hit me between the eyes. And they help me not to be so surprised when the world looks at me funny and thinks I need medication or a lengthy stay in a mental hospital.

I. We Love What We Do Not See!

Jesus-followers love the One they presently do not see and have never seen. Visibility is over-rated, don’t you think? We so often “live by sight” and not “by faith.” We have many reasons to love the Lord Jesus, but the experience of seeing Him right now with our own eyes isn’t one of them. We have good historical evidence of others who saw Him and their view of themselves and the world was never the same. I think of John who wrote:

John is quite empirical in this text, isn’t he? He speaks of Christ as One “which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at.” He is “the life [which] appeared.” And he says “we have seen it” and it “has appeared to us.” And, once more for good measure, he says, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard . . .” Though we presently are to walk by faith and to love the One we do not see right now, He WAS SEEN. John could not have given stronger empirical testimony to the reality of the Lord Jesus! And we are to love this One Whom we presently do not see. (to be continued) [you might enjoy my Calvin & Hobbes cartoon on this issue found here].

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2020 in I Peter 1

 

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A Spiritually Healthy Family (A Study of the Epistle to Titus) (Part 5 of 5)

I am looking forward to speaking at Camp Elim’s Family Camp May 25-27. The theme I have chosen is “A Spiritually Healthy Family” and we will be going through the three chapters of Paul’s letter to Titus.

We’ve already seen that the spiritually healthy family cares deeply about the local church (1:1-9),  that it recognizes false teaching in its many forms and opposes it (1:10-16), and that the spiritually healthy family appreciates and applies the clear instructions of God’s Word (2:1-10). In our last post we saw that this kind of family allows God’s grace to have its full power in their lives (2:11-15).

Let’s notice lastly in chapter three that —

The spiritually healthy family —

V. Cares Deeply about Relationships in the World and in the Church! (ch. 3)

A. Relationships in the World (vv. 1-2)

We are in this world and are to behave ourselves in it! We are to be subject to earthly authorities (unless they try to force us to deny the Lord). As I argue in my soon-to-be-published book Unlike Jesus, we should be friends of sinners (Mt. 11:19) without being a “friend of the world” (James 4:4).

B. Relationship with the Lord (vv. 3-8)

This is a tough section. Paul pulls no punches as he speaks about our BC (before conversion) condition (v. 3). Then we have the wonderful descriptions of God’s “kindness” in Christ (vv. 4-8).

C. Relationships with Negative People (vv. 9-11)

Some people should be avoided! The passage seems to be talking about those in the family of God who want to argue about genealogies and quarrels about the law (v. 9). Actually, we’re not to just avoid them; we are to warn them! And then have nothing to do with them.

D. Relationships with Fellow-Workers (vv. 12-15)

Don’t you love it when Paul names names? Artemas and Tychicus (see Eph. 6:21-22) and Titus and Zenas the lawyer (there will be lawyers in heaven!) and Apollos. Paul speaks of “our people” and how they must devote themselves to doing what is good. He also speaks of “everyone with me.” He also says, “Greet those who love us in the faith.”

As an introvert, I’m okay with my laptop, my dog Scrabble, and occasional conversations with my wife. But that’s not how God intended us to be! He is a relational God and wants us to value others, especially those in ministry!

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2019 in relationships

 

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“Unlike Jesus” – A Theology Matters Retreat for Dayspring Camp – Part 3

In a few days I get to lead a group of young people through the topic of being a friend of sinners, like Jesus was (Mt. 11).  In our six-part study, we have already seen that we need a theology of lostness (we come into this world as enemies of God and under His wrath) and we need a theology of friendship (we need to learn to listen to our unsaved friends without resorting to conditional friendships).

Let’s notice a third aspect of being a friend of sinners and it is that we need —

Session #3-  A Theology of WORLDLINESS!

James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”  We are not to be a friend of the world (in the sense of siding with the pagan system opposing God and the things of God), but we are to be friends of sinners!  We need a clear understanding, a definitive doctrine of the world, that guides us is walking that fine line between those two imperatives.

Many Christians genuinely fear falling into sin if they intentionally become friends of sinners.  But we can love sinners without compromising our Christian convictions.  I’ve done a serious study of the “world,” a term used 17 times by the Lord Jesus in His high priestly prayer in John 17.  That word cosmos (in the Greek) can be translated the planet, the people of the planet, or the pagan system opposing God and the things of God.  Here’s my translation of John 17, attempting to insert the best translation of that word.

“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the planet began.” (v. 5). … I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the pagan system. (v. 6). … I pray for them, I am not praying for the people of the planet, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. (v. 9). … I will remain in the planet no longer, but they are still in the planet, and I am coming to you. (vv. 10-11). … I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the planet, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. (v. 13). … I have given them your word and the pagan system has hated them, for they are not of the pagan system any more than I am of the pagan system. (v. 14). … My prayer is not that you take them out of the planet but that you protect them from the evil one.” (v. 15). … They are not of the pagan system, even as I as not of it. (v. 16). … As you sent me into the people of the planet, I have sent them into the people of the planet. (v. 18). … My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the people of the planet may believe the you have sent me. (vv. 20-21). … I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the people of the planet will know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (v. 23). … Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the planet. (v. 24). … Righteous Father, though the people of the planet do not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.” (v. 25).

There are ten conclusions that we can draw from looking at John 17 in this way:

 1. The full deity of the Lord Jesus is foundational. He had the Father’s glory before creation (v. 5) and was loved by the Father before the creation came into existence (v. 24).

2. We all are in the pagan system opposing God until He saves us. No one is spiritually neutral. We are all enemies of God before conversion (v. 6).

3. Jesus personally prays for each of us (v. 9).

4. He is leaving the planet, but we are staying here (vv. 10-11).

5. He says these things while here on the planet so that we might have the full measure of His joy. Now. Here. (v. 13).

6. We should not be surprised that the pagan system hates us, for it hated Him! (v. 14).

7. Jesus prays for our protection not our escape from this planet (v. 15).

8. We have been sent/commissioned by the Lord Jesus to the people of this planet (v. 18).

9. The unity of Jesus-followers can lead the people of the planet to belief in Him (vv. 20-23).

10. The people of the planet do not know the Father, but Jesus does (v. 25).

Being a friend of sinners does not automatically mean being a friend of the worldly system!  And our mission is in this world!  Although we long for the Lord’s return for us, we are not to embrace a kind of evacuation theology that shirks our ministry here!  (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2018 in the world

 

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What Does It Really Mean to Be “Saved”? (A Study of Galatians 1:3-5) Part 3b

We’re asking the question, what does it mean to be saved?  And we are looking at the first few verses of Galatians 1 where Paul writes: “3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Five truths jump out at me which I think help explain salvation from this passage. The first truth is we are at peace with God! (v. 3). The second truth in this text about being saved is we have been paid for (v. 4)! Jesus “gave himself for our sins”! Our sins separated us from a holy God. Jesus paid that debt for us.  The third truth in this text about being saved is — we have been rescued! Jesus gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.  We want to focus a bit more this morning on that truth that Jesus “rescues us from the present evil age.”

We live in an evil age, right?  I get news updates on my phone about this broken world.   Here’s one i got the other day.

Great way to start your day, huh?

We would love to be rescued from this present evil age.  But how does the Lord do that?  He does that by saving us out of this lost and broken world.  As much as look forward to the Lord’s return, the Bible doesn’t encourage us to embrace a kind of evacuation theology.  In fact, our longing to leave this present evil age is, in some sense, in opposition to the plan He has for us while we are here on planet earth!

A homework assignment:  You’re aware that the word “cosmos” can be

Zachariah, 6 lbs, 13 oz, 18 inches, born 6/30 @ 2:17am to Amy & Thom.

translated planet, the people of the planet, or the pagan system opposing God and the things of God, right?  Read through John 17 (Jesus’ high priestly prayer for His followers), where the world “world” (cosmos) is used seventeen times and ask the following question of each occurrence of that world:  What meaning does “world” have here?  Is Jesus referring to the physical planet, the people of the planet (compare John 3:16 and I John 2:15!), or the pagan system opposing God?  It will be an eye-opening study, I promise you!

We’ve been rescued from this present evil age, not by evacuation but by redemption.  And we are to be here to join Jesus’ rescue team to find others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2018 in being saved

 

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What Did Jesus Pray About? (Part 21)

We have been studying Jesus’ use of the word WORLD in His high priestly prayer in John 17. He uses that word seventeen times, a word which can refer to the PLANET, to the PEOPLE of the planet, or to the PAGAN SYSTEM opposing God and the things of God.

So, decisions need to be made each time that word WORLD appears. Let me give my translation of the verses in which that word is used and then draw several applications from our study.

“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the planet began.” (v. 5). … I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the pagan system. (v. 6). … I pray for them, I am not praying for the people of the planet, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. (v. 9). … I will remain in the planet no longer, but they are still in the planet, and I am coming to you. (vv. 10-11). … I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the planet, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. (v. 13). … I have given them your word and the pagan system has hated them, for they are not of the pagan system any more than I am of the pagan system. (v. 14). … My prayer is not that you take them out of the planet but that you protect them from the evil one.” (v. 15). … They are not of the pagan system, even as I as not of it. (v. 16). … As you sent me into the people of the planet, I have sent them into the people of the planet. (v. 18). … My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the people of the planet may believe the you have sent me. (vv. 20-21). … I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the people of the planet will know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (v. 23). … Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the planet. (v. 24). … Righteous Father, though the people of the planet do not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.” (v. 25).

Ten Tentative Conclusions from Our Study:
1. The full deity of the Lord Jesus is foundational. He had the Father’s glory before creation (v. 5) and was loved by the Father before the creation came into existence (v. 24).
2. We all are in the pagan system opposing God until He saves us. No one is spiritually neutral. We are all enemies of God before conversion (v. 6).
3. Jesus personally prays for each of us (v. 9).
4. He is leaving the planet, but we are staying here (vv. 10-11).
5. He says these things while here on the planet so that we might have the full measure of His joy. Now. Here. (v. 13).
6. We should not be surprised that the pagan system hates us, for it hated Him! (v. 14).
7. Jesus prays for our protection not our escape from this planet (v. 15).
8. We have been sent/commissioned by the Lord Jesus to the people of this planet (v. 18).
9. The unity of Jesus-followers can lead the people of the planet to belief in Him (vv. 20-23).
10. The people of the planet do not know the Father, but Jesus does (v. 25).

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in the world

 

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What Did Jesus Pray About? (Part 20)

Seventeen times Jesus uses the word WORLD (cosmos) in His high priestly prayer here in John 17.  What is the Christian’s place in the WORLD?  What does that term mean?  We’ve seen that it can refer to the physical PLANET; it can refer to the PEOPLE of the planet.  Or it can refer to the PAGAN SYSTEM opposing God and the things of God.

This morning let’s look at the seventeenth use of that term by the Lord Jesus.  Tomorrow we will try to summarize our study of this important word in this very important prayer of the Lord Jesus.

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before 1the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of 2the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for 3the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in 4the world no longer, but they are still in 5the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in 6the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and 7the world has hated them, for they are not of 8the world any more than I am of 9the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of 10the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of 11the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into 12the world, I have sent them into 13the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that 14the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then 15the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of 16the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though 17the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

 

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2017 in the world

 

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What Did Jesus Pray About? (Part 19)

As we eavesdrop on this famous prayer from the Lord Jesus, we have to be impressed with how often He uses the word WORLD in His prayer.  We’ve looked at 15 of the 17 times He uses the term WORLD (cosmos), asking what He means by that term.  In some verses, He is referring to the PLANET, in some to the PEOPLE of the planet, and in a few to the PAGAN SYSTEM opposing God and the things of God.  Let’s look at His sixteenth use of the term WORLD found in verse 24.

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before 1the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of 2the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for 3the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in 4the world no longer, but they are still in 5the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in 6the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and 7the world has hated them, for they are not of 8the world any more than I am of 9the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of 10the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of 11the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into 12the world, I have sent them into 13the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that 14the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then 15the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of 16the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though 17the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

 

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in glory

 

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What Did Jesus Pray About? (Part 18)

Seventeen times Jesus uses the word “WORLD” in His high priestly prayer here in John 17.  Let’s notice what He means by His fifteenth use of that word (which can refer to the PEOPLE of the planet, the PLANET itself, or the PAGAN SYSTEM opposing God and the things of God).  But it won’t hurt us a bit to read through His prayer again!

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before 1the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of 2the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for 3the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in 4the world no longer, but they are still in 5the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in 6the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and 7the world has hated them, for they are not of 8the world any more than I am of 9the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of 10the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of 11the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into 12the world, I have sent them into 13the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that 14the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then 15the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of 16the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though 17the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

My article on preaching has just been posted on: http://biblicaleldership.com/2017/10/25/10-steps-better-preaching/

 

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in unity

 

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