Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Why ‘This Is Us’ Really Does Tell the Story of Us All - Here are some good points of application from the popular new show.
Abortion Rate at All-Time Low – “The number of women and girls seeking abortions in the United States dropped by one-fifth between 2004 and 2013, a new report shows. The abortion rate is the lowest it’s been since 1969 when the government started tracking the procedure.”
Was Jesus Married to Mary Magdalene? – “The Huffington post published a recent article on this topic. It is the some old conspiracy theory of prior generations, fed to a new audience that perhaps wouldn’t know any better. The average person reading this article will probably accept it as fact. But, despite the bold claims of the article’s title, there are few real facts to be found here.”
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
The Problem With Our Holly Jolly Christmas Songs – “We have a rich and complicated and often appropriately dark Christmas hymnody. We can sing of blessings flowing “far as the curse is found,” of the one who came to “free us all from Satan’s power.” Let’s sing that, every now and then, where we can be overheard.”
Why Churches Might Need to Excommunicate “affirming” Members of the Congregation – This is a hot topic in churches and among denominations.
Finding the Courage to Grow – “Have you ever thought about the essential ingredient for growth? It’s the one thing you absolutely must have if you want to increase your ability to get better in any area. And yet it’s often the hardest thing for a person seeking growth to find. What might that one thing be? Courage.”
4 Reasons to Give Thanks to God Forever – “In Psalm 30, David, the songwriter and king of Israel, resolves to thank God forever. The book of Psalms is the Hebrew hymn book, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit—as is all of Scripture.”
Monday, November 28, 2016
Christmas Is Too Big for One Day – “A day as significant as Christmas warrants an Advent of four weeks of preparation and enjoyment. We will marvel for eternity over the coming of God himself to save his people from their sins, and Advent’s four weeks of awe are a good place to start.”
How do you Reconcile God’s Justice with his Mercy? – “This tension between mercy and judgment is weighty for Abraham, just as it often is for us. So what do you do? How do you reconcile God’s justice with his mercy? Perhaps it is better to say, what do you not do?”
What Are The Barriers To True Friendship and Meaningful Evangelism? – “This piece by Sharon Dickens deals with the aspect of evangelism in women's ministry. She writes of her own experiences in ministering to women, and how to move beyond unhelpful relationships to deep ‘equal’ friendship.”
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Worship Interrupted – “Attending worship with small children in tow can feel like trying to sleep with a helicopter hovering over your bed. What you want is refreshment and inspiration; what you get is low-level tension, discomfort, and distraction as you brace yourself for what might happen next.”
Donald Trump and the Great Projection – “The dream of a Clinton presidency and liberal Supreme Court has turned into a nightmare. The hope that America might become one big college campus where dissenters could be shouted down with the connivance of the administration has been inverted. The weapons liberals sharpened now look likely to be turned upon the left.”
Thank God Your Children Are Mediocre Athletes – “Thank God that your kids haven’t displayed the athletic prowess necessary to trick you into spending a fortune you don’t have for a dream that will almost certainly never materialize.”
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Thanksgiving as Theological Act: What Does it Mean to Give Thanks? – “Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act, rightly understood. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is a theology in microcosm — a key to understanding what we really believe about God, ourselves, and the world we experience.”
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
What Trump Hath Wrought: 6 Election Takeaways – “The wave has washed over us. Donald Trump is America's President-Elect, stunning the world. As evangelicals seeking to engage the city of man, what are we to make of this? Here are six brief thoughts in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election.”
Our Political Divisions Provide an Opportunity for the Church – “Since its founding, the church has brought together people from various backgrounds and political persuasions, including Simon the zealot and Matthew the tax collector—two of Jesus’ disciples.”
Glennon Doyle Melton’s Gospel of Self-Fulfillment – “From the public announcements both of her divorce and her new dating relationship, she wants us to understand this: The greatest gift any of us gives to the world is our true self. Let’s not look to anyone else for permission or feel any obligation for explanation. Humans flourish as they obey their desires.”
Monday, November 21, 2016
We Cannot Be Too Grateful Too Often for Too Many Things – “Heavenly Father, I woke up today thankful, and I simply want to acknowledge it; for what do we have that we haven’t received from you heart and hand?...”
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Why We Should be Thankful for the Gift of Gratitude – “Only when we become truly grateful for what God has done—when thankfulness has seeped into the marrow of our soul—can we fully appreciate who God is and understand who we are as his children.”
Depressed and Thankful – “God calls us to be thankful people. And it’s the very attitude of thanksgiving that can transform our lives. If you find yourself wandering down the dark path of depression and despair, here are six simple ways to fight for joy through gratefulness.”
Sisters, Jesus Is Not Your Cheerleader – Melissa Kruger writes: “I’m concerned that we’ve reduced Jesus to a spiritual cheerleader. And, in turn, that’s what we’ve become to one another…If your devotional, Bible study group, or conference is more focused on who you are than who Jesus is, it’s time to pick up a new book or find another group.”
Friday, November 18, 2016
Lay Aside the Weight of Pride – “Many of the burdens I bear in life are made far heavier by adding on top of them an oversized image of myself. I simply have a tendency to think more often about and more highly of myself than I ought to think (Romans 12:3).”
Practice Makes Perfect – “Is it possible to get better at showing mercy? To grow in generosity? To become more loving? To be a better neighbor? And, if yes, is growth in these areas related to practice? Put another way, is the Christian life like everything else in life?”
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Anniversaries Are About God, Not Gifts – “So what should we think when we think about our anniversaries? How do we celebrate anniversaries as those rescued by grace and captured by Jesus? Are there ways to honor God with annual traditions in our marriage?”
Why Difficulties in the Bible Are a Good Thing – “The classic doctrine of the clarity of Scripture does not care to deny the difficulties in the Bible, any more than the apostle Peter did when he talked about the things “hard to understand” in Paul’s scriptural writings. But God has loving purposes behind even those difficulties.”
10 Things You Should Know about Physician Assisted Suicide – As the practice become more embraced by our society, it’s important that Christians understand the issues.
3 Parenting Myths We Are All Tempted To Believe – “As Christian parents raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, we can be tempted to believe some dangerous myths about what we are doing and how we are to go about it.”
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Life Is Hard, But God Is Good – “In an attempt to alleviate the complication of grief and find deeper meaning in our hardships here are four reasons life is hard, plus specific ways we can respond to our difficulties.”
Proclaiming a Better Way – “Every election, a dangerous forgetfulness descends upon the nation like a cloud, as if somehow this election will decide the fate of America for the next 1,000 years.”
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
10 Ways Christians Can Show Love This Thanksgiving – “A lot of people think of giving and charity at Christmastime, but we can also show love and give thanks at Thanksgiving too. There are many ways that Christians can show love in this season of thanks giving.”
God is Interested in the Details – “I’m very concerned - okay, let’s call it obsessed - with the details of life. Sometimes they’re big details, like whom will I marry and when, and sometimes small, like why am I taking this class and trudging through this syllabus. And in the details I often lose sight of God and how He relates to my situation.”
Mocking Your Mission Field – “My Facebook is filled with comments about snowflakes, hypocrites and lefties who supposedly are so evil and so despicable that they need to be ridiculed for their tears. The problem is that these snowflakes we’re mocking are my mission field.”
Do You Have to Like God’s Commands? – “A friend of mine once confessed she had a verse in the Bible she would gladly remove if given the choice. Which verse this happened to be was less interesting to me than the notion itself. If we had the opportunity, would we happily remove any parts of the Bible?”
Monday, November 14, 2016
Why Does Anyone Become a Christian? – “Many say that Christians who maintain the historic, traditional doctrines are behind the times, are too exclusive, and are “on the wrong side of history…in light of the enormous social costs of being a Christian in the first three centuries, why did anyone become a Christian? Why did Christianity grow so exponentially? What did Christianity offer that was so much greater than the costs? “
Saturday, November 12, 2016
What Do White Evangelicals Owe People of Color in Trump’s America They Helped Create? – We carry each other’s burdens now so we can cry out with one voice for eternity.
Let’s Rise to Love Those Left in Fear – “We have neighbors and coworkers — even friends and family — who are not just disappointed or sorrowful over the presidential-election results, but also genuinely afraid.”
Friday, November 11, 2016
Church Should Feel Uncomfortable – “Taking up the challenge of committing to a church is incredibly difficult but decidedly biblical. You don’t have to read much of the New Testament to see how messy things get when natural enemies commit to being unified family (Gal. 3:28). It’s inevitably uncomfortable but undeniably important.”
‘Pick Your Battles’ Parenting – “Nowhere, in the Bible, will Christian parents see God picking battles as he parents his children. The most illustrative and direct example of his parenting is found as he led Israel through the wilderness into Canaan. During this time, God does not permit certain commands to be heeded and others to be ignored.”
Thursday, November 10, 2016
The FAQs: What You Should Know About Recent Ballot Initiatives – “While the nation was focused primarily on the presidential election, several states were voting on ballot initiatives that will have significant ramifications on society.”
Lovekindness: A Post-Election Path for Christians in America – “Instead of embodying a kingdom of hope and reconciliation, we’ve blended in with the culture’s pervasive despair and disunity. Instead of demonstrating power in weakness via the cross, we’ve become weakened by a lust for power via the crown.”
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Five Ways to Help Our Kids After the Election – “As dads and moms, we have the responsibility to help our children process this transition in United States history with our Bibles open. How should Christians move ahead?”
How to Pray When Someone You Love Is Stuck In Sin - “When the people closest to us sin, it hurts. Sin is destructive. When we are standing close by, we often get hit with shrapnel. If you’re in the line of fire, I deeply admire your willingness to pray instead of simply assuming the position of duck and cover. But I also don’t blame you for wondering, How am I supposed to pray about this?”
Learning from the Judges – “The people of God relived the cycle of relapse, retribution, repentance, and rescue over and over again throughout biblical history. And, dare I say, the church has seen a similar cycle over the past two thousand years as well.”
The Church Will Be the Church – This piece was written prior to the election but it still holds true. “No matter who wins in the election today, no matter what party takes hold of the reins of power, no matter which color – red or blue – is cheering at the end of the night, the church will keep doing what she’s always done.”
Where Do We Go From Here? The 2016 Election and Our Future – In this essay, Jim Denison discusses the election’s impact on key biblical issues and how Christians should respond. It’s worth a few minutes today.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Posting Something Online – “Think of them as indicator lights, the kind a pilot checks before take off.”
Monday, November 7, 2016
Six Ways You Can Pray for Your Country – With the election staring us in the face, the church needs to enter into prayer more than ever. These six prayers can help Christians wholistically pray for America.
What If Our Bibles Rose Up and Judged Us? – “We have easier access to the Word of God than any generation in history, and yet those of us who have Bibles may fail to regularly read them, and those of us who do read the Bible may fail to put God’s Word into practice.”
Put Not Your Trust in Presidents – Tim Challies (a Canadian) reflects on his own despair in last year’s election of a prime minister who would lead Canada down a liberal path. He has some good words for American Christians (regardless of which candidate is elected).
Saturday, November 5, 2016
3 Truths You Should Remember, No Matter What You Do in the Voting Booth – “Here are three truths about Christians and politics that are true today and will still be true after next week’s election—truths you should remember no matter what you do in the voting booth.”
Looking for Hope After November 8 – “Most Americans can at least agree on this: The 2016 presidential election cycle has been a long one, and it will be a relief when it’s over…Looking for post-election unity, then, may not be easy.”
Being on God’s Side: A Dozen Recommendations for the ‘Religious Right’ – Joe Carter shares some thought-provoking ideas: “On the eve of the 2016 election, I want to share these twelve recommendations (or reminders) with my fellow religious and political conservatives.”
What the Wayward Wants – Why is it important to know what the wayward wants? Because “to reach the prodigal, you must first crawl into the story of the prodigal.” It is an ugly story, but one God so often delights in ending with the prodigal returning to all that was once his.
Parents Fear That Religion Will Make Their Children Outcasts – Here’s an interesting one from the UK: “Almost a quarter of religious parents are not passing on their faith to their children for fear they will be alienated at school, a survey has revealed.”
Friday, November 4, 2016
What’s Really Going On with Evangelicals and Same-Sex Marriage – This is an important distinction: “The biggest debate in evangelical circles these days is not over same-sex marriage. It’s whether or not male-female marriage is a ‘core commitment’ or an issue we can ‘agree to disagree’ on. And more and more institutions and organizations are making it clear that marriage is the first, not the second.”
Four Key Principles of Repentance – “These are basic truths about basic Christianity—repenting of sin and coming to alive to righteousness. These are truths my children need to hear and believe. These are truths their parents need to hear again and believe anew.”
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Reflections on the Jen Hatmaker Controversy: Why We Can't Agree to Disagree About Homosexuality – This has been a hot topic for the last week. I appreciated this response.
Do You Have the Faith to be Faithful? – “Today I want to consider what it means to have an exemplary faith, the kind of faith that, if imitated by others, will lead them to become more like Christ. Do you have that kind of faith? If people imitate you, will they in fact be imitating Jesus? This is no small challenge!”
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Court Protects Iowa Churches from Government Censorship and Control – This is a win for religious liberty but points to the many challenges that will come up against religious freedom in the days ahead.
4 Reasons You Never Follow Through With 'Quiet Time' - The struggle is real but it doesn't have to be.
Sixteen Lies Satan Feeds Us About Worship – “If God uses our worship to transform sinners, starting with us, then the enemy will do all in his power to neutralize it…What has the evil advisor told you in the secret recesses of your mind and heart to dissuade you from worship?”
“Honor the king.” And other impossible commands – “The Lord seems to delight in calling His disciples to do impossible things, actions which the flesh rebels against, the world scoffs at, and we sometimes question.”
Don't Be Greedy With Your Pain – Both our quality and quantity of sharing is going up, but our authenticity of sharing is going down…These are our best moments, our best statements, and our best thoughts, “shared.”
Evangelicals Across The Spectrum Are Clarifying Marriage As A Core Belief – For Evangelicals, same-sex marriage is not an “agree to disagree” issue.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
So What If America Is No Longer a 'Christian Nation'? - How do we respond to life in a new America?
Grace-Paced Living in a Burnout Culture – “ It’s men and women, young and old, leaders and followers, Christians and non-Christians, in all walks and at all levels of life, who are all arriving at the same wrecking yard — overwhelmed, burned out, empty, and broken.”
Why Evangelicals Dislike and Distrust Hillary Clinton So Much – Ed Stetzer gives the background on this hot topic: “To many Evangelicals, Mrs. Clinton is a perfect storm of divergent values, dismissive advocacy, and distrusted personality.”
10 Things You should Know about the Protestant Reformation – This is a good explanation about what it was and what it means for us today.
Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak Truth – Rosaria Butterfield responds to Jen Hatmaker: “Today, I hear Jen’s words—words meant to encourage, not discourage, to build up, not tear down, to defend the marginalized, not broker unearned power—and a thin trickle of sweat creeps down my back. If I were still in the thick of the battle over the indwelling sin of lesbian desire, Jen’s words would have put a millstone around my neck.”