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The Heart of Christmas: Joseph's Prayer

The other my wife climbed up the into the attic. She handed down boxes of Christmas decorations including one labeled, “Holy Land Nativity.” It has all the pieces… a stable, animals, shepherds, wise men, and the Holy Family with Baby Jesus. Are all the parts there? Maybe if Joseph is missing, we can still set it up and display it. He’s kind of the forgotten one anyway. Yet God intentionally selected Joseph to be more than a bit player in the drama of the ages. He is on stage briefly in Act...


The Heart of Christmas: We Wish You a Mary Christmas

We wish you a Mary Christmas! That’s right. I meant MARY, not “merry.” Certainly, we want everyone to have a joyful, happy, merry Christmas. But Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus, plays an important part in the story. She is chosen.She is favored. She is to be the recipient of a divine visitation. By the Holy Spirit, divine life will be born in her. When we consider all these things, we find ourselves with a parallel set of blessings divinely bestowed. We are chosen and beloved by God. We are...


In those Days: Christ the King

For lots of years in a row, Connie and I have spent Thanksgiving in Dallas where one of my daughters, her husband and boys live. She gathers in as many from our family and from her in-laws as can possibly make it and we do the whole thing; The turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, pies. When the football games start, the guys are seated in place before the large screen, each one with his own opinion on the conduct of the game. I take a break from football to do my annual turkey carving duty....


Beware of False Recruiters

There’s a lot of recruiting going on. It’s happening all the time. You’re the target of the recruiters, who try to get you on their team. Jesus warned about “False Recruiters,” who are always looking for people to work on the dark side. He said that “many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.” Matthew 24:11. Their offers are attractive, just like bait is to a fish. But with the bait is a hook, and the next step is the pan. The false recruiters offer much that appears attractive but...


Beware of False Coaches

A team depends on good coaching. A good coach is a motivator, trainer, leader, and example who seeks to equip players and utilize out the best of their talents for the team. Coaching makes a huge difference, both good and bad coaching. God’s Word gives examples of bad coaching (those who set bad examples and cared very little for the team) and good coaching. St. Paul was a great coach. He mentored people like Timothy, Titus, Silas, Priscilla and Aquilla among others. He showed them the...


Retired Players Cheering Us On

What will be YOUR legacy? Our lives matter to God and to others. We have only one earthly lifetime to let our lives matter to others. What are we doing that can bless the generations to come? What legacy are you planning to leave? It would certainly be nice to leave some money for them, but that is not nearly as important as leaving examples of faith, godliness, generosity, faithfulness and high morality.


Reformation: Getting Back to Fundamentals

Games are won or lost not just on how talented your players are or how tricky is your game plan. Rather, outcomes are influenced more by mastering the fundamentals of the game. The same holds true in our spiritual lives. The legacy of the Reformation is a recovery of the Fundamentals of the Faith. They can be summarized by the three great solas (Latin for “alone” or “only”) of the Reformation. 501 years ago next week, a young monk, Martin Luther, started off this massive movement that...


Staying in the Game: Celebrating the Victory

Victories call for celebrations. When your kids win a soccer game, everyone is excited. High fives all around, cheers, and then everyone goes to for pizza. The atmosphere is upbeat and the future feels bright. It’s right to celebrate victories; whether Little League or Major League. Christians join in the greatest victory celebration ever. Jesus defeated sin, death and the devil, and He did this for US! That triumph reaches us as we place our trust in Jesus, and we know that nothing in life...


Staying in the Game: Blueprint vs. Game Plan

You’ve got your vehicle’s GPS set for your destination. It will give you advance warning of your next turn and do all sorts of helpful things. If you continue in a way other than the original Plan A, you will hear “Recalculating.” Plan A is bring replaced by a new game plan. In sports, when the teams fails with the original game plan, a new game plan is in order. In our life journey Christians are given a guidance system. It is the Word of God activated by the Holy Spirit. Psalm 119...


Staying in the Game: Keeping A Grip on the Ball

Lose the ball, probably lose the game. So, “Get A Grip on the Ball!" Not so easy to do with so much confusion going on. How do you keep yourself under control? In real life it’s easy to fumble the ball. In the Bible, that’s called sin. There are lots of ways we do it, often not even realizing it. So, how can you “get a grip?” The answer is to be gripped in the grace of God. Holding our hand securely, leading us through the confusions and dangers of life… God’s all about that. The grace and...


Staying in the Game: Healing Our Injuries

Who goes through life without injuries? Hardly anyone reading this has suffered an injury resulting in physical paralysis, but we all have our own hurts. Not all of them are physical injuries. Most are emotional injuries. Some grew up in a dysfunctional family. Others experienced abuse or rejection. Maybe we can’t point to any significant traumas in our lives, but our human nature, broken by sin, tends to attract “injury.” The greatest injury of all was that suffered by Jesus. According to...


Staying in the Game: Training for Endurance

Life can be exhausting. Too many things going on. Too many responsibilities. How can we keep on going? If we push it too far and too long, we do injury to ourselves. Our physical selves need a balance of vigorous exercise, good nutrition, and rest. We cannot keep pushing ourselves beyond the limit and expect to be healthy. But we can increase our endurance and push back the limits through training. Our spiritual selves also need training for endurance. Just as in the physical realm there is...


Staying in the Game: Conquering our Fears

It’s hard to keep on your game when the obstacles appear to make victory impossible. Arguably, the biggest obstacle is not what’s out there, but what’s in here, namely, fear. Franklin D. Roosevelt, president of the US during most of World War II famously said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Yet there were extremely serious matters to contend with, such as the unparalleled combined military might of Germany and Japan. But more debilitating than that could be obsessing with fear...


Staying in the Game: Player or Just a Fan

All of us face that question at one time or another (or perhaps often). The questioner is Jesus, who frequently tested the commitment of his disciples, and questioned the commitment of those who presented themselves as candidates for discipleship. When the requirements of being followers of Jesus looked too demanding, or when the beck and call of the world seemed more enticing or glamorous, people would leave Jesus and go their own way. We will examine biblical examples of those who turned...


Know Your Opponent: Making the Playoffs

Christians are not always sure they want to follow Jesus all the way when and where He goes. We tend to like the benefits and the ultimate glory, but the present pain can be unpleasant. If we are willing to go the distance we have to prepare, practice and press on. But Jesus would never require us to go where he himself has not first gone. He sets the pattern. He plants the footprints for us to follow. Then when we grow weary he will lift and carry us. Recorded on September 1, 2018 Visit...


Know Your Opponent: Defense

"Know Your Opponent: Defense" Rev. Tim Dreier August 25, 2018 http://ablazechurch.org


Know Your Opponent: Offense

"Know Your Opponent: Offense" Rev Dr. Arthur Spomer August 19, 2018 http://ablazechurch.org


Know Your Opponent: Calling the Right Play

"Know Your Opponent: Calling the Right Play" Rev. Dr. Arthur Spomer August 12, 2018 http://ablazechurch.org


Know Your Opponent: Huddling

"Know Your Opponent: Huddling" Rev. Dr. Arthur Spomer August 5, 2018 http://ablazechurch.org


Halftime Report: Renewing the Team Spirit

"Halftime Report: Renewing the Team Spirit" Don Cook July 29. 2018 http://ablazechurch.org