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Jesus Loves Children
Matthew 19:13-15; James 1:26-27
Skip Heitzig

Matthew 19 (NKJV™)
13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.
14 But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.
James 1 (NKJV™)
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless.
27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Topical

The most vulnerable among us are often children. Lacking the power and means to be anything except completely dependent on parents and society, they sometimes fall through the cracks. Today we look at how Jesus loved children and consider our mandate to care for those who are most helpless. Through this message, along with a special effort by Reload Love, we aim to bring God’s freedom to many more children around the world.

This collection of topical teachings from Skip Heitzig includes anniversary celebrations, messages about the vision of the church, special teachings from conferences and countries around the world, and more.

Outline

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  1. Parents’ Spiritual Concern (Matthew 19:13)

    1. Desire for Present Safety

    2. Desire for Future Salvation

    3. Display of Disciples’ Insensitivity


  2. Jesus’ Special Care (Matthew 19:14-15)

    1. Reveals God’s Tender Love

    2. Reveals Child’s Special Access


  3. Our Sacred Calling (James 1:26-27)

    1. True Christianity Is Heard from Our Lips

    2. True Christianity Is Seen from Our Lives

Study Guide

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It's said that Charles Francis Adams, a nineteenth-century politician, once wrote in his diary, "Went fishing with son today; a day wasted." His son Brooks wrote of the same outing in his diary, "Went fishing with my father; the most wonderful day of my life." This father saw the day as a waste of time; his son saw it as an investment of time. According to Pastor Skip, the difference between wasting time and investing it is purpose. To address this, we will consider passages from Matthew 19 and James 1. Reflect on the story of Adams and his son. What was the day's purpose for each of them?

First, we consider a parent's spiritual concern (see Matthew 19:13). In the first century, it was common for parents to bring their child to a rabbi to bless them and pray for their safety and future. This practice went back to time of the patriarchs. The Greek term Matthew used for little children in this verse refers to a child from infancy to toddlerhood, when they are most vulnerable. It was normal and expected that parents would want a rabbi of Jesus' reputation and stature to "put His hands on them and pray" (Matthew 19:13), because many of them had heard of or had seen Him heal with His touch. The principle is no different for parents today: get your children to Jesus as early as possible. Never forget that parents are partners with God in making disciples of their children. How did your parents do this? As a parent, how are you partnering with God?

As Matthew recorded, the disciples rebuked these parents for bringing their children to Jesus. This behavior proves that a person can be close to Jesus in proximity but far from Him in priority. Perhaps they were influenced by the Greco-Roman view, which devalued children and led people to routinely abandon them on roadsides and at garbage dumps. Or perhaps they were more influenced by the predominant Jewish views of the day. The extremely religious, particularly the Pharisees, scorned children. They believed that salvation must be earned, and because children couldn't earn anything, they weren't worth the attention until they were of an age to do so. Then, as now, adults are often the biggest roadblocks of children coming to Jesus. Give examples of this from your life.

While that was two millennia ago, the world is seeing a resurgence in the exploitation, cruelty, and butchery of children. Reports of terrorism around the world confirm that children today are being crucified, beheaded, raped, and buried alive.

In stark contrast, consider Jesus' special care for children (see Matthew 19:14-15). In one translation of verse 14, Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and don't prevent them from coming to Me." This verse is so important that it is recorded in three of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), giving insight into how God loves children. In fact, Jesus said that adults should be like children: "Unless you...become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Children have enormous spiritual capacity, and their default setting is belief in God. You have to plant a lie in their hearts in order to turn them from Him. Read Matthew 18:1-6. What does it mean to "become as little children"?

This brings us to our sacred calling as described in James 1:26-27: to show genuine love. The word religious in this passage refers to an outward expression of worship. To put James' point another way, our entire religious liturgy is worthless unless we show it by our lips and our life. A religion that is limited to the sanctuary and does not go into the street is not real! Lip service without life service is simply empty religion, but lip service combined with life service is true devotion. God has always shown a special concern for orphans and widows. His heart has always been for groups on society's perimeters. Are there any widows or orphans you know—a relative or neighbor—who you can help in some small way? Discuss a plan.

In these days when ISIS makes regular headlines for its terrorism and barbarity, God's devotion to the least of these highlights a major difference between radical Islam and authentic Christianity. In radical Islam, religious zealots target children for death, whereas the Bible targets them for care and love. We are to visit them, to look in on them and look after themto shepherd them. One of the best things you can do for yourself when you're in trouble is to help someone else in worse trouble. Can you share an example of this from your life? In a pain-filled world, don't just wrestle with the issue of why God allows children to suffer. Instead, wrestle with this: Now that you know about their suffering, what will you do to help?

Adapted from Pastor Skip’s teaching

The BIG Idea
Learn to do good…defend the fatherless, plead for the widow" (Isaiah 1:17).

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. "Jesus Loves the Little Children"; "Jesus Loves Me"
      1. Help children know that they are loved
      2. But we live in a world where not everyone loves children
    2. Charles Francis Adams and son
    3. What's the difference between time wasted and time invested? Purpose
      1. Every human being has purpose
      2. The two greatest days of your life: the day you were born and the day you discover what you were born for
      3. Sadly, lots of people don't get to make that discovery
    4. Matthew 19 is about the demonstration of love; James 1 is about the admonition to love
    5. Matthew 19 is about an encounter Jesus had with children; James 1 is a summary statement about the nature of true Christian faith
  2. Parents' Spiritual Concern (Matthew 19:13)
    1. This text has nothing to do with bringing children into main service; it has everything to do with how Jesus views and cares for children
    2. Desire for Present Safety
      1. Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17
        1. Over a period of time, these parents were bringing their children to Him
        2. Matthew 18:1-5
      2. Jewish people often found an esteemed rabbi to lay hands on their child
        1. The Talmud instructs parents to do so
        2. Why was it important that Jesus did this? Because they had seen what those hands could do
    3. Desire for Future Salvation
      1. Get your kids to Jesus as early as possible
      2. "Ere your boy has reached to seven, teach him well the way to heaven; better still the work will thrive if he learns before he's five" —C.H. Spurgeon
      3. A parent is a partner with God in making disciples of children
    4. Display of Disciples' Insensitivity
      1. The disciples had been with Jesus for two years; they obviously didn't share His heart
      2. You can be close to the Lord in proximity and yet far from Him in priority
      3. Why the disciples' reaction?
        1. They were tainted by the Greco-Roman culture
          1. Childhood was an insignificant phase of life
          2. Young children who were not wanted were abandoned, especially girls
          3. "If it is a male child, let it live. If it is a female, cast it out" —Hilarion
        2. More than likely, they were influenced by religious thinking
          1. Pharisees scorned children
          2. You earn your salvation; a toddler cannot; therefore, salvation does not belong to children
      4. Adults can become the biggest roadblocks of children coming to Jesus
    5. We live in a world that is seeing an increase, not a decrease, in the exploitation of children
  3. Jesus' Special Care (Matthew 19:14-15)
    1. Reveals God's Tender Love
      1. Verse 14 is so important, it's included in the Bible three times: Matthew, Mark, and Luke
      2. Matthew 18:1-5
      3. "I doubt a man's Christianity unless I can find kids playing at his doorstep" —George MacDonald
    2. Reveals Child's Special Access
      1. Children have an enormous capacity for spiritual things
      2. It seems you have to put a lie into a child's heart to get them not to believe in God
      3. God has wired it into the heart of children to be close to Him
      4. "I have more confidence in the spiritual life of the children that I have received into this church than I have in the spiritual condition of the adults thus received.... I have usually found a clearer knowledge of the gospel and a warmer love to Christ in the child-converts than in the man-converts.... I have sometimes met with a deeper spiritual experience in children of ten and twelve than I have in certain persons of fifty or sixty" —C.H. Spurgeon
      5. "If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God" —D.L. Moody
  4. Our Sacred Calling (James 1:26-27)
    1. This is a summary statement made by the half brother of Jesus, James
    2. True Christianity Is Heard from Our Lips
      1. Religion in these verses is the Greek word thréskeia
        1. Describes the outward ritual ceremonies of worship, outward expression
        2. Josephus used it to describe worship in the temple you could see
        3. Paul used it to describe his life as a Pharisee before he came to Christ
      2. Not the typical New Testament word, eusebeia, which describes a sincere, God-fearing, authentic adoration and worship
    3. True Christianity Is Seen from Our Lives
      1. All of your religious liturgy is worthless unless you show it by your lips and by your life
        1. A religion that is limited to the sanctuary and doesn't go out to the streets is not real
        2. Isaiah 1:11, 15, 17
      2. Lip service without life service is empty religion; but lip service combined with life service is true devotion
      3. Why widows and orphans?
        1. They represented the most vulnerable of the ancient culture
        2. The Bible places a special emphasis on loving and caring for these groups
          1. Psalm 68:5
          2. Exodus 22:22
          3. Deuteronomy 14:28-29
          4. Deuteronomy 27:19
      4. The difference between radical Islam and genuine Christianity: the ones the religious zealots target for death are the very ones God targets for care and love
      5. Visit (v. 27)
        1. Means to look in on, to look after, to care for
        2. Greek episkeptomai; same root as episkopos, which is a bishop or overseer
        3. Just like a shepherd cares for the souls of a congregation, to visit means to shepherd the souls of and care for widows and orphans
      6. James' audience was poor, persecuted, and had their own troubles
        1. But he said, "Don't stop having compassion for people who are worse off than you are"
        2. One of the best things to do when you're in trouble is to help somebody who's in more trouble
  5. Closing
    1. We tend to wrestle with suffering academically: "How could a God of love allow that to happen?"
    2. Put yourself into the issue: "Now that I know about what is happening, why would I allow it to happen?"
      1. Who knows the way to freedom better than one who knows the Lord?
      2. John 8:36

Figures referenced: Charles Francis Adams, C.H. Spurgeon, Hilarion, George MacDonald, D.L. Moody, Josephus

Greek words: thréskeia, eusebeia, episkeptomai, episkopos

Cross references: Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 27:19; Psalm 68:5; Isaiah 1:11, 15, 17; Matthew 18:1-5; 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17; John 8:36; James 1:26-27


Topic: Children

Keywords: children, kids, love, Jesus Christ, salvation, Christianity, true religion, service, widows, orphans, suffering, terrorism, freedom

Transcript

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Introduction: Hello and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. Skip's messages are shared globally, and we're grateful when we hear how God uses them to advance his kingdom. If this teaching shines his love into your life, we'd like to know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving. Jesus Loves People---that's the profound truth at the heart of our series, and it's the truth at the very heart of the gospel. Children are the most vulnerable in society and often fall through the cracks. In the message "Jesus Loves Children," we look at how Jesus loved children and consider our mandate to care for them. Let's open our Bibles as Pastor Skip begins.

Skip Heitzig: Would you turn in your Bibles, please, to two passages of Scripture: the gospel of Matthew, chapter 19, it's the first book in your New Testament; and then toward the end of your New Testament the book of James, chapter 1; Matthew 19 and James, chapter 1. My childhood was filled with so many great memories. And if you ever went to Sunday school, you remember being taught a song, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world." And another song that was familiar, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." So those are songs that help children know that they are loved. The sad thing is we live in a world where not everyone loves children. There was a man in the eighteen hundreds who was a diplomat, a politician in this country.

Most aren't familiar with his name. His name was Charles Francis Adams. It's not a familiar name; though, his father's name is more familiar. He was one of our presidents, John Quincy Adams. Charles Francis Adams was also in politics and he had a son. He went out fishing one day with his son, came back, and he wrote this in his diary: "Went fishing with my son today---a day wasted." His son also kept a diary, which is still in existence to this day. And on the very same day in the son's diary these words appear: "Went fishing with my father today---the most wonderful day of my life!" What a difference, ay? What polar opposites in entries in a journal: one that would see the day as wasted; the other that would see the day as invested.

So what is it that makes the difference between time wasted and time invested? Purpose, I would answer, purpose. What is the purpose of life? What is the purpose of that boy's life? Every human being has purpose. And one of the greatest and most fun, exciting discoveries is to find out what our purpose is. It's been said, "The two greatest days of your life is the day you were born and then the day that you discovered what you were born for." Sadly, however, there's lots of people that don't get the chance to make that discovery, because of what's happening in their world. In a few days I'm going to be traveling to the Middle East to Jordan, to Lebanon, and to Iraq.

If you have at all kept up with any of the news, you know that there's a group in that part of the world known as the Islamic State. They have displaced millions, millions of people, not hundreds or thousands. Millions of people have been displaced, four million in Syria alone, by this group. And they have targeted Christians. Many of your brothers and sisters that you've never met in that part of the world are being tortured and brutalized by this group. And, sadly, in their crosshairs are children and women. Can you imagine what it would be like? It's really difficult to do so, but imagine being a child watching your parents killed. Imagine being a child and having everything you've known taken away in an instant, and the sense of despair and being forlorn, having to fend for yourself in a refugee camp.

And then imagine what it would be like for a Christian child to see that happen, and the sense of doubt and despair and wonder if there really is a God would settle in. But then imagine what it would be like to be one of those kids and have somebody come and help rescue you and bring you to a safe place, and provide for clothing and shelter and warmth, and give you the hope that is found in Jesus Christ alone. Last year I was in Lebanon, and I was with a friend who's a pastor named Sammy Dagger---he has been to this church---a fiery, Lebanese preacher. And I noticed when I was at Sammy's house in his backyard was this shelter. And I noticed people inside of it. I said, "Sammy, what's going on in your backyard?"

He said, "I have a family living in my backyard. I built a little shelter for them. These are one of millions of refugees that have come from Syria and have found their home in these countries around." What I noticed is there was an older woman and several young children. I knew they couldn't be her children, and they weren't, they were her grandchildren. And the story was, is that her son, the elder woman's son, was coming home on his bicycle in Syria with a bag of rice, was stopped by this Islamic State, killed, beheaded, the rice taken, and now a family was without a father, a woman was without a husband. The mother wasn't there when I looked out back. And I met the family.

The mother wasn't there, and Sammy said, "She has gone back into Syria with her newborn in hopes of finding her husband's body, just to give him a decent burial." And that is just one small story of millions of stories like that that could be told. I know that's a sad way to start a message, but I want to bring you some hope in Matthew, chapter 19, and then James, chapter 1. Matthew 19 is all about the demonstration of love. James 1 is all about the admonition to do so. In the first setting of Matthew's gospel, it's an encounter that Jesus has with children. There's only three verses, but it's very, very significant. And then James, chapter 1, is a summary statement written by James about the nature of true Christian faith.

We're going to begin in Matthew 19 and then move over to James, chapter 1. But we're going to begin with parents, those that brought their children to Jesus, parents' spiritual concern for their kids. Matthew 19 verse 13, "Then little children were brought"---we can only presume they were brought by parents. And that's confirmed by the other two times this story appears in the gospel of Mark and Luke. "Then little children were brought to him that he might put his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' And he laid his hands on them and departed from there."

Now, first of all, I want to say that this text that we just read has absolutely nothing to do with bringing children into the main sanctuary for main service. Could we just get that out of the way? [laughter] Because I have to say that, because over the years you would be amazed how many people have tried to pull out that passage as if Jesus had that in his mind when he spoke that. This has everything to do with how Jesus views children and how he cares for them. Now the other two gospels that I mention, Mark and Luke, in telling the story, it doesn't say children were brought to him, it says "they were bringing" their children to him. It's in the imperfect tense, which means a continuing action. So the idea is over a period of time these parents were bringing their children to him.

They knew that Jesus was in their area. They knew that Jesus loved children, because in the previous chapter he has picked up a child in his arms and cradled that child, and said to his disciples, "You guys need to become like one of these kids." So these parents, knowing Jesus was in the area, they brought their children over to him over an extended period of time, which was common practice. Jewish people would often want to find a rabbi that was esteemed and notable and get that rabbi to lay hands on that child and pray for the child's future and blessing. The Talmud even instructs parents to do so. And so typically on the first birthday of the child they would bring their children to the synagogues, and that child would be brought before the rabbi and the rabbi would pronounce a blessing or say a prayer.

And it's something that we have followed here in our baby dedications. We don't see baby dedications as equivalent to baptizing an infant; we just have the opportunity to pray for the child's future in front of the whole congregation. And so they brought these children to Jesus. Notice what it says, though, "that he might put his hands on them." What a beautiful thought---"Jesus Christ touching my child with his hand." Why was that important to them? Because they had seen what those hands could do. They saw what those hands were capable of doing: touching eyes, blind, letting them see again; ears, deaf, they could hear again; people who were dead, they could live again. "Wouldn't it be wonderful if Jesus could touch my child?"

So they're bringing their kids to Jesus. They want a blessing said over those children. They would love it if Jesus would touch and cuddle their children, because they're concerned about their children. Let me just suggest this for any parent---get your kid to Jesus as early as possible. The younger, the better. Charles Spurgeon used to say, and I love to quote: "Before a child reaches seven, teach him all the way to heaven; and better still the work will thrive, if he learns before he's five." The earlier, the better. Get your kids to Jesus that he might bless them that he might get in touch with those young hearts and minds. You see, a parent is a partner with God in making disciples of children. So, they brought their children to Jesus that he might put his hands on them and pray.

But then notice it says in verse 13, "but the disciples"---oh, great, here they come. "But the disciples rebuked them." Now this is a little mystifying, is it not? For the disciples had been with Jesus by this time two whole years. For two years they had watched him, they had heard his sermons, they have hung out with him, they shared meals with him, experiences with him. But they obviously didn't share his heart. And so we wonder, "How is it possible that these disciples, after being with Jesus this long, would dare rebuke parents for bringing children to him, knowing the heart of the Master, the heart of this Savior that they serve?" Well, it does show something interesting: you can be close to our Lord in proximity and yet far from him in priority. And they were.

But the question remains: Why? Why is it? Well, some have suggested that the disciples were a little bit tainted by the Greco-Roman culture, the world around them. You may or may not know that in the ancient society, the Greco-Roman world, childhood was considered an insignificant phase of life. Which I've always wondered at, because you have to go through that phase to get to any other phase, which would make all phases of humanity important and significant. But to them it was-it was minified. It was marginalized. It was an insignificant phase of life. Children were not valued. Routinely, young children who were not wanted were simply placed outside on the roadsides or on garbage dumps. And in antiquity in Roman cities, each city had a meeting place, a forum, downtown.

Children were brought to the forum and left there. Many of them died. Those that survived were sold into slavery to become gladiators or to become prostitutes. And those that fared the worst were always girls, always girls. And that, again, was because of the ancient way of thinking that was wrong thinking; and that is, a girl poses a financial burden to the family, whereas that boy can eventually at least bring in an income. And believe it or not, that is how they thought. A letter has been found from 1 BC by a Roman soldier named Hilarion to his wife Alis. Knowing that she's about to give birth to a child, he writes: "If it is a male child, let it live; if it is a female, cast it out." That was their thinking. But I can't believe that these disciples would be tainted by that kind of thinking.

They were Jewish and they were followers of Jesus, so I doubt that the reason they rebuked the parents was because of Greco-Roman culture. No. I think the reason the disciples rebuked the parents in trying to bring their children to Jesus is because the disciples were influenced by religious thinking. I wanted to pause, because I wanted that to sink in. They were influenced by ultrareligious thinking. Did you know that the Pharisees---that-that sect of Judaism two thousand years ago that was really ultra hard core---they scorned children? And here's why: They taught that you earn one's salvation, and if you earn your salvation, somebody who's a toddler really can't earn anything; therefore, salvation does not belong to children. Can you imagine that thinking?

But that was the thinking and it would seem that these disciples are tainted by that. These would be the dads who would see fishing with their son as "a day wasted," but not Jesus. Which brings up an interesting point, sad but true: adults can become the biggest roadblocks of children coming to Jesus for a number of reasons. Now, I would love to report to you that in the year 2015 we have, as a world, as advanced cultures and societies, we've gotten really good at caring for human beings and that this really isn't a problem anymore. That's just in antiquity. That's ancient thinking. Greco-Roman culture, that is so far gone. That ultrareligious thinking, that is so far gone. But we live in a world that is seeing an increase, not a decrease, in the exploitation of children.

And those who are most vulnerable are cruelly being butchered, and those are the children. According to Congressman Frank Wolf who wrote a recent report called the "Edge of Extinction," all about ISIS the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said, "Women and children are banished from their homes, and they huddle with hundreds of thousands of them in abject misery." The article told of one Christian woman whose family could not flee the city of Qaraqosh when the Islamic State invaded on August 6th, because her husband is blind. She said, "We could hear them crying in the streets, 'Allah akbar!' 'Christians, go away or we will kill you!' After that they came to our house. 'Convert or we will kill you,' they said." The next thing she knew, the jihadists had snatched her three-year-old daughter from her lap and took the baby away.

One report of seven hundred girls captured and taken to Mosul says the girls were separated according to eye color. And members of the Islamic State were allowed to choose the young women according to their personal preference. The leftover girls were then separated into two camps, the "pretty" camp and the "ugly" camp, with those deemed most beautiful transported elsewhere. The rest were killed, they committed suicide, or they were sold as sex slaves. Reuters news agency reports, "We have reports of children, especially children that are mentally challenged, who have been used as suicide bombers and probably without them even understanding what they were doing." Report after report after report after report confirms children who are being crucified, beheaded, and buried alive.

So I admire these parents in our text. "Let's bring our children to Jesus that he might bless them, that he might lay his hand on them." Now notice Jesus' care, his special care of these children. He says in verse 14, "Let the little children come to me." He's saying this to his disciples who are trying to prevent it all. "Let the children come to me, do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." One translation puts it this way: "Leave them alone; let them come." "Quit bothering them. Quit keeping them away." Now, keep in mind, this verse, verse 14, is so important that it is included in your Bible three times: Matthew, Mark, and Luke---all three Synoptic Gospels have this statement of Jesus which simply highlights God's view of children.

I think we can all agree, God has a tender spot in his heart for children, so much so that Jesus held up that child in his arms and said to his disciples, "You adults need to become like this." "Unless you become like little children, you will be no means enter into the kingdom of heaven." So Jesus loved them. He was concerned for them. He knew that these little children, the world that they would face and the hardships that would be in front of them. One Scottish author and poet named George MacDonald used to say, "I doubt a man's Christianity unless I can find kids playing at his doorstep." You see, children have an enormous capacity for spiritual things. And it's so easy for a child to be introduced to Jesus and to believe in him, so easy.

It seems that you have to deliberately put a lie into a child's heart to get him not to believe in God. I've always loved the story told by Adrian Rogers, the onetime pastor in Atlanta, Georgia. He said there was a lie detector test in that city, and one of the questions at that time on the lie detector test was: "Do you believe in God?" And every now and then somebody would come in and be an atheist, and the question was asked: "Do you believe in God?" And he or she would say, "No." And the lie detector reading would say "liar," you know, it would register those kind of waves. So God has wired it into the heart of children to be close to him.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes, "I have more confidence in the life---spiritual life of children than I have in the spiritual condition of adults . . . I have usually found a clearer knowledge of the gospel and the warmer love for Christ in child converts than in adult converts. I have sometimes met with a deeper spiritual experience in children of ten to twelve than in adults between fifty and sixty." Dwight L. Moody even said, "If I could relive my whole life over again, I would spend it doing evangelism for children." So, the parents' concern for their children brought their children to Jesus, knowing Jesus was concerned for them, and he did, he showed special care. Now, would you turn with me to James 1 where we're going to close this morning.

James 1 highlights our calling, our sacred calling as believers. It's an admonition and just really two---really one verse. It's a summary statement made by the brother-in-law, or I should say the half-brother of Jesus, James who writes about faith and love. James chapter 1 verse 26, "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." Now we have a---we have a little trouble, some of us reading this, with the word "religion," because immediately we go, "Wait a minute. You keep saying that it's all about, not religion, but relationship."

Well, here's what you need to know about the text: when James uses the word "religion," he uses a Greek word thréskeia, which describes the outward ritual ceremonies of worship, the outward expressions of rituals and ceremonies and liturgies. It was a word Josephus the historian used to describe worship in the temple at Jerusalem that you could see with your eye. Paul used that word to describe his own religious life as a Pharisee before he came to Christ. It is not the typical New Testament word. The typical New Testament word is eusebeia, which describes a sincere, God-fearing, authentic adoration and worship.

So, "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, that one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and keep oneself unspotted from the world." In other words, all of your religious liturgy is worthless unless you show it by your lips and by your life. That's the essence of what he is saying. Or, if you prefer, a religion that is limited to the sanctuary, but doesn't go out to the streets, isn't worth anything. It's not real. Isaiah, chapter 1, says basically the same thing. God says through the prophet, " 'To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me?' says the Lord?" That's the outward religion.

"Stop bringing meaningless offerings to me. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my face from you." And then he goes on to say, "Defend the cause of the fatherless," the children that have no parents, the orphans, and "plead the case of the widows." So back to verse 27, "Pure and undefiled religion before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." Lip service without life service is empty religion; but lip service combined with life service is true devotion. But why does he isolate these two groups? Why does he say widows and orphans, widows and orphans? It's easy to answer that question, because those two groups represented the most vulnerable of ancient culture.

Not only that, but because of that, because it was the groups that were the castaways and never thought about and never cared for as much. Throughout the Bible God does highlight them and does care for them. If you know anything at all about the Scripture as a whole, it places a special emphasis on loving and caring for these two groups. For example, in Psalm 68 God is called the "father of the fatherless. A defender of the widows, is God in his holy habitation." In the ancient law of Moses in Exodus 22:22, the Lord says, "Do not take advantage or exploit a widow or an orphan." And then every three years the children of Israel had to bring one-tenth, a tithe of all their produce and bring it to the center of their town.

The Lord said this: "So that the widow and the orphan who are in your town shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you." In other words, "The blessing that I will give you is part and parcel of how you treat the orphan and the widow." And just to make that point stronger, God pronounces a curse on those who don't. In Deuteronomy 27, "'Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien,' "not from outer space, but a foreigner, "'an orphan, and a widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.' "So since it's in the Bible, can I get an "amen"? I like it when you do that. [laughter] Now, please note something that to me is fundamental: in going over these Scriptures we immediately see the difference between radical Islam and genuine Christianity.

Because the very ones that these religious zealots target for death are the very ones that God targets for care and love. It is the polar opposite. It is the polar opposite. [applause] Look at the word "visit." "Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows." Now you read that, I don't think it's the best translation, because you think, "Okay, go over and have a cup of coffee with them." The word "visit" means to look in on and look after or to care for, to care for. The word is interesting. The word "visit" is a word---I'm going to tell it to you, and some of you, I don't expect all of you, might recognize it: episkeptomai. Now you go, "What? Is that a disease?" Episkeptomai, it is the same root as the word episkopos, which means a bishop.

You've heard of the Episcopal Church. That comes from the Greek word episkopos, a bishop, an overseer. Episkeptomai means visit. So the word, just like you have a shepherd caring for the souls of a congregation, the word "visit" means to shepherd the souls of and care for the widows and the orphans. Now, something that I think is also important: when James wrote this letter, his audience was already poor, already persecuted, had troubles of their own. But James is telling them, "I know you're suffering, but at the same time don't stop having compassion for people who are worse off than you are. Don't become so insulated and isolated that all you think about is just your weak, but have compassion on the least of these."

And, by the way, one of the best things you can ever do for yourself when you're in trouble is to help somebody who's in more trouble. It will do wonders for you, guaranteed. Here in the West whenever we hear of suffering, it's a sound bite for the most part. And, unfortunately, a lot of us get our news from comedians, not even the news, so we don't even know what the news is. But we're so used to sound bites, and in our comfortable Western environment when we hear of these atrocities, immediately we just sort of want to wrestle with it academically. And we kind of go here, "Well, how can there be a God of love who would allow that to happen?" Right? That's where we go with it. But let me throw that back at you.

Let me put you into the issue and me into the issue: Now that I know about what is happening, why would I allow it to happen? I'm the body of Christ. I'm a part of his body on earth. Now that I am aware, what am I going to do to help? I told you about the millions of people, in Syria alone two million children have lost homes, schools, friends, families. They're saying now the children in the streets in that part of the world, instead of playing the children are always fighting each other. Why do you think that is? That's all they've seen. They've seen fighting and that's what they're doing. And one report was a twelve-year-old girl, she was being interviewed, she said, "I miss my school, my teacher. I want to grow up in my own home."

And she was just then, during the interview, interrupted by her younger brother running up and down outside on the mud street with a gun made out of a piece of wood shouting over and over again this word: "Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!" Who knows the way to freedom better than one who knows the Lord Jesus Christ? Whoever has the Son, he will set him free indeed. We have such an opportunity in our own town, in our own state, in our own country, as well as in the rest of the world to show the least of these love and compassion. What a privilege it is to do so. Let's pray. Lord, we have the greatest---I shun to say it---product that guarantees freedom; and that is, when a person encounters the Lord Jesus Christ.

The gospel itself---undiminished, told, explained, lived out---can transform a child, a woman, a man, and even a terrorist, as I have met many of those who from the past were involved in these organizations who are now fighting against them and standing up for your kingdom. Lord, we do wonder, we struggle with evil and the presence of evil in this world, and we wonder about why you don't do anything. And maybe you're wondering the same thing about us, especially those who represent you. Thank you for the privilege that we have to nurture one another and to worship together in freedom like this, and then to help those who are unable to do so, in Jesus' name, amen.

Closing: Children are extremely precious to God and he considers them his very own. That means we must love them abundantly too. How will you be an agent of God's love to the children in your life? Let us know. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder: you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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1/21/1982
completed
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The Tower of Babel
Genesis 11:1-9
Skip Heitzig
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The Tower of Babel - Genesis 11:1-9 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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6/27/1982
completed
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Peter's Homecoming
Mark 14
Skip Heitzig
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Peter's Homecoming - Mark 14 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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3/27/1983
completed
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The Purpose of Worship
Romans 12:1-2; Revelation 4:10-11
Skip Heitzig
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The Purpose of Worship - Romans 12:1-2, Revelation 4:10-11, Psalm 84 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/29/1983
completed
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Demon Possession
Luke 22:31-32
Skip Heitzig
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Demon Possession - Luke 22:31-32 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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10/30/1983
completed
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Happiness is...
Psalm 1
Skip Heitzig
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Happiness is... - Psalm 1 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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1/7/1984
completed
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Jesus Who?
Deuteronomy 11:10-16
Skip Heitzig
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Jesus Who? - Deuteronomy 11:10-16 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/19/1984
completed
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Keep Going, Keep Growing
2 Peter 1:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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Keep Going, Keep Growing - 2 Peter 1:1-11 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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3/10/1984
completed
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The Antioch Church
Skip Heitzig
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The Antioch Church from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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4/1/1984
completed
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The Marathon Christian
1 Corinthians 9
Skip Heitzig
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The Marathon Christian - 1 Corinthians 9 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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4/1/1984
completed
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India Review
Acts 13:1-3; Acts 14:19
Skip Heitzig
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India Review - Acts 13:1-3, 14:19 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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6/17/1984
completed
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From Despair to Joy
Habakkuk 3:17-19
Skip Heitzig
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From Despair to Joy - Habakkuk 3:17-19 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/8/1984
completed
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The Sheep and the Shepherd
John 10
Skip Heitzig
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The Sheep and the Shepherd - John 10 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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10/21/1984
completed
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The Decline of Discouragement
Numbers 21
Skip Heitzig
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The Decline of Discouragement - Numbers 21 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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10/28/1984
completed
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Living on the Border
Numbers 32
Skip Heitzig
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Living on the Border - Numbers 32 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/12/1985
completed
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Make Up Your Mind - Today!
1 Kings 18
Skip Heitzig
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Make Up Your Mind - Today! - 1 Kings 18 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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6/16/1985
completed
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Daniel's Seventy Weeks
Daniel 9
Skip Heitzig
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Daniel's Seventy Weeks - Daniel 9 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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11/17/1985
completed
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Preparing for Service
Isaiah 6:1-9
Skip Heitzig
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Preparing for Service - Isaiah 6:1-9 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/15/1986
completed
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The Prodigal Family
Ruth 1:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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The Prodigal Family - Ruth 1:1-14 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/22/1986
completed
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Portrait of a Radical Rabbi
Galatians 1:13-21
Skip Heitzig
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Portrait of a Radical Rabbi - Galatians 1:13-21 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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3/1/1986
completed
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The Flesh and The Spirit
Galatians 5:16-26
Skip Heitzig
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The Flesh and The Spirit - Galatians 5:16-26 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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4/11/1987
completed
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Doctrinal Questions - A Foundation
Skip Heitzig
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Doctrinal Questions - A Foundation from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/9/1987
completed
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Hey, What's God Like?
Skip Heitzig
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Hey, What's God Like? from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/23/1987
completed
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Security or Insecurity
Skip Heitzig
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Security or Insecurity from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/7/1987
completed
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Growing Strong, Becoming Mighty - King Jotham
2 Chronicles 27:6
Skip Heitzig
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Growing Strong, Becoming Mighty - King Jotham - 2 Chronicles 27:6 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/15/1987
completed
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When God Withdraws - Hezekiah
2 Chronicles 32:21
Skip Heitzig
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When God Withdraws - Hezekiah - 2 Chronicles 32:21 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/23/1987
completed
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Stubborness that Alienates
Luke 15:11-32
Skip Heitzig
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Stubborness that Alienates - Luke 15:11-32 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/29/1987
completed
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Approaching Those with Heavy Hearts
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Skip Heitzig
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Approaching Those with Heavy Hearts - 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/5/1987
completed
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Completing a Long Task
Ezra 6:14
Skip Heitzig
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Completing a Long Task - Ezra 6:14 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/19/1987
completed
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Separation: What God Has Not Joined
Ezra 9:1-4
Skip Heitzig
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Separation: What God Has Not Joined - Ezra 9:1-4 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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12/5/1987
completed
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For a Time such as This
Esther 4:13-14
Skip Heitzig
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For a Time such as This - Esther 4:13-14 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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12/12/1987
completed
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Bringing God to the Marketplace
Titus 2:9-10
Skip Heitzig
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Bringing God to the Marketplace - Titus 2:9-10 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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12/28/1987
completed
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The Untrodden Path
Joshua 3:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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The Untrodden Path - Joshua 3:1-10 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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1/2/1988
completed
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Jesus Answers Job
Job 16:19-21
Skip Heitzig
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Jesus Answers Job - Job 16:19-21 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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1/9/1988
completed
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What Sustains a Weary Soul
Job 23:8-12
Skip Heitzig
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What Sustains a Weary Soul - Job 23:8-12 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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1/16/1988
completed
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God Rebukes a Spiritual Man
Job 40:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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God Rebukes a Spiritual Man - Job 40:1-14 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/24/1988
completed
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Jesus Came
Mark 1:1-20
Skip Heitzig
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Jesus Came - Mark 1:1-20 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/16/1989
completed
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The Nazarene
Matthew 2:23
Skip Heitzig
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The Nazarene - Matthew 2:23 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/23/1989
completed
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The Carpenter
Skip Heitzig
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The Carpenter from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/24/1989
completed
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Joshua's Sweet Smell of Success
Joshua 1:1-9
Skip Heitzig
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Joshua's Sweet Smell of Success - Joshua 1:1-9 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/30/1989
completed
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Caleb: Fully Alive at 85!
Joshua 14:6-15
Skip Heitzig
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Caleb: Fully Alive at 85! - Joshua 14:6-15 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/26/1990
completed
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Psalm 3
Psalm 3
Skip Heitzig
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Psalm 3 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/18/1991
completed
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God's Plan for World Evangelism
1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
George Sanchez
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God's Plan for World Evangelism - 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 from our Guest Speaker series at Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/22/1991
completed
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The Problem of Suffering
Skip Heitzig
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The Problem of Suffering from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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12/23/1991
completed
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Life's Not Fair!
Skip Heitzig
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Life's Not Fair! from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/28/1992
completed
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School of Ministry Graduation 1992
Skip Heitzig
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School of Ministry Graduation 1992 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/19/1993
completed
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How to Be Used by God
Romans 12
Skip Heitzig
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How to Be Used by God - Romans 12 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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4/16/1994
completed
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Sex In The Scriptures
Skip Heitzig
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Sex In The Scriptures from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/2/1994
completed
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The Lord is My Shepherd
Psalm 23
Skip Heitzig
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The Lord is My Shepherd - Psalm 23 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/19/1994
completed
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A World without Foundations
Psalm 11
Skip Heitzig
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A World without Foundations - Psalm 11 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/25/1994
completed
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The Church and It's Mission
Skip Heitzig
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The Church and It's Mission from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/28/1995
completed
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The Assault of the Cults
Skip Heitzig
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The Assault of the Cults from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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3/14/1996
completed
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Israel Update 1996
Skip Heitzig
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Israel Update 1996 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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3/28/1996
completed
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Israel: God's Plans Don't Change
Skip Heitzig
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Israel: God's Plans Don't Change from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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4/26/1997
completed
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Connection Celebration 1997
Skip Heitzig
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Connection Celebration 1997 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/2/1997
completed
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National Day of Prayer - 1997
Skip Heitzig
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National Day of Prayer - 1997 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/6/1999
completed
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National Day of Prayer - 1999
Skip Heitzig
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National Day of Prayer - 1999 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/9/2000
completed
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Salvation Message
Skip Heitzig
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Salvation Message from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/14/2001
completed
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National Prayer Service for September 11, 2001 Attack on America
Skip Heitzig
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National Prayer Service for September 11, 2001 Attack on America from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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11/14/2001
completed
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BGEA Team and Staff Conference 2001
Skip Heitzig
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5/2/2002
completed
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National Day of Prayer - 2002
Skip Heitzig
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National Day of Prayer - 2002 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/11/2002
completed
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Where Are We Now?
Skip Heitzig
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Where Are We Now? from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/1/2003
completed
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National Day of Prayer 2003
Skip Heitzig
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National Day of Prayer 2003 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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12/21/2003
completed
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Skip Announces His Departure from Calvary Albuquerque
Hebrews 11:8
Skip Heitzig
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Skip Announces His Departure from Calvary Albuquerque - Hebrews 11:8 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/1/2004
completed
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I've Just Gotta Go to Church
Psalm 84
Skip Heitzig
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I've Just Gotta Go to Church - Psalm 84 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/21/2004
completed
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A History of Calvary Albuquerque as Skip Departs
Skip Heitzig
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A History of Calvary Albuquerque as Skip Departs from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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4/17/2004
completed
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What are you Hungry for?
Matthew 5:6
Skip Heitzig
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What are you Hungry for? - Matthew 5:6 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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6/3/2004
completed
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Vision Casting - Upreach
Skip Heitzig
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Vision Casting - Upreach from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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6/4/2004
completed
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Vision Casting - Inreach
Skip Heitzig
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Vision Casting - Inreach from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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6/5/2004
completed
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Vision Casting - Outreach
Skip Heitzig
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Vision Casting - Outreach from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/26/2004
completed
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Special Dedication Message
1 Kings 8
Skip Heitzig
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12/28/2004
completed
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Worship in Spirit and Truth
John 4;Psalm 95
Skip Heitzig
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Worship in Spirit and Truth - John 4, Psalm 95 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/23/2005
completed
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Worship
Isaiah 6:1-4
Skip Heitzig
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Worship - Isaiah 6:1-4 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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5/18/2005
completed
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Ministry Fair
Nehemiah 4
Skip Heitzig
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Ministry Fair - Nehemiah 4 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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6/12/2005
completed
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Forecasting Your Future
Philippians 1:19-21
Skip Heitzig
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8/17/2005
completed
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A Special Evening on Israel
Skip Heitzig
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A Special Evening on Israel from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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9/27/2005
completed
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The Folly of Running from God
Jonah 1:1-3
Skip Heitzig
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The Folly of Running from God - Jonah 1:1-3 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/22/2006
completed
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A Special Message to Calvary Albuquerque
Skip Heitzig
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A Special Message to Calvary Albuquerque from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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2/25/2006
completed
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Five Firm Steps for Hearts in Crisis
Psalm 27
Skip Heitzig
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When in the midst of crisis, where do you turn for comfort? Do you seek the Lord and allow Him to work through the crisis? David experienced many times of crisis, but he remembered that the Lord was his beauty and light. Pastor Skip Heitzig outlines Five Firm Steps for Hearts in Crisis and shares the insight the Lord gave David in Psalm 27. When you are in frightening times of crisis, focus on God who is above all circumstances.
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6/25/2006
completed
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Has God Got A Plan For You!
John 3:16
Skip Heitzig
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What plans do you have for today? Tomorrow? The rest of your life? Eternity? You may not have an answer for all of these questions, and even if you do, circumstances may arise that keep you from executing your plans. But God has a plan for you and for all of humanity that is sure and steadfast. No circumstance can arise that will change the course of it. Join Pastor Skip Heitzig as he lays out the details of God's plan for mankind and discover how you can be part of a sure future in Him.
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7/8/2006
completed
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Buckle Up! Your're Going On An Adventure
Genesis 12:1-9
Skip Heitzig
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Buckle Up! Your're Going On An Adventure - Genesis 12:1-9 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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7/15/2006
completed
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Trusting God for Better or Worse
Genesis 22:1-19
Skip Heitzig
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Trusting God for Better or Worse - Genesis 22:1-19 from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/30/2006
completed
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Rekindling Our Vision
Acts 2
Skip Heitzig
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10/11/2006
completed
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Rejoice!
Deuteronomy 12
Skip Heitzig
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11/6/2006
completed
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Ready 2 Serve
Skip Heitzig
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Calvary Chapel Men's Conference 2006
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5/20/2007
completed
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25 Years—A Divine Paradox
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Skip Heitzig
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Many of you know by now that these verses from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians have become my "life-text". They describe the paradox of a perfect God using imperfect vessels to carry His name and perform His work. Over the last twenty-five years I have both seen and experienced God’s faithfulness. Today we stand in awe of His great work among us, in us and through us. To God be the glory, great things HE has done!
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5/20/2007
completed
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25th Anniversary celebration, To God Be The Glory
Skip Heitzig
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2/18/2008
completed
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Abiding In The Vine - Session 4
Skip Heitzig
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Southern California Regional Pastor's Conference 2008
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4/16/2008
completed
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Why Christians Love Israel
Ezekiel 36-37
Skip Heitzig
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This message is a video of the teaching, "Why Christians Love Israel" (Ezekiel 36-37) from Pastor Skip, that he taught in Israel at the Epicenter Prophecy Conference on April 10, 2008.
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9/21/2008
completed
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Marks of Greatness - Christ's Vision For His Church
Acts 2:36-47
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11/14/2008
completed
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BGEA Team and Staff Conference 2008
Skip Heitzig
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12/10/2008
completed
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Hanukkah
John 10:19-33
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3/11/2009
completed
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Special Message from Skip in India
Nehemiah 1-13
Skip Heitzig
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9/16/2009
completed
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Why Jesus Needed to Die
Hebrews 9
Skip Heitzig
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All of us have experienced spiritual slump, when we just didn't feel like worshiping. But times like that provide the perfect opportunity to walk by faith not by sight and to experience sacrificial worship. The once for all sacrifice of Jesus should stir us up to fervent praise in spite of our earthly circumstances.
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5/9/2010
completed
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Live from the Land
Matthew 24:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Earthquakes, wars, disease; the evening news offers a frightening and fascinating look at world events. What does the Bible say about the turmoil the world is facing? What is the resolution to the conflict? Join us as we consider what Jesus told his disciples about these signs of the times, in this special message by Pastor Skip from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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5/10/2010
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Live from the Land
Skip Heitzig
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Time and again, we hear that one of the favorite highlights for those on a Tour of Israel is the on-site teaching. Now you can be a part of it from your very own living room. Watch the Live from the Land TV special that aired on Monday May 10, 2010 on KCHF TV-11 as we join Pastor Skip Heitzig LIVE with a message from the Mount of Olives.
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8/12/2010
completed
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Can You See It? - Rapid Responders Training
Skip Heitzig
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Can You See It? - Rapid Responders Training from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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8/13/2010
completed
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His Presence In Crisis
Skip Heitzig
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His Presence In Crisis from our series of Topical Teachings with Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.
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1/5/2011
completed
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Service with Skip Heitzig
1 Corinthians 12:12-18
Skip Heitzig
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Churches across America are closing their doors. How can we ensure a thriving Christian community? As we consider what God intended for the church, we'll uncover four essentials to a healthy church: God's People, God's Principles, God's Purpose, and God's presence.
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9/11/2011
completed
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A Soft Pillow for a Tired Heart
Romans 8:28
Skip Heitzig
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We all remember where we were on September 11, 2001 when we heard the news of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the downed plane near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The terrorists who crashed these aircraft brought the deaths of nearly 3,000 people. Mass confusion, anger, despair, and depression predictably followed as survivors sought to frame so devastating an event. Ten years later, we remember September 11 to honor those who died, those who have fought in the war on terror, and especially to be reminded that in the midst of a conflict-filled world, we serve a God who works His good purposes and promises to one day eradicate evil.
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11/30/2011
completed
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Points about Prayer from the Sermon on the Mount
Skip Heitzig
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Self reliance is esteemed in our culture - but it's not the example Jesus gives to us. In a life marked by continual prayer, the Son of God demonstrates His dependence on the Father. Let's consider what Jesus teaches about prayer and its role in our lives, remembering that prayer is a privilege, not a duty.
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1/4/2012
completed
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Day of Prayer and Fasting Service
Skip Heitzig
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Communication has changed dramatically over the past fifty years. In just seconds, we can now email messages, photos, important documents, and more. We easily communicate with cell phones from almost anywhere. But, what is your communication with God like? Are you responding to his invitation to come boldly to the throne of grace? Are you letting your requests be made known to Him? Remember, the Lord is willing and God has commanded that we ask, seek, and knock.
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5/6/2012
completed
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How Does Your GPS Work?
Proverbs 3:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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This passage in Proverbs is one of the most well-known and bestbeloved in the entire Bible. Believers have read it, memorized it, shared it, prayed over it, preached from it, and relied on it for centuries. Why is that so? It's simply because we all want to know God's will for our lives. Discovering God's will is one of the dominating pursuits for Christians. Let's see how it works.
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6/27/2012
completed
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Expound Expressed
Skip Heitzig
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Revealing Himself through His Word, the Lord invites us to delight in Him—to worship Him for who He is. Join us as review highlights from the book of Matthew and respond to the Lord in worship during this special expound expressed service.
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9/23/2012
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30th Anniversary: Love the Past, Live the Future
Deuteronomy 8:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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In Deuteronomy 8, we learn what the Lord taught the Jewish people—to remember what the Lord had done, to know and keep the commandments, and to bless the Lord. Moses would say, "Love the Past, Live the Future." Through the text, we are reminded what the Lord had done and are given hope for what the future holds.
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3/17/2013
completed
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Living With Vision
John 17:1-26; Acts 2:1-47
Skip Heitzig
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Every life should have purpose. All people should know why they’re here and what God’s intention is for them. So should every church. This weekend we want you to discover and celebrate with us what we believe, who we are as a church, and what we do as a church body. Beyond that, we want you to know why.
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5/5/2013
completed
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The World's Most Important Comma
Isaiah 61:2
Skip Heitzig
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In Isaiah 61:2 we discover a tiny comma. This comma represents a 2,000-year period of time: the age of grace that we are currently living in. It is during this time that we have been saved; it's the church age, and world-wide evangelism is taking place. But we are just one day away from the end of that comma. One day that comma will become a period. At the end of that comma comes the rapture of the church and then the day of vengeance of our God on this earth.
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6/22/2013
completed
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Navigating Another Year
Ephesians 5:15-17
Skip Heitzig
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What is the will of God? It can seem so elusive, but in this study, we learn five things that are the clear will of God for each of us. As children of God, as a church body, let's make a pact to preach to the lost, to be set apart for Jesus Christ, to be humble, to be submissive and honoring to the people around us, and to be thankful in all things. Taught in Ocean Grove, NJ.
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1/5/2014
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Not Done Yet
Joshua 14:6-15
Skip Heitzig
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At 85 years old, the faithful Caleb desired to keep growing and being used by the Lord. In this passage, he takes hold of God's promises, and his story of God's faithfulness unfolds. By examining his courageous life, we learn that as time goes on, we must not slow down in doing the Lord's work; we must boldly look ahead and realize we are not done yet!
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1/20/2014
completed
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South East Calvary Chapel Pastor's Conference – Session 4
Skip Heitzig
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The apostle Paul spent a large amount of time pouring into his disciple Timothy's life. And in his second letter to Timothy, he encouraged him to do the same for others. In this message, Pastor Skip Heitzig expresses the importance and process of training up responsible leaders.
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1/20/2014
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South East Calvary Chapel Pastor's Conference – Session 7
Skip Heitzig
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In his second letter to Timothy, Paul the apostle motivated Timothy to continue to be faithful in his ministry to the Lord. As we study 2 Timothy 2:11-13, Pastor Skip Heitzig exhorts believers toward faithfulness by sharing four helpful principles to cultivate this supreme attribute in their lives.
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4/6/2014
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iThirst
John 19:28-30
Skip Heitzig
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The world is filled with Apple's i-technology, which delivers on its promise to make connectivity and information readily accessible. But there is a deeper need within everyone, a thirst to be right with God, that no app or gadget can fulfill. How ironic that Jesus, the great Thirst-Quencher, would Himself be thirsty. It was part of the great exchange—His temporary thirst enabled yours to be quenched eternally!
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9/28/2014
completed
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Skip Heitzig Interview with David Eubank
Skip Heitzig
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In this interview with Pastor Skip, Dave Eubank of the Free Burma Rangers explained how the Lord called his family to Burma and what the Free Burma Rangers do to help people who are caught in the crossfire of terrorism. Dave's wife, Karen, also talked about the Good Life Club, the relief arm of the Free Burma Rangers that aids mothers and children, and that Reload Love, our church-wide initiative, is raising funds for.
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10/5/2014
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How Does The Gospel Work?
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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The book of 1 Thessalonians is a letter from the apostle Paul to a young church in Thessalonica, whom he commended for their faith, love, and endurance. As we study the first ten verses of this book, we learn from their bold example what evangelism looks like and what the normal flow of the gospel is: it comes to us, works in us, and then comes from us.
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12/28/2014
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Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Lamentations 3:22-31
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The prophet Jeremiah looked on as the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. But even as he mourned over the destruction of his city, he realized the living God was at work. In the same way, though our world is filled with a great amount of uncertainty, we can still find certainty in the Lord and confidently tell Him, "Great is Your faithfulness."
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1/11/2015
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Living Life Together
Proverbs 18:1;Acts 2:41-47
Skip Heitzig
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The word fellowship is one of the most overused and undervalued words in the church. More than a social activity, fellowship should be a spiritual activity in which we all take part. As we draw some principles from Scripture and learn from the example of the early church, we see that being in community is essential for spiritual health.
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3/4/2015
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Skip's Iraq Trip Update
Skip Heitzig
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As ISIS spreads throughout the Middle East, millions of people continue to flee the growing violence—and children have been hit the hardest. In this special update from the Reload Love team, Pastor Skip, Jarrett Petero, and Murray Byrne share stories and photos from their recent trip to Iraq. While there, they reached out to organizations that are helping displaced children, and they were able to share the hope and love of Jesus with the kids.
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9/27/2015
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The Power of an Invitation
Skip Heitzig
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There is something special about receiving an invitation; it makes us feel wanted, special, and significant. As we examine an invitation found in the book of Revelation, we are challenged to be part of God's work as instruments of change for the gospel, and we are reminded not to underestimate the power of a simple invitation.
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10/28/2015
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Defying Normal
Daniel 1:8
Skip Heitzig
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The Bible calls us to a holy defiance of the status quo—Paul the apostle said, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). Perhaps no one in the Old Testament did this better than the prophet Daniel. In this message, we look at four truths about the Christian life and learn how Daniel was able to rise above his society to defy normal.
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6/12/2016
completed
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United in Pursuit
Acts 6:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Acts 6:1-7 lays out God's vision for the church. At Calvary Albuquerque, we want people fitted for heaven and outfitted for service. As with the early church, we must overcome problems by establishing priorities and participating in order to progress.
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9/18/2016
completed
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Christians and Politics
Jeremiah 29:1-13
Skip Heitzig
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Don’t worry, I’m not preaching politics, nor am I endorsing a candidate today. I realize that both political parties go to church and that Christians have a wide variety of political notions. As a registered independent, I am aware of the flaws that exist on both sides, and so I am not taking sides today. But I want to call the body of Christ to be informed of the policies, engaged in the process, and active in the promotion of godly discourse. Furthermore, I am asking that we be united this week in prayer and fasting for this nation.
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1/1/2017
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Culture Weekend
Deuteronomy 8:1-2;1 Corinthians 12:31
Skip Heitzig
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God did amazing things in 2016 at Calvary Albuquerque. In the video "Our Year in Review," Nate Heitzig summarizes 2016 and introduces fourteen Calvary culture axioms for 2017. In a short message, Skip Heitzig discusses Calvary’s past and future and reminds us that though lots of things have changed in our culture, Jesus has not.
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4/12/2017
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Special Message from Skip Heitzig
Luke 22:7-23
Skip Heitzig
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The night before His death, Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples in the upper room. In this message, we examine the progression of that Last Supper and learn both the traditional meanings behind the meal as well as the practical life applications for us as we live under the new covenant of Christ.
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7/23/2017
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Interview with Dave Eubank
Skip Heitzig
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After making national news with his relief work and sustaining a gunshot wound while combating ISIS in Mosul, Dave Eubank continues his work through the Free Burma Rangers (FBR). In this interview with Skip Heitzig, Dave gives an update on his family's ministry to bring help, hope, and love to people in conflict zones.
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9/3/2017
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Your Amazing Bible
2 Timothy 3:14-17
Skip Heitzig
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2/10/2019
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The Explosive Power of Real Love
John 13:34-35
Skip Heitzig
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We have the opportunity to show love to those who need the expression of love the most—those who have been hurt by the hatred of others. In countries scarred by past and recent terrorism, Reload Love is arming other believers with hope and healing in the name of Jesus. Today we will examine one of the most famous sayings Jesus ever spoke and explore three components of real love—what we should do, and then how and why we should do it. My prayer is that God’s love would be “poured out in our hearts” (Romans 5:5).
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2/17/2019
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The Heart behind the Hand
Luke 15:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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None of us can reach everyone. We can’t touch and change every person in the world. But we can pray for, be patient with, love on, witness to, and reach just one. When we talk about our vision to reach the world, perhaps we need to think smaller. Maybe we should think about one person we can pursue for the glory of Jesus Christ. Today we consider that as we look at one of Jesus’ most famous parables: The Parable of the Lost Sheep.
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11/3/2019
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Three Steps to a Generous Life
Matthew 6:19-24
Skip Heitzig
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Today is a celebration. We celebrate what God has done through you! Your love for God, His Word, and His work are evident by your generous gifts of time, talent, and treasure. I encourage you to continue. In Jesus’ most famous of sermons, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us the most practical ways to live unencumbered and fruitful lives. God works through people to change the world. The real question becomes, How do we become those kind of people?
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There are 127 additional messages in this series.