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The Prayers of the Passion - Part 1




The Epistle to the Galatians tells us that one clear sign that you have been born again (changed kingdoms from darkness to light) is the emergence of spiritual battle in your life. Spiritual war involves a new battle to say “No” to sin that you never faced before you became a Christian. It also involves the clear evidence of a new Enemy, a supernatural opponent (Satan) whom you perceive very quickly to be a new and challenging presence in your world. These realities are why God’s Word gives us so much instruction on “waging spiritual war”. And one of the great texts on this is what we studied last week: the prayer practices form Christ’s life that show how He battled against evil in His life and in the lives of others He cared about, solely through prayer. (John 12 and Luke 22) We learned much together. This weeks’ Walking Further reviews it all and gives you great primer questions for your further personal study or for your Home Group.  Soldier on!

Pastor Joe



Got Relationship? Part 3


Sometimes the kindest thing you can do for someone is tell them the hardest thing they will ever hear. This is certainly the case when we know someone who is deceived into a futile religion of works in place of a true relationship with God through grace. We simply must boldly tell them of the true nature of their deception and of Christ's liberating crosswork! This is true especially of those trapped in the cults. In this week’s Walking Further you will find the details from my message of 11.20.16, in which I illustrated the passage by talking, among other things, about the story of Jeffery Draga and how he was led out of Mormonism to freedom in Christ by the simple reading of the Bible, and the Bible alone. On his website linked below you will also find many comments from ex-Mormons and current Mormons challenging his conversion. Fascinating and confirming all at the same time. 


Free with you in His Grace,

Pastor Joe


Got Relationship? Part 2




I recently read that 85% of the people who choose to attend any church do so because of the preaching. That’s encouraging to a pastor like me, I guess. But here’s a reminder and a caution: there are two things that people may be attracted to about a speaker/preacher 1. What he says 2. How he says it. The first of these is far more important than the second when it comes to preaching, because preachers speak for God. It is interesting that in the New Testament, false teachers often seemed more gifted on the platform than true teachers of the Word of God. I guess back then, as now, people were easily enthralled with how a speaker made them feel rather than with what he revealed about divine truth. This week’s Walking Further deals with the false impact that false teachers had on the people in the time of Jesus. Their “cotton candy message” back then was to pump up people’s pride in their religious performance at the expense of pointing out their deeper problem with sin in their private lives. Jesus condemns that kind of empty preaching strongly. As you or your home group studies these notes, ask yourself why YOU have been following certain preachers and teachers. Do you need to step back, and maybe even make a change? I’ve had to lessen my devotion to certain favored teachers over my lifetime because they began to fail the integrity test I talk about here. it’s an important exercise for all of us, isn't it? 

Honoring Him with you all,

Pastor Joe 


Meditations on Missions for VFC Missions Conference 2016 


“You can do something other than working with God in His purpose, but it will always be something lesser, and you couldn’t come up with something better.”

-Steve Hawthorne