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Posts by Rick Gregory

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Boys and Girls

The agenda of those who defy God's prerogative of establishing male and female knows no satisfaction. There is a refusal to acknowledge God's authority and a defiance that permits them to engage in whatever moral activity they choose. The Boys Scouts of America announced this week that they will no longer be exclusive to boys, but will allow girls to join the organization...

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Fear No Evil

"Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is the ONLY solution to the problem of sin." One of the most well-known passages of Scripture is Psalm 23. In verse 4, David (the Psalmist) says: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." In a different Psalm, David declares: "The L...

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Influence

"It has been said that we will either influence people toward righteousness or wickedness, but we will definitely influence others." One of the things that I learned early in life is that we cannot help but influence people around us. A famous expression of this principle is provided by John Donne (1572-1631) in a piece written in 1624 where he states: "As therefore the b...

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Spiritual Growth

"There is no hope of transformation without the ability to see Christ. Considering Christ, studying Him, pursuing Him, observing Him, and following Him becomes the absolute mandate for anyone who will grow spiritually." I remember a time when I was a child that I wanted to be taller. My friends seemed to be taller than I was and I didn't want to be "left behind." I kept w...

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Theodicy

Instead of criticizing God when calamity happens, we ought to remain amazed that the mercy of God is known at all. Theodicy - "a vindication of the divine attributes, particularly holiness and justice, in establishing or allowing the existence of physical and moral evil." One Hollywood notable declared: "God" sent Harvey and Irma because America elected Donald Trump as Pr...

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Hurricane Harvey

God has warned sinners that He will judge sin. He has provided an "ark" that is, somewhere we can flee for forgiveness and safety. It is the Lord Jesus Christ! Hurricane Harvey was historic. It is hard to imagine the powerful devastation that it brought to the Texas coast. Harvey has been the greatest natural disaster on record in the continental United States being d...

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The Eclipse of God's Power

"Where are they who are oriented enough to warn people of the great dangers of looking upon the holiness of God without the protection of the shield of redemption found in Christ Jesus?" Last week we experienced a very notable, unmistakable demonstration of God's awesome power gaining worldwide attention. We were awed by the unique experience of the solar eclipse. Some pe...

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What Should I Watch?

Being "unaffected" by such programming actually displays that the corruptions they've already suffered are so deeply entrenched that their souls are not grieved nor are their spirits shamed by the sins they are watching. Most believers have to make decisions every day concerning what they will permit themselves to watch either on TV or in movies. Some deal with the matter...

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Why Should I Participate in Community Group?

No believer will thrive spiritually without the stimulation of accountable relationships with people who truly know them. Believers are meant to exist within the context of caring, nurturing, interpersonal relationships with other believers. Through this environment, believers are able to grow in grace through studying God's Word, laboring in prayer, exercising spiritual ...

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The Value of Expectancy

I remember when I was younger, I used to consider the Rapture of the church a matter of convenience. I thought about it when I was either in trouble or facing a test for which I hadn't studied! I realized that the very next item on God's agenda for the advancement of His eternal purposes is the event when Jesus returns to "catch up" His Bride (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), th...

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Cooperative Efforts

The statement is made: "You can accomplish more together than you can by yourself." This truth is demonstrated throughout the Scriptures especially as it pertains to the Body of Christ. I am sitting at the annual IFCA Convention in Kalamazoo, MI. I am interacting with pastors and church leaders from all of the world. We have people from Fiji, Guyana, Japan, India, Ukrain...

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Ordination

The Scriptures teach us that spiritual leadership is a gift from Jesus Christ Himself to the Church: "But to each one of us grace was given according the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says, 'When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.' And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some...

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D-Day

Surreal.Clearly the dominant impression as I stood on the sand watching people flying kites, walking their dogs, riding wind carriages, tossing frisbees, and playing in the sand. The carefree atmosphere was amazing as most of the beach was empty. It was hundreds of feet to the water as we were there at low tide. I casually walked across the beach to the water's edge to tu...

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Prison

It was terribly disappointing. I had missed being able to enter the Folsom Prison Women's Facility which I had been entering on a weekly basis for well over a year. I walked up and was buzzed in the exterior door. I walked over to the officer who served as a receptionist. He recognized me from the previous encounters and immediately said: "Sorry, your card has expired!" I...

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Hidden Beauty

As most of you know, Pat and I recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong and several Pacific islands. We were amazed at the beauty of what we saw in these parts of the world. Hong Kong was fascinating an incredibly clean city with a most effective use of technology. The skyline was as amazing as the population was dense! After the conference for our BMW missionaries, we...

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Commitment to the Local Church

Last night in the Leadership Development Training class, I was teaching on the importance of the local church. We traced the etymology of the term "church" throughout the Scriptures and extra-biblical usage. The church is properly defined as the Body of Christ composed of all those who are redeemed by God's grace through faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus and bap...

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Spiritual Gifts Today

So what about spiritual gifts? What spiritual gifts are available for me today? As the Scriptures declare, the purpose of spiritual gifts in the life of the church is for the common good of the saints (1 Corinthians 12:7). The edification of the Body of Christ is the reason that God gives these gifts. They enable each member of the Body of Christ to serve the other member...

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Spiritual Gifts

How can I know how God intends to use me after He saves me? This question is often paralyzing to new believers who have no idea how they are able to serve Christ. They often feel unworthy to enjoy the privilege of serving Christ. Yet, we are told that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to every believer to the benefit of the common good of the church (1 Corinthians 12:...

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Divine Compassion

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16 Today as I was riding to the class which I'm teaching here in Kenya, I was struck with the profound numbers of people busily going about their business. Through the city of Eldoret, people were literally everywhere: on the sides...

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Theological Struggle in Kenya

Later this week, Brett Smith and I take off for a ministry of teaching theology to pastors and pastors-in-training in Kenya. Pastor Situma Wanjala is committed to solid biblical theology and has asked for help in training his Kenyan brothers. These men are precious servants of Christ who are in great need of theological stability. They are attempting to serve as shepherds...

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True Confessions

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 Last Sunday night I completed a sermon on 1 John 1:9 dealing with an essential characteristic of a person who truly has a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and is therefore, "in the light." That characteristic is this: a true belie...

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Older Influencing Younger

Titus 2:1-2 This past Sunday I had the delightful privilege of speaking to our Young Marrieds on the subject of "Older Influencing Younger" as a biblical norm. I was thrilled to see approximately 12 couples, married 8 years or less, gathered in a square to consider the principles in Titus 2:1-2. As I looked at the group, I was blessed to think of the years of faithful ser...

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Joy

Do you enjoy life? I realize that this is a loaded question but really, do you? There are many different "joy-killers" that we face every day. There are obligations and duties that become so horribly mundane, repetitive, and boring! There are people that are difficult, frustrating, and downright infuriating! There are sins that stick to us like barnacles on a barge and ...

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Worthy of All Worship?

I was taught from my youngest days that one way that one can show utmost respect for others is to be punctual. Being late, tardy, delinquent, overdue, belated, dilatory or behind are not to be viewed as virtues. Of course, people sometimes say that they prefer to avoid being jammed, pressured, hasty, stressed, and harried rather than "obsess" about being "on time." In our...

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Marital Intimacy

"Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, 'I have gotten a man child with the help of the Lord.'" (Genesis 4:1) The thought of "having relations" with a spouse communicates more than what would immediately appear. Of course, the immediate context is in the holy act of marriage whereby God blessed them with offspr...

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Valentine's Day

Today is perhaps the most emotionally painful day of the year. It is the day that is set apart by our culture to celebrate dating, romance, love, and even marriage. As in many of our holidays, the origin of Valentine's Day is shrouded in a bit of mystery. The legends include a defiant priest name Valentine who defied the Roman Emperor Claudius II who outlawed marriage to p...

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Resisting the Devil

Last night in our Leadership Development and Training session, I had the opportunity to discuss the issue of resisting Satan and the nature of spiritual warfare. There is a wide variety of perspectives from personally confronting Satan in order to bind him, rebuke him, and/or thwart him. There are those who believe that demons are involved in every difficulty we face and ...

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Right to Life

44 years ago this week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), made one of the worst ethical, moral, and legal decisions in its history. In a series of decisions - known as both ROE and DOE - the high court determined that a woman had a constitutional right to kill a baby with whom she was pregnant. The decision has caused the killing of millions of children thr...

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God's Love

"God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you!" - such is the claim of many who seek to provide affirmation to people while assuring them that God cares about them. Many of them add the notion that "God loves you just the way you are!" I cannot accept that such statements represent accurate biblical theology. God does love us - Scripture declares this and I beli...

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Deluge

"Wow! It's really coming down!" It has been a long time since Californians have witnessed rain in the amounts that have been recorded within the past week. From the blizzard conditions and the tens of feet of snow in the Sierra to the constant pounding of the rain in the valley, we have seen record amounts of rain. First the damns were opened to allow water to flow. Then ...

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Law Enforcement Appreciation

On Monday, January 9th, 2017 our Nation will observe the 2nd annual National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (LEAD). Throughout the past several years, our culture has thrown great disparagement on men and women in uniform - often seeking to vilify officers as an "enemy" who use their authority to advance an agenda of bigotry and abuse. Our media has ill-advisedly mainst...

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Resolved: Exposure to Scripture

"Sanctify them through the truth, Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17) Success rarely sneaks up behind you and kicks you in the seat! Normally, a successful endeavor is one that results from deliberate effort and disciplined planning. Spiritually, success is seen as conformity to Jesus Christ. This is the ultimate end of everything God has purposed for us. Scripturally we are ...

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Coming Home to the Family

I don't want to romanticize this too much - but as I sit at my kitchen table, I have such a sense of joy as I reflect on my children coming home and allowing our love for one another to be celebrated. As I write, my son, Rich and his family are driving up from LA - I just got a text saying: "On our way... on the grapevine!" My heart leaped with joy at the thought of havin...

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The Reason for the Season

During this month, all over the world we are able to see a heightened awareness of the grace of God and the glory of His love. Although in the experience of many, the celebration is diluted with commercialism, materialism and greed, there remains an awareness in many people's minds that the reason for the celebration is the gift of God that is named "Jesus." It truly is a...

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Pearl Harbor

Tomorrow marks the 75th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack that resulted in the American participation in WWII. Earlier this year, I fulfilled a lifelong dream: to visit Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii. My wife and I had the pleasure of spending portions of two days touring the Memorial at Pearl Harbor, the USS Bowfin Submarine, the Battleship Missouri, and the Pacific A...

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Giving Tuesday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have placed pressure on all Americans to buy, buy, buy! What a materialistic thrust we have endured - even before Thanksgiving! And this isn't even the "worst" of it - the greatest day of them all is the Saturday before Christmas when Americans will spend more on that day than any other! In response to such crass materialism, several organiz...

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A Thankful Heart

"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above" It is an interesting thing to experience isn't it? The more we receive, the less impressed we are with what we have. We can become accustomed to our prosperity and lose the sense of gratitude for what we receive. This is addressed in several ways in Scripture. First, Paul admonishes the Corinthian believers...

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Deacon Enthusiasm

Last night the GBC elders had the joy of meeting together with the deacons for dinner and fellowship. It was a great time of unity and blessing. I walked in with dinner for everybody almost unnoticed as men were busy talking, sharing, and laughing together. I was struck by the joy of having 19 deacons, 10 elders, and 2 pastoral staff members (31 men in all) who were of on...

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God's Vote

The theological considerations of the US Presidential election held yesterday are again proven. The "pundits" stated that President-elect Trump pulled off an unprecedented upset unlike any other in political history. From a human perspective, regardless of what political party one favors, this is true. However, that statement eliminates the power of God to do what we have...

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Election Week

I cast my vote last night, one week early. It has been a long election cycle. The stories, slanders, and sleaze has been unprecedented. It has seemed that both major candidates have sought to insure that the other gets elected. Just when you thought it couldn't get any more bizarre, another "leak" or another outlandish statement captured the headlines. Neither candidate s...

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Church Polity - Part 3

In the conclusion to our treatment of Church Polity, allow me to answer some common questions: What about Deacons? The congregation is able to be better served in some of the practical needs by an additional sphere of spiritual leadership called the "deacons" ("servants"). These are men who are selected by the congregation, but authorized by the elders to work in conjunc...

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Church Polity - Part 2

How does biblical church leadership work? The relationship between elders and flock must be one of mutual respect, love and trust. Often, instead of this approach, there is a severe lack of trust by both elders and congregation. Elders may attempt to control (lord over) the congregation because it "doesn't have the needed spiritual discernment" a policy and practice tha...

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Church Polity - Part 1

Over the years, the question of polity (form of governing) in the local church has encountered considerable theological and practical confusion. Where should authority rest? The great danger in striving to derive from Scripture the solution to this question is to strive to draw lines so clearly that inconsistent realities with one's view are negated. For instance, many wh...

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Church Membership

This coming Sunday night, the saints of GBC will be meeting at 6:00 p.m. to celebrate the wonderful gift that God has given to us through our spiritual leadership. The two affirmations that our congregation is asked to make each year include: 1) the annual budget; and, 2) the nominations for elders, deacons, and deaconesses. It is important that every member of the church...

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The High Stakes of Your Testimony

The stakes have never been higher for the power of a godly testimony among unbelievers. I have heard recentlyof multiple occasions where believers have severely compromised the glory of Jesus Christ through their indulgence in sin. The glory of Christ is placed on display through the transformed life of the believer as the believer walks worthy of his calling by exhibitin...

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How to Grow the Church

It seems that the church is regularly confronted with things like: "the six things necessary to grow a church" or "the seven failsafe activities guaranteed to take the church to the next level" and so on. Church Growth experts maintain their church growth business by constantly formulating the next "best approach" to "doing" church - many of the "secrets to church growth" ...

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To Vote or Not to Vote

Biblically speaking, the government exists for one primary function - to protect its citizens from evil. Romans 13 teaches us that governing authority is something that comes from God - even when the authority is a Roman pagan named Caesar. Governing authorities - whether in a dictatorship or a democracy - are established by God (Romans 13:1). Resisting such authority is o...

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Canonizing a Saint

This past weekend, the Roman Catholic church declared that Mother Teresa of Calcutta is a saint. Pope Francis delivered the formula for the canonization. He stated: "After due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a saint, and we enroll her...

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Looking Up

As a parent, I was regularly amused by how easily I could read my children. Their actions seemed to give evidence to their thoughts, moods, and temperaments. There were times when we had to coax them to get ready to go somewhere. Other times, they would be ready with their coats and shoes on, sitting by the front door calling on us to "come on!" Usually the coaxing had t...

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Sustainable Ministry

I run - mostly because I like to eat! Well, let's be honest - I jog! Because I have been laid up after several consecutive surgeries, I have to work harder at running - I've lost my conditioning. Running for me is a real chore. I've recently been exposed to "burst" running or "intervals." I walk to warm up, and then jog for 3 minutes, then sprint at 80% for 15 seconds foll...

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Olympic Dedication

I have been eager to find the opportunity to get involved in watching the 2016 Rio Olympics. I essentially missed the first week. I enjoy watching the competition and the excellence represented by those who compete, but especially those who win. I am amazed at the levels of coordination, skill, balance, speed, accuracy, teamwork, individual effort, and concentration that e...

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Normandy Cemetery

Today I stood amid thousands of crosses in the American Military Cemetery in Normandy, France with a deep sorrow and immense patriotic pride. Those who are buried in this cemetery are men (and a few women) who gave and lost their lives in the campaign to liberate Normandy that began on June 6, 1944 and continued for several months. D-Day (code named "Operation Overlord")...

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Refuse in Rothenburg

Over the past several days, I have enjoyed the little city of Rothenburg, Germany. It is a walled city that in many ways is a preservation of a period long ago. I stayed in a hotel that is centuries old - far older than the United States of America. The City hall (which I climbed to the top of the lookout tower to view the beauty of the city) is from the 14th century (th...

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Missionary Minded

I just returned from the annual BMW board meeting where we receive missionary candidates to go out in partnership between BMW and their own local churches. As I come back to GBC, I am reminded that our church desires to see a passionate commitment to the command of Christ that we make disciples everywhere. All of us need to see our own personal responsibility to reach ou...

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Political Convention

This week the Republican National Convention is in full swing. So many people in the United States - even worldwide - believe that the hope of this nation rests in the hands of political power and the GOP. The claim that if the Republicans don't win the Presidential Election, then hope is gone. The thought is that if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, then the LGBTQ age...

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The Cause of Terror

"Monster," "Extremist," "Jihadist," "terrorist," "hater," "racist," "insurgent," "radical," and whatever other moniker that one may select, we are all impacted by the reality of depravity finding the lack of restraint. Whether we refer to a truck driver slaying over 80 people in France, a sniper targeting a dozen officers in Texas, a gunman murdering over 50 people in Fl...

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