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Posts by David Morris

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It’s Saturday afternoon at a local football field. Excited parents are sitting under pop-ups, pulling water coolers, carrying stadium seats, sending younger kids to the snack bar for the endless supply of candy, Gatorade, gum, and hot dogs. Everyone is trying to ignore the blazing heat as they wait for the teams to take the field. The crowd cheers as the players run ...

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Ministry Highlight | Children's Ministry

Psalm 78Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders th...

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Bible Reading Plans for 2017

How do you hope to read God’s Word in 2017? A little more than last year? Read one book many times? Read it the whole way through? Plan to read it the whole way through and then get past Leviticus this year? Whether you plan to read from the entirety of God’s Word or focus on smaller sections, having a plan is a great idea. Bible reading plans can help you set ...

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How Does God Want Us to Think about Government?

Tuesday night brought a turbulent, disturbing, and ugly election season to an end. Besides the incredibly controversial presidential election, numerous local elections and state and federal propositions were also decided. Trump was a shocking winner, California legalized marijuana, Colorado legalized assisted suicide, and in it all God continues to rule supreme. As David P...

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Hold The Rope

In 1793, the father of modern missions arrived in India. While William Carey was revolutionizing the way the church thought about foreign missions, a much lesser known name also served Christ and missions by supporting Carey. For 21 years, Andrew Fuller led the Baptist Missionary Society, an organization that began in his own home in 1792. Fuller helped raise money, recrui...

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Summerfest Servants

“I love to tell the story of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true; It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do. I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love. ...

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Resurrection Life

From despair to hope, defeat to victory, death to life, Easter is celebration. The resurrection is so central to Christianity that without it there isn’t any Gospel to believe. With it, Christians are of all people most joyful and hopeful. But the resurrection isn’t just central to the Gospel, it’s also a key component of the glory of God. God, and God alone, gives l...

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Crazy Busy Book Review

True story. We scheduled this review of Kevin DeYoung’s book Crazy Busy: a (mercifully) short book about a (really) big problem several months ago. It’s just that some things came up, the schedule got rearranged, we had several other projects that were more important. Basically things just got a little crazy. And busy. In other words, I needed this book even more than ...

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Hume Lake 2015

Hume Lake 2015 by Pastor David Parents and campers, the time has come! If you’d like to attend Hume Camp this summer (June 7-13), now is the time to register. Camp can be a unique time of spiritual challenge and growth. It’s certainly a lot of fun and a great time and place for our kids to hang out together. More importantly, however, the concentrated amount of pre...

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Welcoming Pastor Blake Boys and Family

We are thrilled to welcome Blake Boys and his family to Grace Church of the Valley. Blake has just finished his first full week as a pastor here and we are excited to have him here and working. Blake will be giving the majority of his time overseeing our Sunday worship as he chooses songs, arranges the service order, shepherds the music and sound teams, leads rehearsals, d...

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On Building and Stewardship

On Building and Stewardship by Pastor David To conclude our previous week’s word on the building, we are convinced that God has uniquely blessed us. Not only has He blessed us with financial resources, but also with people. The Lord builds His church, not us, and our task is to steward well the number of people God has brought and we think will bring. We want to ef...

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Fundamentals

As Pastor Scott began the book of Jonah last week, one of the issues he covered was the debate about Jonah being a literal, historical book. That topic made me think of how essential our fundamental, basic convictions about the Bible are. One of God’s blessings through kids is the reminder of how much we assume. For instance, before our kids were born I was under th...

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On Building and Stewardship

We are on the brink of some really exciting developments when it comes to more permanent facilities for our church family. Depending on the finances the Lord provides by January, we have the potential of beginning some construction in April or so. As we’ve considered the importance of the next few months, we’ve also returned to why we think this facility is a...

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The Work of the Ministry

Seven years ago Grace Church officially began. For seven years, God has been graciously growing and shaping us. God uses means like His Word, prayer, and fellowship to grow us, and so while we ought to be grateful for the past we ought also to look to the future for faithful ministry and growth. Below is a list of ministries that you can grow in as we enter a new ministry ...

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9:00 Sunday Morning and You

September is just right around the corner! Because of our church’s anniversary, as well as summer vacations ending and school beginning, we often restart ministries in September that we took a brief break from. Our Adult Bible Fellowship and Sunday school hour is one of those ministries that we resume in earnest. I’d like to encourage you to make the 9:00 hou...

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This Week in Religious History

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3 ESV) ...

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A Season for Everything

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2) ...

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Free Indeed

This week, we who are Americans celebrate Independence Day. God has been kind to give us our religious freedom and our history in a democracy that prizes individual liberty. It’s a blessing to be in a nation where we enjoy such freedom as Christians. Historically speaking, it’s also quite rare....

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S'mores, kids, and the glory of God

What do you get when you match classic graham crackers, a perfectly toasted marshmallow, and a slightly melted Hershey’s bar? S’mores make any campfire worth having. You might as well have a car without an engine than camp without smores. This summer, camping and Kidsfest are coming together in a fun theme with a purpose. We’re going to encourage our k...

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Doulos

“Doulos” is the Greek word for slave. It’s also the name of our summer internship program. Far from being a dismissive term, “doulos” represents the heart of Christian leadership. Jesus’ disciples had the same worldly, upside-down perspective of leadership that we are prone to ourselves. They argued which of them would be the greatest,...

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This week in church history

For good or ill, the past has changed our present. Whether we know it or not, the past has brought us to where we are today. And through it all, God has been in Heaven, doing whatever He pleases. June 22 1559 In England, Queen Elizabeth's Prayer Book was issued. During her 45-year reign, Elizabeth I rejected the Catholic faith, adopting instead the Thirty-Nine Art...

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Kidsfest 2014

Believe it or not, summer is right around the corner! Our summers bring us delicious fruit, time off from school, plenty of swimming opportunities, and more. But a rapidly growing summer favorite is our Summerfest. Both within our church family and without, Summerfest provided us with great chances to fellowship, play together, and enjoy solid teaching. This summer we ar...

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This Week in Religious History

For good or ill, the past has changed our present. Whether we know it or not, the past has brought us to where we are today. And through it all, God has been in Heaven, doing whatever He pleases. May 5 1925 High school biology teacher John T. Scopes, 24, was arrested for teaching the theory of evolution in his Dayton, Tennessee classroom. ...

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Kidsfest

John 17:3. “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Knowing God, and Jesus Christ whom God sent, lies at the heart of our children’s greatest need. Knowing God truly is a matter of eternal life or death, and so we are excited to be moving towards Kidsfest 2014. The focus of our time will be th...

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Resurrection Reactions

Resurrection. It’s a startling word, a thrilling concept, and a spiritual keystone. It’s an essential for Christianity, a target for skeptics, and a theme for mythology and religions alike. This week gives us as a church another chance to focus uniquely on our central belief that Jesus rose from the dead. But within our church and without, reactions to this g...

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Adopting Joel

We call him baby Joel in our house. Baby Joel is the name for the boy we long to adopt. He may or may not even be born yet, but we’ve been praying and working to bring him home for a long time now. Cathy and I talked about adoption before we were even married, and adoption was one of the dreams we shared. At that point, it was little more than a mutual desire to ado...

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Bright Hope

“I hope it rains today.” “I hope I do well on this test.” “We’re hoping the results come back negative.” From the trivial to the most profound longings, hope colors every facet of all of our lives. Whether you think about it or not, hope is an attitude that anchors much of your life. When you lose hope you lose your grip on life. ...

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Bright Hope for Tomorrow, part 2

Do you get disappointed? A lot? Does it seem like no one, from your spouse to the electrician, can keep a promise to you? That no matter how much you lower your expectations, life can still do the limbo even lower? You’re in good company if your hopes are constantly being dashed. Along with the rest of humanity, you are experiencing the inevitable result of livi...

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Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead As we move into February, here are some reminders of ministry events for you to take part in, be blessed by, and be a blessing at. Sunday morning is not our only chance to learn together, encourage each other, and do the work of the ministry. Far from just making busy calendars busier, we pray these ministry opportunities help us pursue our goal of glorify...

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Book Review: Gospel-Centered Family

There is no shortage of books on parenting. Additionally, you can find “Gospel centered” anything on the Christian book market. Neither of those realities should keep you from reading Ed Moll and Tim Chester’s Gospel-Centered Family. I highly recommend this book because it is readable, practical, and most importantly driven by biblical principle....

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Give Thanks to the Lord

As another Thanksgiving season has come and gone, I’ve asked myself again about the state of my thankfulness. Thankfulness is not a calendared activity, but every Thanksgiving is a valid opportunity to reflect on the condition of my soul. A Gospel-saturated heart necessarily leads to a thankful heart. When the Word of God dwells in us richly, we inevitably give than...

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The Gospel and Church Growth

With all the strategies for church growth swirling around in our world, Charles Spurgeon helps us see clearly both what truth church growth is and how it happens. “Are you afraid that preaching the gospel will not win souls? Are you despondent as to success in God’s way? Is this why you pine for clever oratory? Is this why you must have music, and architect...

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How to pray for Kids

Prayer. It’s one of our ten ministry commitments. It’s the expression of our dependence on God, the privilege of our adoption as sons and daughters, the bold access we have to God’s throne, the power ordinary people have to move God’s mighty hand, the worry killer, and the unceasing activity of the obedient Christian. Yet for something so essent...

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E412 Equipping Meetings

Ephesians 4:11 and 12 tell us, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” In God’s wisdom, He planned for His leaders in the church to be equippers and for every saint to do the work of the ministry. Far from a recent development ...

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Gospel Relationships

Have you ever heard someone else (or yourself) saying something along these lines: “I just don’t click with that person. We don’t gel well. He just has a personality I don’t like. She’s sort of annoying. We’re so different. We just don’t have anything in common.” Reality is that we don’t get along easily with...

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Answering the Accuser

Of Satan’s many descriptions, one of the most personally chilling is “the accuser of our brothers.” Revelation 12:8 tells of a coming day that he will be thrown down from Heaven, forced to stop his day and night accusations. John clearly states that Satan does his accusing “before our God.” Because this day is still future, the biblical reali...

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On Christ: Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards has been described as one of the greatest minds in America ever, and certainly one of its greatest theologians. Edwards thought and taught deeply about Jesus Christ and experiencing the greatest delight in knowing Him. In the quote below, Edwards walks us through possible objections to trusting Christ and shows us how great Jesus is....

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Let Scripture Direct and Define Our Pleasures

Imagine going to a used car salesman looking for a car. His eyes light up and he takes you to a certain one. “This is it,” he proclaims. “This is the perfect car for you.” “Is it a good car,” you ask. He assures you it’s in great shape. Two weeks later you are stranded on the side of the highway. Your mechanic tells you the ...

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The Decisions of the Supreme Court

If you want to see what a judicial roller coaster looks like, all you’d have to do is look at the Supreme Court of the United States. Decisions have been made and then reversed, made with good outcomes for the defense of morality, and made with disastrous repercussions on biblical principles. This week marked another one of those twists and turns, but it’s im...

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Let me get that speck of pride for you...

“There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. The vice I am talking of is Pride. . . . ...

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Hearing James

The book of James is right around the corner for us as a church family. Full of almost proverbial wisdom, James hits us close to home on a variety of practical issues. Before we get to it, though, I thought it would be good to consider what James 1:19-25 should teach us about how we hear this next sermon series. We do a lot of listening. It’s an integral part of our...

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Hearing James, part 2

I hate being tricked. Telemarketers using the guise of “surveys” doubly annoy me, magic tricks make my brain hurt, and scam artists make my blood boil. Unfortunately, my heart is the best deceiver I know. When it comes to hearing, I’m concerned that I share a weakness to deception with all the rest of you. I can hear, and hear, and hear, and still not do...

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Hurley Visit

We are privileged to host Shannon and Danielle Hurley from May 21-26, and we are so excited for the mutual impact this week can have. We have three goals we hope will be accomplished during their stay: 1. Develop a deeper and stronger relationship with the Hurleys, 2. Encourage the Hurleys in the work of the ministry, and 3. Motivate our church to pray, give, and go for gl...

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May's Event Schedule at GCV

This Month at Grace 5: Spanish Sunday Service Begins Pray for the Spanish Ministry as Tom begins teaching through Colossians during the ABF hour. This is an important study of the Sufficiency of Christ. It will be completed in early September, just in time for the inaugural Spanish Service on September 15. ...

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The Bible, Boston, and Bombs

Some news is so shocking and grievous that it seems there isn’t anything to say. Yet lots has been said already about the bombings in Boston. Reporters, analysts, politicians, and more have weighed in, sometimes prematurely, sometimes unhelpfully, and sometimes usefully. But what can we say from the Bible? Colin Adams helps us with these seven truths....

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A Spike-torn Hand Twitched

The following quote is an excerpt from Russell Moore’s excellent book Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011). The ugliness of the crucifixion only magnifies the glory of the resurrection....

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On Popes and Protestants (Part 2)

Last week I wrote an overview of the importance of the recent election of Pope Francis and tried to explain the theological reasons behind the attention. I’d like to turn our attention to an evaluation of these recent events, all the while trying to remind us of both grace and truth....

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On Popes and Protestants (Part 1)

I’d like to share a pastoral word for us as a church family. Given the publicity and coverage even on the world news level, I think it’s important to ask ourselves how the Bible informs our look at the world. It certainly teaches us to be marked by grace and truth, being neither ungracious nor untruthful, a commitment I hope you’ll sense even as you re...

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Why God Doesn't Prioritize Our Comfort

Knowing God is in my top five favorite books outside of the Bible. J. I. Packer masterfully combines a deep knowledge of God with the inescapable practical applications that knowing God should lead to. He’s scholarly and clear, deep and devotional. Knowing God will give your brain a workout and your heart passion all at the same time. Consider this section from his ...

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Who Am I? (Part 2)

Last week we began considering who we are according to God. We are not our own, and we are alive even though we used to be dead. Here are a several more Gospel-informed realities that frame the core of our identity....

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Who Am I? (Part 1)

“Who am I?” From Bible characters like Moses to Greek philosophers to a slew of people in “mid-life crisis,” humans have asked this question in a variety of forms. Today from the earliest ages our children are told to be true to themselves, whatever that means and assuming they have that capacity. Countless numbers of labels vie to stamp themselves ...

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A Special Announcement

We are excited to announce that we have purchased property for the future home of our church buildings. The Lord has provided around 15 acres at 1101 Marion Street, Kingsburg, at what used to be the Del Monte Plant. It's amazing to see how closely this property fits what we were hoping for, from direct freeway access to a connection to town. From the location to the timing...

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Learning from 12 year old Jesus

Have you ever had one of those intense, possibly even heated doctrinal discussions that led to a massively strained relationship with a friend? Ever had a healthy discussion with a fellow-Christian where you peacefully but forcefully disagreed on your interpretation of a passage, and in the end neither of you changed your minds? Maybe seeing a doctrinal discussion dissolve...

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Praying with the Puritans

The Valley of Vision is a treasure of Puritan prayers. Reading it has helped instruct me on how to pray, reminded me that God’s Word should inform the words of my prayers, and reprimanded me for praying small and weightless prayers. I highly recommend getting the book and even using it during your regular devotional times, and I think your soul will benefit from rea...

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“A Corrosive Culture?”

I haven’t sat down to write the epitaph for my gravestone, but one word I would hope to be on it would be “churchman.” Few qualities resonate as deeply with me as those that would mark a man as belonging to the church, of loving her and growing in her and giving his life for her. So any time I read of others prizing the local church I’m immediatel...

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Another Step Closer

The following article comes from Jon Bloom of Desiring God (http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/when-the-perfect-comes) As I both look back into last year and forward into this one, I found these words encouraging and full of hope....

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The Gospel and Church Growth

Healthy churches are growing churches. The desire for a church to grow is a normal, noble intention. For instance, Jesus said He would build His church (Matt. 16:18), the apostles preached and prayed hard as the church began, and Paul instructed the Thessalonians to pray that the word of the Lord would spread rapidly (2 Thess. 3:1). Regrettably, we do not always define â...

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Seeing Grace in Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Of all our American national holidays, none has been as devalued in my Christian experience as tomorrow’s. ...

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Special Announcement: Worship Service Location Change

Because the heater in the Little Theater still is not repaired, we are moving our Sunday morning worship service to the Young Life building (1948 18th Avenue, Kingsburg, CA 93631). Parking at the entrance of the building is limited, so please reserve those places for our members who would be best served by a shorter walk. The nurseries and Seeds will stay in their normal r...

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The Gospel for Resentment, part 2

This is part 2 of last week’s pastoral word on resentment. Dane Ortland turns us from understanding how resentment works to how we defeat it. This same Gospel approach can be applied to all of our sinful temptations, so let’s revel and grow in our ability to live in the good of the Gospel. “How then do we conquer bitterness? By soaking in two realiti...

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The Good News for My Resentment

Dane Ortland is one of those men well-skilled at applying the Gospel to all of life, of doing what Mike Bullmore calls “living in the good of the Gospel.” Ortland’s writing consistently and effectively draws my heart to the Gospel for life, so I wanted to share some wise, Gospel words from him regarding resentment. You can check out his blog at http://do...

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When I'm Struggling to Pray

In light of a certain prominent celebration at the end of October, I thought it would be fitting to hear from the man often credited for beginning the Protestant Reformation. Oh, you thought I meant a different, more ghoulish celebration? October 31st marked the 495th anniversary of Martin Luther pounding his 95 Theses onto the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germ...

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Gospel Meditations for Voters

The good folks at Church Works Media have helped us yet again with another Gospel Mediation. This one is geared specifically for voters and this week. Election Day is upon us. I hope you will vote. (I already did, taking my wife on a coffee-and-ballots date last week.) It’s proper for Christian citizens to exercise the rights of citizenship (as Paul in did in Act...

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New City Catechism

What is our only hope in life and death? That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ. So opens the first question and answer of a new catechism developed in large part by Tim Keller. If you’re familiar with the Hiedelberg Catechism, this answer will sound familiar to you. In fact, this modern cat...

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New City Catechism

What is our only hope in life and death? That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ. So opens the first question and answer of a new catechism developed in large part by Tim Keller. If you’re familiar with the Hiedelberg Catechism, this answer will sound familiar to you. In fact, this modern cat...

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Idolizing Comfort

I like to be comfortable. Don’t you? From the coolness of our air conditioned houses to the pursuit of a trouble-free life, we like comfort. While we’re never told to make life as hard as it can be on ourselves, and while comfort can be a great grace from God, our love for comfort can easily turn idolatrous. A simple way to find out if we worship comfort is t...

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God's Grand Gospel Plans

Sometimes I think too small. Sometimes in the rightness of “stick-to-it-tiveness“, of “wherever you are, be all there,” of “keep your heart where your body is,” I can lose sight of the grandness of God’s Gospel plans. We need to pour our energies into the mission field right around us. But there’s a whole forest of Godâ€...

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On the Value of Identifying with the Lamb over an Elephant or Donkey

It’s here. It’s that time, every four years or so, when politics and parties and choice and a better country and red and blue are headlined on every newspaper, magazine, and TV set. And it’s times like these that I feel some of the greatest tension between being an American and being a Christian. I am grateful to be an American. I count it as the grace...

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On the Value of Identifying with the Lamb over an Elephant or Donkey

It’s here. It’s that time, every four years or so, when politics and parties and choice and a better country and red and blue are headlined on every newspaper, magazine, and TV set. And it’s times like these that I feel some of the greatest tension between being an American and being a Christian. I am grateful to be an American. I count it as the grace...

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Old Testament Narratives

I’m always on the lookout for good Old Testament resources. It seems that no matter how hard I work at it, the most challenging, perplexing, and disturbingly distant parts of the Bible are in the Old Testament. I know the whole, entire Bible is breathed out by God and profitable. (the New Testament says so). Getting to the profit, however, is frequently challenging....

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Summer BBQ and Baptism

I'm eagerly anticipating our annual BBQ and Baptism, which is just about a month away now. Each year, it's been such a delight to be together, eat some great food, and celebrate baptisms together. This is also a golden opportunity to serve our church family, and we certainly need your help! Below is a list of the service opportunities, so if you could look over the list an...

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Wise Counsel (Part 2)

Newton continued his encouragement to Ryland, pointing him to trust in God and not Ryland's emotions or perceptions of God's blessings. Ryland would swing from despair that he was failing spiritually to concern that he wasn't being tested enough. Newton deals with both these extremes....

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Wise Counsel (Part 1)

Although he's better known for writing Amazing Grace, John Newton was also a faithful pastor who excelled at another kind of writing. Newton wrote countless numbers of letters, some to members of his congregation, some to friends, some to the newspapers as editorials, and some to other pastors. Newton's letters to one pastor in particular, John Ryland Jr., have been gather...

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Service Opportunities

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." I Peter 4:10-11...

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Free to Love

Does grace lead to unrestrained sin? Does freedom from the Mosaic Law mean freedom from any kind of obedience? The apostle Paul faced these kinds of questions recurringly, and the consistency and clarity of his answers ought to make the answer plain to us. "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!" "What then? Are we to sin beca...

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Oh Freedom

"Oh freedom, oh freedom, oh freedom over me And before I'd be a slave I'll be buried in my grave And go home to my Lord and be free"...

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Great Commission Spotlight: Staniscis

Throughout the book of Philippians, Paul celebrates the unique Gospel partnership he shared with the Philippian church. Paul opens the books by explaining that even his prayers were marked with thankfulness and joy because of their partnership in the Gospel. And in the closing of his book, Paul again praises the Philippians for being the only church who partnered with him,...

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With Thanks

Last week brought an end to some of our children's ministries' busiest weeks of the year. Among Vacation Bible School, Camp 7 Oaks for 4th-6th graders, and then Camp 7 Oaks for Junior High, you as a church poured out an incalculable amount of time, energy, prayer, and effort. Thank you seems pretty inadequate considering how much effort these last weeks have taken, but tha...

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Time (no, not the magazine, the clock kind)

Time. It can crawl by and drag on, it can run and it can race. Time flies and we run out of it, but we all have the same amount to work with. Time can disappear like a lady in a magic act and be wasted like a gambler's dollar. We never get to relive the past and we never arrive at the future. So how should we think about the present? Especially as we race into our summer s...

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Ministry Focus: Upcoming Sundays

As a pastoral team, we're excited to have Jim Berg as a guest speaker next Sunday, June 3. Jim is a gifted speaker, writer, and counsellor. He also happens to be Angie McMorris's dad. He's written two excellent books on sanctification, Changed Into His Image and Created for His Glory. I've personally been blessed by Changed into His Image, having read it multiple times, an...

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Back to Judges 19-21

Here's one final suggestion for understanding the purpose of Judges 19-21: ask the Holy Spirit what we're supposed to apply from this story. In the two previous pastoral words on this passage, I suggested that we first look for clues in the text and context, then ask "how does this fit into the story of redemption"? A final clue to any passages' purpose, however, is to ask...

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Ministering on Mother's Day

"Peanut butter." What comes into your mind when you hear those two words, "peanut butter"? Me, I think of how I like to eat Reese's two at a time. Or maybe one of my favorite ice creams ever, Moose Tracks. Say those two words to Silas, however, and he'll react much differently. He'll say "yuck," or make a spitting noise or, on a polite day, simply inform you that he's alle...

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Judges 19-21, part 2

Last week, we began to answer the question "What is Judges 19-21 in the Bible for?" My first suggestion was to look for clues in the context and text. Repeated phrases, recurring themes, and obvious similarities in the stories have already pointed us to the absence of a king and the utter spiritual bankruptcy of the nation of Israel....

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My kids are here, but are they hearing?

Regardless of what age you choose to have your kids hear adult preaching, I'm sure every faithful parent wants their kids to get the most out of preaching. Joe Holland, pastor and church planter, gives 8 tips for talking to your kids about the sermon afterwards. Here are the first three: ...

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They're here, but are they hearing, part 2

In part 2 of last week's word, Joe Holland moves on to both practical and Gospel-centered advice. "Engage your kids with open ended questions. You know the outline and you can keep to the main point. You know youʼre going to talk a ton about Jesus. Now engage your kids with any kind of question you can think of... except ones that can be answered, "yes" or "no". ...

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God's Glory in Life

From despair to hope, defeat to victory, death to life, Easter is celebration. The resurrection is so central to Christianity that without it there isn't any Gospel to believe. With it, Christians are of all people most joyful and hopeful. But the resurrection isn't just central to the Gospel, it's also a key component of the glory of God. God, and God alone, gives life. H...

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VBS & Camp 7 Oaks 2012

They are coming! In just two and a half short months, VBS and Camp 7 Oaks will be back in full swing. VBS and Camp give us unique and dynamic opportunities to make young disciples. From presenting the Gospel to teaching Christlikeness, these two special summer opportunities seize our summertime flexibility to fulfill the Great Commission. Our VBS and Camp 7 Oaks are ...

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On Legalism, Part 2

Legalism--there's at least a little bit in all of us, and it's bad for us. For a previous pastoral word we looked at Erik Raymond's article on legalism that pointed out that legalism promotes unbiblical standards (self-authority) and performance (self-righteousness.) In the second part, Erik focuses on the divisive nature of legalism. ...

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Legalism

"What is Legalism? In its most basic sense legalism believes that we can earn or keep God's favor by what we do. 1. Legalism Promotes unbiblical standards (self-authority) Legalism may take things that have been biblically true but not biblically applicable and attempt to make them binding. ...

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Closely Clinging Sin: Complaining

Sin clings to us. And worse than that, it clings closely, even to believers. Shannon served us well last week by provoking us to run, and I'd like to consider just one of those sins we must lay aside. Complaining clings closely to us, and I wonder if one of the reasons is that we don't recognize and treat it as the woeful sin it is. It is all too easy to utter a critical...

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God Is Powerful (Part 2)

God's "weakness" is greater than all the power humans can muster. And God's power is available to us. We can stand against Satan, and sin, and temptation with God's power. We can endure persecution and loss in God's power. We can and will overcome sin fully through God's power. Several pastoral words ago we considered that God is powerful in creation and in the exodus. Let...

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Praying in our Transition

Desperate Christian people pray. In light of our pursuit of another pastor for preaching, I thought I’d share some very practical prayer suggestions from a book that I’ve been reading lately called When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search: ...

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Christ Crucified

Is it possible to be too Gospel-centered? To make too much of Christ crucified? Paul’s concern for the Corinthians certainly seems to say you can’t. His desire was to know nothing else among them, and for them to fixate on Christ crucified....

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Special Member Word from the Bartels

Dick and Irene have graciously agreed to share this with our entire church family, so I pray you are encouraged again through them and able to serve them better. David...

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Raising Idolaters: Run to the Gospel

If it weren’t for the Gospel, raising idolaters would be inevitable. Christian parents would be mired in despair, unable to shake the burden of watching their precious children race toward false worship. Knowing that we are born running away from worshipping the one true God, knowing that only a heart change can rescue our children, knowing that in our weakness we o...

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Raising Idolaters: Pay Close Attention to Yourself

God despises worship given to anyone except Himself. He cannot stand it. Yet our children, like us, default to false worship. In an effort to promote true worship, let’s consider the flip-side. What does it take to raise idolaters?...

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Answering the Accuser

Of Satan’s many descriptions, one of the most chilling is “the accuser of our brothers.” Revelation 12:8 tells of a coming day that he will be thrown down from heaven, forced to stop his day-and-night accusations. John clearly states that Satan does his accusing “before our God.” Assuming this day is still future, the biblical reality seems t...

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Raising Idolaters: Know The Danger

It takes no effort as a parent to teach children to worship. Children are born worshippers. It takes a great deal of grace effort, however, to raise children to be worshippers of the one true God. John Calvin is credited with saying, “The human heart is a factory of idols…Everyone of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” Godâ...

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Raising Pharisees: Ideas for Fighting Against It (Part 2)

In my last Pastoral Word, I brought up the subject of raising Pharisees and what that can look like. In this follow-up article, I’d like to include an extended quote from Kurt Gebhards that considers how to fight the dangers of hypocrisy: One of the dangers is that these outwardly compliant children receive much approval from parents and teachers. So they are ...

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Raising Pharisees: What It Can Look Like (Part 1)

Ever heard of the law of unintended consequences? The idea is that when we humans confidently set out to do something good we often get consequences we never wanted. For instance, in South Carolina where I used to live, kudzu has taken root everywhere. Kudzu is a nasty climbing vine, introduced from its native Japan to deal with soil erosion. It spreads so quickly and...

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Dependent Prayer: For Kids

Prayer. It’s one of our ten ministry commitments. It’s the expression of our dependence on God, the privilege of our adoption as sons and daughters, the bold access we have to God’s throne, the power ordinary people have to move God’s mighty hand, the worry killer, and the unceasing activity of the obedient Christian. Yet for something so essent...

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Preached Scripture (Part 2)

How we look at the Word determines how we look at preaching. Christ designed a way for His inspired, authoritative, sufficient Word to be presented. Verbal, declarative, instruc- tional, applicable, demanding, clear preaching is that way. This passage is not just the property of pastors, however, with application only for how they communicate. These words ground our corpor...

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Preached Scripture (Part 1)

In our little series on 2 Timothy 3:10-17, we’ve seen Scripture’s saving power, its final authority, and its complete sufficiency. Second Timothy 4:1 does not change Paul’s focus on the Word. Instead, he builds on everything he’s already said to demand a very practical application from Timothy. His pointed charge still has deep ramifications for...

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Sufficient Scripture

I have a love/hate relationship with instruction manuals. On the love side, I am a compulsive reader of instructions. Before I turn on any new phone, assemble any toddler toy or dive into the new furniture, I first sit down and read the instructions from cover to cover. Well, actually, I usually skip the Spanish, German, French, Danish and Chinese portions of the manual. O...

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Authoritative Scripture

“All Scripture is breathed out by God.” With this one simple phrase, Paul anchors his previous words about saving Scripture (2 Timothy 3:10-15 ) with the wealth of instruction still to come. And with that one phrase, massive dividing lines are drawn in Christian faith and practice. So very much hangs on our active belief of these few words. Scripture is not onl...

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Saving Scripture

One of God’s blessings through kids is the reminder of how much we assume. For instance, I was under the mistaken impression that babies are born with some basic understandings. Turns out that not only are children born without basic communication abilities, hand-eye coordination, or motor skills, there’s even a learning curve on how to eat. To eat! Pretty ha...

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How to Hear (Part 2)

I hate being tricked. Telemarketers using the guise of “surveys” doubly annoy me, magic tricks make my brain hurt, and scam artists make my blood boil. Unfortunately, my heart is the best deceiver I know. When it comes to hearing, I’m concerned that I share a weakness to deception with all the rest of you. I can hear, and hear, and hear, and still not do...

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How to Hear (Part 1)

We do a lot of listening. It’s an integral part of our Christian lives to listen to sermons, as well as to other Christians speaking into our lives personally. So it’s also a constant challenge to actually hear the way God intends us to. In this crucial discipline of hearing, God has not left us without instruction. James 1:19-25 continues to shape my thinkin...

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Politics, the Church and the Individual Christian

Democrat. Republican. Obama. Health care. Supreme Court. Senate. This week, another election season has come and gone. As always, politics and the government have dominated news reports, talk shows and across-the-fence discussions. And yet again, I wonder if we are thinking as Christians in America. Let’s consider just a few principles from God’s Word regardi...

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A Christian Mother's Day

Mother’s Day celebrations aren’t unique to Christians. All across our country, moms will be given cards, treated to meals, praised, thanked, hugged and loved. So what will make Mother’s Day different for us? Only a Christian Mother’s Day will properly honor both moms and God. First, a Christian Mother’s Day is uniquely focused on humil...

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Resurrection Reactions

Resurrection. It’s a startling word, a thrilling concept, and a spiritual keystone. It’s an essential for Christianity, a target for skeptics, and a theme for mythology and religions alike. This week gives us as a church another chance to focus uniquely on our central belief that Jesus rose from the dead. But within our church and without, reactions to this g...

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Losing God in the Shack

Some things never go away, even though you expect them to. And even if they should fade away, sometimes they hang on relentlessly, defying all odds and reasonable expectations. Such is the case with The Shack....

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Grace Up

Our greatest resource to overcome this week’s difficulties does not lie within....

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A Personal Pastoral Word

Hard as it is for me to believe, two years ago this month I stepped from a Penske truck into the blazing inferno that was the Central Valley. It’s hard to believe because so much has changed for us personally....

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Faith & Practice

Because of our constant need for relationship and equipping, we’re pleased to launch another resource for our church....

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Summer Sailin'

Pastor David gives reasons why VBS is an integral part of ministry at Grace Church....

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Repent the Right Way

Repentance is based on a change of mind leading to a change of action. True repentance involves turning from our sin to God. In reverse repentance, people turn from God to sin....

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Cross-Caused Emotions

All the Evangelists agree: Jesus Christ was crucified. They state the reality without further commentary; however, their simple historical statement touches a myriad of emotions....

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Depravity in the Gospel

The Gospel is amazingly good news for amazingly wretched people. The blindness of the human heart is pitiful; the grace of our patient, gentle, and loving Savior is magnificent....

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Submit to One Another

Submission ought not be an awful or even distasteful word. It is part of God's plan for the way all of us relate to one another....

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Forgive One Another

Forgiveness is a necessary part of our church life because of one unavoidable but ugly reality-the principle of sin remains in our bodies, regardless of our new natures. ...

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Be Kind to One Another

Ephesians 4:29-31 describes all sorts of cutting, vicious language that should never be part of the believer's speech. Instead, our God commands us to be kind to one another....

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Teach and Counsel One Another

One sure indication that Christ's words are having their gracious and glorious way among us is that we will teach and counsel one another wisely....

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Endure One Another

Will you tire of bearing with the faults and foibles of your brothers and sisters quickly, or will you bear with one another with marathon endurance?...

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Don't Lie to One Another

Deception, partial truth, exaggeration, and dishonesty should never describe our communication with each other....

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Love One Anorther (part 2)

"Love one another" deserves our extended attention because it is the most repeated "one another" of the New Testament....

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Love One Anorther (part 1)

While the Lone Ranger may be a fun Western character, his attitude doesn't fit in the Church....

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What is a healthy church member?

On the heels of our recent sermon series, this month's featured book provides a great resource for further reading. "What is a healthy church member?" by Thabiti Anyabwile ...

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Book of the Month: The Treasure Principle

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn is our book of the month. This insightful little book helpfully supplements our recent studies through the Sermon on the Mount....

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Man's Favorite Idol: Man

A finely honed humanism is the prevailing theology of our day. Paul, on the other hand, lived in insistent antagonism towards the temple of man....

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Stealing from God

Did you ever consider that you might be embezzling from God? If you are taking His gifts and twisting them for your own selfish ends, you are....

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There They Crucified Him

Considering the Cross thoughtfully evokes emotions of deepest sadness and of greatest joy....

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Depravity in the Gospels

While the Gospels focus on Christ as the perfect Messiah, by contrast they also reveal the ugly sin that marks all humanity....

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Kingsburg Recorder Article

On Wednesday, August 15th, the Kingsburg Recorder presented a front page article on the beginning of our church. It focused most extensively on our unique trait of expository preaching....

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Glorious Gospel with Blessed Results

Galatians presents a magnificent view of the magnificent Gospel. The Gospel brings countless blessings to the believer. Here are just a few....

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