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October 16, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
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The Mistake I Refuse to Make

I’VE MADE A FEW EMBARRASSING MISTAKES IN MY 22 YEARS AS A PASTOR. Two in particular cause me to get red-faced whenever I remember them:

At a Communion service several years back, when reflecting on the punishment Jesus received, I said to the congregation that “Jesus was beatilly bruten on our behalf.” I then proceeded to tell everyone to drink the cup BEFORE eating the Matzo, reversing the order of service described in the Gospels.

That was a bad day.

Even worse was the funeral I officiated after having prepared two memorial services at the same time to be given on the same day to two families I did not know. As I sincerely delivered the comforting message to the gathered aggrieved, the family sitting in the front row kept shaking their heads frantically as I solemnly eulogized their dearly departed…and used a wrong name! I had somehow gotten my notes mixed up. It was at this point a career-change to a Chick-fil-A fry cook looked pretty good.

Those are some embarrassing errors, but there is one mistake that I will never make. Ever. I will never…

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October 9, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
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The Love Heard ‘Round the World

The younger brother of a man who was shot by a former Dallas Police officer stunned the world when, instead of condemning Botham Jean’s killer for shooting him in his own apartment by mistake, said something so outrageous, so ridiculous, so weird, that he must have been an authentic believer in Jesus Christ.

What did Brandt Jean say to Amber Guyger in the courtroom after she was sentenced to ten years in prison for murder?

“I hope you go to God with all the guilt, all the bad things you may have done in the past…if you truly are sorry…I forgive you, and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you. I love you just like anyone else. I personally want the best for you. I don’t even want you to go to jail; I want the best for you. And the best would be to give your life to Christ. I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do. Again, I love you…and I don’t wish anything bad on you.”

What Brandt said was nothing short of supernatural. It makes no human sense at all. Unconditional forgiveness? That’s crazy!

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October 1, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
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B.Y.O.B. to School

IT’S TIME TO MAKE A STATEMENT! Do the very rare thing that has been long forgotten. Show that you are different, “Contra Mundum.” Be a quiet rebel by carrying one simple object that declares, “This is the way; walk in it!” Students, bring your Bible to school on Thursday, October 3, to show that you are not afraid, that you are a person of The Book and that you are the generation that will make a difference for God and country.

Because the adults have dropped the ball.

In a 2019 study conducted in partnership with the American Bible Society, the Barna Research Group found that only 5% of adults interact with the Bible frequently, and that it has transformed their relationship with God and others.

Sadly, 48% of adults said that they interact with the Bible infrequently, if at all, and that it has minimal impact in their lives.

Even more concerning, religious freedom in America is under threat as believers face an ever-increasing secular culture. Our nation’s Christian heritage is being forgotten—even denied—and our right to worship and live according to Christian conscience will soon be legislated.

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September 24, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
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Liberal Universities: An “F” for Faithfulness

WOULD YOU CONFESS YOUR SINS TO A PLANT? What if you were a seminary student learning to be a minister and this was taught by your professor? Wouldn’t you think something was amiss?

Of course, but that’s just what happened at New York’s Union Theological Seminary last week when an image was posted to Twitter of students gathered around a bunch of plants while one seminarian was apparently disclosing his deepest, darkest secrets to the flora fellowship.

This is the natural progression of “Liberal Theology,” not to be confused with Liberal politics.

Foremost expert on American theology, Gary Dorrien, an Episcopal priest and a professor at Union Theological Seminary, explains:

“Fundamentally, [Liberal Theology] is the idea of a genuine Christianity not based on external authority…[but] seeks to reinterpret the symbols of Christianity in a way that creates a progressive religious alternative…defined by its openness to the verdicts of modern intellectual inquiry, especially the natural and social sciences; its commitment to the authority of individual reason and experience; its conception of Christianity as an ethical way of life; its favoring of moral concepts of atonement; and its commitment to make Christianity credible and socially relevant to modern people.”

Though Union Theological Seminary shed its Presbyterian roots over a hundred years ago and became a flagship liberal institution devoted to many gods, there are other universities who also had a proud Christian heritage “based on an external authority” in the beginning, but then abandoned it for the spirit of the age.

“106 of the first 108 colleges were started on the Christian faith,” wrote April Shenandoah of the Sierra Times. “By the close of 1860 there were 246 colleges in America. Seventeen of these were state institutions; almost every other one was founded by Christian denominations or by individuals who avowed a religious purpose.”

Harvard College, named after a Christian minister, was founded in 1636 with this statement being its Original Rule:

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July 17, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
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Get Free Stuff!

“The best things in life are free—and $19.95!” –Billy Mays, famous television pitchman

I WENT TO A NEW DENTIST and was impressed by what I received after my initial visit, apart from the good news that I had no new cavities or tooth problems. They gave me a gift bag with all sorts of cool stuff in it: toothbrush, toothpaste, a custom coffee cup and a few more items. When was the last time you got a gift bag from your dentist, optometrist or proctologist? Bet ya never. I was so impressed with that token of appreciation—for my first-time visit—that I asked our Elder Board if we could do the same when guests visit  www.communitychurchofthehills.org.

They said yes.

Everyone loves free stuff, that’s why you will get a little something with every point of contact when you check out our church. The first thing you will get are free smiles and, if you aren’t too much of a rough and tumble Texan, a hug. Then we give you the gift bag. Inside, there is a one-of-kind coffee cup with our name and logo, worth at least ninety-nine bucks on Ebay, and a pass to see six free movies along with a unique pressed penny and some Test-a-mints. Yes, actual Christian breath mints, like Jesus and the Apostles chewed!

Does this sound like pandering or overkill? I thought the same thing too, at first, but people are extremely valuable to us here. We want you to know how much we love and appreciate you in the very first few minutes you arrive, and if this helps to convey a sense of caring, well, we spare no expense.

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