Friday, September 30, 2016
What the Bible Really Says About How to Handle Your Money - Three biblical tests for financial maturity.
4 Principles for Political Witness in our American Babylon – “As we’re marginalized in this uncertain day, the Old Testament offers important lessons for us. Especially prescient is the story in Daniel 3 about three Jewish men—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—who are Babylonian captives under King Nebuchadnezzar. From these mid-level government officials, we learn four significant lessons about being faithful witnesses in a pagan public square.”
Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Evangelicals, We Need to Start Looking Beyond the Candidates
Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Evangelicals, We Need to Start Looking Beyond the Candidates – “Pastor and Immediate Past President of the Southern Baptist Convention prioritizes issues over candidates.”
How Christianity Flourishes – “I once heard Steve Brown relate this story on the radio: ‘A Muslim scholar once said to a Christian, I cannot find anywhere in the Quran that it teaches Muslims how to be a minority presence in the world. And I cannot find anywhere in the New Testament where it teaches Christians how to be a majority presence in the world.’”
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Me . . . Pray With Others? – “Part of the reason God placed us in a church family (and in a Christian family if you are fortunate enough to have one) is so we will have prayer support from others. But in order to reap the full benefits, we have to be willing to take off our masks of perfection and say, ‘I'm struggling. Will you pray for me?’”
Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Ethics and Theology Professor on Why Trump is the Best Candidate for President
Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Ethics and Theology Professor on Why Trump is the Best Candidate for President – In this article, you will also find a link to an evangelical supporting Hillary Clinton for president. These articles may be helpful in discerning direction for your vote in Novemeber.
Lord, Help Me Know Right from Wrong – “Discernment is sorely needed today. It always is. But more of us are keenly aware of the need right now. Playing out on the biggest political stage in the world, the election of the American President, is an exercise in leadership and moral discernment for the American electorate unlike any in living memory.”
How an Affair Really Begins – “One of the great misconceptions about affairs is that they begin with sex. Affairs do not begin with sex. Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is never a sudden, unplanned event.”
The Church Needs the Bible – “Note the words: equipping, building up, mature, maturity, unity, grow, and so on. The means by which the church does this is the Bible. If the church is not working together to see people grow in Christ, then they are leaving off a fundamental aspect of what it means to be a church. In other words, without the ministry of the Word the church is not being a church.”
The State of Theology – “What do Americans believe about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible? Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research partnered to find out. These are the fundamental convictions that shape our society.”
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
3 Things to Pray When Life Gets You Down – “There are many things that can knock us off balance and shake our faith. Anything from a job loss to an illness to an unexpected life event. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to pray and even what to pray when life gets you down. In my own experience, I always pray for three things.”
God Will Not Be Used – “God’s ability to look on a person’s heart far surpasses our own. He can clearly discern that what we often want isn’t him, but what he gives us. The good news? The gospel is for users like you and me.”
Evangelicals Debate the Merits of Supporting or Opposing Trump – “Most evangelicals fall into four categories. Some will vote Trump as a protest against Clinton. A few will do the reverse. A large number of evangelicals oppose both candidates. Still others enthusiastically support Trump for president.”
Why Parents’ Priorities Are Hurting Students – “We need to care less about whether our children are academically gifted and more about whether they sit with the lonely kid in the cafeteria.”
How to Ask Excellent Bible Study Discussion Questions – “Bible studies have a feature that few sermons or personal quiet times can match: interaction. Harnessing the power of interaction should be one of your highest priorities when leading a Bible study. To do so, you must master four types of Bible study discussion questions. ”
Starting a Family Devotion Time – “So, as encouragement to those of you just starting out or maybe some affirmation for those of you already in the process, here are six things to help as you start having family devotions of your own.”
You Cannot Vote Your Conscience – “This understanding of the conscience more closely resembles the Hindu idea of a guru counselor than the Bible’s explanation of the conscience. Biblically speaking, the conscience is less like a guide and more like a reporter.”
Monday, September 26, 2016
Don’t Let Nostalgia Overcome Your Hope – “The pull of the past is a good yet dangerous thing. Its force can either serve as a slingshot, whereby we pull back into the past in order to gain the force necessary to be propelled forward on our mission. Or its force can serve as a black hole that sucks up all our energy and emotion, until our present and future are swallowed up in a void of hopelessness.”
Yes, You Should Say Something: Overcoming Awkwardness with Grieving People – “What they need more than someone with a lot of words is someone…entering into their hurting world for the long haul of grief.”
Faith and Hope and Love Endure Forever – “Faith, hope, and love remain throughout, and they will escort us through the gates of glory when our time is up. Whether our body or time itself has given out, faith and hope and love will be as young and new as ever. Why?”
What Is God Doing in My Pain? – “Many of you have been in situations where you look at something in your life and wonder, “Is God even aware? What could he possibly be up to right now? ”Maybe your circumstances are so dismal that you aren’t even sure there is a God. You’re in pain, you can’t see the end of it, and you can’t see any purpose in it.”
Friday, September 23, 2016
The Attraction of Idolatry – “We know as Christians, on an intellectual level, that we have idols—be it family, food, football or whatever. But to see the allure of idolatry can be hard for those of us in the Western world.”
Lay Aside the Weight of Thanklessness – “The spiritual cost to us of being thankless is much higher than we might think. Thanklessness is not merely the absence of verbalizing a “thank you.” It is a symptom of spiritual dullness, of spiritual poverty. Because it is taking for granted and not appreciating grace being shown to us.”
Practical Guidelines for Reading the Old Testament Laws – The laws of the Old Testament can prove difficult for Bible readers today. Here are some helps.
Leviticus Scroll Discovery Shows Scripture’s Inerrancy – This was another affirmation of the reliability of our biblical text. (See also Joe Carter’s FAQ.)
Thursday, September 22, 2016
You Can Trust the Bible This I Know, for Jesus Told Us So – “So, what can we do to help our people know that the Bible is worth our attention and trust? I suggest that we turn to the central figure in the Biblical story, Jesus, to determine what he had to say about Scripture.”
Five Questions to Ask Before You Start Dating – Jaquelle Crowe writes: “As I think about dating for the right reasons, in the right season, for the glory of God, I’ve considered five questions to ask myself before I start dating — five indicators that I’m ready (or not) to date.”
Dealing With Someone Else’s Sin – As churches we are often left dealing with other people’s sins. Jared Olivetti says, “Consider this my cheat sheet – gathered through study of God’s Word and more-or-less successful conversations with others.”
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Tim Kaine, Genesis 1, and Same-Sex Marriage – Trevin Wax is not “getting political” with this article but when candidates use or misuse the Bible for their purposes, Bible-believing Christ-followers should speak into it.
Giving to the Church Is Not Paying Your Bills – “How do you view giving in the local church? As I listen to what Christians say and read what they write I get the impression that many people think of giving simply as paying another bill. Giving is just like paying the utility or cable bill. Is this what you think?”
Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go – “In my years of pastoral ministry and parenting, I have regularly encountered confusion regarding the meaning of a well-known verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Let me offer some reflections on it, considering its lasting significance for the church.”
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
A Quick Guide to Dave Ramsey’s Key Words – “I’ve listened a lot to Dave Ramsey over the past 4-5 years and our family has benefitted tremendously from his advice as we seek to steward our resources for God’s glory and the good of others. Here are the ten words (or concepts) that I hear again and again in his broadcasts and books.”
10 Ways to Practice Normal Evangelism – “Many of us find evangelism daunting, even frightening. However, evangelism should take place as we naturally converse with people. As we have normal conversations, we are to look for opportunities to speak to people about Christ. In a normal evangelism culture, we will pray together for the unbelieving, and we will celebrate gospel conversations, not just ‘deals closed.’”
10 Things That Are True When I Confess My Sin – “Ponder these thoughts concerning God, sin, grace, forgiveness, and the sufficiency of Christ and his sacrificial work on your behalf. When I confess my sin…”
Monday, September 19, 2016
Six Reasons Why Your Church Members May Not Be Friendly to Guests – Most churches describe themselves as “friendly”. Often guests would disagree. Here are some reasons why.
8 Lessons God Is Teaching Me through Cancer – Dave Hall writes, “It has been an unexpected and at times frightening medical journey, but God is teaching me many heart lessons through this confrontation with cancer. These lessons are ongoing chapters in a much longer story God is writing with my life. Here are eight.”
5 Ways to Help Your Depressed Friend – “Depression is a strange and often misunderstood beast. It affects people in different ways and causes varying degrees emotional and mental turmoil. Those who struggle with it can sometimes find it challenging to describe exactly what they’re experiencing to people around them. This can sometimes cause friends of people with depression to have a hard time understanding how to help. Here are 5 ways that you can help a friend struggling with depression.”
Find a Friend to Wound You – “After the initial assault on my pride, a wave of gratitude and relief washed over me. Finally, the truth I had been evading — the God I had been evading — caught me. God used a friend’s honesty to awaken me from spiritual slumber.”
The Biggest Temple in Town – “Many Christians aren’t allured in the least by spectator sports. God bless you. But for those of us who claim Jesus as Lord and also get hyped about our favorite teams, we need a regular soul-check. And especially at the onset of football season.”
Saturday, September 17, 2016
4 Questions Parents Should Ask of Extracurricular Activities – This won’t answer all the issues parents face but if you’ll honestly answer the questions, you may make different choices.
The State of The Church in America: When Numbers Point To A New Reality – “Before you dismiss research as unimportant, read this. If facts are our friends, then it's time we listen to them for the good of the Church in America.” Which of these categories do you fit in?
Friday, September 16, 2016
Seven Principles for Angry Parents Disciplining Angry Children – Martyn Lloyd-Jones offers seven principles to govern our disciplinary action as parents.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Five Reasons You Desperately Need Your Bible – “Why is Bible reading important? Most Christians know they should read their Bibles. But often, our Bible reading can feel dry and insignificant. Why is it so important for us to read this book? What’s the urgency of it?”
Decision Making & “I Have a Peace About It” – We hear the phrase often. Here’s a good biblical discussion of it. My favorite outline point… “God does not tell us that an internal peace is His means of communicating His will.”
Why You Should Read Through the Entire Bible as Fast as Possible - There are great things to learn from God's word when reading quickly. The focus is on God more than on me.
Whatever Is False, Whatever Is Dishonorable, Whatever Is Unjust… - This reflection on holy living really spoke to me. It provides three ways we may approach holiness. We’re all making a choice every day.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
How to Become a Citizen of Heaven – “A passport is a powerful document. It certifies a person’s citizenship and carries authority to travel to foreign countries. While visiting other countries as a guest, your citizenship remains, along with a certain amount of protection that your country’s government promises to its citizens. And when it’s time to come home your passport guarantees your safe re-entrance. But as wonderful as all of that is, there is something infinitely more valuable: a spiritual passport, the guarantee of safe entrance into heaven when we die.”
Looking for Contentment? It’s Not What You Think – “Paul is not carefree, unburdened, and surrounded by trouble-free relationships. In fact, considering the larger picture of Paul’s ministry gives me a fuller picture of what contentment is by gaining insight into what it is not.”
Looking for Satisfaction in All the Wrong Places – “The world is full of desperate people thirsting for happiness. In their quest, they eagerly drink from contaminated sources of water, mistakenly believing it will satisfy their thirst.”
Monday, September 12, 2016
4 Proofs That if God Is for Us, Nothing Can Be Against Us – “Paul then supports what he asserts with four proofs.”
All That Terror Teaches: Have We Learned Anything? – “We are living in dangerous times, but far too many Americans seem to have forgotten this unforgiving fact. How can so many forget the unforgettable?”
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Do Some Christians Pray with More Power? – “Is it possible for God to hear the prays of various believers differently due to their godliness? Or, to put it a slightly different way, can our lack of godliness, or a specific sin in our life, hinder our prayers before God?”
Kids, Broccoli, and Jesus – “When Jesus is presented as broccoli and not a filet mignon, kids will see him as a means to an end. But Jesus is not a means. He is the end. The goal of the gospel is God himself. And the goal of all kids ministry should be to direct their gaze into the splendor of God's grace in the gospel of Christ.”
Why Sunday Should Be a Day of Rest – “According to the Law, we are to work first, and then we are granted rest. Jesus reversed this pattern for us when he perfectly obeyed all of the Ten Commandments and kept the law on our behalf. By living the perfect life, Jesus has met God’s perfect standard. According to the gospel, we are gifted with rest; and then out of gratitude, we actually want to work.”
Friday, September 9, 2016
Generosity: An Old Testament Perspective – “Everything you have is God’s. Everything you have is on loan from God.” This is Dr. Scott Jones basic assessment of the Old Testament teaching on generosity.
They’ll never come after churches… until they do – “The Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination issued a document last week titled “Gender Identity Guidance.” Among other things, it requires places of public accommodation to acknowledge and affirm transgender identities.” It specifically includes churches as places of “public accommodation”.
4 Practical Guidelines for Reading Old Testament Stories – “The Old Testament narrative material is great literature, and the people, events, power struggles, personal crises, and hope we find in these stories often are as relevant as this morning’s news. Thus, the Old Testament stories, read in the right way, form an indispensable resource for Christian living.”
Thursday, September 8, 2016
3 Reasons Your Small Group Is Not the Church – Small groups, Sunday Schools, etc. should are vital but they are not “the church”. Here are three reasons why you can’t substitute small groups for the church.
What Does the Bible Say About Transgenderism? – This isn’t the beginning and end of all the issues and ministry needs involved, but it does establish a baseline of truth. “In short, the Bible teaches that God made us male or female, and no matter our own feelings or confusion, we should act in accordance with the biological reality of God’s good design. Transgenderism falls short of the glory of God and is not the way to walk in obedience to Christ.”
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Now More Than Ever – “Confusion, conflict, and controversy surround us and information and opinions about it are pervasive. You might be caught up in it all, weighed down by it all, infuriated by it all, or so turned off you're apathetic. What is the right response for a follower of Christ?”
What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel? – “When it comes to this emotionally vexing issue, there are two dominant positions among professing Christians: inclusivism and exclusivism. While both views maintain that Jesus is the only way to God, only one insists on the necessity of conscious faith in him.”
How to Talk to Your Children About Election 2016 – “For families with children, this election year brings unique challenges, since the campaign this year feels often like a reality show that breaks only for the Olympics. How do we talk to our children about what they are seeing all around them?”
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Kids, Broccoli, and Jesus: Teaching the Gospel with Passion – “Jesus is not just important. He is important and satisfying. Don't present Jesus just as someone kids should need. Present him as someone they should want.”
Dealing Hope in the Darkest of Nights – “Your ministry of hope could be just the lift God uses to pull your discouraged and suffering friend out of the mire and onto the Rock of sure and lasting hope in Jesus.”
Monday, September 5, 2016
10 Ways Not to Help a Hurting Friend – “It's a touchy thing to help someone who is struggling through hard circumstances and more often than not, we don't really know how to help. Dave Furman provides us with 10 practical ways to be mindful of the "help" you are providing your friends.”
When the Saints Go Marching In – “In light of the news about the Roman Catholic canonization of two Popes and the canonization of Mother Teresa, it is vital for Christians to understand what the Scriptures teach about sainthood. There are certain topics that I am reticent to write about—sainthood is not one of them.”
Kindness Changes Everything – “Kindness is underrated. We equate it with being nice or pleasant, as though it’s mainly about smiling, getting along, and not ruffling feathers. It seems a rather mundane virtue. But the Bible presents a very different, and compelling, portrait of kindness.”
Five Reasons Why I Choose to Stand at Attention During the National Anthem – Bob Russell shares a good measured word and application on the Colin Kaepernick controversy.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
6 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Handing My Teens Personal Screens – “Over the years I have learned a lot about monitoring my children’s screen use. If I had set up the necessary parameters early on, we could have avoided some frustrations and problems.”
You Can’t Claim a Promise – “When God uttered promises in scripture He wasn’t giving us a buffet of blankies, Band-Aids, and silver bullets. He was showing us His character. A promise tells a little of who God is and what He will do. It is anchored in His holiness, goodness, power, and sovereignty. It is based on his omnipotence and omniscience. And it will come to pass in a way only God knows and ordains.”
Friday, September 2, 2016
Be Careful How You Read Your Bible – “Is it possible to read a chapter of the Old Testament or the entirety of the New Testament or even the whole Bible cover to cover, and miss the point altogether? The Pharisees did.”
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Sex Negative – Carl Trueman makes some excellent points in this article. “Sex is no longer the consummation of an exclusive bond. Now it is just a form of recreation. A bit like golf, but usually cheaper and generally without the plaid pants.”