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Should we trust 'Scientific' Prayer Studies?

In this past week's sermon, I mentioned a 2006 study published by the American Heart Journal on the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer. The study consisted of evaluatiing what effect, if any, intercessory prayer had on producing an uncomplicated recovery for cardiac bypass patients. The conclusion of the study was that there was no correlation at all between the nu...

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The Danger of Marketing the Gospel

Driving down a major highway in Phoenix, AZ, I passed a large billboard advertising for one of the mega-churches in the area. The sign was very simple. It only had the logo of the church with one sentence written on it. I cannot remember the precise wording, but it was something very similar to "Experience your best life." Upon seeing this, I had a mixed response. On the o...

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A Prayer for the Year's End

I came across the following prayer inThe Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan Prayers Devotions. What I find refreshing about it is its realness. We live in a world of superficial spirituality where we like to only talk about things that are "positive and encouraging." This prayer at year's end recognizes that "positive and encouraging" does not always describe our l...

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The Sin of King Jeroboam

King Jereboam was a wicked king. So wicked was he in God's eyes, in fact, that his sin is repeatedly referenced throughout the entire book of Kings, and he is viewed as setting the example for all of the sinful kings who followed him. When Baasha became king in Israel, for example, the narrator informs us that "He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in th...

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Defending God's Unconditional Election

I recently came across a blog written against the doctrine of God's unconditional election. The author, a Christian blogger and speaker, set forth what he believes are five logical implications of this doctrine which he finds repulsive and inconsistent with Scripture. Interestingly, he himself is responding to a post by John Piper which set forth five reasons to embrace un...

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The Parent as Youth Pastor

"Doing youth ministry without parents is like driving a car without the engine." - Mark Devries [1] It's no secret anymore, youth ministry is in a state of crisis. Polls of recent years report over and over the dire percentages of youth who leave the church after high school. Whatever the exact percentage actually is, what seems clear enough is that more young people are ...

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The Devil Made Me Do It?

James is emphatic that it is "our desires" that lead us into temptation, but what about spiritual warfare? Isn't Satan involved in our temptations to sin?...

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The Crook in the Lot

Thomas Boston's pastoral reflections on facing suffering offer a challenging word to American Christians: Submit. ...

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The Attraction and Danger of Parallel Institutionalism

While reading Stephen Nichols book Jesus Made in America,I came across the term "Parallel Institutionalism" for the first time. What this concept refers to is one that I am sure we are all familiar with - the creating of "christianized" alternatives/counterparts to "worldly" institutions. An obvious example of this would be in the world of sports and recreation. Most citi...

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The difference between "Religion" and Biblical Christianity

What's the difference between "Religion" and Biblical Christianity? Tim Keller, in his book Center Church, has a helpful comparison summarized below. Religion Biblical Christianity "I obey, therefore I'm accepted." "I'm accepted; therefore I obey." I obey God in order to get things from God. I obey God to get God - to delight and resemble him. When...

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