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Serving The Next Generation

What comes to mind when you think of the children at New Covenant? Gift? Joy? Future? Potential? Nuisance? Necessary evil? At New Covenant, we want to be a church that truly loves children well....

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Holy Husbands-Faithful Fathers

Another mother’s day has come and gone, and it is incumbent on all husbands and fathers to remember the call of scripture to model godliness as a holy husband and a faithful father so that appreciation for moms doesn’t just occur on one Sunday per year....

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Yahweh Nissi

How many of you have connected the name Yahweh Nissi with your wayward son or daughter? I know I hadn’t....

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What The Bible Teaches About Crossing Cultures

As our neighborhoods, schools and workplaces become more and more ethnically diverse, how should we respond? What cues can we as believers take from Scripture that will make us more ethnic friendly and winsome?...

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A Servant Song From Isaiah

Last February, a second-hour Sunday morning class began a study of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the last and most well-known of four servant songs in Isaiah. ...

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The God Who Sees When We Cannot

This is a follow-up to my last blog post called “Braille and the God Who Sees.”...

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Former Muslim Gives All Glory To God

Last Wednesday night for our prayer meeting no one guessed that my friend’s story would be so moving. But judging from the number of texts, emails, and comments, I knew something wonderful was happening. All evidence to God for how he uses the weak things of this world to bring him glory....

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An Update From Our Missionary, Cindy McFarland

The Hospital of Hope is a 65 bed hospital located in northern Togo with a full outpatient clinic, pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology and surgery services. It is a hospital that offers quality medical care along with a message of hope to patients from many tribes and surrounding countries in West Africa. ...

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A Book Review - You Are What You Love (The Spiritual Power Of Habit) by James K.A. Smith

“What Do You Want?” This is the first, last, and most fundamental question in Christian discipleship. ...

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God Is Weaving His Plan-From Genesis 16

Sarai offered Abram a worldly solution to her own barrenness in offering Hagar to him to bear a child in her stead. Sarai taking matters into her own hand revealed her sin of impatience, the manifestation of her unbelief. ...

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Remaining Faithful To The End

In my own life, I find it helpful to remember that life is short and heaven is ahead. When I do, it makes a difference in how I live. With that in mind, I thought it was appropriate to share some thoughts from my mom about dying, written in a letter to her pastor....

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Come To The Bible Expectantly!

I love pastoring our church, and one of the main ways I seek to faithfully be a shepherd to you is through the ministry of the Word. For me, this means marinating in the text of Scripture with prayerful desire for my own heart and life to be shaped and molded by God’s holy Word. ...

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Parenting Class So Far

On Wednesday nights at the church a group of young parents have been participating in a parenting class using a newly written curriculum by my wife and myself. Here is an overview of what we have gone through thus far....

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Preparing For Senior Years

Here at New Covenant Bible Church fully one third of our congregation can be referred to as Seniors. Although this devotional is directed towards seniors, it really applies to all those who hope to be seniors someday, which will, Lord willing, be most of you....

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Blessed Are Those Who Make Peace

This past September, I had the joy of finally being able to visit Israel for the first time....

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Book Review: Good And Angry

How many of us have been angry, irritated, or bitter this week? How are we doing in the complaint department? ...

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A Personal Testimony Of God's Grace

Today's blog post is a personal testimony of God's grace in the life of one of our church members. ...

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The Art Of Neighboring

Throughout Scripture we have this clear admonition: “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’’ (Galatians 5:14)....

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Braille And The God Who Sees

This past summer I was blessed to take a one week class from Julie Lowe in Philadelphia. ...

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The State Of The Church

Do you ever wish you knew more about what God is doing at New Covenant Bible Church and how you can be more meaningfully involved in the life of our community?...

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Faithful Church Attendance Matters

As we begin a new year, the elder team is reminded of how faithful so many of you have been to the church, not only this past year, but for many, many past years. You have seen and understand the many benefits God has designed into the meetings, gatherings, services and serving and living together in the body of Christ....

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A Christmas Story

A Christmas tradition my wife and I have enjoyed for many years is reading a Christmas story from a collection of short stories we have accumulated over the years. Here’s one of our favorites....

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Enough Is Enough...The Issue Of Domestic Abuse In The Local Church

This month, the New Covenant Center for Gospel Care wishes to introduce a difficult, complex topic which we hope will help our church congregation to increase their understanding and awareness of. ...

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A New "Picture" Of Realm

The last few weeks we have been introducing you to our new church family database called “Realm”. This will allow you to access contact information, pictures and other group information from our church. ...

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How To Use Realm

As mentioned in our previous blog post, New Covenant is making a transition at the end of November to our new 100% web-based application from ACS Technologies called Realm....

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Thanksgiving Proclamation

During this week where we focus our thoughts on being thankful, and in the current national political climate with so much divisiveness due to the results of the recent election, it will be good for us to take a step back and allow one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, to re-center our thoughts and priorities…....

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Introducing Realm

If you were at our most recent New Covenant membership meeting, it was announced that we are making a transition at the end of November to a new next generation whole church ministry management solution called Realm. ...

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Book Review: "Habits Of Grace"

I highly recommend this book to everyone in the church. It’s a clear, concise, practical, and biblical guide to the spiritual disciplines, or “habits of grace” as the author helpfully describes them. ...

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Hey New Covenant, What Do You Say? The Cubs Are Going To Win Today!

Our son Zephaniah is one year old. For the first half of his life, his dad could not have cared less about the Chicago Cubs. For the second half, he has become an enthusiastic fan....

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Why Aren't Our Prayer Meetings Full?

In the midst of a very divisive election year, with all of the issues surrounding world events and candidate qualifications, we can become quite outraged at the state of our culture today. One thing many people do is talk a lot about what is wrong. But what is the strategy for doing anything about these things?...

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Review of "God's Grace and Your Suffering"

“How does God meet you in trouble, loss, disability, pain? You probably already know the ‘right answer.’ He does not immediately intervene to make everything all better. ...

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Mission Unstoppable

Join us for “Mission Unstoppable” -- Wednesday evening (6:45-7:45) No, it’s not a movie night! This is our united effort to pray together....

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Introducing Our New NCBC Treasurer

Recently a valued corporate officer of our church, Dan Campbell, decided it was time for him to step down as our treasurer ...

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Can Staff Meetings Really Be A Blessing?

As we wind down our summer schedule and begin to embrace the reality of the autumn season with its more serious, focused schedule, I thought I would start things off with a joke about this week’s subject....

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Seeing God Through The Eyes Of A Pastoral Intern

As I look back on my experiences, it is clear to me that this internship accomplished what it was intended to accomplish...

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New Sunday Morning Classes Begin This Sunday

After a month long break during late summer, we are ready to begin our next scheduled classes for adults and high school students....

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Thriving In Babylon

Anyone who has lived in America for more than forty years senses that our nation has changed dramatically in a relatively short period of time. ...

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Reflections On Our Summer Institute Of Disciple-Makers Classes

As a young person growing up on the Southeast shoreline of Connecticut, one of my fond memories was going to my Dad’s favorite restaurant, the Nautilus....

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Big Apple Men's Bible Study

The Friday morning men’s Bible study meets at 6:15 a.m. at Big Apple Bagel in Elgin. ...

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Moving To A Better House

No, I’m not moving to a better house. I want to share with you a blog post ...

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The Joy Of Hiding God's Word In Your Heart

In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Silver Chair, the lion Aslan, the Christ-figure in the land of Narnia, gives a girl named Jill four signs that will help lead her on an epic journey. ...

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Our Pursuit Of Holiness

In 1 Peter 1:14-16 we read: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”...

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Prayer Prompts From The Congregation

Following is the congregational prayer offering from Russ & Mary Nieman from Sunday morning, July 10. May it encourage your prayer time this week. ...

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Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)...

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Are You Available To Serve?

Do you ever wonder if or how God might use you for either small or great things in His kingdom work?...

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Speaking The Truth In Love

REBUKE - What do you think of when you hear this word that the Bible uses for bringing truth to where change is needed?...

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Common Barriers To Seeking Biblical Counseling, Part 2

Over the next few months, the Gospel Care Center will be providing some Biblical Care and Counseling articles that we hope will be edifying to our New Covenant congregation. Following is Part 2 of the article, Common Barriers To Seeking Biblical Counseling. Part 1 appeared in last week's blog post. ...

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Common Barriers To Seeking Biblical Counseling, Part 1

Over the next few months, the Gospel Care Center will be providing some Biblical Care and Counseling articles that we hope will be edifying to our New Covenant congregation. ...

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Seminary Student Special Fund

During our recent “Celebrate the Church” evening service, the NCBC elders were excited to share news about the creation of a special Seminary Student Fund that members of our church community have an opportunity to contribute to. ...

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Summer Sunday School Smorgasbord

As we head into the summer months, New Covenant is offering a real “topical” mix during the first service only on Sunday mornings through the month of July....

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Discipleship Resources

Sometimes it seems that there is an infinite amount of Christian resources and Bible study tools available to us today. I just wanted to pass along three tools that I have found helpful in different settings....

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International Day for the Unreached: Re-Igniting the Church's Passion for the Lost

One of Christ’s most emphatic directives to His followers was a call to carry His message to the ends of the earth, an admonition to be fulfilled before He returns. ...

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Ladies Prayer Hour

About 20 years ago, a growing hunger to connect meaningfully in prayer with other women compelled Danielle Shumaker to join a few ladies from Fox Valley Bible Church in a nearby home. ...

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Interviews with Patrick Havens & Pastoral Team

We are delighted to present Patrick Havens as a candidate for the eldership and pastoral team at New Covenant Bible Church. ...

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Morning Affirmations Of Faith

You may be one of those people who leaps out of bed and greets the morning with a shout of glory...

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Discipleship: Doctrine, Character, Community, Mission

Ever since New Covenant began our Institute of Disciple Makers, we have been talking about growth in four categories: doctrine, character, community, and mission. I still find these categories very helpful. Whenever I meet with someone who already claims to be a follower of Jesus who is desiring "discipleship," I start by talking about doctrine, character, community, and m...

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18 Things To Pray For Your Church/Jonathan Leeman

We desperately need the strengthening, convicting, reviving, comforting ministry of the Holy Spirit in all we do. That’s why we pray. ...

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The Surprising Way God Answered John Newton's Prayer to Grow in Grace

John Newton...

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Celebrate Easter With New Covenant Bible Church

  Good Friday Service - 7:00 PM Join us at 7:00 PM this Friday as we remember and celebrate the death of our Savior. Nursery will be available for children up to 3 years old. Throughout this worship service, we will be meditating on the seven last words of Jesus before his death. Luke 23:34 “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not ...

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The Birth Of Senior Fellowship

2016 at New Covenant Bible Church has seen the birth of a brand new ministry to the large contingent of senior saints in our congregation. We have agreed to call it Senior Fellowship....

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Lessons From The Life Of Jerry Bridges

Beloved author Jerry Bridges entered into the joy of his Master on Sunday evening, March 6, 2016, at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, the day after he suffered cardiac arrest. He was 86 years old....

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Meaning At The Movies

A couple years ago we had a Sunday morning class with the above title. I would like to revisit the subject of that class in this article for two reasons. ...

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Steadfast Love

Steadfast love. It's a phrase that pops up regularly in Scripture and it speaks of God's unfailing, never-ending, Hesed love towards his people. ...

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New Covenant on Social Media

We have made a couple changes to the ways that we are using social media and thought that this would be a good time to give a brief explanation of ways that you can benefit from these. ...

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Why Memorize Scripture

Scripture memory is one of those things that is good for children, right?...

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Worship Is A Verb

Robert Webber, former professor of theology at Wheaton College, coined the phrase that is the title of this article. His point can be stated in his own words, “Worship is not something done to us or for us, but by us.” ...

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Building A Pro-Life Culture

As my husband drove home from work the other day, he saw hundreds of crosses at a local Catholic church representing the millions of lives lost to abortion. He realized that those crosses could represent not just the lives lost to date, but all the descendants of a single child lost to abortion....

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2015 Year-end Pastoral Letter

As another year has reached its finale, let us rejoice in God’s delight in doing us good, and let us trust in Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever! (Heb. 13:8). Thank you for your faithful support of the ministry of New Covenant Bible Church throughout this year. ...

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Pathways To Holiness

They (Romans 5-8) are without doubt among the greatest and most glorious chapters of the whole New Testament. ...

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Building His Church In A Refugee Crisis/David Crabb

As she was browsing the children’s section of our local library last week, my wife, Stephanie, met a woman from North Africa named Fatimah. Fatimah has a gregarious personality, so they quickly struck up a conversation while our two daughters read books with Fatimah’s son, Mohammed....

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Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Between purchasing presents and planning travel, enjoying holiday concerts and attending parties, it is all too easy for the bustle of Christmas to silence the sacredness and crowd out the quiet anticipation of the truths of this glorious season. ...

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France: A Fabric Torn - By John Piper

In France the fabric of family and nation is torn, and ten thousand human fibers are frayed with anger, and wet with grief. Millions more are woven in among the stricken strands, and taste the bitter salt of tears....

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Do We Need To Rescue Others?

There is an older hymn that begins with the words, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying…” My ...

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The English Reformation & You

Have you ever tried to understand the Reformation in England? I have thought about it and believe it’s a lot like the following experience: ...

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Increasing The Frequency Of Communion

We all have certain foods we especially enjoy. To go a month without them would leave us feeling malnourished. But there is a meal that satisfies us more than any other. That meal is the Lord’s Supper...

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New Season, Same Lord

The chill of the late fall in Morocco ushered in the clementine and orange season. We ate them by the kilo! Everyone knew the harvest arrived as men pushed selling-carts down the streets yelling “leetchin” (oranges). From our front door it took a grand total of 3 steps to greet the activity. Besides, at roughly fifty cents a pound who could pass it up!...

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Zwingli: The Forgotten Reformer

I call Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531) the forgotten Reformer because we hear little about him. Those who know of him do so most likely because of his disagreement with Luther’s view of the Lord’s Supper at Marburg in 1529....

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What Does It Mean To "Find Your Identity In Christ?" by Gavin Ortlund

We are often told (or tell ourselves) to “find our identity in Christ.” And rightly so, because living out of our new identity in Christ is the defining root of true sanctification. But it can also seem like a rather abstract concept....

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The Historical Nature Of The Gospel

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Romans 1:1-17. These verses form the introduction to the letter. They are packed with a wealth of material. When you understand these verses you will have a better grasp of the entire letter. ...

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A New Intern For New Covenant

Dear Church Family - I am pleased to announce that the elders have approved a one-year disciple-making internship for Blake Glosson, from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31. ...

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Fall Membership Meeting on September 27

On Sept. 27 at 5:00 PM, Cindy McFarland, our missionary in Togo, West Africa, will be making a presentation in our evening service. Following the evening service, we will have a brief membership meeting for the purpose of affirming candidates for the office of deacon and elder....

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Church History Matters

Okay, I’m going to admit it right at the start. I am biased. In fact, I am very biased when it comes to church history. I love it. I derive great pleasure from reading church history....

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When Worldviews Clash

It’s easy to look at the tumultuous changes in American life that have taken place since May of this year and be discouraged....

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Article "6 Things Jesus Does With Sin"

Dear Church Family, As we meditate on Romans 3, we see our plight in sin and God's super-abundant power to save us. ...

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The Coming Storm

There are storm clouds on the horizon. In fact, the leading edge of the storm is already breaking on the Church. The storm I’m referring to is swirling around Adam. You know Adam. The first human being spoken of in Genesis 1-3....

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Creation Care & Taking Care of the Gospel

Here is my concern, and hopefully yours. If we infuse the “gospel” with good and compelling yet secondary causes, we loose the essence of what the gospel primarily is ...

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Delighting In The Word

What do you think of the Bible? Is it really necessary to read, study, and meditate on it on a regular basis? Most of you reading this article would probably answer the second question with a resounding, “Yes, it is very necessary that the Bible be a regular part of our lives.” ...

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Are You Always Looking For The Next "Big" Thing?

From the latest Hunger Games or Harry Potter movie (am I already dating myself?), to the newest brand of cross trainer shoes; from the latest best selling book, to the newest song to hit the airwaves, or just planning for that next great, unforgettable vacation, we, as a culture, even in the church, always seem to be longing for that next big thing to come along to add som...

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10 Steps For Interracial Relationships That Advance The Gospel

From the desk of George Robertson, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of August, Georgia, and a Council member of The Gospel Coalition.......

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Some Thoughts On Evangelism

On Sunday night we heard a stirring message from Tim Holloway on Prayer, Power, and Proclamation. Tim encouraged us from Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 to seek God for the power we need to proclaim him to everyone we meet....

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To Repent Or Not To Repent

Over the past couple months, I’ve had conversations with a few different people about whether or not Christians should continue to confess sins and repent. ...

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Bible Delight

Psalm 119:97 jumps off the page with these words, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” Is the writer kidding? How can you love the law? How can you delight in rules and regulations? ...

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Come Out Of Her, My People

Pastor Sunday asked all of us a very pointed question in his sermon this past Lord’s Day: Do you embody the attitude of Babel? It’s an important question, for it’s easy for the spirit of pride and rebellion that is found in us naturally to be strengthened by the humanistic culture in which we live....

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What The Church Should Say To Bruce Jenner

n the 1970s Bruce Jenner seemed to have it all—fame, wealth, admiration. He was an Olympic star, so popular in American culture that he was reputedly considered for both the roles of Superman and James Bond. That’s changed....

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Noah & The Flood: Fact or Fable?

If someone asks you, “Why do you believe in Noah & the Ark and the great flood?” how do you answer?...

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Dear Friends

Much of my life these days seems to be focused on the idea of “trials” and I suppose that is somewhat natural given my current circumstances. ...

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Seeing With New Eyes

William R. Handley, associate professor of English at USC, tells us, “No American writer in the first half of the twentieth century sold as many books as did Zane Grey, whose work had a major influence on the development of the Western. Among the fifty-six Westerns Zane Grey wrote, one of his earliest, Riders of the Purple Sage, is still the most popular;...

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Hallelujah! What A Savior!

Consider the paradox and glorious mystery of Jesus Christ, fully man, fully God! This was originally posted by Trevin Wax, and I pass it along to our New Covenant Bible Church family for your meditation and adoration....

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Saving Our Collective Memory

History is important. For when we lose our past we lose a piece of ourselves. It’s like losing our memory. This matter is so important that God speaks of it in his Word. Notice what King David said in Psalm 145:3-5 and 10-12...

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Measuring Success

How do you spell success? How do you go about determining if something or someone is successful? A common answer in our day would be, “Look at the numbers. They will reveal the true story. The numbers will make success or failure very clear.”...

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What To Expect When You Come To Church

When you arrive at church this Sunday, immediately you’ll notice the Sanctuary is set up differently....

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My Testimony

In Romans 1, Paul writes that in the Gospel the “righteousness of God is revealed.” The Gospel reveals how to bring us into relationship with God, into living in alignment with His ways, and it gives us the power to do so. Despite this good news of the gospel, men, in their unrighteousness, suppressed the truth. Although they knew God, they did not honor God. ...

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Youth Winter Retreat Report

Our youth group just finished our winter retreat with the Crossway Association of Churches. The winter retreat is a full and busy 30 hours from Friday evening through Saturday night. ...

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GOD’S GREAT GRACE

When you begin meditating on the book of Ezekiel you find that God’s great grace is the true theme of this amazing book....

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Expecting The Powerful Presence Of God

When you come to worship on the Lord’s Day, do you expect the powerful presence of God? I’m not talking about some ecstatic experience ...

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The Great Battle Of Our Time

Reba and I brought in the New Year by watching the extended version of "The Return of the King". We watched the first half on New Year’s Eve and the second half on New Year’s Day. Since then a question has been haunting me. ...

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Church Planting 101

About a year ago when Luke Preussler and I began talking about starting a new church or “church planting” in Elgin, I thought I knew a few things about church planting. After all, I had taken a church planting class in seminary. ...

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The ROCK

On January 30 at 7:30 p.m., we will kick off The ROCK, a young adult’s ministry at New Covenant Bible Church....

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Living As Missionaries

When I was 14, I went down to Monterrey, Mexico with my church for my first mission trip, and then I went back every summer for the next 5 years. Monterrey is a large metropolitan area that is located at the base of a mountain. One night, we drove up to a lookout point over the city, and I remember seeing what seemed like millions of streetlights sprawling out in front of ...

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Come, Let Us Sing

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. One of the main reasons I enjoy it so much is the music. At times, it seems like the whole world is singing about it—even when they try to keep it from happening by calling it a holiday instead of Christmas. It still seeps out everywhere because you can’t suppress such a joyous message. It all started at the birth o...

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Looking Ahead To 2015

With Christmas quickly approaching, we wanted to prepare you for a few events that are just around the corner in the new year....

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A Hammer And A Fire

George Whitefield was one of the primary instruments God used in the First Great Awakening. This revival and renewal of religion swept portions of Europe as well as parts of the American colonies between the 1730s and the 1770s. He often preached outside in the fields and wherever a crowd would gather. Many church officials were greatly displeased that a preacher would do ...

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From Gloom To Gratitude

In Psalm 77, the psalmist didn’t feel grateful. He felt gloomy. "Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?" -Psalm 77:7-9...

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Women's Bible Study

This fall, approximately 45 women, meeting either on Tuesday evenings or Thursday mornings, have been gathering together for a Bible Study entitled, “Meeting the King: A Study in the Gospel of Mark,” by Cindy Cochrum. We have been joyfully engaged in this study of the life of Christ as passed on to Mark by the apostle Peter. ...

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A Life-Long Undertaking

Let me begin with a question: How many years would you devote to working on a project or task? One year? Five years? Would you consider ten years? James Strong spent thirty-five years putting his concordance together. You read correctly: thirty-five years....

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The Personal Persistent Presence Of Jesus

We live in challenging times. The other day I was listening to a talk show while driving when a caller asked the host, “What should I be more concerned about-Ebola or ISIS?” Fifty years ago,before the acceleration of worldwide inter-connectedness, that would have been a mute question....

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Ambassadors For Christ

Have you ever thought about what your dream job would be? How about a teacher or maybe a doctor or perhaps a US senator? What would your perfect job description look like? The options are almost unlimited…...

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What We Love About "The Gospel Project For Kids"

Beginning in September, we began using a new curriculum called the “Gospel Project for Kids” for our children’s classes on Sunday mornings. And so far, we love it! The teachers and the children have been enjoying this together, and I think that God is using it and will continue to use it to bear good fruit in the families at New Covenant....

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For Such A Time As This!

In 1995, our family moved from Sunrise, Florida to St. Charles, Illinois. Following the Lord’s leading, we joined a church with a heart for expository preaching and missions. At the very same time, this church, the former Fox Valley Bible Church, was developing a partnership with a sister church in Poltava, Ukraine. Over the years, we have seen this partnership deve...

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Ministry Of The Word On Sunday Mornings

Happy Fall! I’m a four-seasons guy, and I love every time of year living in the Midwest (except maybe the month of March, no offense intended to those of you who were born in that dreary month…). But I don’t think life in the Midwest gets any better than in October: pumpkin donuts, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pancakes, and, for variety’s sake, ...

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Institute Of Disciple-Makers In Action!

Brothers and sisters at New Covenant. I want to commend you for your participation in the newly formed Institute of Disciple Makers, which actually began back in Mid August ...

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How God Moves

Have you ever gotten a thought stuck in your head that you can’t seem to drive out or dismiss? Whenever there’s a quiet moment it pops into your head. You lay down to sleep and sleep won’t come because you’re turning this matter over in your mind. This has been my experience over the last several months. The thought I have been grappling with...

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The Easiest Way To Sin

I don’t know which sins come easiest for you. That is, I don’t know how you find yourself most frequently tempted and embattled in the good fight of faith. But I think a strong case can be made from Scripture that the easiest way to sin is with our tongues....

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Looking Back To Look Ahead

This past Sunday we heard how we are to be disciples of Christ who are engaged in making disciples for Christ. As I considered the implications of such a statement I began to reflect on my life. My thoughts were drawn to those who discipled me....

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Faith In The Furnace

I am deeply strengthened in my faith as we have been feeding together on the Book of Job. Preparing these sermons has been for me and my brothers who have preached alongside me one of the most intensely challenging exercises I’ve ever experienced in preaching the Word. By God’s mercy, it’s been unusually fruitful and rewarding in our own lives, and fro...

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A Messenger Of Satan

As our New Covenant family journeys through the book of Job, we can all find ourselves at times relating painfully to the experience of Job, which we often refer to as our own “Job experience.” Isn’t it wonderful how God speaks so clearly to our life experience in His Word?...

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Envy Makes The Bones Rot

This summer in the youth group, we have been picking a few different Proverbs to study on Wednesday nights. This week we will be looking at Proverbs 14:30 and discussing the sin of envy....

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Is That Really Necessary?

Have you ever heard anybody ask, “Is adult Christian Education really necessary?” It is not uncommon in our day for Christians to believe that Christian Education for adults is really a waste of time....

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When God Seems Silent

This article by Jon Bloom was so helpful to me as I prepared to preach from Job 8-10 this past Sunday....

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Seven Reasons For New Covenant To Plant A New Church In The City Of Elgin

Church planting is an effective and biblical method of evangelism....

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Is NCBC A Missional Church?

If someone asked you this question how would you respond? ...

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Getting Ready To Plant New City Church (Breaking News Alert!)

After months of planning, I am pleased to announce that the elders have unanimously decided to send and appoint one of our pastors, Dave DeHaan, to plant a new church in the center of the city of Elgin. ...

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The Lord God Almighty Reigns

I recently came across an intriguing statement about our task as Christians when it comes to speaking Biblical truth to our culture. John Swinton put it like this, “The Christian task is not to try to make the Bible relevant to society - quite the opposite. Christians are called to help society to recognize that it actually already lives within the strange world desc...

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Grappling With God:The Gospel According To Job

I am very excited about what God has for us in the ministry of the Word this summer season....Next Sunday, June 15, I am planning to dive-in to a five month sermon series through the Old Testament book of Job - my preacher's mouth is watering at how tantalizing a text Job 1 is proving to be for Father’s Day! ...

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If Honor, Then Honor

“All we have of freedom, all we use or know - this our fathers bought for us long and long ago.” These words by Rudyard Kipling remind us of the importance of Memorial Day. In the rush of life it’s easy to forget this truth. We need to remember that our freedom comes with a price....

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Wives & Mothers - Desiring God Blog by Gloria Furman

Is it normal to wander into the kitchen and open the refrigerator multiple times while you are standing there? (I’m asking for a friend.) It’s a mindless, yet hopeful habit. Who knows? Maybe something new to eat will appear when that little light comes on again. In a similar manner, I tend to treat the Bible like a fridge. Sometimes I stare at the words, and...

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News From Ukraine

News from Ukraine has gone from bad to worse over the last few months. Demonstrations against a corrupt government, internal divisions, intimidation on the part of Russia and separatist violence paint a very disturbing picture. But this is only part of the story. ...

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Celebrate the victory every Sunday

Posted By Ray Ortlund On February 12, 2014 - Two things should be happening in every gospel-centered church every Sunday. One, the gospel should be preached. Two, the gospel should be experienced....

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Do You Believe That God Loves You?

That’s the question a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School asked her class of 120 students, all of whom were preparing for some form of vocational ministry. Out of 120 ministerial students, do you know how many answered, “Yes, I believe God loves me”? Only two. Now, granted, some probably felt this was a trick question. But still - "only two ...

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Worldview And You

What is your worldview? Did you know you have a worldview? Does it really matter one way or another? As you consider these questions, let me clarify what I mean by the term “worldview.” Your worldview is the basic beliefs and presuppositions you use to explain life in this world. ...

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It Is Not Death To Die

The marvelous poet and preacher John Donne began his Holy Sonnet #10 with this audacious words: "Death, be not proud..." And his ending was even more bold: "One short sleep past, we wake eternally, and death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die."...

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Has Failure Become A Virtue?

These days, obedience has gotten a bad name. And failure has gotten a make-over....

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Forgetting To Live By What We Learn

Have you ever heard someone say something that immediately grabs your attention? You grab a pencil and some paper to write it down before you forget it. Then you read and reread it. Before long you can’t get it out your mind. You’re thinking about it and its implications all the time....

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The Definition of "Disciple" in Luke: Jesus-Follower

From the desk of Pastor David Sunday - Since we are coming almost to the end of our series in the book of Luke, I think it would be appropriate to read the following article by Kenny Burchard. ...

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Patrick Adams Begins An Internship At NCBC

After his resurrection, one of the last things that Jesus said before ascending into heaven was that we are to make disciples. Matthew 28:19-20 records Jesus saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am w...

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Message from Born Again & Salvation Churches in Ukraine

Message from Valery Antonuk at Born Again & Salvation Churches in Ukraine...

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A Difficult Verse: Luke 21:32

Bearing in mind my conviction that “Thou must not be overly dogmatic” when it comes to eschatological interpretations, I dare now to venture some ideas about how to interpret one of the most difficult verses in Jesus’s Olivet Discourse: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place” (Luke 21:32; see also M...

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Jenny Geddes Of Scotland

Have you ever heard of Jenny Geddes? Her story is worth remembering. If fact, it is one of my favorites from church history....

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How To Get Going In The Morning

You may be one of those people who leaps out of bed and greets the cold February morning with a shout of glory - if so, I have a real problem with you…just kidding! But I am definitely not that sort of person. I come from a species of mammal closely related to the sloth. That means I require lots of help first thing in the morning (thank you, Peets Coffee). My eng...

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Why Do We Have Sunday School (Adult Ed)?

It is not uncommon to read someone who concludes, “If Christianity doesn’t change, it is going to die.” One thing often pointed to as an example of what needs to change is Sunday School for Adults (a.k.a. Adult Ed). If it has outlived its days why do we as a church still have it? ...

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Fine Dining With Jesus

Have you ever noticed how often Luke, the Gospel writer, shows us a picture of Jesus “at table” with those he is seeking to save? There are numerous examples of “fine dining with Jesus” in the second gospel...

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Ordination of Pastor Dave DeHaan

Dave DeHaan has served in a variety of pastoral roles in churches for more than a decade, and we have been strengthened and encouraged by his ministry among us at New Covenant since the beginning of our church's life together. Last night his calling as a pastor in Christ's flock was confirmed by an ordination council ...

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Elder's Thoughts & Prayers for 2014

Each of our elders shares his thoughts and prayers for 2014....

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Meet Me In The Valley Of Vision

Several years ago I picked up a copy of The Valley of Vision. As I thumbed through it I thought, “This just isn’t me. I don’t pray like this. I don’t use words like this.” So I put it down and went on my way. I continued to hear comments about how it was helping people in their prayer life. I would say to myself, “I’m glad i...

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Lay Aside The Weight Of Christmas Expectations

From the Desiring God Blog......by Jon Bloom / December 6, 2013. At Christmastime, it’s good for us to remember just how dangerous fantasies are. I’m not talking about Narnia-type fantasies. I’m talking about how out of our self-centered desires we construct ideas and expectations of the way we want things to be and project them on to people and ev...

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Confronting The Wolf Pack Of Envy

What is envy? Answer: “Envy is basically ill-will occasioned by looking at someone else’s superior position or advantages. It is sinful because, besides indicating discontent with God’s providence, it is contrary to love for our neighbor in that love rejoices at the good of others” ...

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What Is Our Mission Strategy At New Covenant Bible Church?

After my most recent trip to Morocco with David Sunday and Ross Stern, I had some very interesting conversations with people in my work world who really wanted to know what missions is about and how our church is involved. ...

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Finding Meaning At The Movies

If I had to describe the relationship between the Christian church and the movie industry in one sentence, I would use the title of the 1978 country music hit by Loretta Lynn: We’ve come a long way baby! ...

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Remembering The Reformation

This past Sunday, October 27th, was Reformation Sunday. The intent of marking this day on the Church calendar is to commemorate and celebrate one of the most significant events in Church history: The Reformation of the 16th Century. Taking time to reflect on God’s mighty acts in history is biblical. You find the call to reflect on the great works of God throughou...

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One Lesson From Morocco

Walking back home through the woods, depending on how close the sun was to setting, could be a scary thing if one was alone - lots of rustles in the leaves, the creaking of trees rubbing together in the breeze, branches snapping underfoot, all served to fuel my active imagination and not in a good way. However, if my brother or sister was with me, there was no fear; it was...

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Extravagant Grace

Let’s take a short quiz… True or False: The chief work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification is to make Christians more sin-free. True or False: God could have made us instantly perfect at the first moment of our salvation. True or False: You know you are maturing as a believer when you have less and less conflict with indwelling sin. True or False:...

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Pray For The Children Of Ishmael

Having traveled with Mike Jacoby & Ross Stern to North Africa last week, I am reminded of Abraham’s prayer in Genesis 17:18, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!”...

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Jeremy Lanphier and the Prayer Revival

The following is an encouraging article that appeared on the daily post of Today in Christian History on September 23, 2013....

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A Sad And Celebratory Community

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). This is the call to all of us who profess faith in Jesus Christ. Someone in our congregation passed the article below on to me on the day we all heard about Dan Leeper’s dad, Ron, going home to be with the Lord. In light of a dear brother and his family going through such pain, how ...

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Lay Aside The Weight Of Prideful Comparison

The article below, by Jon Bloom of Desiring God Ministries, delivers a powerful blow to the joy-sapping, courage-depleting sin of self-pity. Christians wrestle against this sin in subtle ways all the time, but we hear little about it. I've been searching for wise and convicting teaching on how to combat this sin, and I wanted to share with you one of the best battle plans ...

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Practicing The Presence Of The Holy Spirit

I hope that a new generation of believers discovers the rich treasure of wisdom found in Richard Lovelace’s The Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal (IVP, 1979). ...

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How Much More?

May these words of Jesus entice us to seek the face of our Father with renewed intensity: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”...

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Better Is One Day In Your Courts

I may not know you very well, but I am confident I know at least one thing about you. Nehemiah 3 is not your favorite chapter in the Bible. Your lack of excitement for this portion of Scripture is not because you don’t believe it is the inspired and authoritative Word of God. No. Your ambivalent attitude about this text is simply owing to the fact that it is boring....

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Form & Freedom In Prayer

Most of us need all the help we can get when it comes to forming regular and meaningful habits of prayer. Let me tell you today about a few “disciplines of grace” that have been helpful to me....

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You Have Authority In Christ

In my sermon on Sunday I mentioned some of the schemes of Satan to prevent us from embracing our role in Christ's mission. I was reflecting on some insights that I had read in a book by Richard Lovelace. The blog article below captures in fuller detail what it means for us to exercise our authority in Christ over all the power of the enemy. May we stand firm in Christ's au...

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Looking For Security

Life seems so insecure and uncertain. At times it even appears to be downright dangerous. You can understand why people have panic attacks....

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Weakness Is The Way

Next week, the great theologian J.I. Packer will turn 87 years old. Recently he wrote a little book called "Weakness is the Way". The very title is bracing: who wants to be weak? Who in their right mind would call weakness “the way”?...

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If You Are Hesitant to Come to Christ, Jonathan Edwards Would Like to Ask You Some Questions

What are you afraid of, that you dare not venture your soul upon Christ? Are you afraid that he cannot save you, that he is not strong enough to conquer the enemies of your soul? But how can you desire one stronger than “the almighty God”? as Christ is called, Isa. 9:6....

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How Can A Young Person Keep His Way Pure?

I asked some of the teens at New Covenant the following question recently in a Sunday school class: how can a young person keep his way pure? When you look at today’s culture, the question seems very relevant. Young people are surrounded by temptation. ...

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Please Pardon Our Dust

I am sure you have heard it said of Illinois (and this entire region of the country), “There are two seasons around here: winter and construction!” As you drive, or attempt to drive, around this certainly seems to be the case. Even in many of our neighborhoods where just a couple of years ago there seemed to be foreclosures on every street, new homes are being ...

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Speaking For The Lowly

“Hattie, if I could use a pen as you do, I would write something to make this nation feel what a wicked thing slavery is.” According to family legend, upon reading these words from her sister-in-law, Harriet Beecher Stowe rose up from her chair, crumpled the letter in her hand and vowed, “I will write something, I will if I live.”...

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Summer Is For Reading

Summer is often the time of year when many people devote themselves to reading. In light of that, I am going to make three recommendations for your Summer reading. I am going to promote books from three categories: Fun, Old, and New....

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What Do We Mean By "Gospel Care"? (Part 2)

Last week’s article was a reminder that when we use the term “gospel care” at New Covenant, we are talking about specific one-to-another actions and activities that ought to be present in our life together as a result of the gospel’s transforming work in each of our lives. Gospel care includes all the ways that we minister God’s grace perso...

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What Do We Mean By "Gospel Care"? (Part 1)

What exactly is “gospel care”? Perhaps you have asked yourself that question as this term has been increasingly heard at New Covenant in recent weeks....

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What Augustine Read On His Death-Bed

Recently I finished a book by Robert Louis Wilken on the first millennium of Christian history, called "The First Thousand Years". I realized how little I know about many centuries of the history of Christ's church. There are hundreds of years in which God has been at work, preserving, protecting, and promoting his gospel through his church around the world....

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Remembrance

I’m unapologetically sentimental. Some people (my poor wife being an example) would argue that there is a fine line between being sentimental and being a hoarder, but memories are important to me. ...

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Jesus, Man of Prayer

“Whatever it takes, Lord, make me a man of prayer.” Have you ever asked the Lord to do that in your life? As the perfect Man of Prayer, we can lean on Jesus to atone for our sins of prayerlessness; but we should also look to Jesus to produce in us a life of prayerfulness....

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English Evangelism in Poltava

What type of event would it take to get dozens of our un-churched friends and neighbors to come regularly to meetings at New Covenant Bible Church? That's a problem we struggle with - how to get the attention of American suburbanites in order to share the message of Jesus Christ. ...

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A Day In Jail

It was our joy to accompany our local missionary, Chaplain Tom Beatty, as he carried out a normal day of ministry at the Kendall County Correctional Facility in Yorkville. We thought of this as a day-long mission trip into a field that is “white unto harvest” but often overlooked, right in our own backyard....

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The Legacy Of God's Triumphant Grace

There’s something you need to know right at the start: I love history! My love affair with history began in Wheaton Graduate School when I took a course in Historical Theology taught by Dr. Robert Webber. I have been feeding my appetite for history ever since....

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Ephesians: The Glory of Christ in the Life of the Church

Would you use words like “glorious,” “cosmic,” or “multifaceted-wisdom” to describe church-world at New Covenant? Does it seem to you that serving in the nursery, praying with your CareGroup, or greeting a visitor to Sunday morning worship play a role in God’s grand, unfolding plan to redeem the cosmos through Jesus Christ? I doub...

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Why Does Jesus Weep? A Meditation for Palm Sunday

When Jesus entered into Jerusalem on the original Palm Sunday, his eyes were moist with tears. We often call it the Triumphal Entry, but it could just as aptly be named the Tearful Entry....

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5 Theses On Anti-intellectualism

Anti-Intellectualism is less about aptitude than attitude....

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Greetings from Mango, Togo!!

I just got back from seeing four men who are being trained as laboratory technicians for our Hospital of Hope in Mango. They started their training at our southern hospital, the Karolyn Kempton Memorial Hospital in Tsiko. ...

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Are You A Diamond Or A Pebble?

As I was preparing to preach on Luke 5:1-11 this week, I was reminded of one of Lillias Trotter’s statements that casts a vision for the kind of Christian I want to be, and the kind of church I hope God will make of New Covenant....

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"He is Like the Breath of Jesus to Us..."

The high point of our sabbatical was the opportunity to go to California and spend four days with Pastor John & Linda Sale....

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Global Outreach - A Mission Of The Church

It has been a very encouraging year for missions at New Covenant. Our first ever mission conference was certainly the highlight. ...

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The Goodness of God

In Genesis 32:12, God reminds Jacob that “He will surely do him good”. In Jeremiah 29:11, God reminds his people of his plans for them “plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give you hope and a future.” These promises to Jacob and Jeremiah and countless others extend to us as Paul reminds us in the New Testament “he will never leave us or...

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Duck Dynasty and Pastoral Ministry

As many of you know, I have become a big fan of the TV show Duck Dynasty. This contribution to the “reality” TV genre centers on the life and times of the Robertson family, self-proclaimed rednecks who became millionaires by inventing, manufacturing, and selling their Duck Commander duck calls to hunting enthusiast around the world. Their duck calls are to duck...

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The Most Memorable Conference Message I've Heard

I have been to a lot of conferencesâ€"probably more than I can countâ€"which means that I have heard a lot of conference talks. Some good, some not as good; some long, some short. Many of the speakers are relatively famous in our circlesâ€"the sort of people whose books we buy and whose sermons we download and whose interviews we listen to and whose blog posts we ...

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Keeping Our Perspective

Perspective is important. This is true because your outlook or viewpoint often determines the outcome of the matter. It does so by shaping and establishing your focus and how you use your resources. Consider how important perspective was to Lewis and Clark. Would viewing the Rocky Mountains from a 747 have made any difference in their journey? Think of all those who once b...

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How Would You Explain Life?

Toward the end of his life, a famous person is interviewed. The first question is asked: “You’ve lived a full life. What would you like to tell everyone watching and listening tonight?” The audience leans forward, waiting for a profound response, some helpful words that could make their lives as successful as this person’s....

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Introducing the New City Catechism

This week, we are launching a two-year, churchwide initiative encouraging every person and family at New Covenant to make New City Catechism a regular part of their devotional practices. Each of the catechism’s 52 questions and answers will be featured for two weeks, beginning this Sunday. Like the Bible reading plan that we recently completed, our desire is not tha...

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The Incarnation

The supreme mystery with which the gospel confronts us . . . lies not in the Good Friday message of atonement, nor in the Easter message of resurrection, but in the Christmas message of incarnation. - Packer...

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The Immense Spiritual Capacity of Children

It is remarkable, when you think of it, to realize that the Magnificat was the spontaneous outburst of praise from the lips of a young, teenage, peasant girl. Yet there is enough profound truth here to boggle the mind of the most educated theologian....

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The Spirit and the Gospel

How often do you think about the ministry of the Spirit in the advancement of the gospel? I believe that all too often His ministry is forgotten. I don’t believe it’s by design, but it tends to happen over time by the nature of His unseen ministry -- unseen at least with our natural eyesight....

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Jesus, Friend of Sinners: Welcome to Luke's Gospel

After our ambitious fifteen-month excursion through the whole Bible, I am eager to dive into one book and soak in it until it permeates every pore of our life together. And I can especially identify with Phil Ryken’s introduction to his commentary on Luke. He said he was expounding Luke in order “to satisfy a growing hunger” that had been in his heart to...

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The Sun Comes Up, It's A New Day Dawning

As a church, we have abundant reasons for hope and confidence: our God is still sovereign over all, and he is not surprised by the election, nor is he wringing his hands! The gospel is still the power of God unto salvation for all who believe! And the Spirit of God is not limited in his ability to do far more abundantly than we could ask or imagine as we seek to faithfully...

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Weep with Those Who Weep

Thank you for your eagerness to care for one another. As I come alongside people in our church who are suffering, I regularly hear a common refrain of thankfulness for the ministry of this body of believers. You are doing well! So I write the following to encourage you to continue to abound in love: "Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you...

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Four Doxologies to Behold our God

In four weeks, we will have completed our journey through the whole Bible. What wonders we have seen as we have beheld the glories of God and the triumphs of his grace! As we come toward the end of this series, I’ve been seeking God for how to best conclude this wonderful journey together. And it seemed to me that I needed to adjust my plans a bit. We’ve bee...

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There is a Cornelius in Your Life

Does everyone need to hear the gospel? Really? Aren’t some people religious enough already? Meet Cornelius: At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God (Acts 10:1-2)....

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Dual Citizens

This election season is a good time to remember that the Christian life is a paradox. Take, for example, the question of where our citizenship resides. The apostle Paul once warned that “no soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits” (2 Tim. 2:4), and he insisted that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20)....

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Grateful Reflections on a Week Long Visit to our Missionaries in Europe

Thursday, September 6, 2012 Mike & Heidi Jacoby and David & Kate Sunday flew from O'Hare to Europe, arriving Friday morning in Paris, France. Our goals for this trip were: • To bring encouragement from New Covenant to our missionaries, John & Meg Glass and Greg & Debbie Nichols. • To become more familiar with the scope and focus of these missionaries' ende...

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Theology in Row 6

Every Sunday we sit under the preaching of God’s Word. On a regular basis we hear the truths of Christianity explained. How do we get from great truths that fill our minds to doctrines that affect our daily lives? How do we connect the dots so the wheels don’t come off during the week and we fail to walk in light of what we have heard and received as the Word...

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Inspect but Don't Introspect

Inspect but don’t introspect The same apostle who wrote “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?��"unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor. 13:5) wrote in an earlier letter to the same church “But with me it is a very sm...

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The Youth Ministry at New Covenant

When I was in seminary, I was invited to preach at a church that had been without a pastor for a long time and was very small. The Sunday morning service went well. Everyone was very friendly, and we stayed there that afternoon because I was also preaching in the Sunday evening service. By the time the evening service was supposed to start, there were only five people in t...

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A Time Well Spent

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19) For the unemployed or underemployed, when reading this verse another verse may jump to mind (Mark 9:24): “I believe, help my unbelief.” God is faithful and His word is true, yet where is the provision this verse is promising???...

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Soul Therapy

Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy is one of my favorite flavors of ice cream. It is a delicious treat for the taste buds. I can almost taste it as a write this article. It also seems therapeutic as it soothes and relaxes you after a busy day. I guess that’s why they call it Chocolate Therapy. As I pondered the joys and benefits of Chocolate Therapy I began...

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God's Mission : Our Vision

When you go to a restaurant that offers carryout, they'll ask you before you place your order, "Will this be for here, or to go?" The gospel is both "for here" and "to go." The gospel is not just a message for non-Christians. It is the lifelong fuel of the Christian's life and sanctification. God wants our lives to be continually shaped, deepened, and transformed by the...

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The Middle Mile

The middle mile and the second dash. A few months ago, Pastor David Sunday referenced an article by Vance Havner entitled "The Middle Mile" which describes the often lonely segment of an endurance race in which the adrenalin of the start is a distant memory and the adrenalin that surges at the finish is still a long way off, hidden behind twists and turns in the course tha...

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Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts The Christian Almanac tells us that Isaac Watts, the English pastor and hymn writer of "Joy to the World," was born in Southampton, England, on July 17, 1674. He wrote over 750 hymns, including the versification of all the psalms....

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Faithfulness: At What Cost?

I'm glad we are reading the prophetic books of the Old Testament together. As Doug Dunton reminded us on Sunday, these prophets were called by God to be living examples of the hard truths they needed to proclaim. In ways that seem strange and bizarre to us (and surely to them as well!), God made these men embody the reality of their message....

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Why Victory May Be Postponed

Have you ever wondered why all your efforts to defeat a particular, recurring sin seem to be thwarted? Lately I've picked up a book by an author I've seen quoted countless times, but until now I had never read his work. His name is Richard Lovelace, and back in the 1980s his writings on the dynamics of spiritual renewal were quite popular....

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We're Grateful for Faithful Servants

This past Lord's Day was full of joy as we celebrated God's work in the lives of several different people in our church family...

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A Summer To Remember

One of my favorite quotes about books is from Stephen King, "The odor of an old book is the odor of history, and for me, the look of a new one is still the look of the future." I agree with him wholeheartedly. So I am encouraging you to read something old and something new this summer. You will find it edifying, encouraging, and relaxing....

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Summertime, summertime, summertime…

There are 94 days of summer. That includes three full moons, a couple of meteor showers, at least two worrisome dry spells, repeated bouts of suffocating humidity, four dozen spectacular sunsets and a handful of "this has to be one of the most beautiful days of the year." As you head into these fleeting summer days, with your children home, realize that the problems of ...

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Prayer for Spirit-Transformed Lives

In preparation for our first-week-of-the-month prayer meeting on Wednesday, I thought I would prime the pump a bit by offering the following prayer that is focused on our individual and corporate sanctification. Since the mission of our church is 'To bring glory to God through Spirit-transformed lives by the beauty and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ', it only makes se...

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Pray for Our Youth Ministry this Summer

Pray for Our Youth Ministry this Summer Teens can be tempted to want full separation from adults and "big church." And adults can be tempted to view teens as a necessary evil in the church. Youth groups then slowly drift into isolation and are sometimes viewed as a "church" within a church. We constantly need to fight against that current by continuing to teach, remind,...

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Our Eyes are on You

Were you in the congregation when Pastor Sunday had us repeat out loud 2 Chronicles 20:12? It's the prayer of Jehoshaphat when the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir came against Judah. He cried out to God saying, "We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." David had us repeat these words s...

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God Gives the Growth

How good is "good enough"? What is God like? Who is Jesus and what has he done? These are some of the BIG questions of life and eternity that Exploring Christianity posed to 25 guests and then sought to answer over a five week period as roughly 20 hosts and discussion leaders shared a meal and interacted together. ...

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Life As A Marathon

Thanks to the encouragement of some friends, I enjoyed running a marathon last weekend. I know...for some of you, just seeing those two words together-enjoyed and running-makes you wonder if I'm certifiably crazy. But for me, the challenge of finishing a long race became an exercise in endurance....

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Worthy Of Worship

The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are worthy of worship is one of the main points made in Revelation 5 & 6. Worship is the central or defining act of the church. It's who we are. It's why we exist. God created us to worship him. The living creatures and the elders confess that God is worthy of worship because he's the Creator (4:11)....

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A Prayer for our Second Anniversary

In his sermon, Andy encouraged us to pray, "Lord, let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am." I wrote it in my Bible, and I've been riveted by that text and that idea ever since....

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The Kernel of the Book of Proverbs

Many people are willing to give God a try; but few people are willing to give God their trust. We like to approach God the way I approach entering into Lake Michigan-I stick my toes in to see how it feels before I'll commit to diving in. Don't we often treat God the same? "If I start to feel better-if my marriage starts to improve-if my financial situation changes-then...

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Christ, the Heavenly Champion

In 1961 J.B. Phillips wrote a powerful little book: "Your God Is Too Small". He asked one question in his study: What is your view of God? Phillip's believed most believers and skeptics alike made the same mistake. We put God in a box. We made Him fit our view. Our God ended up being much smaller than the God revealed in Scripture....

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Easter: Echoes from the Tomb

Leaning forward, you strain to hear. The fresh, cool breeze of the garden morning brushes your cheek. Bending, you look into that open, black-dark mouth of the tomb, its only light the sun's thin finger reaching past your shoulder to touch the corner of a bone box. But the bones for which it waits have changed, gotten up and walked away. No smell of death; only the sweet s...

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Heroes

My heroes have always been cowboys. Like the song says, "I grew up dreaming of being a cowboy, and loving the cowboy ways." My childhood days were spent pursuing the life of my heroes in the woods, streams, and fields around my home. My brother and I, along with our buddies, spent our days building forts, blazing trails, and establishing hideouts. Every day was a new adven...

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The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission

It's always a refreshing experience to read a book that takes thoughts you've had brewing in your own mind and elucidates them with clear and compelling words. You find yourself saying, "Yes! That's exactly what I've been thinking, but I couldn't have said it so well!" Last week I finished such a book. It thrilled me with its loads of illuminating insight....

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You Can't Get What You Want If You Want It Too Desperately

On Sunday I mentioned C.S. Lewis' struggle with the "absence of God" while he was grieving the death of his wife. He wrote, "Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?" That was in Chapter One. Last night I read the rest of the story. In Chapter Three Lewis inches toward a resolution....

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The Youth Ministry at New Covenant Bible Church

"If it's not broke . . . don't fix it!" This is pretty good advice if you are talking about a car. At least that is what I tell my wife. We often apply this same reactionary philosophy to our relationship with the next generation. "If they aren't broke, leave them alone!" We see no big, external problems and lazily fall into the trap of thinking that "it's not broke." ...

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Our Mission Together

What is the mission of the church? One expert on this topic has declared that everything the church does and can do is mission. While another has lamented that if everything is mission, nothing is mission. Recently, pastor-authors Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert asked this question in a book by the same title. I trust you will be encouraged by the conclusion they came to ba...

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The End Of All Things

What will happen when your part in the tale of life is finished? What will the end of all things be like? God pulls back the curtain and reveals the true end of all things in Revelation 21:1-22:5. He doesn't give us all the details, but he gives us enough information to keep us going in the fight of faith....

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Speaking of Love....Speaking in Love

This is the week in February that love is celebrated and expressed through the gifts of flowers and cards. However, for various reasons, many people feel a bit left out of the celebration, so I would like us to think together about a love that includes all of us - a love that is more profound than the words expressed in a Hallmark card - a love that changes us and calls us...

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Hope In The Darkest Hour

One of my favorite quotes these past couple years comes from Charles Spurgeon: "Believe that the deepest afflictions are always neighbors to the highest joys. The greatest possible privileges lie close to the darkest trials. The more bitter your sorrow, the louder your song at the end." The book of Lamentations is perhaps the bleakest in all of Scripture. Yet at the very c...

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Notes From The Middle Of The Night

For those of you who wear glasses, you may have had the experience of going to the optometrist to get that new pair of glasses - either your prescription has changed or your lenses have become badly scratched. Whatever the reason, the optician comes to the table and places the new glasses on your face and all of a sudden, you see much clearer than before. Cancer is like ...

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Orphan Care In Practice by Paul & Rebecca Freidel

As a follow-up to last week's article on the theology of adoption and orphan care, we would like to spend some time this week examining some of the many ways that we can care for orphans as a church family....

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Adoption by Paul & Rebecca Freidel

What should come to mind to our minds when we think of adoption? Should we as believers look at the adoption of children as a vital part of our church ministry? To answer these questions, we need to first look at the importance of our adoption as sons and daughters of God....

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To God Be Glory in the Church

I rejoice in the numerous ways God is at work in His Church, and in this article I want to highlight three reasons for us to be encouraged. ...

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Prayer For 2012

We begin this new year in a posture of desperate dependence on the grace of God our Father, through His Son's perfect merit, poured out by the Holy Spirit. With King Jehoshaphat we say, "Lord, we are powerless; we don't know what to do; but our eyes are on you" (see 2 Chronicles 20:12)....

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Looking Back on 2011, Looking Ahead to 2012

As we approach the end of our second calendar year together, I rejoice that I can wholeheartedly agree with this commendation from the Apostle Paul: "We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers,remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." -1 T...

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What If Jesus Had Not Come?

A few years ago Pastor Sam Crabtree wrote a letter to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis in which he asked this question, What would be different if Jesus had never been born? As I list some of the reasons he wrote in his letter, and tweak them and add a few of my own, consider the treasure that is contained in Bethlehem's manger....

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Welcome Others as Christ Has Welcomed You

Our Christmas Concert this weekend, Hope of the World, exalts Jesus as the Son whom God sent into the world "not to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" (John 3:17). As we celebrate the coming of our Savior into our broken world, let us rejoice that he welcomes people like Rahab into his family-for we are all a lot more like Raha...

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Who Are You?!

Not all Bible commentaries are created equal. In preparation for last Sunday's sermon, the first in our Advent series entitled "The Mothers of Jesus," I read several commentaries on the sermon texts from Matthew 1 and Genesis 38. Many were very scholarly works, going into great detail on textual and grammatical issues of great interest to individuals who make their living ...

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Rethinking Thankfulness

Paul instructs us with these words in Ephesians 5:19b-20, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”...

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Are You Ready For Christmas?

Between purchasing presents and planning travel, enjoying holiday concerts and attending parties, it is all too easy for the bustle of Christmas to silence the sacredness and crowd out the quiet anticipation of the truths of this glorious season. Here are a few thoughts to help you pause and consider the riches of Christ come to earth, and help you ready your heart for a f...

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Fishers of Men by Luke Preussler

Our Lord said to the apostle Peter and his brother Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). Christ still speaks that Word to his Church today....

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Fighting Fear

I’ve been reading a little gem of a book by the Puritan John Flavel called "Triumphing Over Sinful Fear". The moment I saw the title, I knew I needed to order the book. It has been one of the main pursuits of my soul this past decade to fight against fear and unbelief with the promises of God’s Word. In His kindness, God has given me opportunities to trust Hi...

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Prizing God's Presence/Why We Need To Be A Praying People

I am convinced that one of the devil’s wily schemes (of which we are told not to be unaware in 2 Cor. 2:11) is to distract Christ’s church from praying. Samuel Chadwick was right-on-the mark when he wrote: “One concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayer-less work, prayer-less studies, or prayer-less religion. H...

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Have You Seen the Promise in God's Commands?

"The law sends us to the gospel that we may be justified. And the gospel sends us to the law again to enquire what is our duty in being justified." (Puritan Samuel Bolton) Our God is both terrifying and beckoning. It is dangerous for a sinful creature to encounter a holy God—we need God to protect us from God! Our journey into Exodus 19-20 makes this truth stunn...

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Are You Hopeless Enough?

Are you hopeless enough to appreciate what Jesus has done for you? Does that seem like an odd question? Do you realize that God is leading your life, and that in a very real way, his goal is to lead you into a place where you are hopeless in yourself, so that you can see with greater clarity the greatness of your salvation in Christ?...

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Motivation to Press On in Reading the Bible for Life

Ralph Shallis, from his book "From Now On": "Some folks say to me: ‘What you are postulating is an impossible target: you really expect too much! Why, the whole Bible in one year! That is perhaps all right for some intellectuals; or for people with time on their hands, but, as for me, I reckon that to read through the Bible through in five years is an adequ...

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The Call To Persevere

Have you ever considered how the New Testament speaks of the Christian’s life as a fight or intense struggle? A brief survey of the NT will reveal this truth....

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For the Sake of One Righteous Man

Years ago, the China Inland Mission discovered that at one particular mission station there were far more converts, and those converts were growing stronger spiritually than anyone ever expected. They tried to analyze what was happening, but they didn't find anything extraordinary about the staff there. The mystery remained unsolved until Hudson Taylor, founder of the Chin...

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The God Who Cares

Does God have a Plan B? Does God need contingency plans? Perhaps these questions confronted you last week when you read Genesis 6:6 in our Bible reading plan. ...

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Making It Real

“What does this have to do with real life?!” Have you ever heard someone (perhaps one of your children) ask that question after reading a passage in the Bible? Have you ever asked yourself that question? I am sure we all have. The practical application of Scripture is not always immediately evident, but the realities of everyday life always seem to be. ...

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Reading the Bible for Life

This Sunday we embark on our journey together through the Bible as we begin the Behold Our God series. On Monday morning (Labor Day), the Bible reading plan begins....

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Behold Our God!

Have you ever wanted to read through the whole Bible, but ended up getting stuck in Leviticus or Numbers? Do you want to understand better what Jesus meant when he said of the Old Testament scriptures, "They testify of me"? (John 5:39). Are you eager to get a better grasp on the grand storyline that ties the whole Bible together, so that you can better unpack for other...

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The Key Issue in God's Preparation of a Leader

Last night I was reading Robert Clinton’s classic, "The Making of a Leader". He shared an insight that flew off the page and lodged a grace-shaped bullet into my heart. It’s simple, but much easier to hear than to apply....

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Jonah Whines, Jesus Weeps

As we wrap-up six weeks in The Gospel According to Jonah, may our adoration and affection for Christ our Savior rise to greater heights. What a stark contrast between Jonah & Jesus!...

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Praying Persistently | July 27th Day of Prayer

In Luke 11, Jesus teaches us about the character of our Heavenly Father in order to encourage us to persist in prayer....

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New Covenant Counseling Ministry – Under Construction

If you've lived in this area very long, you know that there are really only two seasons in Chicago, the winter season and road construction season. Well, this week I'd like to announce something else under construction – the New Covenant Counseling Ministry....

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Dan Leeper is a F.A.T. Dude

Soon after meeting Dan it became clear to the elders that he is F.A.T. dude -- Faithful, Available, and Teachable...

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Resident Aliens

Lately I have been pondering a thought expressed in 1 Peter 1:1. It is translated various ways. To God’s elect, strangers in the world (NIV). To those who are elect exiles (ESV). To the elect who are sojourners (ASV). The word rendered “strangers”, “exiles”, and “sojourners” is what keeps surfacing in my thoughts....

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The Importance of Baptism

In addition to being an expression of obedience to our Lord and Savior, baptism is also “an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him” (1 Peter 3:21b-22, ESV)....

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The Gospel According to Jonah

Beginning this Sunday and continuing through July 31, we are going to embark on an expositional cruise through this “boisterously grand” Old Testament narrative. ...

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Ten Joyful Commandments

As we pray for a breakthrough in the joy of the Lord, remember the “ten joyful commandments” of Psalm 100—these come from a sermon I preached back in October....

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Praying for a Breakthrough of the Joy of the Lord

Joy is not an optional extra in the Christian life—without it, we cannot magnify Jesus and attract others to Him....

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Ministry Transition for Jon & Jenn Trott

We would like to express to you our gratefulness for your participation in the financial and prayer support of Jon and Jenn Trott during their twelve years of ministry in Brazil. We also want to take this opportunity to communicate the new direction that they will be taking in church planting ministry...

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Taunting the King of Terrors

1 Corinthians 15:54— “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”...

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Praying for a Breakthrough of Power in Global Outreach

I marvel at promises like Habakkuk 2:14: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”...

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How Should We Think About the Death of Osama bin Laden?

The following is not intended to be comprehensive, but a few pointers as we think together about how to apply God’s revealed Word to the situation of Osama bin Laden’s recent execution....

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The Privilege of Persecution

Persecution is a privilege. Do you agree? Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prop...

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An Anniversary Plea for Revival

Happy Anniversary, New Covenant Bible Church! Though our official anniversary will be celebrated the first Sunday of May, we have been worshiping, praying, serving, loving, and growing together for over a year now. ...

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Is the Gospel for Here or to Go?

If you go to McDonalds and order your favorite meal, inevitably you will be asked: Will this be for here or to go? This is the question I would like to ask us: The gospel--is it for here or to go? The prophet Jonah needed to wrestle with that question. ...

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The More You Give, the More You'll Have

The more you give, the more you’ll have. This week I want to take you to one of the biblical roots of this truth. ...

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Satisfied and Satisfying

Jesus does not want us to end with our own personal satisfaction in him. He wants us to become conduits of his living water to others. ...

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Are You Thirsty?

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-39 ESV)...

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Hell is Real

We don’t like to be warned. But if the warning is based on reality, it is the most loving thing we could hear. ...

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All Debtors Rise!

In days gone by, at the beginning of a bankruptcy proceeding the bailiff would enter the courtroom and announce, "All debtors rise!" Imagine the day when every man, woman, and child is gathered before the throne of justice....

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Do or Done?

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1)....

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The Saddest Verse in the Bible

Brother Andrew once asked while preaching in Sri Lanka, “What’s the saddest verse in the Bible?”...

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What Is Love?

Here is Paul Tripp’s definition of love: “Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving” (What Did You Expect? p. 188)....

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Christian Love is Costly, But Worth It

Loving people is risky and costly. As a fruit of the Spirit, love is always a gift of grace — but cultivating fruit can be hard work....

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Praying for a Breakthrough of Holy Love

During the entire month of February we will be praying for a Breakthrough of Holy Love: * Love for God * Love for the Local Church * Love for One Another * Love for the Lost...

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Fear the Lord, and You Need Not Fear Anything Else

Stability in adversity is a testimony to God’s dependability....

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How to Pray for a Breakthrough of the Fear of the Lord

In his book Seeing God, college professor Gerald McDermott describes the spiritual experience of a student named Mike. Mike’s story is similar to multitudes of people:...

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Pray for a Breakthrough of the Fear of the Lord

Over the next couple of weeks, we will explore more fully what it means to fear the Lord. But for now, I want to whet your appetite for a breakthrough in the fear of the Lord by highlighting some of the rich spiritual benefits that belong to those who fear God....

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2011: A Year of Spiritual Breakthroughs

Friends, there is a profound spiritual connection between powerful faith and prayer. And we’re going to devote this year of our Lord, 2011, to exploring that connection....

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Home for the Holidays

On Sunday morning, December 21, 1856, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon to prepare his growing church for the coming Christmas season....

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Immanuel: Our God is With Us

John Wesley sure knew how to die well! His final words: “The best of all is God with us.” From beginning to end, the Gospel of Matthew captivates our hearts with this glorious theme....

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Why Christ Came: To Give Abundant Life

I love how Jesus describes his purpose in coming into the world. He left His Father’s throne above and came into this broken world on a mission. Listen to how Jesus describes his mission in John 10:10:...

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The History-Defining Question

Larry King, the CNN talk show host, was once asked who he would most want to interview if he could choose anyone from all of history. He said, “Jesus Christ.”...

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Moving from Gloom to Gratitude

In Psalm 77, the psalmist didn't feel grateful. He felt gloomy. Will the Lord spurn forever and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?...

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What is Your Standard of Giving?

As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to ask you a simple but searching question: What is your standard of giving?...

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