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December 26 2017 By dvirtue WHO ARE YOU? John 1: 19-34

Swiss theologian, Emil Brunner (1889-1966) wrote: "Man's view of himself determines his life along with his circumstances." In his magisterial work on the nature of humanity: Man in Revolt, published in the middle of World War II, he contrasts the various views of man current in Western culture:
Darwin's view that man is to be viewed as a biological animal.
Marx's view that man is merely an economic and political unit.

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December 20 2017 By dvirtue THE MIRACLE OF THE INCARNATION: John 1:14,18

This is the unique miracle of the Incarnation, i.e. the embodiment of God on earth. The Word is the creative command of God: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). The Word created the world -- "And God said" and it was so. The Word is the self-revelation of God, the reason of God, the knowledge of God, the meaning of life. Without the Word there would be no language to explain anything. The Word gives definition to thought.

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December 12 2017 By dvirtue LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: Matthew 4:12-17

The manner and place of his coming answers many of these questions. Jesus began his short ministry of three years in Galilee, the region around the lake which measured 14 miles long and 7 miles across. Galilee was a fertile area that supported a dense population in 204 villages. It was far from Jerusalem and the heart of Judaism and it was called Galilee of the Gentiles because of the mixture of ethnic groups and the influence of the Roman and Greek cultures.

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November 28 2017 By dvirtue HOW CAN WE RECOVER FROM SUFFERING? - Psalm 13

The Psalms are full of those questions and wrestle with the realities of suffering in life. In Psalm 13 David peppers God with the questions that trouble him.

First, the suffering caused by absence and silence of God.
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

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November 15 2017 By dvirtue WHAT IS THE CHURCH? 1 Peter 2: 4-12

You will note that this definition has nothing to say about organization, budgets, staff, programs, buildings, or any of the other activities that we associate with the church. It says nothing about our racial, ethnic, social and gender identity. It transcends all other identities, where we come from, who we are, what we have been. It defines the church as something that God does. He chooses a community of people.

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November 01 2017 By dvirtue THE GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES: Hebrews 12:1-13

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised in this life; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. They admitted they were aliens and stranger son the earth. They were longing for a better country -- a heavenly one. God has prepared a city for them. Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead. He believed in resurrection.

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October 24 2017 By dvirtue FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO: Rom 1: 1-17

This discovery by Luther and the rest of the Protestant Reformers touched the exposed nerve of both the hierarchy of the church and the everyday practice of Christianity. The Reformers held that the believer came into direct relation and union with Christ, as the one, and only and all-sufficient source of grace. His grace is available to the penitent believer by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the preaching of the Word of God.

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October 10 2017 By dvirtue BECOMING A NEW PERSON IN CHRIST: 2 Corinthians 5:17

The entire movement of Jesus is empowered by his presence. The wind of the Spirit is activated in our lives when we live as Jesus did every day of his life while on earth -- align his life to the Father's will and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish all things.

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October 03 2017 By dvirtue 12. TRANSFORMATION: What Does it Mean to be a mature Christian Disciple? -- 2 Peter 1:1-11

Who wouldn't want to be a person described in those terms: a person of faith, good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness and generous love? What would the world be like if we were all like that? What would the church be like if we were all like that? Peter is claiming that God has given Christians all that they need to become spiritually mature.

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September 27 2017 By dvirtue 11. PRAYER: What Does it Mean to be a Mature Christian Disciple? - Luke 11:1-13

Tim Keller in his book on prayer (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, Penguin, 2014) relates the story of Flannery O'Connor, the famous writer from Milledgeville, Georgia. When she was twenty-one years old and studying writing in Iowa, she sought to deepen her prayer life. She began keeping a handwritten prayer journal.

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