Joe Duke
The Honor of Influence

The Honor of Influence

With our eyes set on Jesus we’re changing to become Christ-like influencers. But what is the purpose of that change? Certainly, we bring God glory when our lives more closely resemble His Son. But living like Jesus also means we’re able to influence others by the way...

Engages with God Daily

Engages with God Daily

One way to gauge your progress as a person who wants to follow Jesus is to ask whether or not you engage with God every day. Do you instinctively turn to God as a habit and include Him as a normal part of your life? When we understand God makes movement toward us...

Surrenders Continually

Surrenders Continually

Saying, “I give up,” sounds like defeat unless we are surrendering to God. Victory and purpose in life are found when we live like Jesus lived. When we surrender continually to God we admit our absolute dependence on Him. And we acknowledge that our lives are really...

Confessing Jesus – Romans 10:9-10

Confessing Jesus – Romans 10:9-10

People often try to make salvation harder to get than it really is. Faith alone in Christ alone is the clear teaching of the Bible. But a few verses in the Book of Romans seem to suggest that you must also confess Christ openly if you really want to be saved. What...

What is Dead Faith? – James 2:17

What is Dead Faith? – James 2:17

Suggest to people that salvation is by faith alone and you’re likely to hear disagreements. Many would say, “Faith is not enough. It must be accompanied by works or it’s not real. So, the person of dead faith remains an unbeliever.” James 2 is a chapter filled with...

Completing the Good Work – Phil. 1:6

Completing the Good Work – Phil. 1:6

Our salvation is guaranteed the moment we believe Jesus for it. But some also suggest that our good behavior or works are required to validate whether or not we’ve got the real thing. A popular understanding of Philippians 1:6 is that we continue to grow and improve...

Falling From Grace – Gal. 5:4

Falling From Grace – Gal. 5:4

Sometimes we might assume we understand certain passages in the Bible. Maybe it’s a famous or familiar verse. Or maybe we once heard a sermon that gives us confidence we know the meaning of a particular passage of Scripture. But when we look a little deeper, there’s a...

Your Number One Goal

Your Number One Goal

Life presents us with no shortage of priorities to populate our goal lists. Have you cut through the alternatives to land on what’s most important for you? What’s your number one goal? It’s no surprise that God points us toward a single, focused direction. And baptism...

More Than A Conversation

More Than A Conversation

Think of a list of spiritual practices and close to the top you’ll usually find prayer. Prayer is foundational—even expected on a checklist of spiritual behaviors. But anyone honestly experimenting with prayer has found it difficult, rewarding and even confusing. Try...

Keeping It To Yourself

Keeping It To Yourself

In a culture where people clamor for attention and recognition, those secure in Christ have no need of the spotlight. One discipline in particular helps us give both the credit and glory to God. Even when we do good things, we can escape a look-at-me mindset by...

Peace In Quiet

Peace In Quiet

The noise and pace of life can be both intoxicating and maddening. No wonder God reminds us that we can’t cultivate the soil of our lives and grow in Him at dizzying speeds. Growing requires slowing. That’s why the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence—while...

Grow Up

Grow Up

We receive new life the moment we believe Jesus for it. But in order for that life to be experienced to the fullest we must cooperate with God in our spiritual growth. No one grows passively. When we cultivate the soil of our lives through deliberate, spiritual...

Easter: This Is Not The End

Easter: This Is Not The End

No matter the obstacles or the challenges, God is able to help you in ways you may not expect. At every turn or dead end, He can surprise you with His plans and His presence. What feels like the end may actually be a new beginning. Discussion Questions Everyone faces...

Feasting On Jesus

Feasting On Jesus

We need food and water to survive. It shouldn’t surprise us that God would choose the picture of these absolute necessities to draw parallels to the spiritual life. And today as we celebrate communion, we’re reminded that Jesus took things a step further when He...

The Destruction of Shame

The Destruction of Shame

There’s an enemy that lurks just below the surface of our lives. Its influence can be debilitating and even deadly. It may be Evil’s primary tool for rendering us ineffective and defeated. And no one is immune to its whispers. But this enemy can be conquered in ways...

Breathing Under the Water

Breathing Under the Water

After we realize there is life below the surface, we can then learn to breathe under the water. In other words, we can learn to swim in the real world of our emotions. Being in touch with our emotions means that we understand that our past affects our present and our...

What’s Below the Surface?

What’s Below the Surface?

So much of your energy may be spent maintaining your life on the surface—your physical needs, your appearance, your life experienced through your five senses. But there’s a world that lies below the surface of your life too—a part of you that can often get ignored or...

Telling Yourself the Truth

Telling Yourself the Truth

Sometimes you can tell yourself lies without even realizing it. But your life can take on a completely different perspective when you learn to tell yourself the truth. Let’s begin this New Year with a reminder of five simple affirmations that can change the way we...

Arrival

Arrival

There’s nothing like the suspense of anticipation. Sometimes the wait seems like it lasts forever—like a child waiting for Christmas to finally arrive. When Jesus was born that first Christmas, the world had been waiting hundreds of years. But now for all of us, the...

You Need a Savior

You Need a Savior

Every human being is born in critical condition. We’re in trouble. Our inability to personally save ourselves and get right with God leaves us completely vulnerable. Christmas begins with your need and ends with God’s love. You need a Savior—a Savior who has come to...

Rich in Gratitude

Rich in Gratitude

During our Be Rich series, our church has been mobilized toward radical generosity, acts of service and simple gestures of kindness. But it’s possible to be rich in another area that often gets neglected. In each of us lies a capacity of enormous power. It’s a power...