This month: Freedom in Christ
Exploring the Heart of Restoration

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Matt Dabbs

Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

Homepage: http://mattdabbs.com

When Jesus told his disciples both that he was going away and that he would prepare a place for them so they could eventually come and abide with him (John 14:1-4) Jesus did not at that time tell them that the road to “going there” was the cross. He said that earlier (Matthew 10) but not in this moment otherwise Thomas wouldn’t have responded the way he did in…

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Gates, moats, and parapets are not ideal ambiance for hospitality. Most castles don’t have signs to the king’s chamber nor do they tell you where the gold and valuables are stored. In fact, many castles were designed to give the advantage to residents and put the newcomer ill at ease.

One of the tricks they used in building castles was to make the steps of varying heights throughout. Those familiar…

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If there was ever a chapter in the Bible about seeing things clearly it is Mark 8. The chapter starts with feeding the 4000 which is followed up by a misunderstanding by Jesus’ disciples about his statement warning them against “the yeast of the Pharisees.” In that section, Jesus warns them about having eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear. That is followed up by Jesus’ double…

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It really is that easy or at least that simple. No one ever said loving every person in the world was going to be easy. We have been over “who is my neighbor” more times than one might care to count. We have been over the greatest commandments: loving God and loving neighbor (who happens, again, to include everyone). We have been over loving your neighbor. We have even…

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2017 marks the 25th anniversary of Wineskins! Wineskins started back in May 1992 under the leadership of Philip Morrison, Mike Cope and Rubel Shelly. At that time Wineskins was a print publication with some stated purposes that you can read in full from the very first issue here – Wineskins: A Purpose Statement. Wineskins was and continues to be committed to the Restoration Movement and to helping Christians…

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The most effective church growth strategy of the last 50 years has been the church across town messing something up. Inevitably the other churches in town benefit from a misstep, a misunderstanding or a broken relationship due to a decision or direction taken by another congregation.

What do you do with people who come to your congregation out of those situations? There are a few things that need to be…

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Advent has much to do with anticipatory waiting and fulfilling arrival. We typically tie this into the coming of Jesus in the incarnation and the future hope of the second coming of Christ at the end of the age. Tucked in between those two events and certainly much closer in time to the first than the second is another advent. This advent is the arrival of the Holy Spirit…

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If Israel had a guestbook the names that would fill it are the same names we read not just in our Bibles but also in our world history textbooks. Scripture records many arrivals in Palestine. From Abraham being the first of the biblical narrative to Joseph after the Exodus many people in the biblical story have arrived in that land. We could name more. We could name Ruth who…

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Stoicism is one route to pseudo-peace. Making yourself indifferent to the world around you might numb the senses and the mind but it does not bring true peace. True peace doesn’t come through indifference. True peace is found in the tension of living in and through difficult, even dire, circumstances while recognizing that we don’t have to allow those things to make us anxious or afraid.

We are called to…

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I learned to drive years before I got a permit. One of the things I have enjoyed since I was very young was observing the world around me…always watching for how things worked, how people behaved, and trying to figure out my place in it all. I learned to drive when I was very young and I learned it by watching what others were doing. I watched how my…

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