Musings and Ramblings about Preaching, Pastoral Ministry, Sports and Life in General

Author: Clint Ellis (Page 1 of 4)

Dragons, Lions and Literary Allusions

I love C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. They are fantastically written in a whimsical, conversational style that engages and creates within the reader the illusion that you are sitting around a fire listening to a master story-teller weave an enrapturing tale. Other reasons I love them are legion, but only one of them I intend to expand upon here: The presence of implicit and explicit allusions to the Christian faith of C.S. Lewis. There are many of these allusions that I could write about and perhaps will do so in the future, but for this post, I wanted to talk about my favorite scene from all of the books. (Disclaimer, I am currently re-reading these with my youngest child, so this designation may change several times before that journey is complete.)  The scene to which I refer takes place in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and describes Eustace Scrubb’s first encounter with Aslan. (Aslan represents Jesus Christ in the world of Narnia.)

It does not take long in one’s first encounter with Eustace Scrubb to ascertain the opinion that the boy is a beastly fellow. If you were to look up the definition of a brat in the dictionary before the book’s completion, you would not be shocked to find a school picture of young Eustace. Everything changed for Eustace when he first encountered Aslan.

The Dawn Treader (the boat belonging to the king of Narnia) was damaged and harbored on an uninhabited island for repairs. As one whose disposition is allergic to work, Eustace wanders off from the crew. He soon discovers that a dragon inhabits the island. The dragon, fortunately for Eustace, is dying. He watches from seclusion as the beast breathes his last steam. When curiosity sparks in the boy, he explores the area around the dragon and discovers the vast horde of treasure. He loads his pockets and places a golden bracelet on his arm. Once the adrenaline from his dragon sighting subsides, exhaustion sets in, and he falls asleep on a bed of treasure. He is awakened later by a terrible pain in his arm. In the comical scene which unfolds (I’m certain Eustace did not find it funny), the boy discovers he has changed into a dragon. The subsequent scenes are a transformative experience for the young man. In this new state, he encounters his old friends and the golden lion, Aslan. In much the same way that a sinner who has been introduced to Christ recognizes the depths of their sinfulness, Eustace realizes the type of person he has been to every one.

Aslan informs the boy that he could be human again, but first, he must bathe in the waters before him. To enter the waters, Eustace must remove his dragon scales. The boy/dragon immediately sets to work painfully ripping away the scales, but no matter how hard he tries to remove them, they always seem to be replaced by new ones. The lion eventually steps forward and informs the boy that only Aslan must remove them. Then he extends his claws and rips them away.

The first time I read this part of the book, I’ll confess that I got emotional. C.S. Lewis encapsulated the state of man. We all have lives calloused by the dragon scales of sin (Romans 3:23). There is nothing we can do; no self-sufficient remedy can remove the sin from our lives. Only Christ can take away our sins. When Aslan finished removing the scales, Eustace was himself again, the self he was intended to be. He was not a perfect child afterward, just like Christians are not perfect, but he was different, as are all who encounter Aslan in Narnia and Jesus Christ in this world.

Monday Morning Musing

I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. Leviticus 26:12

One of my favorite Old Testament verses is nestled in one of the least read books of the Bible. The book of Leviticus is filled with descriptions of worship practices, sacrifices, and purification rites. Near the end of the book, the twenty-sixth chapter explains the blessings and curses that will come from obeying or breaking the covenant God is making with the nation of Israel. While the first thirteen verses outline the blessings of obedience, verse twelve always stirs my heart. God promises to walk among them, to be their God, and they will be His people.

In the New Testament, Jesus was a tangible fulfillment of God’s declaration to be with his people. Of course, God echoes the ultimate fulfillment of this precious promise in Revelations 21:3. It reads as follows: “Then I heard a voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will leave with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them, and will be their God.”

Whatever you are enduring today, if Jesus is your savior, then God’s presence will always be near you, and you will ultimately be in His presence forever.

Thursday Thoughts

If we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

God won’t forgive me for that. I’m too messed up, too dirty to be forgiven. I’m too far gone for God to care about me. These and other excuses like them are often repeated in gospel conversations. If we are honest, they often echo through our internal dialogue as well. I have good news for you: 1 John 1:9 is an amazing promise for you. Confessing our sins to God means dealing with God about the ways we have fallen short of His standard. If we seek his forgiveness, then it is available to us. Not only is it available, but it is also accessible to us because it is tied up in God’s nature and character. The second half of the verse says he is faithful and just to forgive us. He is fully trustworthy. You can bank on him. Take your sins to him today and find forgiveness and cleansing through his Son Jesus Christ.

Monday Meditation Moment

Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in your ways. 

            What is it in your life that distracts you from pursuing Christ? Often the excuse is made that one is too busy or does not have time to read their Bibles and pray. This begs the question, what activity or activities are you doing daily that are less important than pursuing Christ? Spend a few moments evaluating your time usage. Do you have an app or a game that you play once or multiple times a day? Do you spend countless minutes scrolling through social media feeds? What about time spent binge-watching shows or 24-hour news coverage? Are those pursuits truly valuable? What if you committed a small portion of the time you spent engaging in such activities to spending time in God’s word? Your life will be changed. You might even find yourself desiring more. Why not make the words of Psalm 119:37 your prayer today?

Five Question Friday: Dr. Barry Sproles

Today I am introducing a new series on my blog. I find people and their stories fascinating. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to conduct brief interviews and share some fruits of those conversations. These will appear periodically on my blog. I am going to begin with Dr. Barry Sproles. So without further ado, here we go.

  1. Who are you, and what do you do? My name is Barry Sproles, and I am the Florida State University Baptist Collegiate Ministry director. That means that I have the task of making disciples on the campuses of Tallahassee as an extension of Florida Baptist Churches. Within that, I exist to serve the churches of Tallahassee, and we do that through a variety of ways, on-campus and off-campus.
  2. In your work with college students, what would you say is the greatest spiritual need of college students today? If we are speaking generally, the vast majority of college students are unbelieving,  so their greatest need is to hear the Gospel and respond to that gospel message. For Christian college students, it is understanding the vital role the local church plays in their spiritual development. They need to see their campus ministries as an extension of the local church, knowing that there is no such thing as discipleship apart from the local church, and to that end, churches and campus ministries need to come together in more intentional ways to make sure that could be actualized in their life.
  3. How can the local church be involved in that process? First, for our ministry, it starts with getting together and getting to know one another. As relationships develop, the individual needs that every church has—each one is a little different—become apparent.  We can customize our efforts to the need of the local church and they can customize their ministries to the students. More than anything, just being present around the students helps. It is interesting that the more time a pastor spends around college students in the BCM or church, the more the Lord gives clarity of what those ministries should look like. 
  4. Over the last 3-4 months, what are some books you are reading? I recently started reading Cal Newport’s, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. A second book is the biography of Bubba Watson, Up and Down, the golfer from Pensacola who is a believer. I saw someone recommend that on Twitter. I am also reading the book of Jonah as I teach through it. Does that count?
  5. If you could encourage Christians to read one book, aside from the Bible, what would that be? I’m inclined to try and impress you and give you a puritan title (grins widely), but I won’t do that. Any book on biblical spirituality is a win, but I’m pretty biased, so I would say Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian lifeis a fantastic book. It’s a little more exhaustive than some would prefer, but that’s really the book’s win. Whitney gives you a lot more spiritual disciplines than just the typical ones, which are vital. What makes it worthwhile is his emphasis on the participation in the local church as a spiritual discipline.  He also writes pretty extensively on the spiritual discipline of fasting. While there are other resources on fasting that exist, there are not many. You might even say it is the lost discipline. Whitney writes extensively on that. In fact, lately, several of my students have even finished the book, and they considered that chapter exceptionally helpful. 

Bonus: How can we pray for your ministry and college students at Florida State? This connects with the 2nd question. Obviously, pray for students to be converted, discipled, and to grow in their walk with Jesus. Pray that they would grow as students of the Word and prayer. Next, ask God how your church can meaningfully disciple college students in the ordinary rhythms of their church life. What does that look like? The truth is that lostness is profound, not just in Tallahassee, but at all of our universities. And the few evangelical ministries and churches engaging them are just not enough. It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort. You are serving well by praying about how you can meaningfully disciple college students.

Think Before You Tweet: 5 Biblical Considerations Before You Post on Social Media

Social media is here to stay. People of all walks of life use various platforms to stay connected, find out about news, or express themselves to the world. I am active on several social media services myself. As much fun as I have had at times, I have also seen that, despite the benefits, the social media world brings great potential to cause harm and damage the witness of believers to the world around us. I can’t help but shake my head before I open Twitter and ask myself what is the trumped-up, out-of-context, controversy of the day. Some people even tune in for the train wreck. The question for a believer is: how should we conduct ourselves in a social media world? I want to propose five considerations for you before you get involved in social media.

Consideration # 1: Start with a commitment to God to glorify him with your posts.

Psalm 19:14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Social media engagement is an extension of the words that we speak. Therefore, a commitment to honor God with what you say applies wholly to our online interactions. Before clicking send, post, or tweet, ask yourself if God would be pleased or disappointed in the words you are publishing for all the world to see.

Consideration # 2: Before you engage someone or in some debate on social media, discern the likely outcome of your engagement.

One of the most perplexing verses in the Bible is found in Proverbs 26:4-5, yet they are most instructive when it comes to social media involvement: “Don’t answer a fool according to his foolishness, or you will become like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his foolishness, or he’ll become wise in his own eyes.”  Starting with a presupposition that the scripture does not contradict itself and recognizing that Proverbs are general principles about life suggests that both of these statements are true. A complete exposition of these verses is beyond the scope of this article. Still, these two verses have helped me discern whether I should engage in a social media debate of controversy at a basic level. Typically you know who you follow or are friends with on social media platforms. As such, it should not be tough to discern where to engage. If you know that an individual is unlikely to change or be moved by your input, resist the urge to wade into the discussion.

On the other hand, if your input is likely to be well-received, feel free to enter the exchange. Admittedly, I have discovered that a personal call or text to someone I know about something they have posted is more effective than conveying concern or understanding the heart behind a post than a simple social media engagement. Consider the type of individual you are dealing with before you engage.

Consideration # 3: Consider the state of your heart

If you are consistently drawn to social media debates, arguments , or controversies, I suggest you check your own heart. The Bible tells us in Luke6:45, “A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil in his heart for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart.” What flows from our fingertips onto the World Wide Web reflects what we are inside. If Christ dwells in us, we must be careful to reflect that reality in our social media presence.

Consideration # 4: Find someone to hold you accountable.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.”  I have found it exceedingly helpful to give someone permission to speak into my life whenever I need to consider something or whenever I need correction on my thoughts and attitudes on social media platforms. For me, this is my spouse. My wife is the voice in my head that I hear as I reread a post before publishing. I’m a bit of a night owl, and she is an early riser, so as I am up late getting ready to engage on social media, I ask myself what she will say to me when she wakes up and sees my latest update. The fact that we have been married nearly 20 years helps with this inner dialogue. The longer you use an accountability partner, you can anticipate their input into your internal debate about whether you should post what you are thinking or not. I’ll admit that this consideration has kept me from writing something I would later regret.

Consideration #5: Don’t be afraid to walk away.

Matthew 5:19  says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” These words, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, underscore the seriousness with which Jesus views sin. If social media is causing sinful thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes, then it has no place in your life. There are two ways that one can act on this consideration. First, one can walk away from social media for a short prescribed time. I try annually to take at least a week, sometimes a month, away from my social media platforms. It is amazing how refreshing and beneficial for self-reflection and focus this time unplugged can be. The second way one can walk away from the social media world is permanently. If it consistently drags you into a world wherein you fall short of God’s mark, then perhaps you should consider walking away forever.

Final thoughts

We have a responsibility to represent our Lord with how we behave and engage others online. We would do well to remember the words of Jesus from Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”  Brothers and sisters, think before you tweet.

Pastor to Pastor: Encouragement from Philippians 1

Weary. Discouraged. Broken-hearted. Ready to throw in the towel. Burned out. Feeling like a failure. These are words I’ve heard, and in truth, felt during my ministry. American pastors are so indoctrinated in our western world instant gratification culture that despair and discouragement are tangible whenever results are delayed or unseen. The Covid pandemic did not help soothe these feelings. Congregations scattered. Some didn’t feel safe returning, while others, especially young families, disengaged and do not appear to be coming back. Churches saw mission trips and evangelistic programs derailed. For a church leader, this accentuates the feelings of failure.

How do we combat this? As cliché as it sounds, pastors must cling more closely than ever to the Word of God. We all know we should do this, but often we fail in this regard. One of the ways God has ministered to me over the last several months has been through my study of Philippians, first devotionally and then as preparation for my current sermon series. The truths contained there have been a balm for my wounded pastoral soul. The apostle Paul knew what it was like to face difficulty in his ministry. As quill hit parchment, he languished in prison, uncertain about his future. Yet the tone of this letter is both positive and joyful. In the first chapter, I discovered several truths that comforted my soul. These principles will hopefully minister to your soul as well.

Lesson # 1–God is not finished with you

This lesson applies both to your ministry and your sanctification. Countless times during my 20 years in ministry I have felt like a ministry or service was a failure, only to find that God was working below the surface beyond what the naked eye could see. Furthermore, often the Father uses difficulties and hardships to refine his ministers. This reminder came from Paul’s words in Philippians 1:6. Paul writes, “I am sure of this:  that he who started a good work in you will carry  it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Pastor, God’s not finished with you or your church.

Lesson #2–God wants you to love and pray for your flock more. 

Your church members are His people, and you are charged to shepherd them. As the initial church reopenings started, some members returned to churches while others did not. Paul could not see the church there at Philippi because he was imprisoned, yet the depth of his love was on display for them as he wrote in Philippians 1:8, “For God is my witness how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” Verse 9 also expresses that their absence has kindled a fire of prayer from his heart for his people. Pastor, love and pray for your flock.

Lesson # 3–Rejoice as the gospel advances in other places.

Christianity is, properly understood, a team game. Yet this is often not how it is viewed. Fleshly feelings of jealousy and envy are often the results of our hearing about successes in other churches in our city or our county. We rationalize their success rather than simply celebrating the work that God is doing there. Paul’s imprisonment had caused an influx of brothers proclaiming the Gospel. The motives ran the spectrum of pure to false, yet Paul knew that what was most important was the proclamation of Christ and the advancement of the Gospel. In 1:18, he writes, “What does it matter, only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed and in this, I rejoice.”  It doesn’t matter if the success occurs at your place or the place a mile down the road. Pastor, rejoice in gospel successes around you.

Lesson # 4–Your continued presence is intended to produce fruitful work.

We may not be able to see tangible successes in our ministries. Our church and our people may appear to be struggling immensely. Just because we may not see sanctification happening doesn’t mean it is not taking place. Paul had no way of knowing whether his imprisonment would lead to his freedom or martyrdom. Yet he knows that if he continued to live, that meant fruitful ministry ahead. In that encouraging paragraph about living and dying, Paul makes the awe-inspiring statement found in 1:22, “Now to live on in the flesh means fruitful work for me.”  Pastor, be faithful where you are, knowing that as long as God keeps you serving, He will use your faithfulness and turn it into fruitfulness.

DIY Sharing Your Testimony

Materials Needed

A Notebook

A Pen

A Personal Relationship with Jesus

When it comes to sharing Jesus with people, the methods are legion. It can become quite overwhelming if one looks at it on a macro level. Fear can paralyze someone anxious that they will share something wrong. One of the easiest ways to share the gospel with someone is via sharing your testimony. This series has sought to take away some of the mystery with other spiritual disciplines, so too my goal is to make you more comfortable engaging in a conversation about your faith.

The first thing one needs when sharing their testimony is a relationship with Jesus Christ. They must have repented of their sins and placed their faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God. I cannot share a hundred-dollar bill from my wallet with you because there is no hundred-dollar bill in my wallet at this juncture. What I mean is that one cannot share what they do not have. At this point, you must ask yourself if you know Jesus as your savior. If you are unsure, spend some time with your Bible and read through the following verses (Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9-10, and Romans 10:13).   Once you are confident of this, then you can begin.

Using your notebook and a pen, write these three statements at the top of your page: “My life before Christ,” “How I came to know Christ,” and “My life after Christ.” These sentences form the basis for your testimony. In the first paragraph, describe your life before Christ. You may be someone who became a believer at an early age and didn’t live a wild and wicked life before you were saved, or you may have lived a life filled with all sorts of bad choices before you met Jesus. Either of these scenarios testifies to a beautiful trophy of Grace, and you should not be ashamed of whatever category you are in. 

Once you have described your life before Christ, you are ready to move to the second paragraph. Here you will explain how you came to know Christ. For me, it was flipping through a list of verses in my Bible and being convicted that I was lost and in need of a Savior. Someone may have heard the gospel from a pastor or teacher, or perhaps a friend from college. Describe it in as much detail as you can. 

Finally, you are ready to share how your life has changed since you met Jesus. Perhaps you have a desire to read your Bible, or maybe God delivered you from a desire to engage in a particular sin. Either way, if you are in Christ, you are a new Creation, and your story is worthy to be shared. 

Once these three paragraphs are written, practice sharing your story in the mirror. I know you may feel silly, but it does help if you practice. I have a close friend who is one of the best evangelists I know, and he taught himself to share the gospel by standing in the bathroom and practicing repeatedly. 

You may be wondering how to find opportunities. I would invite you to pray a prayer I once heard an evangelist share at a denominational evangelism rally:  Dear Lord, put someone in my life who needs to hear the gospel, open my eyes to see the opportunities, and give me boldness to take them.  If you pray these words with faith, God will honor your desire to share your faith.

DIY Prayer Journal

A Pen

A Bible

A Notebook

A Consistent Time of Prayer

Prayer is one of the easiest personal disciplines to do, but many would consider it one of the hardest to maintain. It is simple in that it can take place anywhere, at any time, yet people treat it as if it were an ancient stone containing a foreign language that they have to decipher. Prayer is simply a conversation with God. It’s incredible to consider. The sovereign God of the universe, the One who spoke the world into existence out of nothing, is always willing to take your call. You’ll never get his voicemail or hear a busy signal. In fact, Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call unto me, and I will show you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.”

I am convinced that one of the reasons we fail to pray is because we fail to recognize or remember when God has answered our prayers. Therefore, I would like to introduce you to the concept of a prayer journal. You can keep this notebook with your Bible, where you can keep track of God’s answers to your petitions. If organized simply, the journal can serve as a prompt when you don’t know what to pray about, as well as a springboard to prayers of gratitude for what God has done in your life and in the lives of those around you.

The first step in your prayer journal journey is to divide the first four pages into eight sections. These sections will correspond with the seven days of the week, with the final section coinciding with the year. (These section heads are not original to me. I have used them for as long as I can remember, and I do not know where they originated.). Label the first section this way: “Monday—Missionaries.” Underneath the heading, write out the words to Matthew 9:36-38. Below that heading, make a list of missionaries you either know or who are sent via your church or denomination. These can be international missionaries or domestic missionaries/church planters.

Once you have finished section 1, label section 2 as “Tuesday—Tasks.” Underneath this section heading, write Colossians 3:17. On this page make a list of significant tasks you need to accomplish for the upcoming week, month or year.

The third section should be labeled “Wednesday—Workers.” Write the words of Philippians 3:10. In this section, write the names of your pastor, your church’s ministerial staff, support staff, and your Sunday school or small group leaders.

The fourth category is “Thursday—Government Officials.” (I realized that my nice alliterative headings break down here, but I am hard-pressed to think of a category that works besides the one I used.) Underneath the title, write the words to 1 Timothy 2:1-2. In this section, write the names of the elected officials in your city, state, and federal levels. Pray that God would raise godly men and women to serve, that He would give them fortitude and courage to serve while living according to the principles that align with the Bible.

In the fifth division, write Friday—Friends and Family. Under this section, pray for those who are closest to you. Pray for their faith, health, and other pressing needs in their lives of which you are aware.  

Label the sixth box with the heading “Saturday—The Lost.” The scripture that I encourage you to write underneath this title is Luke 19:10. A disclaimer here: this should not be the only day that you pray for those who are lost and need to know Jesus as Savior; nevertheless, it is essential to focus your prayer for them on this particular day.

The seventh section of the journal should be labeled “Sunday—Services.” A verse to coincide with this section is Hebrews 10:24-25. Commit to praying for the worship services at your church and those happening at other churches around you.

In the eighth section, make a list of specific long-term prayer needs for the upcoming year.  In the pages that follow these divisions, take the opportunity to jot down what you are praying for when you pray. Write the date beside them. For example, if a neighbor is interviewing for a new job, you can pray that God would provide for that. Then once you hear from them, you can go back and write the date God answered it and how He answered it. These pages will serve as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to hear our prayers. When you look over these answers, it will spur you to continue to seek the Lord’s face. Lastly, I would encourage you to share how God is answering you. I’m certainly always ready to hear your report!

DIY Scripture Memory

Materials:

  • A Bible
  • Index Cards
  • Pen or Pencil
  • A Plan
  • 3×5 Recipe Box or Binder Rings
  • 7 Tab dividers

The Process

Gather the materials you need. First, select a good Bible translation. My personal preference is the Christian Standard Bible. I have found it to be a great blend of readability and accuracy. Whatever version you choose, make sure it is a version that is easy for you to read and comprehend. Next, you will need a plan for choosing your memory verses. These can come from a plethora of places. You will find them in most Sunday School materials, a devotional, a list like the one our church is currently using, or from your personal Bible reading. Once you have your plan in place, you will need a strategy to retain the verses you are memorizing. Here the 3×5 recipe box and tabs or binder rings will serve you well. 

On the day you begin, write the verse or verses you have selected on your index card. Be careful to copy it word for word, paying particular attention to punctuation. Recite the verse several times out loud. On day two, review the passage again, this time striving to repeat as much as you can from memory before consulting the index cards. For the following week, review the verse daily. I try to say it out loud, which appeals to both my sense of hearing and sight when I check myself. I encourage you to enlist a partner to help you. This partner might try to memorize the verse as well, or they might be someone who will hold your index card and check the accuracy of your memory. You may also practice writing out on another sheet of paper from memory. However you review, try to make it fun.

Once you have memorized the verse for the week, you need a strategy for retaining it. A helpful procedure involves making a chart with seven columns, one for each day of the week. Once you memorize a verse, assign it to a particular day. For example, if I have memorized Psalm 119:11, once that week is complete, I assign it to Monday. On Monday, I will select a new verse, let’s say John 3:16-17. I will work on memorizing the new verse while reviewing Monday’s review list that contains Psalm 119:11. After week two, assign John 3:16-17 to Tuesday and select a new verse of the week, let’s say Romans 3:10. On Monday, review the verses for that day and the new verse. On Tuesday, one will review Tuesday’s verse along with the verse of the week. Continue this until you have memorized seven verses and start the process over. The logic for this review process is that your verses stored up in your heart can be retained without having to review all of them on the same day. This is not difficult at first but will be more difficult as more verses accumulate. This is where the index card box or the binder clips can be helpful. For the rings, attach the Monday verses to the Monday ring and follow suit with the subsequent days. The index card box with seven tab dividers, one for each day of the week, is an excellent tool as well. 

That’s it. It’s just that simple. Let me conclude by encouraging you not to allow self-doubt or discouragement to prevent you from being able to treasure God’s Word in your heart. And remember, with God, “all things are possible” Matthew 19:26.

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