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Did He Really Say, "I Will Make You Fishers of Men?"

And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”  And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. —Luke 5

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An Atheist's View of the Bible

"[T]he Bible is a masterpiece. The Bible is one of the greatest works produced in the world. Those people who only have the Bible actually are set up for life. Not only do they have a spiritual vision given to them but artistic fulfillment. They don't even recognize just the pleasure of dealing with this epic poetry and drama. Everything is in the Bible."  — Atheist, Camille Paglia

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Should we Plant More Churches?

Tim Keller and Planting More Churches in the CRC -- Recently Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC spoke with a number of reporters at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Today’s blog post lifts out one part of his talk on the place of church planting. 

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The Power of Space

Kerry Patterson in the book Influencer lays out important ways that we can influence people to bring about change. The book is filled with interesting ideas and important ones for leaders. One of the places that Patterson focuses on is the area of physical space. The power of space to influence behavior, to change attitudes, and to lower conflict is often overlooked...

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What Would Elijah Do?

A while ago as I was reading in Luke I noticed something, namely, Elijah and Elisha get a lot of play in this gospel. I first noticed it when reading Luke 9 and 10. In Luke 9 there is the feeding of the crowd which echoes the feeding in 2 Kings 4.42ff, a miracle performed by Elisha.

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Seeking the Lost...Discipling the Found

There is an increasing emphasis on discipleship among evangelicals.  It seems that this is the present great movement that is consuming us. In the 1980s and 90s it was evangelism, the recognition that we had not done well generally, and in the case of the CRCNA specifically, at reaching those who were not connected to Christ and his church.

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One is the Loneliest Number

The latest Utne Reader has an article entitled, “Me, Myself, and I: Why is it so hard to admit when we are lonely?” The author, Olivia Laing, talks about the pain of loneliness in her own life as she lived in New York City, surrounded by people but still terribly alone. In the article she points out not only her own pain of loneliness but also the research on loneliness, 

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Bigger Barns

1 John 3.1 raises a bunch of interesting questions.  The words of the verse are  "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him."  One of the questions is, "When John tells us that God has "given" (or bestowed) the kind of love that makes it so we are called "his children", how do we understand "given" or "bestowed"?

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Three Marks of a Mature Church?

When we asked when they considered a church to have become “mature,” the measure was quite simple: The church after three years is 1) Self-sustaining 2) Self-governing and 3) Self-propagating. 

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Alpha and Omega

Stepping into worship in the face of tragedy is always a difficult thing. The attack in Boston this week is but one painful picture of what congregations around the world will be dealing with.

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Dealing with Realities

The New York Observer is a culture watch newspaper. The paper keeps an eye on the culture and movement in New York City. While some may say that reading a paper like this doesn't give a broad look at our culture, the truth is that all studies say NYC is the number one city of influence in the U.S. and the world.

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Kingdom Fail II

The promise of the kingdom in Luke 1-3 is a kingdom of great hope where the rich and powerful are brought down and the poor and struggling are lifted up. The promise builds and builds and then it comes crashing down: John the Baptist, the great announcer of this kingdom, the harbinger of the kingdom is put in prison by Herod. The powerful take...

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Why Translations Matter

I was reminded recently why getting a good Bible translation for study and getting the full sense of the text matters. I was reading the story of Samson. The ESV in talking about Samson's desire for the woman at Timnah says, "But Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me for she is right in my eyes.'" The NIV translates the same verse, "But Samson said to his father...

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Kingdom Fail

The opening of the book of Luke is filled with hope and lofty speeches and songs. Underlying it all is the promise of God's kingdom where the rich and powerful are put in their place, the poor and weak are lifted up and all is made right. It is pretty heady stuff.  As John the Baptist comes on the scene Luke uses words ...

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What Happened to Disney Rescues?

Disney movies. For the most part we feel comfortable taking our kids to them. The language is decent, the plots are kind with the good guys winning at the end, and there is a lack of ambiguity in them.  The right people do the right things--they may wander for a bit, but they get back to it in the end. Meanwhile, the bad folks get what is coming to them--gently...

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God Is Love

There is a continual theme that pulsates through our culture. The theme is "God is love." The thing that always intrigues me about this idea that God is love is that love gets defined in a way that reflects whatever a person wants. So if I want my god to be loving so that he would never demand anything of me, then that is love. If I want my god to be the kind of god...

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Telling the Story?

Yesterday I decided to start again on Luke's gospel taking time to read and study it closely. In the first few chapters there is the wonderful unfolding of the story--rich with hope and wonder. But I also noticed something else that I want to keep my eye on as I continue, namely, the story is never kept quiet, it is always shared with others.

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Candy or Bricks?

When I was growing up and doing Sunday school I remember going to other churches and seeing the cool prizes you could get for perfect attendance and for memorizing scripture. To be honest, I always felt a bit bummed that we didn’t get those things in my church. As I grew up however, I began to wonder about these ways of getting kids to places and getting ...

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What's Going on in I Corinthians 11

Every once in a while someone asks me about the passage in 1 Corinthians 11 that deals with the Lord's supper. What does one do with this verse and who can dares to take communion in the light of eating and drinking judgment on yourself, after all, even the most committed and faithful of us never gets the faith completely right...

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Momentum

Last week the Church Planting Teams of the CRC and RCA came together for two days of "meetings".  Some of you may be aware that the CRC and RCA are working together to catalyze mission in North America.  About two years ago the Church Multiplication Initiative was started. In the last 24 months there have been 10 regional areas...

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In These Bodies We Will Live

In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die, where you invest your love, you invest your life. For today, simply this, we need to decide where we will invest our lives and how we will pursue that investment. That's what we are going to explore from many different angles in this...

Church Planting

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