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Zack Skrip
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I know there are some pastors on this board. What do you guys do to keep from going stale? This was a question posed to me from a youth pastor who has some adult staff leading small groups for him. What did I miss?

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Small Group Leaders: 4 ways to keep your lesson prep from strangling your devotions
It's something every small group leader faces at one time or another: prepping your bible study during you personal quiet time. That works for a while, and you are proud of yourself for "double-dipping," but eventually you start to turn dry. Your mind is en...

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Small Group or Church? Jason Helopoulos Responds
I was working on a blog post dealing with the nature of the church and the small group Bible study, but then Jason Helopoulos beat me to the punch . Here is a section from this great article: Someone recently commented to me that pastors are the only ones w...

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3 Simple Questions to Change the Way You Understand the Old Testament
The Old Testament is full of things that seem foreign and quite strange when looked at from the glow of our smartphones. It can be really hard to read the OT and know how it is supposed to inform your daily walk with God. These three simple questions will h...

It can be hard to see the relevance in an Old Testament passage, but with a couple of principles you can see the application quite easily.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the LORD's table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts.
(Malachi 1:6-8 ESV)

1) Fear: God is our Father, but part of that involves a healthy fear. This is true whether you are reading the OT or NT. This fear isn't necessarily terror (although those apart from Christ will experience that), but a respect and desire to obey.

2) Sacrifices. Now this is where you might be tempted to get lost, but hang with me. First, we ask ourselves who instituted sacrifices (God), and second what role sacrifices played in the OT (proper worship). Now we have a couple of principles to pull from. Finally, we can ask ourselves what the NT says about sacrifices:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
(Romans 12:1 ESV)

Christ was our perfect sacrifice, perfectly pleasing to God. Therefore what sacrifices remain are those of obedience and holiness. 

Now you have something to apply:

1) how have you been offering half-hearted obedience?
2) Will you recognize that there is a chance you are unaware of your disobedience like the priests were? (through hard hearts and not through a lack of learning)
3) To whom do you work hard to please (the governor) that can set a stark contrast to your fear of God?
4) Remember: We are all works in process and God always provides forgiveness with repentance! Thank God that he will accept your repentance and ask him for strength to obey him today.
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