Monday, April 28, 2014

Amy Hanson on The New Old

Amy Hanson on The New OldIn our aging population, Amy Hanson gives four characteristics of the “new old”.

The Aging World

The Aging World Our world is aging rapidly, especially the developed world.

That Sunday After Easter

That Sunday After Easter - Few of us remember those Sundays that come the week after Easter. These Sundays may more closely resemble the original Easter Sunday.

How Do You Set Your Mind on Heaven?

How Do You Set Your Mind on Heaven? - In Sunday’s sermon we concluded with some application points. I wanted to make those available to you for your personal reflection.

  • Do I daily reflect on my own mortality?
  • Do I daily realize there are only two destinations…heaven or hell…and that I and every person I know will go to one or the other?
  • Do I daily remind myself that this world is not my home and that everything in it will burn, leaving behind only what’s eternal?
  • Do I daily recognize that my choices and actions have a direct influence on the world to come?
  • Do I daily realize that my life is being examined by God, the Audience of One, and that the only appraisal of my life that will ultimately matter is His?
  • Do I daily reflect on my ultimate home and with anticipation look forward to being with God?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gospel Inclusion and Instagram

Gospel Inclusion and Instagram - This was a warm devotional thought today.

Tolerance Is Our God

Tolerance Is Our God“How often do we hear of Christians or people of other faiths being rebuked for standing for any value that may conflict with the notion that everyone and everything is morally acceptable? Bastions of tolerance are conveniently ignorant of their own intolerance.”

How Mothers Can Worship in the Midst of Inconvenience

How Mothers Can Worship in the Midst of Inconvenience - This application fits for busy moms and the rest of us too. Worship most often falls in the flow of life, not in blocked worship times.

You Can’t Claim a Promise

You Can’t Claim a PromiseThis is a good word on the “name it and claim approach” to Bible promises.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

20 Habits to Quit In the Next Year

20 Habits to Quit In the Next Year – A few things to sweep out of your regular routine

Biblical Literacy in the Church: Three Benefits

Biblical Literacy in the Church: Three Benefits

What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Heaven

What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Heaven – This is a good article on a hot topic. “Yes, the Bible teaches that heaven is a place of ultimate comfort, with “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). But it is also a place where the reality of God’s unbridled majesty reigns supreme – and that’s scary.”

God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge

God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge – Al Mohler responds to the new book by Matthew Vines and offers a free e-book that addresses the issues in more detail.

Monday, April 21, 2014

To Experience God's Love

To Experience God's Love - Many Christians live at a great
distance from a felt experience of the love of God. So much Christianity in the
West is shallow and satisfied. It affirms a creed, but it so often lacks
spiritual life. Across the country there are millions of people who have a
faith, who've been brought up in the church to believe Jesus died and rose, but
they have no living experience of God's love.

We need this prayer from 2
Thessalonians 3:5
: "May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love
and Christ's patience."

Seven Prayers for Jesus’ Church

Seven Prayers for Jesus’ ChurchThese are great scripture prayers to pray for your church and churches around the world.

Explaining Hard Things to Our Children

Explaining Hard Things to Our Children - There are many conversations you wish you never had to have with your young children but they come. 

China to Be ‘World’s Most Christian Nation’ in the Next 15 Years

China to Be ‘World’s Most Christian Nation’ in the Next 15 Years - Though officially, the communist country of 1.3 billion is atheist, Christianity has spread so rapidly, that by 2030, it could be home to more than 247 million Christians. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

How Can I Teach My Child That Easter Means More Than the Easter Bunny and Baskets of Candy?

How Can I Teach My Child That Easter Means More Than the Easter Bunny and Baskets of Candy?

This is a helpful article from the archives of Discipleship Journal. How can a parent take the secular traditions that have come to surround Easter and draw out biblical applications and truth?

How Can I Teach My Child That Easter Means More Than the Easter Bunny and Baskets of Candy?

It's certainly true that cultural traditions in the celebration of Easter can quickly overshadow family celebrations of the Lord's resurrection if we let them.

So should we throw out all those "secular traditions" and start over? Should we just ignore them and start some of our own? The best solution may be to keep a balance. Remember that Easter, with its Easter baskets, egg-dyeing, and new clothes, is a joyful, fun time for children! And that's not all bad. Easter is a time to celebrate! Is there any way a family can enjoy our culture's secular traditions and still focus on the meaning and joy of the empty tomb? I think there is.

Learn from earlier Christian parents.

The early church chose to celebrate the resurrection at the same time as the ancient pagan festival of Oestre, the goddess of spring. Believing families faced our same dilemma. They apparently decided not to ignore this celebration of spring but to transform its traditions and symbols. Perhaps they knew how effectively children learn from object lessons, so they used the symbols already familiar to their children to point directly to Jesus.

For centuries before the resurrection, eggs were a symbol of new life. Even the Hebrews include a "paschal egg" in the Passover celebration. If your children dye eggs, tell them how they symbolize the new life Christ gives and decorate them with Christian symbols, such as a cross or a tomb with the stone rolled away.

If you buy new clothes for your children at Easter, this can symbolize the new righteousness ("right-ness") we can havewith God because of the resurrection. We can "put on" this new "right-ness" because of the Lord's victory over sin and death, just as we put on new clothes.

If you object to this tradition because of the commercialism, use the money saved to help the poor, or give it to missions. Giving to the needy is one of the oldest Christian traditions associated with Easter. Establish a family project during Lent to raise money for the needy. That helps shift the focus of Easter away from just "What's in my Easter basket?" to "What can I do to honor Jesus?"

Start some traditions of your own.

Early Christians greeted each other on Easter morning with, "The Lord is risen" and the reply, "He is risen indeed!" Your children will enjoy introducing this tradition to everyone they see Easter morning.
Many families may not observe the season of Lent, but observing Holy Week can be a powerful way to help your children enter into the joys and sorrows of the season.

Read the Scripture narrative about Palm Sunday. Let your children imagine (or act out) the cheering of the crowds. Explain the reason for their excitement. On Thursday, get out a towel and bowl of water so each can wash another family member's feet. Explain how Jesus came as a servant and to give His life. This is a good time to talk again about why He had to die and help your children understand the need for repentance.

On Friday, have your children experience the sadness of Jesus' disciples as you read the crucifixion narrative. Then, on Sunday, get up early to watch the sun rise so you can get to the tomb early (as the women did). Read the gospel narrative and let the children act out peeking in the tomb, seeing the angel, and being surprised with joy at the good news. Many families establish advent traditions and observances to help their children prepare for the joy of Christmas. Observing Lent prepares them to enter into the true meaning of Easter.

But what about the Easter Bunny? I admit he's more of a challenge to turn to a spiritual use! The best approach is to treat him with a kind of benign neglect. Make it clear to your children that this rabbit is just a part of the fun pretending that some children (and adults) enjoy at this season. Give him no more than the minor attention due such a character. Major in the risen Lord. Your children will get your message.

It takes careful thought and resourcefulness, but as we use Easter traditions, our children will grasp spiritual truths in the way they learn best—through familiar symbols explained within the context of the family. At the same time, these spiritual truths are planted deep in a child's heart and guarded well by warm childhood memories of family fun and celebrations. This approach follows the example of Christ, who did not come to judge the world but to transform and redeem it. Centuries of Christian parents understood this, and worked to reclaim and redeem its Easter traditions.

Traditions and symbols are part of the common language of the world we live in. Using this common language to teach children the meaning of the resurrection of Christ equips them to share this good news with their friends in language both understand. Surely that, too, is the true meaning of Easter and honoring to its risen Lord!

Keep It To Yourself

Keep It To Yourself - What are you actually asking a Christian when you ask him to keep the gospel to himself?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Three Characteristics of Disciples of Jesus

Three Characteristics of Disciples of Jesus - How do you teach new Christians what it looks like to follow Jesus? You learn from Jesus’ first disciples.

Failing with Family

Failing with Family - How do you live your faith and failings in the context of your own family?

Talk is Cheap: The President and Religious Freedom

Talk is Cheap: The President and Religious Freedom - Johnnie Moore is right—it's time for President Obama to act.

Ten Lessons from a Hospital Bed

Ten Lessons from a Hospital BedGod is always speaking and He has great lessons for us - even in a hospital bed.

When Evil Dug Its Own Grave

When Evil Dug Its Own Grave – “When you’re in the middle of intense suffering, it’s easy to lose your bearings. Questions arise reflexively: Is God really in control? How can a good God allow so much pain? Is God good? The pain that we feel can make it hard to even think straight. We need anchors that keep us tethered to the truth so we do not drift when we encounter suffering.”

Fatherhood of God: Forgiveness

Fatherhood of God: ForgivenessThis article is a good summary of God’s forgiveness with additional Bible study suggestions.

Fall In Love Again

Fall In Love Again - If you had to write a short
description of Christianity, what would you write? If you had one sentence to
capture the essence of your belief, how would you phrase it? Paul Tripp gives a good response.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

‘Noah’ Has Made a Lot of Internet Users Very Curious about Genesis

‘Noah’ Has Made a Lot of Internet Users Very Curious about Genesis“The new readers may have been disappointed in the lack of knife fights …”

Do We Want to be a Wonder Christian or Do we Want Christ

Do We Want to be a Wonder Christian or Do we Want Christ – “Here’s
the question, though: do I want to be a wonderful Christian, or do I want
Christ? Does my soul long to be a better Christian or does my soul long for the
living God?”

Millennials and the False 'Gospel of Nice'

Millennials and the False'Gospel of Nice'Don’t believe everything you’ve been hearing.