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the gospel

The Vineyard   Dear Friends:   When I first entered enter Christian ministry, my purpose was to introduce young people to Jesus Christ and to help them become a true disciple of Jesus. In a few words, my goal was to led youth to a “re-birth” experience.  But as I grew up in my ministry, I often focused on other things that are also associated with the Christian faith—-from good works to being involved with “religious” programs and running a summer camp.   But as my sons have talked to me about their struggles lately (they are 7, 9 and 14), I realize that my first call has sometimes been ignored.  I say this because for the past week, as...

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The biggest decision to make....

The Vineyard   Dear Friends:   In the book of Acts I read the following narrative about Paul when he preached to the Athenians:   “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” At that, Paul left the Council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed.”   And that is the history of mankind when it comes to responding to Jesus. Either Jesus did raise from the dead or He did not—there’s no middle ground. If He did, everything He said about Himself and all the prophecies about Him are valid, fulfilled and He is Lord. If He did not,...

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To disagree is to be alive

The Vineyard   Dear Friends:   Acts 15:36  Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left…….   Disagreements are inevitable, even among spiritual giants like Paul and Barnabas!  And sometimes it’s not a matter of right...

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Embarrassingly committed to Him alone..

The Vineyard   Dear Friends:   King David once said, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”   I do not think that I was able to grasp the truth and satisfaction of these words as a youth or even a young man.  I was focused on the right things, I believe, but my focus was more of “action figure” plan than leaning upon God. Like the “Iron Man”, my “attack plan” was “attack”.  There was a time that I believed that by hard work and determination a man could do almost anything—-including the creation of a community...

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A boyhood treasure almost lost.....

The Vineyard Dear Friends:   Today I had to take the two younger boys to the doctor. They had to leave school early, so they were elated. We drove to the doctor’s office, and after it was over we went next door to an “Ingles” grocery store. We spent twenty minutes shopping, but this time I let them each have a cart and “help” me shop. Of course they picked up a lot of junk food, stuffed animals, and things we did not need, but they had a great time—even though I made them put much of it back.   We then drove to an old country store where I allowed them to each purchase one snack. Again, this is...

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