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What we learn from the great commandment

As I watch and listen, now and across several years, I strongly conclude that the typical American has issues with authority. I mean authority in every area of life. I also conclude, with conviction, the average Christian also struggles with authority to include the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It appears to me through decades of...

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The Center Line

During high school I had a “rough around the edges” 1971 Plymouth Satellite Sebring. Yes. It was a so-called muscle car. It had a 383 V-8 engine with a four-barrel carburetor averaging about 8 miles to the gallon and less when I drove fast on rural country roads. I might as well add that it...

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Heartland 2023 Theme

RO 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Why is this theme important to our church? It reminds us of our personal responsibility and our mission to share the gospel.  Did you...

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Carrying the Load

Carrying the Load When I was growing up in the Stockton household, like many of you, I had chores. In the summer, my chores centered around the yard, garden and garage. In the winter, I helped out with washing the dishes and vacuuming the carpet. I even learned how to do laundry although not very...

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Neglecting Worship

Neglecting Worship Is God not God? Has God changed? Has God disappointed us? I throw these question out in the open because even people who say they are Christian are neglecting worship. How do I know?  I know as a matter of experience as a pastor of a local church. I also know because the...

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An Opportunity of a Lifetime

An Opportunity of a Lifetime Over the years, I’ve heard people use the phrase “an opportunity of a lifetime” as an exaggeration for such things as a date, book signings and celebrity sightings. But, I’ve also heard people use the phrase with merit related to a job prospect, education opportunity, property purchase and exotic vacations....

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Human Sexuality, Marriage and the Sanctity of Life

Human Sexuality, Marriage and the Sanctity of Life We are inundated with opinions and political notions about human sexuality, marriage and sanctity of life from politicians, television, radio, movies, news sources, social media, electronic mail, educators and not to forget family, friends, classmates, neighbors and the occasional loudmouth in the grocery store. The opinions and...

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A Seed Sown in Good Soil Bears Fruit

How many times have you or someone you know planted a tree in anticipation of harvesting fresh, juicy apples or pears in your own backyard? Home fruit production can be both rewarding and troublesome. One of the most common questions is why trees fail to bear fruit or only have fruit every other year. Likewise, how...

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Before I . . .

I’ve experienced some interesting circumstances over the years concerning charitable giving. Whether it’s a blog post, article in a publication, website, personal testimony or argument at small group—people generally express strong opinions about giving to the local church. Beyond that, you can learn a lot from years of observation. In fact, I’ve organized some groupings that...

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What it takes is what it takes

When I was a child my dreams of the future centered on becoming a professional athlete. In the summer, I dreamed of playing professional baseball for the Cincinnati Reds. In the fall, I dreamed of playing professional football for the Dallas Cowboys. In the winter, I dreamed of playing professional basketball for the Boston Celtics....