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This newsletter is often used to correct the false doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church but in this issue we will address the disappearing doctrine of the Evangelical Church. Many professing Christians now think it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you label it Christianity. Their only test for becoming a Christian is a simple acceptance of Jesus as a historical figure. In our post-modern church, doctrine is out and tolerance is in. We are told that for the sake of unity, doctrine should not be tested or contested.
 
We are not supposed to draw any definitive lines or declare any absolutes. Doctrinal and moral issues which were once painted black and white, are now seen as gray. The state of the church is now in a state of confusion.
 
Paul forewarned us that this would happen when he wrote: “The time will come when they [the people in the church] will not endure [tolerate] sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). When “Christians” turn to popular teachers who tickle their ears with messages on self-esteem and self-improvement, they are also turning away from God’s word.

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Filled with the Spirit

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In Ephesians 5:18 Paul admonished Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit as an essential element of our walk with and work for the Lord. But what exactly does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit”?  Well Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest gives four things that come through in the Greek that will help us to understand what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
 
1. “Be filled with the Spirit” is a command in the Greek that God expects us to obey.
 
It’s a command that is plural in the Greek which means it applies to all Christians—not just to a select few like missionaries, pastors and evangelists.  It’s a command because we can’t begin to do the work God has called us to do without the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:49)
 
I believe that this is the greatest need in the Church today and the single greatest reason why we are losing the culture war to the devil in America when Jesus clearly promised us that against His Church the gates of hell would not prevail.  It’s because we are trying to do the work of God in our own strength, ingenuity and intelligence and not in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We have substituted programs for the power of God and theological degrees for the dynamic of the Holy Spirit—

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Don’t Jump Ship

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I remember growing up as a kid with T.V. shows like, “Leave it to Beaver”; “The Donna Reed Show”; “The Ozzie and Harriet Show”; “The Dick Van Dyke Show”; and “Father Knows Best”.  And while these shows tended to be a little idealistic in the way they portrayed the American family—they, nevertheless reflected the norm in our society at that time—what some have called the “traditional family unit”.
 
You have to understand the era that gave birth to shows like these. During the 40’s and 50’s and up until the early 60’s there was a post war idealism and optimism that pervaded our country.  The economy was booming, babies were booming, patriotism was in vogue, life was sacred and prayer was still in public schools.
 
In those days people got married first and then lived together (how novel!). Closets were for clothes (not for coming out of) and bunnies were small rabbits. Back then grass was mowed, coke was a drink, ‘gay’ meant happy, and ‘aids’ were helpers in the principal’s office—a kind of innocence abounded.

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Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

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At the end of the book of Joshua, Joshua was 110 years old—too old to lead the army of Israel into battle against the remaining Canaanite strongholds and so God told him that it was now up to each of the 12 tribes to conquer their own portion of land that the Lord had given to them.  
 
The problem was that by this time many of God’s people were tired of war—they didn’t want to fight anymore—all they wanted to do was to settle down in peace and comfort and enjoy what they had already taken possession of.  
 
And Joshua seeing this attitude of compromise and complacency beginning to settle over God’s people when there was still so much work left to be done—this was no time to rest the enemy had not been completely driven out as God had commanded. Joshua being a man of deep conviction and wholehearted obedience toward God knew that partial victory was not ‘good enough’—not for him and certainly not for God.

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Avoiding The Sinkhole Syndrome

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In Ephesians 3 Paul offered a prayer for the Ephesian believers—but it’s a prayer that pertains to all Christians—
 
Ephesians 3:16 (NKJV)
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.
 
This is a very important request for every believer especially when living in stressful and difficult times.  I think that most of us would agree that the stress level in our lives over the last few years has gone up exponentially so that many now feel as though they’re living in a “pressure cooker.”
 
We have witnessed the economic picture in our country go from bright and optimistic to dark and pessimistic. People have lost their jobs, their pensions and even their homes.

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Walk In Wisdom

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 Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV) 
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil
 
The Greek word translated circumspectly in verse 15 carries with it the idea of “precision and accuracy”—but also has the idea of looking, examining, and investigating something with great care— But this Greek word further includes with it the idea of alertness. So Paul is telling us,
 
“See that you walk (live) your Christian life carefully with great precision—looking all around and giving strict attention to all things as one might do when passing through a very dangerous place.”  Paul went on to say, 
 
“If you do this you will be wise and not a fool”.

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A New Years’ Challenge for 2016

As we enter this New Year of 2016, Pastor Phil challenges us to seek hard after God’s will for our life.  He closes with this thought, “May we look back on 2016 and say, “Wow—to God be the glory, for all of the good things He has done…”

Watch the video below.



What Child Is This?

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One of the most beautiful carols sung during the Christmas season is the one written by William Dix. It starts out:

“What Child is this who laid to rest
on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?”

 
We can only imagine that the question asked in this beloved carol must have been uppermost in the minds of the shepherds that were present the night Jesus was born. One author said:
 
“We can almost hear the question being asked from one to another as they gazed into the humble manger. How difficult it must have been for them to understand that the babe who lay in such a lowly place was truly the promised Messiah.”

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The Importance of Honeymoon Love

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In Revelation Chapter 2 Jesus dictated a letter to the apostle John that was to be given to the church at Ephesus. In that letter the Lord commended the church for the zeal and tireless effort that went into their service for Him—this was a church that had a lot of good things going on.
 
However in verse 4 the Lord Jesus went on to say—
 
Revelation 2:4 (NKJV)
4 “Nevertheless I have this
against you, that you have left your first love.”
 
It seems that all of these positive works of service were being erased by one negative—they were going through the motions but they had lost the emotion in their relationship with Jesus. Their church was a well-oiled machine—but God doesn’t want machines cranking out emotionless service—He wants a love relationship with His people.

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Is Jesus At Home In Your Heart? Volume 2

Is Jesus At Home In Your Heart?
In Ephesians 3:17 Paul the apostle prayed something for the Christians in Ephesus that some have found to be a little confusing—he prayed, that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. 
 
You might be thinking to yourself—“Don’t all Christians already have Jesus living in their hearts? Didn’t He enter in when they put their faith in Him? So why is Paul praying that He may dwell in their hearts through faith—I’m confused?”
 
It is true that Paul is writing to believers living in Ephesus—it is also true that Jesus lives in the heart of every Christian the moment they receive Him into their heart by faith as Lord and Savior.
 
So then what is Paul actually saying here?  Well, the answer is found in the word “dwell.”

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