Preaching

Rick Warren: The Width of God’s Love

Rick-Warren-new“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Eph. 3:18-19, NLT).

The width of God’s love extends across the entire world and includes everyone he has created: “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made” (Ps. 145:17, NIV).

God never made a person that he didn’t love. He made you and he loves you—and God doesn’t make junk! He loves you unconditionally. He loves you very, very much.

Everybody matters to God; in fact, we see in the life of Jesus that he even loves the unlovely and those who may feel unlovable. Do you want to know the secret of self-esteem? Here it is: If you want confidence, then understand how much you matter to God. If God loves you, who cares what anybody else thinks?

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Franklin Graham: Only One Solution to End Violence

franklin-graham-white-shirt2In the aftermath of recent tragic killings, such as those that have taken place in New Mexico, Connecticut and Colorado, our nation has focused on ways to curb gun violence.

But gun control proposals now circulating in Washington and in many state capitals don’t address a more important issue—the constant stream of violence put forth by the entertainment industry. Every year brings a flood of movies, not to mention cable and television programs, that are filled with violence. Whole segments of America’s music industry make their profits from song lyrics that glorify gratuitous violence, and there is seemingly an endless number of video games that are nothing more than murder simulators.

The result of this constant inundation is that our culture has been effectively desensitized to murder and mayhem. Blood-lusty Romans gathered in the Coliseum 2,000 years ago to watch people slaughtered by lions for the purpose of entertainment, and our society is no different. We gather around computers, televisions, and movie screens to watch scene after scene of more graphic violence than anything the Romans could have imagined.

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Rick Warren: There Is No Fear in Love

Rick-Warren-Saddleback-Church-small“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)

The world defines freedom as a life without any restraint: “I can do anything I want to do and say anything I want to say without anybody telling me what to do.” Everybody else may get burned by you, but you get to do it your own way. The world says you can have your freedom but only by being totally selfish.

Yet, the Bible says the only way to true freedom is through Jesus: “If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free” (John 8:36, GNT).

Real freedom is freedom from fear, where you’re truly free from guilt, from worry, from bitterness and from death. You’re free to quit pretending because you’re free to be yourself.

How do you get rid of those kinds of fears? By letting God love you! The apostle John teaches that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...” (1 John 4:18, NIV).

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That Painful Thorn in Our Flesh Serves a Purpose

1f-trimm-prayforcefully istockphoto-juanmonino“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me...” (2 Cor. 12:7)

A thorn in the flesh is not the same for every person. But if you are a Christian worth your salt, you probably have a thorn in the flesh.

What may be yours may not be mine. What may be mine may not be yours. For some it is a handicap or disability. For some it could be unhappy employment—or even lack of employment.

It could be an enemy. It could be coping with unhappy living conditions. It could be a sexual misgiving. The list is endless.

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Find God's Gift for Dealing With Conflict

slw-fightingcouple012113Before Jesus died, He willed us His peace. But we forfeit His gift through strife.

The Bible tells us that everything the Father has is ours through Jesus (see John 16:15). What does the Father have? He certainly does not have strife. On the contrary, everything He has ministers life to us. His kingdom is one of righteousness, peace and joy. So supernatural peace and joy belong to the believer.

Before He died, Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you" (John 14:27, The Amplified Bible). In essence, He was saying, "I am willing you My peace."

God's desire for us is that we live in peace with Him, with ourselves and with our fellowman. He wants us to have peace in the midst of our current circumstances--peace in the morning, at night and all times in between. Peace is our inheritance! And it is a wonderful possession.

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3 Ways the Enemy Causes Christians to Fall

pastorOur discouragement can open the way for the adversary to kill, steal from and destroy us.

It is unusual for a thief to send a postcard to make an appointment with the owner of a house. Part of the evil genius of his craft is to come when he is least expected. As Christians we often live our lives unaware of the enemy and his efforts to destroy us.

In the New Testament, the thief is a figure of the unexpected. "If the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched" (Matt. 24:43, NKJV). We are living in a world in which evil takes no respite and where life demands vigilance that affords no vacation.

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