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ADVENT: A SEASON OF ADORATION

      The American Bible Society is one of the many Christian non-profit organizations that my mom supports. In fact, she has participated in the society’s “Bible-a-month” club for many years. Recently, she found some gospel/scripture tracts that had been published by the ABS years ago. One tract presents the announcement of Jesus’ birth by the angel to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). Entitled Great Joy for All, the cover of this tract is being used with permission as the graphic for the current edition of “From Daniel’s Den.”

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ADVENT: A SEASON OF EXPECTATION

      Phillips Brooks, a well-known and respected Episcopal preacher in the mid-19th century, served churches primarily in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. With his impressive physical stature (Brooks stood 6’4” and weighed 300 pounds) and oratory prowess, Brooks held the attention of his congregants who eagerly learned and responded whenever he stood in the pulpit and proclaimed biblical truth.

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ADVENT: A SEASON OF PREPARATION

      On the first Saturday of October, I visited a local home-improvement store that has a national presence. Upon entering, I immediately came face-to-face with numerous artificial trees that seemingly were positioned as “greeters” to alert shoppers that Christmas soon would arrive and that a nearly unlimited choice of tools, floor covering, paint, yard-and-garden equipment, and other spruce-up-around-the-house items could be purchased as a gift to oneself or for a special someone.

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THANKS-GIVING: LIVING WITH AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

      With Thanksgiving Day approaching, many folks regard this national observance merely as a holiday designed to watch ballgames and to eat a lot of good food. And, while gathering with family and friends certainly is enjoyable and edifying, limiting one’s expression of thanks to a once-a-year experience that “starts with the gobbler and ends with the cobbler” may reflect a somewhat shallow attitude and an incomplete approach for being thankful and exhibiting a grateful heart.

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WHO DOES JESUS USE?

      John Wesley asserted, “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God and I will shake the world. I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen and such alone will overthrow the kingdom of Satan and build up the Kingdom of God on earth.”

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SHEPHERD SERVANTS: WORKING FOR THE LORD

      “Working for the Lord doesn’t pay very much but the retirement plan is out of this world.” My wife presented a cross-stitched version of this declaration to my dad on the occasion of his birthday one year. My dad hung this birthday gift on his office wall in the Church Music Department at the Baptist Building.

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PASTOR APPRECIATION: PART THREE (SEE-CHER AND PLEACH-ER)

     The Southern Baptist Convention was organized in 1845 at the First Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia. As a tribute to the faith of the Convention’s founders, the church placed an inscription in the building: “Men who see the invisible, hear the inaudible, believe the incredible, and think the unthinkable.”


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PASTOR APPRECIATION: PART TWO (REACHER AND TEACHER)

      With the goal of highlighting some of the many tasks and responsibilities carried out by pastors for which these servants of God are admired and appreciated, allow me to offer two additional ministry areas that align closely with the pastor who Exposits (preaches) and Exhorts (beseeches). The first of these two ministry areas is the role of the pastor as Evangelist and the second is the role of the pastor as Equipper.

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PASTOR APPRECIATION: PART ONE (PREACHER AND BESEECHER)

      The term “pastor” stems from a Latin noun meaning “shepherd.” In turn, this term is further derived from the verb pascere when means “to lead to pasture, set to grazing, cause to eat, feed” and, by extension “to tend, guard, protect.”  In this context, a pastor leads, feeds, and even bleeds for his flock in a manner uniquely similar to a shepherd who guides, grazes, and guards his sheep.    

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WALKING WITH GOD

      Perhaps you have seen verbiage on a church sign that encourages readers to “Exercise Daily: Walk with God.” Through the years, my doctor(s) have encouraged me to exercise more frequently and more intentionally. Having recently had a birthday, I am now heeding my doctor’s counsel and have begun walking nearly every day.

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