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7 Devotional Resources You Might Consider Using (including 1 that you should absolutely be using!)

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It can be difficult to know where to start with personal and family devotions. If you're a member at Hope, I'd encourage you to make use of our weekly VDMA Prayer sheets, but if you're looking for more, here are some suggestions.  1. The Bible You literally don't need anything more than your Bible. It is the Word of God! Take up and read! What should you look for in a Bible?  An accurate translation. I recommend ESV, CSB, or NLT (you can learn more he re )  A large enough type that it's not too much work to read Size: do you want a smaller Bible that you can carry with you or one that will remain on your nightstand? How does the Bible feel in your hand? These might not seem overly important, but they are helpful in making for a more enjoyable Bible reading experience.  Other things to consider Do you want a Bible without cross references or with cross references? Do you want study notes?  Do you want a Bible reading plan included? Do you want a hard cover, a synthet

A Prairie Dog Parable

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 There once was town of prairie dogs. The prairie dogs always had much to do. Burrowing, seeking out food, watching out for predators, and caring for the pups were always important tasks that needed to be done. But one day some of the prairie dogs became disgruntled. They were tired of burrowing, seeking out food, watching out for predators, and caring for the pups. One of the disgruntled prairie dogs said the the chief prairie dog, "I don't want to burrow! I want design a whole new system of tunnels." "But we don't really need a new system of tunnels," replied the chief prairie dog. "What the town really needs are workers who are willing to maintain the tunnels we have. There may come a time when we need new tunnels, but that time ins't yet." But the first disgruntled prairie dog wasn't hearing it. "I was given a gift by the Creator and  you  are keeping me from fully using my gift of designing new tunnels. Why would I bother

Ideas for Advent

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Advent is a great season of the church year! Here are 15 ways you can make the most of it. Read a chapter of Luke each day. It’s 24 chapters long, so you’ll finish reading the reason for the celebration of Christmas on Christmas Eve. Get an Advent wreath and light the candles when you sit down to eat. Listen to Advent hymns: Listening to Christmas music is great, but you’ll find listening to Advent music to be a true blessing! Here are a few worth checking out. “ Life Up Your Heads, You Everlasting Doors ”, “ Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates ”, “ Prepare the Royal Highway ”, " On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry ”, " Comfort, Comfort Ye My People ”, “ Hark the Glad Sound ”, and “ O Savior, Rend the Heavens Wide ”. Fast : Go without breakfast, breakfast and lunch, or fast for an entire day. Fasting is a way to discipline your body and remind yourself that what you need more than food is the spiritual food God gives. Give alms : giving to those in need is an ancien

Take up your arms! Satan is on the attack!

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Things were going well in the congregation. Children were learning and growing in the faith. Adults were helping children to mature in the faith and were also growing and learning. The gospel was being heard and believed and shared with those outside the walls of the church. Of course things weren’t perfect, but things were good. And when things are good, Satan takes notice.   He can’t stand when the gospel is proclaimed and believed. He hates seeing Christians joyfully gathering together and faithfully receiving the good news of Jesus. So the devil got to work. “These people don’t really like you,” he whispered to a middle aged woman. “You know they talk about you behind your back.” And so the woman began to distance herself from the church. Next the devil saw a businessman. Things were going well for the man, so Satan thought, “I won’t undercut him, but I’m going to give him so much business that he’ll be so busy with his business that he won’t have time for

The Narrow Door

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Luke 13:22-30 22  He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and  journeying toward Jerusalem.   23  And someone said to him, “Lord,  will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them,   24  “Strive  to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.   25  When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying,  ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you,  ‘I do not know where you come from.’   26  Then you will begin to say,  ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’   27  But he will say, ‘I tell you,  I do not know where you come from.  Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’   28  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see  Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but  you yourselves cast out.   29  And  people will come from east and west, and from north an

What is Churchmanship?

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A while back I mentioned the word "Churchmanship" and had several people ask what I meant by that word; so, here's my attempt to explain. Churchmanship is the craft of skill of being a churchman. What then is a churchman? A churchman is one who thinks about the good of the Church. A churchman is a pastor who, when a member of a sister congregation comes to see him, directs that member back to his or her home church and to a conversation with the pastor of that church.  A churchman is a pastor who encourages members of a sister congregation to be faithful in serving that congregation. A churchman is a layperson who loves sister congregations in addition to his or her own congregation and encourages them to be faithful to the Word of God.  A churchman is a pastor who, when he notices that a member of a sister congregation has attended his congregation for two weeks straight, calls the pastor of that sister congregation to let him know what is happening. He al

40 for 40

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Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent.  Lent is a season of the church year during which we are reminded to give extra focus to repentance and faith.  Lent gives us the opportunity to clear out things that are hindering our life of faith and to add things that would be helpful. Since the season of Lent is 40 days (Sundays don't count as part of the 40 days, FYI) I wanted to give you 40 different ideas that you could use during this season.  The idea isn't for you to do all 40, but to pick one (or a few).  Of course you don't have to do any of these and you are free to do something else if you would like.  My purpose is to spur on your thinking about such things so that all of us can benefit from the season of lent. Many of the things listed are not unique to Lent and several should be things we do on a regular basis anyway! Read Exodus.  It's 40 chapters long, so if you read one chapter per day you'll have read the entire book.