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Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...

Website URL: http://www.thegracetabernacle.org E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hebrews Church Sign Messages

Friday, 08 April 2011 16:51 Published in Church Resources

HEBREWS CHURCH SIGN MESSAGES

GOD HAS SPOKEN THROUGH
HIS SON JESUS CHRIST
HEBREWS 1:2

JESUS IS THE RADIANCE
OF GOD’S GLORY
HEBREWS 1:3

JESUS UPHOLDS ALL THINGS
BY THE WORD OF HIS POWER
HEBREWS 1:3

DRAW NEAR TO GOD
AND RECEIVE MERCY
HEBREWS 4:16

DRAW NEAR TO GOD
AND FIND GRACE
HEBREWS 4:16

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE
FOR GOD TO LIE
HEBREWS 6:18

WE CAN ALWAYS
HOPE IN AND TRUST IN GOD
HEBREWS 6:18

MERE RELIGION
DOES NOT TAKE AWAY
THE PENALTY OF SIN
HEBREWS 10:4

 

WE ARE FORGIVEN
THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
HEBREWS 10:10

JESUS WAS OFFERED
AS A SACRIFICE FOR SIN
HEBREWS 10:12

THE RIGHTEOUS LIVE
BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST
HEBREWS 10:38

GOD IS FAITHFUL
TO HIS PROMISES
HEBREWS 10:23

PURSUE PEACE
WITH ALL MEN
HEBREWS 12:14

LET LOVE CONTINUE
HEBREWS 13:1

MARRIAGE IS
TO BE HONORED
HEBREWS 13:4

JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME
YESTERDAY AND TODAY AND FOREVER
HEBREWS 13:8

DO NOT NEGLECT
DOING GOOD
HEBREWS 13:16

Romans Church Sign Messages

Friday, 08 April 2011 16:08 Published in Church Resources

Romans Church Sign Messages

The Gospel is salvation
for everyone who believes
Romans 1:16

The Righteous
Live by Faith
Romans 1:17

God’s eternal power
is clearly seen in nature
romans 1:20

it is wrong to worship
what is created
rather than the creator
romans 1:25

when you judge another
you condemn yourself
romans 2:1

the judgment of God
rightly falls
romans 2:2

The kindness of God
leads us to repentance
Romans 2:4

THERE IS NO PARTIALITY WITH GOD
ROMANS 2:11

GOD WILL JUDGE PEOPLE’S SECRETS
THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
ROMANS 2:16

NO PERSON IS
JUSTIFIED BY WORKS
ROMANS 3:20

GOD’ RIGHTEOUSNESS
COMES BY FAITH IN JESUS
ROMANS 3:22

ALL HAVE SINNED AND
FALL SHORT OF GOD’S STANDARD
ROMANS 3:23

FAITH IS CREDITED AS RIGHTEOUSNESS
ROMANS 4:5

CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY
ROMANS 5:6

WE CANNOT BOAST TO
GOD OF OUR GOODNESS
ROMANS 4:2

We have peace with god
through our lord Jesus Christ
romans 5:1

there is no condemnation
for those in Christ
Romans 8:1

love does no wrong
to a neighbor
romans 13:10

whoever resists authority
resists god
romans 13:2

be at peace with all men
romans 12:18

overcome evil with good
romans 12:18

pay taxes for rulers
are servants of god
Romans 13:6

lay aside deeds of darkness
romans 13:12

if we live
we live for the lord
romans 14:8

Christ is lord of
the dead and the living
romans 14:9

we will all stand before
the judgment seat of god
Romans 14:10

each of us must
give an account to god
romans 14:12

the kingdom of god is
righteousness, peace and joy
romans 14:17

pursue the things
which make for peace
romans 14:19

pursue the things
which build up others
romans 14:19

let all people praise him!
romans 15:11

may you experience the FULLNESS
of the blessing of Christ
romans 15:29

strive together
in your prayers to god
romans 15:30

may the god of peace
be with you
romans 15:33

be wise in good
innocent in evil
romans 16:19

glory to god forever!
romans 16:27

Personal Preparation Before Big Events

Monday, 04 April 2011 09:08 Published in Blog
As I'm reading through the Bible in a year, I've come across several passages that indicate the need to personally prepare before large events. In thinking about my own life, when heading into a major week/event/project, I myself often have the sense that I need take extra measures to cleanse my heart/mind/life of all that would perhaps diminish the presence and power of the Lord in my life.

This principle really galvanized for me during my two years working on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Each week was a whirlwind of spiritual battle, so palpable that it was almost physical. I often used to say that in terms of demons--if drugs brought the presence of the demonic realm, and with 50,000 people doing hard drugs all around, then it was likely that I was serving amidst the darkest cloud of the enemy in the world.That dark cloud was evident every week I was there.

There were countless times that I felt God's hand wrapping me in His protection. There was the time when the drug-crazed prostitute came charging down the street with a 14" butcher knife swinging it at every person she saw. I was talking with a guy about the Lord and held my position. I watched out of the corner of my eye as she charged right past me but without thrusting it at me.

Then there was the time two guys got into a fight during the final prayer of our church service. Knives were drawn and I had to essentially and literally come between them.

Those were formative moments in my walk and ministry because I had to either stand by the protection of Christ or cower in fear. There were countless other times where various situations would arise. I've saw real knife fights, much nudity, pimps dragging prostitutes, gangs, etc. There were days when I'd say the wrong thing to the wrong person and I'd have a very powerful sense that the person was going to try to take me out sometime soon (I think one time they might have even tried, but that's a different story). Indeed, when I took over the children's ministry there was a need because the women who was doing the children's ministry was murdered by knife right in front of the kids.

But having said this, most of the daily/weekly spiritual warfare was not for physical protection, but rather to deliver these poor souls from the clutches of Satan. Countless lives were transformed. Countless people surrendered their lives to Christ. Prostitutes (literally) were getting clean and becoming righteous women. Drunks were getting sober and returning to their responsibilities. The lazy were working. The embittered were finding peace. Lives were changing. It was a glorious (albeit extremely difficult) ministry.

So the presence of evil was real and the power of God shone with an almost literal brightness. And I found that if I sanctified the Lord in my life before going downtown, then great things would happen. I'd be protected from serious harm. Prostitutes would pray to receive Christ. Drunks would confess their pride and laziness. Yet, if I just went down to Skid Row without much personal preparation, it was a lame, frustrating afternoon. Doors would be closed. Minds would be darkened. Hearts would be hardened. Nothing would happen. Early on, it became crystal clear that if anything was going to happen, it had to be of God and God was only going to work if I sanctified Him as Lord in my heart through prayer and confession and surrender.

Returning back to the Bible, I see this same principle in scripture. Here are some examples:

In Exodus 4:24-27 there is a strange passage where God is angry with Moses. At first blush, it doesn't make sense. God has just met Moses in the burning bush and called him to deliver the Jews from Pharaoh. Moses, with some reluctance, agrees to God's purposes and designs, knowing that it will mean hardship for him and his people. So you'd think that God would be pleased with Moses and ready to empower him. But that's not the case. Instead, the text says in verse 24 "Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the Lord met him and sought to put him to death." Wow, that's a pretty significant turn of events. For years that passage puzzled me until I understood the next verse more fully.

The next verse says "Then Zipporah (Moses wife) took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and threw it at Moses' feet..." The heart of this text is basically: Moses was disobedient towards God in one of the simplest and most basic demonstrations of obedience: circumcision. If God was going to use Moses to deliver the Jews, then as the leader, Moses needed to be in full compliance with of all of His holy laws. Yet Moses was impure in this most essential area. Since Moses was also going to go into a massive spiritual battle with Pharaoh, then Moses needed all of God's presence and power. Yet God will not be with those who disobey Him. There needed to be personal sanctification in Moses life before the victory was the Lord's.

In a similar, but different passage, Joshua was about to cross over the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land. Moses was now dead and the Jews were looking to Joshua as God's newly appointed leader. Joshua sent word to the people gathered in the east wilderness of the Jordan River: "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." Indeed, that idea there was to purify and cleanse themselves of all that they knew would displease God. No doubt the people obeyed.

Then, a few pages later, the Jews crossed over the Jordan and were ready to attack the city of Jericho. This would prove to be one of the most amazing displays of God's power in all of scripture. The massive city walls--considered impermeable in the day--would fall flat at the command of God. Yet prior to marching around the city, God told Joshua in chapter 5:2-7 that he needed to once again circumcise the men. Apparently, they had been lax in this rite--again. So the people obeyed God, did as they were instructed, and a few days later Jericho was theirs.

So all of this is to say that I think the principle is clear from scripture: God calls us to be sanctified and cleansed as we embark upon work that only He can do. I believe that we are all called to step out in faith, rely upon God, and engage in work that is infused with His power and grace. If we do not, then our "works" will not endure into eternity. For only those things that we do for Christ and with Christ will last forever (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Yet in order for us to have the presence of Christ in our lives, we need to be fully surrendered to Him. This is not to say that we make ourselves pure--for that can only come when we have been clothed in Christ's righteousness though faith when we trust in His payment on the cross for our sins (Philippians 3:9). But still, in daily living, we must be fully surrendered to His Lordship so that His Spirit might have full control of our heart, mind and soul. And then, when Christ is fully sanctified as Lord in our lives (1 Peter 3:15) then we will see Him do great things among us. When we embark upon God's work in our lives, we must be fully surrendered and sanctified to Him.

Eternal Life in the Old Testament

Thursday, 24 March 2011 14:40 Published in Verse Lists

Eternal Life / Resurrection in the Old Testament

Every now and then I hear someone say that there are no references to Eternal Life in the Jewish Old Testament. That is completely erroneous as these following verses indicate. Not only was the doctrine of Eternal Life in the Old Testament taught, but clearly demonstrated and applied.

Psalm 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me.

Psalm 71:20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.(NASB95)

Psalm 73:24 With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.(NASB95)

Isaiah 26:19 Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.(NASB95)

Hosea 6:1-2 “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.(NASB95)

Job 19:25-26 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;(NASB95)

Ezekiel 37:12-14 “Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. “Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,”declares the Lord.’ ”(NASB95)

1 Samuel 2:6 “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.(NASB95)

Ezekiel 27:1-14 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me saying, “And you, son of man, take up a lamentation over Tyre; and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrance to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’ “Your borders are in the heart of the seas; Your builders have perfected your beauty. “They have made all your planks of fir trees from Senir; They have taken a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you. “Of oaks from Bashan they have made your oars; With ivory they have inlaid your deck of boxwood from the coastlands of Cyprus. “Your sail was of fine embroidered linen from Egypt So that it became your distinguishing mark; Your awning was blue and purple from the coastlands of Elishah. “The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your rowers; Your wise men, O Tyre, were aboard; they were your pilots. “The elders of Gebal and her wise men were with you repairing your seams; All the ships of the sea and their sailors were with you in order to deal in your merchandise. “Persia and Lud and Put were in your army, your men of war. They hung shield and helmet in you; they set forth your splendor. “The sons of Arvad and your army were on your walls, all around, and the Gammadim were in your towers. They hung their shields on your walls all around; they perfected your beauty. “Tarshish was your customer because of the abundance of all kinds of wealth; with silver, iron, tin and lead they paid for your wares. “Javan, Tubal and Meshech, they were your traders; with the lives of men and vessels of bronze they paid for your merchandise. “Those from Beth-togarmah gave horses and war horses and mules for your wares.(NASB95)

Daniel 12:2 “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.(NASB95)

Hosea 13:14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight.(NASB95)

Psalm 16:10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.(NASB95)

Psalm 86:13 For Your lovingkindness toward me is great, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.(NASB95)

Psalm 41:12 You set me in Your presence forever.

 

Heaven is the place where God Dwells

Psalm 119:89 Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.(NASB95)

Psalm 113:5-6 Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth?(NASB95)

Deuteronomy 4:39 “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.(NASB95)

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.(NASB95)

1 Kings 22:19 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left.(NASB95)

Deuteronomy 26:15 ‘Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel, and the ground which You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our fathers.’(NASB95)

2 Kings 2:11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.(NASB95)

 

Being in God’s Presence is A Reward to His People

Psalm 73:24 With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.(NASB95)

Hosea 6:1-2 “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.(NASB95)

Psalm 61:5-8 For You have heard my vows, O God; You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name. You will prolong the king’s life; His years will be as many generations. He will abide before God forever; Appoint lovingkindness and truth that they may preserve him. So I will sing praise to Your name forever, That I may pay my vows day by day.(NASB95)

Isaiah 24:23 Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders.(NASB95)

Isaiah 66:20 “Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the Lord, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.(NASB95)

Psalm 41:12 (NASB95) 12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your presence forever.

Proverbs 14:32 (NASB95) 32 The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing, But the righteous has a refuge when he dies.

1 Samuel 2:6 (NASB95) 6 “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

Psalm 22:29 (NASB95) 29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

Genesis 49:33 (NASB95) 33 When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people. The term gathered to his people – Gen 49:33

Psalm 49:15 (NASB95) 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For He will receive me.Selah.

Psalm 48:14 (NASB95) 14 For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.

Psalm 102:26 26 “Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.

Isaiah 65:17 17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

Isaiah 66:22 22 “For just as the new heavens and the new earth Which I make will endure before Me,” declares the Lord, “So your offspring and your name will endure.

The Problem of Evil

Wednesday, 16 March 2011 10:46 Published in Blog
Here is a great "chain email" delineating the Christian's response to the problem of evil:
God vs. Evil

'Let me explain the problem science has with religion.' The atheist
professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his
new students to stand.

'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?'

'Yes sir,' the student says.

'So you believe in God?'

'Absolutely.’

'Is God good?'

'Sure! God's good.'

'Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?'

'Yes'

'Are you good or evil?'

'The Bible says I'm evil.'

The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible!' He considers for a
moment. 'Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here
and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?'

'Yes sir, I would.'

'So you're good...!'

'I wouldn't say that.'

'But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could.
Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't.'

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. 'He doesn't,
does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he
prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you
answer that one?'

The student remains silent.

'No, you can't, can you?' the professor says. He takes a sip of water
from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

'Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?'

'Er..yes,' the student says.

"is Satan good?'

The student doesn't hesitate on this one. 'No.'

'Then where does Satan come from?'

The student falters. 'From God'

'That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in
this world?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything correct??

'Yes'

'So who created evil?' The professor continued, 'If God created
everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to
the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.'

Again, the student has no answer. 'Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred?
Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?'

The student squirms on his feet. 'Yes.'

'So who created them?'

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question.
'Who created them?' There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer
breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.
'Tell me,' he continues onto another student.

'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. 'Yes, professor, I do.'

The old man stops pacing. 'Science says you have five senses you use to
identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?'

'No sir. I've never seen Him.'

'Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?'

'No, sir, I have not.'

'Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelled your Jesus?
Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that
matter?'

'No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't.'

'Yet you still believe in him?'

'Yes'

'According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol,
science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?'

'Nothing,' the student replies. 'I only have my faith.'

'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats. 'And that is the problem science
has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.'

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His
own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat?'

'Yes.'

'And is there such a thing as cold?'

'Yes, son, there's cold too.'

'No sir, there isn't.'

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested.

The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain.

'You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat,
unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have
anything called 'cold'. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is
no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing
as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458
degrees.'

'Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits
energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or tran smit energy.
Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold
is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure
cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold
is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.'

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding
like a hammer.

'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?'

'Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation. 'What is night if it
isn't darkness?'

'You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of
something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing
light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's
called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word.'


'In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make
darkness darker, wouldn't you?'

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will
be a good semester. 'So what point are you making, young man?

'Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to
start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.'

The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. 'Flawed? Can you
explain how?'

'You are working on the premise of duality,' the student explains.. 'You
argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad
God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we
can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought.'

'It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully
understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be
ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it. 'Now tell me,
professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?'

'If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man,
yes, of course I do.'

'Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?'

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes
where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

'Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and
cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not
teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?'

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion
has subsided.

'To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let
me give you an example of what I mean.'

The student looks around the room. 'Is there anyone in the class who has
ever seen the professor's brain?' The class breaks out into laughter.

'Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the
professor's brain, touched or smelled the professor's brain? No one
appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of
empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no
brain, with all due respect, sir.'

'So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures,
sir?'

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his
face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. 'I guess
you'll have to take them on faith.'

'Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with
life,' the student continues. 'Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?'

Now uncertain, the professor responds, 'Of course, there is. We see it
everyday It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in
the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These
manifestations are nothing else but evil.'

To this the student replied, 'Evil does not exist sir, or at least it
does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just
like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the
absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what
happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like
the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when
there is no light.'

The professor sat down.

HPI Baja 5B Monster RC Car

Saturday, 12 February 2011 20:51 Published in Blog
Ever seen a monster RC Car called the HPI Baja 5B? If you're like me, more than likely you've never heard of HPI or their amazing Baja 5B Remote Controlled racing buggy. For those of us who think of R/C cars as being little foot-long jobbers that you get at Toys-R-Us , that is about as close to what this is as a house cat is to a Siberian Lion. Check out this video of the HPI to see it in action--keep in mind this is only the fourth time we've driven it around. I'm sure we'll increase the intensity as we get familiar with the controls!



The HPI Baja 5B dune buggy is the mama bear of racing cars. It's called a 1/5 Scale car which means it's a gigantic beast! It's about three feet long and about a foot and a half wide. We haven't weighed it yet, but I'd say it's about 30 pounds. It runs on regular gas, has a clutch, differential, brake, oil-filled shockes, and even posi-traction! You can see from the video, it sounds like a chain saw and it's top speed is way too fast for me to handle, let alone my nine year old son!


This incredible machine was given to my son in kit form this past 2010 Christmas. When I first spread out the parts, the job looked pretty daunting. There were several hundred extremely intricate parts. The manual was twice as thick as a typical Sports Illustrated magazine, had very few words and was packed with myriads of CAD diagrams that screamed "brain-breaking tough!"

My son and I took my time looking over the parts and familiarizing myself with the steps and procedures. About a month ago, the friend who gave us the car came over for dinner. He showed us his techniques for assembling the car, explained some of the processes and gave us hope that we could manage. The next day we began working on it.

All in all, it wasn't really that hard afterall--in fact, it was a lot of fun! There was definitly a learning curve--some steps even took hours to complete, but once we learned how everything assembled, similar/duplicate steps later on took only a short while. 

The assembly took all levels of skill--from very easy (our six year old was working on parts) to very complex (where even I was stumped). But at the end of the day, the parts came together and the car began to take shape. The whole project took just over a week to assemble--and that's with no marathon days. I called HPI once with a couple of questions, among which I asked about how much time it should take to assemble. They said 10-15 hours. While that's very funny, I'd say we were still just in the 25 hour range. And now that it's running, it's really awesome to see all that work blasting through an open field at 30 miles per hour. Plus, as we are getting it full of mud and needing to keep it up, my son knows how to take it apart and clean it up.
There is one problem point to mention that might be helpful to others. Once the car was all assembled, the brake wouldn't work. I could apply it, but it had no stopping power. Like a real car, not having a brake totally limited it's functionality and safety. Made for a pretty tame ride. So we worked on it for a while and I eventually called HPI. They didn't have a silver bullet solution but mentioned that everything should twist and turn freely--which mine didn't. I decided to tear apart the whole brake component to examine the build. It turns out that the key metal rod that twists via the servo and activates the brake assembly went into a copper bushing that had gotten slightly damaged during the installation phase. Seeing that it didn't twist freely, I bored it out with a file until the steel rod swiveled easily. Then, after I reassembled everything, I recalibrated the radio to the brake, so that more pressure was applied. In the end, the brake worked beautifully.  

So, if you crave a super fast, super noisy, super fun toy--take a look into the HPI Baja 5B. I've got to say, this thing is really cool--genuinely lots of exciting thrills. We are so grateful for this totally unexpected uber-blessing.

Enjoy the videos!




Here's one that shows the power and speed of the HPI Baja 5B, you can hear the crowd of kids who began to amass while we were taking the car through it's paces:


Here's another video that has a pretty fun crash. Unfortunately, soon after this another crash sent us home with a broken shock tower, keep in mind though, that crash was about 20 times worse than this one in the video. We were able to repair the car with $25 in new parts (the $25 was for two sets) and about an hour of father/son work.




Christmas Bible Passages

Thursday, 23 December 2010 11:18 Published in Verse Lists

Christmas Bible Passages

Note also, that my “Family Bible Verse Advent Calendar” includes a number of non-traditional Christmas passages that are very relevant as to why Christ came as a Baby.

 

Isaiah 7:14 (NASB95) 14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NASB95) 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah 11:1-6 (NASB95) 1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist. 6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.

Isaiah 60:1-7 (NASB95) “Arise, shine; for your light has come,

And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

    2         “For behold, darkness will cover the earth

And deep darkness the peoples;

But the Lord will rise upon you

And His glory will appear upon you.

    3         “Nations will come to your light,

And kings to the brightness of your rising.

    4         “Lift up your eyes round about and see;

They all gather together, they come to you.

Your sons will come from afar,

And your daughters will be carried in the arms.

    5         “Then you will see and be radiant,

And your heart will thrill and rejoice;

Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you,

The wealth of the nations will come to you.

    6         “A multitude of camels will cover you,

The young camels of Midian and Ephah;

All those from Sheba will come;

They will bring gold and frankincense,

And will bear good news of the praises of the Lord.

    7         “All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you,

The rams of Nebaioth will minister to you;

They will go up with acceptance on My altar,

And I shall glorify My glorious house.



Micah 5:2-4 (NASB95) 2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” 3 Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. 4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth.

Zechariah 9:9-10 (NASB95) 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.

Luke 2:1-20 (NASB95) 1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” 15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Matthew 1:18-2:23 (NASB95) 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; For out of you shall come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” 9 After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. 13 Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” 14 So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15 He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” 16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.” 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, 20 “Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.” 21 So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, 23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

John 18:33-37 (NASB95) 33 Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

Galatians 4:4-7 (NASB95) 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

 

Books Every Christian Should Read and Own

Tuesday, 12 April 2011 22:55 Published in Blog

A major part of developing a strong, balanced walk with the Lord is having (and using) a good library. Solid Christian books  with the right tools to help you grow in Christ. Here's a list I posted a while back but have updated and annotated. It contains, IMHO, the most important books that every Christian should own and regularly use as they increasingly understand who God is and who He has called us to be.

Reference Books:

Unger's New Bible Dictionary. Moody, rev. 1988 ($25) - When you're studying the Bible, you need a tool that helps you understand what's even being talked about. A Bible Dictionary is like an encyclopedia, it's arranged by topic and covers nearly every topic and people group mentioned in the Bible. A decent Bible Dictionary is about 25 bucks and usually are just one volume, if you can afford a few extra dollars a much better alternative is the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia mentioned below.

Better: Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Zondervan, 5 Vol, 1976 ($100) - This is a classic tool that's not just for Bible scholars. It's five volumes of helpful information on thousands of topics. If you're any kind of student of the Bible, this resource will certainly help. One of the first tools I bought as a new believer and I still consistently use this.

The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands, Moody Press, 1985. ($35) - While we all know what an atlas is, this tool is much more. It not only provides maps, it shows various routes that the biblical people followed. It makes sense of the myriads of people groups, cities, terrain, governments, etc.

An Exhaustive Concordance ($15-25) - There are various exhaustive concordances on the market--the classic is the Strongs Concordance. Perhaps the best is the NASB Concordance. Most people think of concordances as quick ways to find a verse that contains a specific word. While that's true, the power of this tool is not so much in finding verses, but how they index those words to the word in its original language with a succinct, helpful definition of that word.

Better: Bible Software such as Logos Library System ($50-100) - While an Exhaustive Concordance is good, computer software is usually better and faster. My favorite is Logos/Libronix. The thing to understand, however, is that if you're just looking for an electronic concordance, you can get pretty good free Bible software. I'd say save your money. However, if you want to build an electronic library of books, then Logos/Libronix is the way to go.

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Various editions ($20) - Other than my Bible, this is probably the most powerful resource I have. It's a cross-reference tool that is on hyperdrive. When you're reading a verse, often you wish you knew other places in scripture that address the same topic. If you go to a concordance, there may be hundreds of references that would take too long to look up. But this tool provides the best relevant references that are not based solely on specific words, but on the topic/concept.

Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Thomas Nelson Publishers, rev. 1984 ($25) - Once you have learned to use a concordance, you'll find that you will probably want even more explanation on word meanings. This is basically a Greek dictionary for English readers--it will give you the Greek word, is keyed to the Strongs Concordance number system, and gives you a far fuller definition of a word meaning.

 

Theology

Packer, JI. Knowing God. Intervarsity Press, 1973 - While it sounds like this might be some kind of touchy-feely book, its actually a classic introductory systematic theology. It's not basic nor is it simplistic. It's a helpful, useful explanation of God.

Grudem, Wayne. Bible Doctrine. Zondervan, 1994 and 1998 ($30) - A systematic theology is a tool that seeks to "systematize" Bible teaching on various topics. There are loads of these on the market. Often they make things of God more confusing for the reader. Dr. Grudem's book does just the opposite. It's a great read. For those who sincerely want to understand what things of God is all about, this book will be an exciting and challenging read. They will have many "a ha" moments as Dr. Grudem unravels the complex lines of truth.

Better: Grudem, Wayne, Systematic Theology, Zondervan, 1994 - This is one of my all time favorite books. I use it all the time--even in the past couple of days. When I have a question about a specific doctrine, I consult Grudem's work first. This is just like his Bible Doctrine book above, just with far more depth. IMHO, it basically makes other one-volume systematic theologies (and I have many) unnecessary.

 

Commentaries

Walvoord and Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 2 Vol. Chariot Victor Publishing, 1983 ($60) - A commentary is a book that helps explain the meaning of a Bible passage. Unfortunately, many commentaries aren't worth the paper they are written on. Years ago, before I had a decent library, I'd waste countless hours reading bad commentaries, not finding any real help, and ending up frustrated and discouraged. The great thing about this commentary is that it's extremely succinct; you can drop in, look up a verse, find helpful information and get on with your day.

 

Bible Versions (most precise to least precise)

Greek Interlinear

King James Version

English Standard Version

New American Standard Version

New King James Version

New International Version

The New Living Translation

Study Bibles

MacArthur Study Bible, Word Publishing, 1998 ($35).

The Life Application Study Bible. Tyndale Publishing

Zodhiates, Spiros. The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible. AMG, 1990 ($25).

 

Ancient Background Information

Freeman, James. Manners and Customs of the Bible. various editions ($15) - When you're reading a verse, often you'll read something that is clearly cultural. You'll be wondering what in the world is going on. This is the book for you. It identifies the key items that are better understood when laid against their cultural/historical backdrop. It's arranged by passages that follow the biblical order so it's very easy and quick to use.

 

Top Ten Books Every Christians Should Own and Read Besides the Bible, in order.

Pursuit of God, AW Tozer - My favorite book on walking with God.

Mere Christianity, CS Lewis - A great explanation for the reasons why our faith in Christ is sound. Dinesh D'Souza's book What's So Great About Christianity? is better, but it's longer.

Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis - A great way to get a sense for the spiritual battle we face when we leave Satan's lordship and surrender to Christ's.

The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges - A key part of growing in Christ is growing in Christlikeness. This book lays out with quick, succinct precision how to pursue a path of increasing holiness and purity.

The Gospel According to Jesus, John Macarthur - Ultimately, what's more important that a sound understanding of the Gospel? Macarthur's book lays out the Gospel in a way that is not only clear, not only powerful, but you'll end up with strong convictions that so much of our lives in Christ hang upon a proper understanding of the Gospel.

Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life, Donald Whitney - Few good things come to the growing Christian without personal discipline. This book lays out most of the primary disciplines that all Christians should master. It is not nearly as stuffy as it sounds, but rather is practical, helpful, inspiring and motivating.

Living By The Book, Howard Hendricks - Every Christian needs to be men or women of The Book. We need to know how to read, understand, interpret and apply God's Word. Not only does sound understanding give us strength and confidence in our walk with Christ, but it also becomes a more effective tool for the Holy Spirit as He takes what we know correctly and He applies and enables us to live by it. This book offers clear, easy methods that will help you carefully approach a passage and understand it as the author meant.

How to Give Away Your Faith, Paul Little - A major component of being in Christ is sharing the Good News with those God has placed in our lives. This book explains the need and method of sharing your faith. It's a quick, helpful read.

Knowing God, JI Packer - Mentioned above, this book helps the student of God to understand their Lord better.

The God Who Is There, Francis Schaffer - We live in a philosophically sophisticated age. Often the world looks at us smugly and treats believers like back woods hillbillies. Yet this book is a tour-de-force of the rationale for the reality of God. While it's a challenging read, it's still accessible and enjoyable for most people. It will give you the clear conviction that Christianity is the only worldview that truly makes sense of the world.

 

So these are some of my recommendations, what are some of yours?

Leadership Principles from the Life of Moses

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 07:52 Published in Blog

Leadership Principles from the Life of Moses

I have been reading through Exodus in my quiet times lately and here are some practical leadership principles that I have been encouraged by:
1) Often God's leaders have humble beginnings (e.g. Moses being born into a peasant's home).
2) At times, God's leaders have great opportunities for skill development (e.g. Moses growing up in Pharaoh's home).
3) Often times, immature future leaders see great injustices and act impertinently. They have the ability to see what is wrong and what needs to be changed, but they lack the proper judgment to know what the best course of action would be. Likewise, they lack the proper self control to respond in the wise, measured way that Christ would (e.g. Moses killing the Egyptian).
4) God's leaders are not perfect (e.g. Moses killing the Egyptian).
5) Because God's leaders are not perfect, and many commit serious sin, He will only greatly uses those who come to the point of full humility.
6) God's leaders respect and honor Him (e.g. Moses taking off his shoes before the Lord in Exodus 3:5).
7) It may take many years before God's leaders are properly and fully humbled, fully to the point of obeying the Lord rather than their own flesh (e.g. Moses going to Midian.
8) God will give His leaders clear vision, as in Exodus 3:7-10, and His leaders must find a way in their hearts to surrender to His direction and obey.
9) God's leaders may (and should) feel a strong sense of inadequacy, this allows them to fully rely upon God so that what is accomplished is of Him (e.g. Moses saying to God, "who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?" in Exodus 3:11).
10) God's leaders will often be blind to their own potential (e.g. Moses asking God "Who am I?" which is a silly question considering that he was the only Jew in the land who personally knew Pharaoh, had a relationship with him, understood him, and had the personal training to know how to conduct himself before Pharaoh).
11) God's leaders must be fully obedient to Him, pure in all aspects of their lives. This principle comes form that strange couple of verses in Exodus 4:24-26 where God was angry with Moses for not circumscising his son. It was Moses' wife, Zipporah, who recognized the need for absolute righteousness in all respects, so she circumscised the boy. When God has enlisted a person into His leadership, they had better not trifle with disobedience.
12) Often God will provide other people who will help carry the load--God did this wth Aaron, who was a co-leader with Moses after Exodus 4.
13) Often, people will not believe or respond properly to the notion that they are accountable to God. When Moses first told Pharaoh about God's call upon the Jews, he said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go." (Exodus 5:2).
14) Sometimes our first attempts to lead may result in a worsening of the situation, but even if people pronounce condemnation upon us, the Lord might be in that situation none-the-less. This happened with Moses and the Jews when he first sought to deliver them. Rather than obliging them, Pharaoh made their tasks harder. Rather than being grateful to Moses, the people condemned Moses and said, "Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you hvce made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh..." (Exodus 5:21).
15) Sometimes, things will get worse before they get better. This was the case with Moses, Pharaoh and the Jews. Their situation worsened and when Moses complained to the Lord, He said "Now you shall see what I will do..." (Exodus 6:1).
16) Often the Lord will allow perplexing problems into our lives to demonstrate His power. He said as much in Exodus 6:7, "...then you shall know that I am teh Lord your God..." Likewise, the Lord is about His glory and His name. At times this may mean that His leaders will endure hardship and mocking from those who disbelieve.
17) Sometimes the people will be so frightened, exhausted, hurt, scarred that they are unable to heed the voice of their leaders. This was the case with Moses in Exodus 6:9 where it says, "Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage."
18) Regardless of the people's reaction, God calls His leaders to be faithful and lead, as He did to Moses in Exodus 6:10-12.
19) Leaders need to encourage and strengthen those around them (Deut 3:28) and not be embittered against those who may surpass them according to God's design.

Church Resources

Saturday, 11 December 2010 11:12 Published in Resources
Here are some of our resources for churches!
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