Words of Grace

Holy Week Day 5 – Wednesday

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Day By Day - The Last Week of Jesus' Earthly Life   Jesus' "Hump Day" in the last week of His life was a somewhat ‘quiet day’, since He only had a couple of events that were recorded - but they were significant events nonetheless.  Of course, traditionally Wednesday of Holy Week is not called "Hump Day", it's actually called "Spy Day"!  And you'll understand why in a minute. Always keep in mind what I shared in my previous 'Words' from this week: There is some debate as to the exact time of the week that certain events occurred, but most scholars and historians...

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Holy Week Day 4 – Tuesday

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Day By Day - The Last Week of Jesus' Earthly Life   This was a very, very busy day for the Lord, especially in the teaching department.   We are so used to reading the Scriptures - especially the narratives (where an ongoing story is told) out of context, that we don't realize the time frame of when particular miracles occurred, or as in this case, when Jesus told particular parables.  We usually say, "Yes, Jesus told us the Parable of the Wedding Feast", but do we know when Jesus told that parable.  The timing may be quite significant. So, this made me think: Here's Jesus -...

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Holy Week Day 3 – Monday

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Day By Day - The Last Week of Jesus' Earthly Life 1. Having spent the night in Bethany (after His grand entrance on Palm Sunday), Jesus returns to Jerusalem. 2. Jesus curses a fig tree (Matthew 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14) - some will say that Jesus cursed a fig tree on Sunday because it bore no fruit for He and His disciples to eat, and that on Monday the disciples discovered that the tree had withered, others believe it happened all at the same time. It doesn't matter. The point was that Jesus' cursing of the tree symbolizes the judgment of God upon...

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Holy Week Day 2 – Palm Sunday

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Day By Day - The Last Week of Jesus' Earthly Life 1. Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9) and the people honor Him with their cloaks on the ground and waving palm branches as a sign of celebration of the coming of the King. (John 12:12-18; Matthew 21:8-11; Mark 11:7-10; Luke 19:35-38)2. Pharisees react harshly to this display of praise (Luke 19:39-40; John 12:19)3. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because of their lack of faith (Luke 19:41-44)4.  Jesus cleans out the temple of the moneychangers for the second time.  Matthew, Mark and Luke mention only one time - this second...

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2,354 Leaves Forward, 1,975 Back

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I love teaching and preaching. I figure that in twenty-one years as a senior pastor preaching on Sunday morning; seven years as a youth pastor teaching on Wednesday nights; two different Bible studies every week for years; six years of teaching twelve different subjects in CCC’s Training Center; and the additional Sunday School lessons, and numerous other speaking/preaching opportunities, I have probably prepared 1750 different Bible-based messages of one kind or another. As much as I love teaching, it’s sometimes nice to take a few days off and let someone else share on a Sunday….and it gives me the opportunity...

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Sensing The Lord In Unsuspected Places

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When and where do you most often ‘feel’ or ‘sense’ or are ‘made aware’ of the Lord God’s presence? Is it when you are standing on the peak of one of the majestic mountains in the Smokies? image credit: flickr How about while standing in the trickling water of Virgin River looking straight up at the massive walls surrounding you at Zion National Park? Or did you sense the Lord when you sat alone on the warm sand of Cocoa Beach as the waves crashed in front of you? Or maybe while you are singing a heartfelt hymn during a worship service?...

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Survey Says…

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It’s been a while….a long while….too long….since I wrote a ‘Words of Grace’.  To be honest, I just haven’t been inspired.  The last thing I want to do is write something weekly just for the sake of writing something, because it’ll probably end up being some sappy drivel that doesn’t encourage anybody, and it’ll end up me just wasting our time and using up electrons with every cyberspace keystroke.   Now, of course, since I wasn’t inspired before, but NOW I’m feeling ‘inspired’ to write something, this means I’m setting myself up for possible defeat by somehow implying that THIS Words of...

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The Painful But Productive Practice Of Pruning

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In my last Words of Grace (Be Like a Tree and Let the Dead Leaves Drop) I wrote about my giant sycamore tree – the thorn in the side of my neighbors. My stately tree is viewed (I believe half-heartedly) as a nuisance to some because when the cooler and darker days of autumn arrive, the massive leaves of this tree flutter downwards, and more often than not, allow any gentle breeze to carry them into my neighbors’ yards. Actually, I don’t think it really bothers them – it just gives us something to talk and laugh about. Along with...

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Be Like A Tree And Let The Dead Leaves Drop

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So, as most of my church knows – as well as my neighbors – I have a giant sycamore tree in my front yard that I planted about twenty-four years ago. When I planted the tree it was about five feet tall; now it stretches a good sixty-plus feet into the air. The reason this tree would be known to both the church and my neighbors is because over the years this beautiful shade-producing tree has become a much talked about albatross around my neck.   Why? Because the sycamore sprouts giant leaves – millions of them – and they all fall...

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The Puritans, Dorothy Gale, & Looking Forward To Going Home

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A couple of weeks ago I shared a non-expository (although I used tons of Scripture!) sermon about Heaven in which I used the classic 1939 movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as a springboard.  The basic premise was that each character in the movie was trying to find their meaning, significance, purpose, and primarily peace in particular attributes, abilities, or personality traits that they felt were lacking in their life. The Scarecrow was under the false impression that education or intelligence would make him significant and give his life meaning. The Tin Man believed that if he had a heart, then he would...

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