God’s House

“And as he taught them, he said, ‘Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” – Mark 11:17 Did you know that ancient Jews didn’t call the temple the temple? This description was given later, but in Jesus’ day, it was simply known as “the house.” Just like people, God has a dwelling, and though His permanent residence is in Heaven, He chose a particular location in which to contain His glory in Old Testament times. This means that the Spirit of Jehovah lived at the temple, and it belonged to everyone who followed Him. It was the center of Jewish life, and it was the place where the hurting, broken, and outcast could find safety and experience His heart. This is precisely why it upset Him so much when the money changers turned

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At Home with Jesus

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1 A friend of mine sent me a video, and as is usual these days, it started with a commercial. The first shot was of a man and woman in their mid-thirties staring at a screen with saxophone music playing in the background, and it had a kind of salacious feel. When it came on, I was wondering if it was going to be appropriate, but it turns out it was an ad for Zillow, and the couple was drooling over houses they might buy if they lived somewhere more affordable. While to some, purchasing a home does not seem like a fantasy, to those of us who live in locations like California or New York, it can

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Saved From the Serpent

“They spoke against God and against Moses, and said, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!’ Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, ‘We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.” – Numbers 21:5-7 I’m always fascinated when I read the account of the Israelites and their journey to the Promised Land, because no matter how many times God showed them His glory, they seemed to forget and go back to complaining. Even though they were in the middle of one of the greatest epochs of all time historically speaking, they refused to

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A Place to Belong

“Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.” – John 8:35 The powerful heart of the Gospel message is that God made a way for us when there was no other way. No amount of good or righteous deeds could build a bridge back to right standing with Him — we needed Him to do the work, and He did. We were infected by the poison of sin, and we were helpless to heal ourselves until He stepped in and made Himself the antidote; all we had to do was say “yes” and partake. At the moment we received Jesus as our Lord, we belonged to His family, and our souls breathed a sigh of relief. No longer did we have to seek a place to call home, for as His children, we inherited the love of a perfect Father and

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Belong Before You Believe

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” – Matthew 25:35 Yesterday, I shared that my family moved to Oklahoma when I was a teenager and how, even though the transition was tough, the Lord set me up for some great things in that season. In fact, one of the biggest blessings I found was a vital youth group. As a ministry of Church on the Move, it was one of the largest in the country and had well over 2,000 young people in attendance each week. They had their own building half a mile from the main church campus, and from the minute I walked in, I felt welcome. It was a high schooler’s paradise, and as I looked around, I saw industrial cages with guys playing

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Culture is Key

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2 God cares more about changing us than He does about changing our circumstances. I learned this early in life when I went on missionary trips. I traveled to a number of remote places around the world as a young man, and while I always set out on these journeys with a goal or a project in mind, I quickly learned that they were just as much about transforming my heart as they were about helping others. It’s not that our mission didn’t involve doing good stuff for people, but I always came home different than I was when I left. Because most of my trips were arranged by organizations that had years of experience, they knew that it was equally as important to build into those who were ministering as it was

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