Posts by Ricky Jones

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Awakenings, Revivals, and RiverOaks

Awakenings occur within the church. People who have continued to come to church for years realize that they have never known Jesus, never felt his love, never hated their sin, never really believed. ...

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Christmas letter

Why does giving make us feel good? Because our heavenly father is a giver, and when we give we imitate him. ...

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Don't Be Afraid of Halloween

The Holy Spirit infuses the Christian's life with joy and hope. Therefore, our parties can be true celebrations. The world's parties have a desperation to them, a lingering feeling of trying to forget sadness and anesthetize emptiness. Christians should show the world how to celebrate. ...

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What are Elders and Deacons?

A presbyterian church is led by her elders and deacons. ...

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Elevator Speeches

Could you give someone a 30 second summary of the gospel that would at least make them want to know more?...

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Divided We Fall

So how are we going to live in this divided country of ours? The easy option is to isolate ourselves away from all those who disagree with us. We can make ourselves feel good by agreeing with each other about how right we are and how dumb “they” are. We all agree, feel good, and get along ...

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Three Days Later

We ask God why he did not help. The worst answer of them all is, "I could have helped but chose not too." In John 11, Jesus faces the pain of that answer for the first time. What can we learn from his tears? This blog post was inspired by reading Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale Oct 26, 1977 by Frederick Buechner...

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Ladies Helping Distribute Communion

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed some changes during communion. We have started inviting women, typically but not exclusively, the wives of elders, to distribute the elements with the elders. I would like to briefly explain why we have made this change. ...

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The Cross of Christ and Suffering

An illustration of Christ identifying with our suffering from "The Cross of Christ" by John Stott. ...

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Can you handle the truth?

To understand grace, we must understand how broken the world is. To give grace, we must understand how much it cost God to love us. ...

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Why I Preach about Sex

In today’s climate, you cannot escape sex. It’s on billboards, in movies, on TV, on the news, and on both levels of the shopping Mall. The only place you can go to consistently escape sex is Church. Everyone else talks about sex incessantly, but churches still seem afraid to bring it up. ...

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He Still Needs a Daddy

Teenagers believe they are adults and want their parents to believe that too. Wise parents see through the bluff and realize their children still need protection, guidance, and approval. ...

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Sexual Temptation and Your Imagination

Some men complain that they can't stop imagining sexual fantasies. Maybe the problem is they try to stop too soon. I suggest you go ahead and continue imagining. Imagine all those consequences that will come when you start indulging that one brief fantasy. ...

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Our Partners in Ukraine Share about Their Ministry

Doug Shepherd explains the ministries of his church in Lviv Ukraine. ...

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David's Story

David Hall, the co-chair for our Foundations for the Future initiative, shares his testimony....

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Meet Raul Bermudez

Raul is joining our church staff as our Church Planting apprentice. He plans to plant a church in East Tulsa near 31st and Garnett. ...

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Susan's Story

Susan Crenshaw is co-chair of the Foundations for the Future initiative. She tells her story of faith, and why she is excited about this initiative. ...

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Don't Miss Out on Easter!

Many of us miss Easter. It lies tucked into the busyness of Spring. Missing it could be the worst mistake you ever make. ...

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A Glimmer of Light

As we approach Good Friday and Easter, I want to remind you that God specializes in bringing light out of darkness. As a matter of fact, “Let there be light” are his first recorded words (Genesis 1:3). If you are in despair, do not be afraid to ask him for that ray of light. We will watch for that light together. ...

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Mourning with Hope

The bible teaches us to mourn with those who mourn. The Psalms teach us how to do that. We sow our tears that one day we might reap a harvest of joy. ...

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Foundations for the Future

This Spring, we launch our Foundations of the Future initiative. God has blessed us beyond anything we would have hoped for over the past 9 years. Now, we need to finish laying a solid foundation so that we can continue blessing Tulsa and the world for years to come. ...

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Everyone Needs a Pastor

If you do not have a pastor, then you have no one to guide you through the difficult decisions of life. You can only take abstract comments made by pastors who don't know you and do your best to apply them to your situaty...

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Why Do We Have Denominations?

Let's assume that God is good and still directing what happens to His church. Why then would he allow denominations? Because denominations provide the best way for the church to reach the world. ...

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2014: A Year in Review

2014 was a year of growth, goodbyes, new ministries, and consistency. God has given us every reason to look forward to next year. ...

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Failure is Always an Option

When you set out to correct a besetting sin you will fail, often. The key is to keep getting up, keep asking for Jesus forgiveness, and keep trying. Some people feel so much guilt with each failure, they are tempted to give up completely. The only way to fail is to quit trying. ...

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For a Tradition I Recommend Santa Claus

Many people want to celebrate a family tradition around Christmas. I recommend Santa Claus; he gives presents and makes everyone happy. Whatever you do, please do not mistake the incarnation of the Son of God as a mere tradition. If the incarnation is true, then it challenges and changes your entire life. I encourage you to examine the incarnation and either reject it or b...

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A Prayer for Christian Parents

A prayer for the christian parents of a newborn child. ...

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Misinformation

We fly to misinformation like moths to a flame. If a new idea or product appears to make the world simpler, we want it. Finding out the truth is too hard and too scary. ...

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My No Good, Rotten, Awful, Week

The truths of the gospel do not shield us from the harsh truths of the broken world we live in. However, they do give us a framework for accepting them and grieving them while maintaining our hope. ...

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The Power of Love to Change You

Do you know what it feels like to be loved? Do you really trust yourself to someone that you know loves you? If you do, then you know love has power. It has the power to change you. You may not understand it, but you know it is there. That is the power that allows the Christian to live in freedom without fear and without pursuing sin. ...

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5 Things a Depressed Person Wants You to Know

A friend helped me put this list together. A non-depressed person does not understand what depression feels like, so it can be very hard to help. Sometimes when we try to help we only make matters worse. Here are a few tips to help you love someone struggling with depression or anxiety. ...

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We Do Not Trust God's Love

We will never have peace until we trust God's motives toward us. God's hatred of the sin is not hatred of the sinner. Nay, the greatness of his sin seems rather to deepen than to lessen the divine compassion. At least we may say that the increasing misery which increasing sin entails calls into new intensity the paternal pity of the God of the spirits of all flesh. "It gr...

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Don't Confuse the Order and Priority of the Truth

When we confuse the order and priority of biblical truths, we often lose the good news. ...

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Confusing the Spirit in You with Christ For You

When we look at the slow process of growing in holiness, sometimes we get discouraged or even doubt our salvation. Remember the work of the Spirit in you does not alter or take anything away from the finished work of Christ for you. Christ's work for you is the ground of your peace. ...

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Is the gospel a new law?

We easily get led astray into thinking of the gospel as a new law. Now all we have to do is believe and be saved. Not only is this completely untrue, but it is unhelpful. This idea just throws us into the never ending loop of wondering whether or not we have believed sincerely enough. Jesus did not come to make it easier for us to save ourselves. He came to save us. ...

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My Repentance is not Complete Enough

Some may protest: I do not deserve peace. I am a sinner and I have not repented fully enough yet. If you did repent fully enough wouldn't you be a proud piece of work. Then you would have to repent of all that pride. Stop trying to please yourself with your repentance and be pleased with Christ. ...

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My Love is Not Pure Enough

Do I love Christ purely enough to be saved. Of course not. But his love for you is more than enough. ...

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My Faith is Not Strong Enough

Maybe you have no peace because your faith is not strong enough. Much more likely, you have no peace because you are looking to your faith to give you peace instead of looking to Christ alone. ...

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Jesus Only part 1 From God’s Way of Peace by Horatius Bonar Updated to modern usage by Ricky Jones

What keeps Christians from enjoying the peace God wants them to enjoy? If you understand the gospel, but still do not have peace, I would invite you to go back and examine the gospel again. You are probably resting peace on yourself and not on Christ. In this Chapter, Bonar looks at every reason you might think God rejects you and corrects your understanding of the Gos...

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Thank God for Arguments

Many couples assume conflict means they have marital problems. It is truer to say conflict means a marriage exists. By pressing into conflict we learn how to love each other better and move toward the goal of marriage: oneness. ...

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Leftover Questions

The resurrection is proof of God's radical commitment to his creation. He loves all of it, and is committed to redeeming it completely. ...

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The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce

My review of Judith Wallerstein's important book: "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce." On my 45th birthday I have much to be thankful for: family, friends, work. My entire life has been one example after another of falling backwards into grace. Yet with all those blessings, I am still haunted by my parents' divorce. Having deep instability at that point in your life sha...

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Law -- Words You Thought You Knew

The law goes far beyond our outward, bodily actions. We must keep the law from our hearts or we do not keep it at all. ...

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Putting Testosterone to Work

Why did God give men all this testosterone if He didn't want us to use it? We still have enemies we need to fight. Identify them, and fight to win....

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Never By Yourself

Week in and week out, we make promises to ourselves. We will never commit this sin again. We will throw away the phone number, the liquor bottle, or block the website. We make deals with ourselves, "I will let it slide this time, but if I commit that sin again, I'm going to confess. In truth, with the Holy Spirit you can put any sin to death but you will never do it b...

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Like a Man: Why Even Try?

God has saved us from sin and all its effects. As we strive toward holiness, he works in us making us desire what is good and empowering us to do what is good. ...

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Like a Man

Clearly we have a sense that being a man means something. Even that a man is a noble thing to become. The bible shares that sentiment by the way (For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God . . . 1 Corinthians 11:7 ESV). We even seem to come into the world with an implicit knowledge that being a man involves hard and worthwhile tasks. So w...

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Confessions of an Ashamed Pastor

On most days shame overwhelms me. On most days I feel like I have disappointed those who know me best. On most days I feel like I have earned the scorn that I am sure everyone feels toward me. On most days I am so disappointed with myself, that I cannot even remember what Jesus thinks of me....

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Atheism Part 2: Has Christianity Improved the World?

While Christians have had their warts, we must remind ourselves that Christianity has had a tremendous positive impact on science, modern education, and social change for centuries. ...

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Never Stop Asking Too Much

Because Jesus lives, we know he is still working. He is working to build his church that will prevail against the gates of hell. He is still working to find his lost sheep and bring them home. He will not stop working until he has redeemed every inch of this world, His world. ...

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Facebook, Time Machines and Easter

We long for the old days when life seemed simple. But we find no joy in looking back. True joy comes from the promise of Easter. The promise of a future day when love will never again lead to heartbreak. ...

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Help! I raised an Atheist

Despite our best efforts, sometimes our children shock us by rejecting our faith. How do good Christians raise atheists? What should they do after they have? ...

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Lent is Good for Me

Lent does not lend itself to commercialism or emotion. Instead it calls for a long, self-reflective, obedience best practiced in community. ...

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What is Church Membership good for?

We think of a member as someone who comes to meetings and pays dues. But the bible talks about membership as being a part of the body. If I were to cut off your finger, I would have dismembered you. A church member is a connected part of Christ's body. No honor could possibly be sweeter than that. ...

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What is Glory?

Christians struggle to describe heaven. We do not really understand what God is calling us toward, therefore we don't really understand what we need to be doing now to get there. Jesus calls us to enter his joy. The joy of losing ourselves in the activity of making someone else happy. In heaven, we will be in Christ bringing joy to the Father and the Son. By making the...

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When God Shows Up

God powerfully blessed our baptism service yesterday. Maybe He blessed it because the service required a couple of rather huge compromises. Or maybe God moved two men to make huge compromises because he wanted to bless a service. Either way, when God shows up you are glad. ...

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Can I Take Pride in My Spiritual Growth?

When we accomplish some goals and conquer some bad habits we feel a healthy sense of joy. How do we keep pride from ruining those accomplishments?...

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Sermon Topics for 2014

In 2014 we will have four Sermon Series plus our Easter and Christmas celebrations: Christianity Works, Unsearchable Wisdom, By Request, and The King and Kingdom. ...

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One Redneck's Take on Another

Your words matter. And how you say them matters just as much as what you say. If you insult someone, then you should not be surprised when they get offended. ...

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The Sobering Realities of Hell and Self-Deception

Jesus teaches that many who will eventually receive God's wrath will be shocked. They will not believe that they deserve it and will assume until the moment of judgement they are safe. That teaching should force us into some serious self-reflection. Don't judge yourself by your own assumptions. Would an objective by-stander say you are on the pathway of life or the pat...

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Making God Happy

God prescribed eating, resting and rejoicing as the best way to celebrate, and I am going to take his word for it. Plan a huge feast. Thank God in the grocery store as you shop. Thank him in the kitchen as you cook, and thank him at the table when you feast. In every step, know that when you bite that pecan pie and smile, He is smiling with you. You have blessed the Lord. ...

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From Slaves to Sons

Too many Christians live lives dominated by fear, insecurity and shame. We must begin to enjoy the spirit of Sonship. We are no longer slaves judged by our performance. We are the children of God, secure in his love and in our inheritance. From that secure position we can see repent of our sins, and love others with a healthy independence. ...

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Why does it have to hurt?

Sanctification always hurts, because we must continually face what we cannot do. Only then do we repent and fully embrace the love we have in Christ. ...

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Positive Thinking and Remembering the Gospel

We need to remind ourselves daily of who we are in Christ. We need to train ourselves to believe that we are dead to sin and alive to Christ Jesus. Is that the same thing as positive thinking? Are we just supposed to stand in front of a mirror and tell ourselves how beautiful we are until we believe it? No, we are not simply boosting our self confidence. We are reminding o...

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Is Marriage a State or Religious Issue? And other Questions

Questions I address in this post: Is marriage a state or church issue? How do I love my gay brother? How do I uphold biblical marriage while loving homosexuals? Should we treat homosexuality differently than other sins? Is John 8 apocryphal? What resources do you recommend for those struggling with sexual sin? Should those struggling with sexual sin take communion?...

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Do Calvinists do Evangelism?

Does the sovereignty of God as taught by Calvinism relieve us of the burden of evangelism? Sure, I hope it relieves you of every burden, but it does not rob you of the privilege of evangelism. You have as much freedom to joyfully tell people about the love and salvation found in Christ as you could possibly want. As you come to embrace these doctrines of grace (electio...

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Did Jesus Die for the Whole World? Yes

What does it mean that Jesus died for the world? I believe he died for the world eschatologically. We look forward to the day when we look out over the nations of the earth and say, "all the world belongs to Jesus."...

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How Can I Help?

When we show up, at a funeral, in a hospital room, or at someone’s reception we incarnate love. We personify hope. We communicate on a level far deeper than words that you are not forgotten. Being there may be the highest calling any of us ever receive....

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It is Okay to Struggle

Though many of the issues are different, the question is always the same: “Can a Christian can possibly feel the way I do?” If I knew you well enough, I would put my arms around you and whisper these words: “It is okay to struggle, that is what Jesus is for.” ...

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Leading your wife, part 2

Now Paul comes to the command part of being a husband. He commands husbands to love their wives as their own flesh by nourishing them and cherishing them. He tells us to love our wives as our own bodies. I know two things about you: you know your body and you are attentive to your body. ...

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How Do I Lead My Wife?

What does it mean to lead your wife? In a generation of redefined and lost manhood, when divorce is more prevalent than family prayer, this question comes up daily. Let’s look at the Bible’s teaching, and see what we find. ...

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Growth Charts

So how are we doing as a church? Often we have friends move away, and twice now we have sent out core groups to plant daughter churches. Sometimes you may wonder if we are growing at all. So I thought you might like to see a little growth chart so you can notice God at work....

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Love is the Answer

When it comes to the deepest questions of theology, only 5th graders have the nerve to ask the questions. And only love can answer them. ...

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What to do at a Funeral

Not many people my age have much experience at funerals. Here are some tips....

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Finding Rest

If I work for anyone's approval other than God's, I will burn myself out, or become an arrogant jerk trying. ...

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Presbytery? Blueberry? Purgatory? What?

What does it mean to be presbyterian? More specifically, what is a presbytery and what does it do?...

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Is He the One?

The primary question to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to marry the one you are dating is this: If you become more like him, is that a good thing? Simply put, do you respect him?...

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Dear Lance Armstrong,

Lance, I was not a good person who cheated and lied to cover it up. I was a liar and cheat pretending to be a good person. By facing the truth, I have been changed. God is now making me into a better person, an honest person. He is making me into the man I thought was. ...

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Sin: Words You Thought You Knew

We must stop thinking of sins like potholes we need to avoid. Sin lives within us like cancer, and we need the power of the Gospel to remove it. ...

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How Should We Doubt God?

When you are disappointed or have questions go to Jesus and ask. You can push hard on him about your past, about the suffering in the world, and about what he plans to do....

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Are You Becoming?

You're Just a Shadow of Your Future Self November 27, 2012 | by: Ricky Jones Download Audio Listen If you are in Christ, one day you will be transformed in glory. On that day you will live in beauty, joy, light, love and health. Every aspect of your life will be glorified beyond your highest imaginations. You will be completely healed physically, ment...

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Come Thou Long Unexpected Jesus

The Price of Redemption October 28, 2012 | by: Ricky Jones Download Audio Listen When Jesus finally appeared, he fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53 perfectly. Therefore, he was the opposite of what we expected. The arm of the LORD was as delicate as a tender plant. V. 2 The savior of the world was not even attractive. V. 2 Man's only hope was de...

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Church Should be Easy

According to Harold Best, God created worshippers. We were created pouring out worship. Each member of the Trinity continually worships the others. God created us in his image. We were created to pour out worship upon the Trinity, but since we are fallen we worship created things rather than the creator....

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Fall Programs!

Click Here to find out about our Fall community groups, bible studies, and Sunday School classes....

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