Determine (dtr.mn)

to know Jesus crucified (1 Cor. 2:2)

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Pray For Your Leaders

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First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1 Timothy 2:1-2

What the Church needs is more people praying for their leaders. It is all too easy to offer commentary, perspective, criticism, or words. It is another to get on our knees and pray. Would you join me today in praying for our church as our leaders gather to seek vision for Mars Hill moving forward? Would you join me in praying for THE Church globally, that God’s people would be unified around the Gospel and seeing lost people saved? Would you join me in praying for all of our pastors and leaders, that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to do the work of the ministry they are called to by God?

Jesus, I pray...

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More Spiritual Than Jesus

Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:38-39

A friend reminded me yesterday of this great truth: “Don’t be more spiritual than Jesus.”

We need to be careful to not try to be more spiritual than Jesus. He didn’t just willfully walk up and with open and happy arms embrace the suffering that He saw on the horizon. He wrestled with God in agony over what He was about to do. He fell to the ground crying out, sorrowful “to death.” This is far different than being giddy about His calling to go the Cross and die. Jesus was real with the Father in His time of great need. He connected with the Father intimately and left His burden...

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A Holy Doubt

Eventually my fifth-grade dream, along with many others, evaporated completely, and today I am a preacher. I have a family. I live in LA. I am a Christian. I teach the Bible at a church we started in 2006. Nothing could be more different from what I pictured for myself earlier on in life. And the truth is, I couldn’t be more satisfied and more at peace. And that is because God taught me to doubt.

Yes, doubt.

Most people would not associate doubt with Christian faith, but there is a kind of holy doubt, a sacred skepticism that asks hard questions about life. While many people spend time questioning the Bible, it may come as a surprise that the Bible actually questions us:

  • What do you expect out of life?
  • What if your expectations are wrong?
  • Where did your expectations come from?

—Tim Chaddick. Better

Tim Chaddick’s experience forced him to doubt himself and his expectations....

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Theology in Community

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One of the things that the western world is sadly lacking is a rich sense of community. This is apparent in our neighborhoods, schools, restaurants, and sadly even our churches.

Most westerners tend to view their lives as isolated and individualistic. We look to form our identity, not as a community, but as individuals. We see ourselves this way a lot. Sadly, this mentality has crept into our Christianity. Many people think of the Christian faith only as a means for our personal salvation. While it is most definitely true that God does save individual sinners from the grip of Satan and Hell; it is also true that He saves us into a community of Believers. So much so, that the sign of our truly knowing Christ is the test of whether we love one another:

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:35

The test of the “trueness” of...

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Three Tabernacles

The Scriptures present to us a beautiful and unified theme of God desiring to meet and dwell with mankind. It is woven all through the Old and New Testaments. Pastor Britt Merrick described it eloquently in a sermon as “God’s ancient desire to meet with His people.” Thematically there are numerous ways one could approach studying God’s desire to dwell among His people. Ultimately one should go all the way back to the Garden, where God placed man in the perfect habitation to enjoy fellowship and intimacy with Him.

But a helpful theme emerges in Exodus as God gives the Law and instructs his people in the creation of a tabernacle. In Exodus 25:8 God declares: “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.” We see from the foundation of the Law that God’s desire was not distant religion but a personal relationship with His people as He would dwell among them. The Law...

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A Shipwrecked Faith

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…holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
1 Timothy 1:19–20

How does a person shipwreck their faith? This question has massive implications for us and those that we are sharing the Gospel with and attending church alongside. How many times have we all had experiences with people that we know and love who seem to be walking in the faith of Jesus Christ, only to abandon that faith and renounce Jesus Christ? What do with do we that? How do we explain their departure? Is Christ powerless to keep those who are his?

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty,...

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Prayer for Healing

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
James 5:13-18

I appropriately read these verses in James this morning. These words do not guarantee healing under the sovereign hand of...

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Freedom From Idolatry

So Christ, in the giving of His life, set you free from the bondage of this world by taking off the ceiling and letting joy be ever-increasing in Him. He frees you up from worshiping creation and rolls you up to an understanding that the Creator of that creation is who the praise is due to.
Matt Chandler

I think Chandler hits the nail on the head here. The way to be freed from our idols (those things that we give greater worth than God) is to look to Christ and his freedom-giving work of sacrifice on the Cross and find all of our satisfaction in Him.

When Christ alone, when God Himself is the sole fountain that the Christian drinks from, then all other sources of satisfaction lose their appeal. Our spiritual “taste buds” develop a palette for that which is truly and only satisfying: God Himself. Then we can say with the Psalmist:

All my fountains are in you.
Psalm 87:7...

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Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

This joy is what we are to live for, yearn for and desire greatly, because it is joy that is not sought for the sake of joy itself, but it is joy sought, treasured, and found only in the Person of God.

May God increase, by incredible measure, the delight of hearts and even enlarge our hearts that we might be able to know Him better and more fully and more sweetly.

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The Notes of the Gospel

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…it will be a sorrowful thing to be lost with the notes of the gospel in your ears, and to perish under the ministry of truth.
C.H. Spurgeon, from Regeneration

I was deeply moved by Spurgeon’s passionate sermon on regeneration. His exegesis of John 3:3 unpacks the Biblical truth that unless moved upon sovereignly by God’s regenerating and saving grace, we (humanity) are in a most miserable state.

I was arrested at multiple times reading the sermon thinking about people that I know and love (some that would even call themselves Christians) that face the absolute reality of an eternity in Hell. This stirring didn’t abate at the close of the message when I was hit with the lines quoted above. To be lost (suffering an eternal death and separation from God) “with the notes of the Gospel in [our] ears…perishing under the ministry of truth.” This echoes this chilling words of Matthew 7:21...

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