4 Christian Principles for Making New Year’s Resolutions – Jonathan Edwards wrote, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.”
Sunday, December 31, 2017
9 Things You Should Know About Events and Discoveries in 2017 – “We live in an era of 24-hour news in which we’re constantly bombarded by information from websites, social media, and television. Yet despite this deluge, there are still many fascinating news items that you are likely to have missed. Here are nine such events and discoveries from 2017 that you may not have heard about.”
Friday, December 29, 2017
How To Make A New Year’s Resolution That Sticks – “There are many reasons your resolutions may not work, the most common ones are easy enough to avoid. Here are some tips on making wise resolutions and on making them stick.”
Identifying with Christ in Baptism – “As we’re convinced and convicted by Scripture, we believe baptism symbolizes Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and is an ordinance for every believer and member of a church.”
What 2018 Holds For Us: The Upside – “2018 will see the continued explosive growth of new Christians in Africa, China, India and other parts of the world. There’s a lot to be excited about as we face a new year of Gospel growth worldwide.”
Constant Explanations from God Wouldn’t Allow for Our Faith or Trust – “But if God offered us constant explanations for the circumstances we face, our lives would not be free or normal, and would not allow for faith or trust.”
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Read Your Bible in 2018 – We have a variety of Bible reading plans on our FBC Allen church website. You may also explore Bible.com for multiple Bible reading options for your phone or tablet. Having a plan is a key to following through on reading the Bible daily and especially on reading the whole Bible in a year. It has been shown that Bible reading is a key to spiritual growth at every stage of spiritual development. Set up your plan for 2018 and get started.
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Another New Year Knocks: Where to Take Your Anxiety About Tomorrow – “Why does Christmas joy turn so quickly into new-year anxiety?”
Heaven-bound: What will it be like? – “We’ve all been told there’s no such thing as a stupid question. And we all know that just isn’t so. That may be why in our desire to avoid the embarrassment of asking that big dumb one, many seemingly silly, but actually good, even important, questions go unasked. And I think that’s particularly true when it comes to the topic of heaven.”
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
One of the Best Ways to Retrace God’s Faithfulness in Your Life – “Journaling is a great way to consistently remind yourself of what God has done in your life and help you process your thoughts. Here are four reasons I’ve found journaling to be important.”
You Can Share Your Faith With Your Family Without Making It Weird – “We often weigh ourselves down with a personal burden to convert your family and see the holidays as narrow windows of opportunity—particularly for those of us who live hundreds or thousands of miles from home.”
Must Christians Believe in the Virgin Birth? – Al Mohler: “Does belief in the virgin birth make Christians ‘less intellectual?’ Are we saddled with an untenable doctrine? Can a true Christian deny the virgin birth, or is the doctrine an essential component of the Gospel revealed to us in Scripture?”
What Christmas Tells Us About the Person and Character of God – “Christmas is a time to celebrate the fulfillment of longings.”
4 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the Christmas Story – “Here are some fun facts about the Christmas story to make your appreciation that God came to Earth that much sweeter.”
Don’t Be Yourself – “Ever since the fall, being yourself is the opposite of what God desires. Since the fall, our authentic selves are unsurpassed in self-absorption; they hate God by refusing to treasure him above all things. Therefore, the authentic you is worthy of death.”
Monday, December 25, 2017
The Day and Reason Jesus Was Born – “Lord Jesus, whether or not you entered our world anywhere close to our December 25th is irrelevant. That you actually came from eternity into time and space—not as a metaphor, myth, fable or tale, that’s what matters. We needed a real Savior, not a great story.”
Silent Night: A Christmas Lullaby for God’s Beloved – “The same Jesus who presumably slept like a baby on that ordinary night also preached rest to the weary and rebellious among us.”
A Waiting World, the Anticipation of Christmas, and What We Learn About the Love of God – Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
What Grieving People Wish You Knew at Christmas – “The traditions and events that can add so much joy and meaning to the season are punctuated with painful reminders of the person we love who is not here to share in it.”
Saturday, December 23, 2017
9 Things You Should Know About Christmas Traditions – Joe Carter shares 9 things you should know about various Christmas traditions.
3 Things Mary Knew About Her Baby Boy – “New Testament writers don’t directly tell us how much Mary knew about what her son would accomplish. There are strong reasons for believing Mary wasn’t naïve in understanding who the Messiah would be and what he would accomplish.”
The Story of Jesus’ Birth as Told by the Apostle Paul – Scotty Smith reflects on Philippians 2.
Every Woman Wants a Role Model—Someone to Look Up To. Is Mary that Person? – “We see in Mary what God wants from all of us: faithful obedience.”
The Christmas Miracle of the Incarnation of the Omnipresent Word – “Baby Jesus, from the moment of conception to the straw habitation of the manger, was fully God and fully man. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
Friday, December 22, 2017
How To Begin A Bible-Reading Habit in 2018 – “If you intend to read through the Bible in 2018 now is the time to get started. Habits are not formed in a day – it takes a little bit of time and preparation. Here are a few hints and suggestions that might be helpful in getting you up and on your way.”
Why Does Church Matter? – “Although being actively engaged in the accountability, service, and worship of a local church often takes a back seat to other priorities and emphases among Christians today, the New Testament makes it clear that God reveals Himself and presides especially in the church of Jesus Christ, like nowhere else on earth…”
Days that Bring Weeping and Rejoicing – “Today when you run into someone, just know this might be a really great day filled with sweet memories for them, or it might be a really hard day with sad memories. Ask God to help you be patient with people. Ask Him to help you see them the way He does.”
Into the Darkness He Came – “Come. Come away from the complexities and confusion and clutteredness of Christmas. Come to the simple manger, come to the brutal cross, and come to the empty tomb. Come and receive again the good news of great joy that is now for all people and all peoples (Luke 2:10).”
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Are You Haunted by Christmas? – “Charles Dickens made the ghosts of Christmas famous in his legendary character Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. The ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future showed and taught Scrooge how his miserly ways were destroying the Christmas spirit.” This post, deals with ghosts of a different nature—the ones that might haunt our attitudes, demeanors, and relationships this Christmas season.”
4 Reasons Every Church Needs Senior Saints – “Sometimes senior saints question their usefulness in the church as they age. That’s unfortunate because they’re an essential part of the body of Christ.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
A Christmas Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Nativity Story? – Give it a try!
5 Popular Misconceptions About the Christmas Story – At least one of these will rattle your ideas about the Christmas story.
Advent Exists Because Worship Doesn’t – “Christmas exists because worship doesn’t. The first Christmas existed because worship didn’t. Every Christmas celebration must remind us to worship, and to seek worshipers for Christ.”
What to Do When People are Disappointing and The Church Lets You Down – “People are so disappointing, aren’t they? One doesn’t have to be around church very long to discover that people let you down. The reason there are no perfect churches is that there are no perfect people. Add a sinner to a room full of sinners and it is hardly surprising that we encounter sin.”
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
How Can I Get my Kids to Read the Bible? – “Yes, we read them the Bible, send them to Sunday school, take them to church, give them a Christian education, and all that. But how do we get them started at personal Bible reading? And how do we keep them going at it?”
4 Times In Life You Should Expect To Face Temptation – “There are some times in life when you should be especially wary, when temptation is especially likely. Here are four times you should expect to face temptation.”
Three Refreshing Conversations to Have with Your Teen This Holiday – “They don’t require a rocket scientist to navigate the topics. They simply represent a way for you to schedule time to get away, grab a latte, and host a conversation while you’re getting some down time.”
Christmas under Death’s Shadow – “Christmas in American culture is a mishmash of distinctly Christian content and all sorts of accumulated traditions. I, for one, am mostly fine with that. But I do wonder if you’ve noticed one particular difference between old Christian carols and more recent popular songs. The old songs often refer to death. The new ones rarely do.”
Monday, December 18, 2017
What Suffering People Wish You Would Do at Christmas – “Here are five suggestions for caring for those who are suffering at Christmas.”
A drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business – “In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge has a startling conversation with the ghost of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley.” There is a great spiritual application to what Marley says in this brief post.
Spurgeon’s 15 Tips for a Deep and Effective Prayer Life – These are strong suggestions.
Should Christians be Free to Obey Our Conscience? – “If you are a Christian and you advocate that the State is justified in making Christians participate, in any way, in a gay marriage, I believe you’ve ripped the rug from under yourself – if it is fine for the State to violate other Christians’ consciences this time, what’s to prevent them from violating yours next?”
A Great Sexual Reckoning – “A flood of harassment cases reminds us that sex is sacred and transgression is costly. Yet even in a fallen world, faithful men and women can treat one another with honor”
Saturday, December 16, 2017
The FAQs: What You Should Know About Net Neutrality – It’s complicated and Christians are found on both sides of the issues.
Honor Your Grandchildren’s Father and Mother – “To be the parents of godly children is an unspeakable blessing, only to be surpassed by having godly grandchildren. Seeing your children’s children walking faithfully is a testimony to the kindness, mercy, and faithfulness of the Lord.”
Friday, December 15, 2017
What’s So Good about the Good News? – “Circumstances constantly change, and good news comes and goes, but we should look to God for happiness now. Why? Because the Good News of happiness has come, it is still here, and it will never go away!”
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Words Are the Greatest Gifts – “Words are the secret of Christmas. Even more important than the gifts we purchase, and the packages we wrap, are the letters we write, and the syllables we mouth. And once you discover the secret, you might even spend less time sweating what to buy, and give more energy to crafting what to say.
Angels in the Bible: What Do We Actually Know About Them? – “For centuries, artists have portrayed angels as beautiful humans with wings and glowing light, complete with halos, harps, and flowing white gowns (or perfectly sculpted bodies). But is that really what angels look like? Angels have inspired all sorts of imaginative stories and depictions, but what’s left when we separate fact from fiction? In order to know the truth, we have to ask, what does the Bible say about angels?”
Do Christians have to Obey the Old Testament Laws? (Video) – Dr. Thomas Schreiner answers this question, “Do all Old Testament commands apply today? How do we choose which commands in the Law to obey and which ones to disregard?”
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Answering Claims That the Bible Contains Errors, and Why It Matters That It Doesn’t – “The Christian Research Institute gives this advice: ‘…rather than taking a fearful attitude when faced with an alleged biblical contradiction, we should view these occasions as opportunities to search and explore the Scriptures. One thing I can guarantee is this: your awe of the majesty of Scripture will deepen.'”
4 Reasons Not to Overlook Joseph at Christmas – “Matthew and Luke both trace Joseph’s family back to David’s royal family tree. Prophecy required that the Son of God also be the Son of David. But surely he was not the only one qualified for that DNA/prophecy match. Here are four other reasons I believe God chose Joseph.”
Satan Hates the Pastorals – “Satan hates the Pastorals. They expose him, rob him of the key tools in his armoury - accusation, legalism, confusion, suffering - and give strength to those who oppose him, by the Word, through the Spirit. They give hope. They bring joy.”
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
So, You’re No Longer Passionate About Faith – “Jesus gave the church in Ephesus—and all believers who have forsaken their first love—three steps, or exhortations, that would bring them restoration and renewal.”
5 Things to Pack in Your Holiday Suitcase – “Whatever situation you’ll be facing as you travel this season, here are five things to pack in your suitcase that will help you remain spiritually strong and steadfast during your time away.”
The FAQs: What You Should Know About the Libyan Slave Trade – “A recent investigation by CNN uncovered slave auctions being conducted in Libya. Using concealed cameras, the media organization caught on tape migrants and refugees from other countries being sold for $400 to $800.”
Monday, December 11, 2017
Why Jesus Came – “These two verses make clear why Jesus came; namely, to die. They would be great to use with an unbelieving friend or family member to walk them step-by-step through your Christian view of Christmas. It might go something like this...”
Happiness Can Betray You: The Judas in “Christian” Joy – “Simply put, the devil often confuses us to think that our worldly contentment is spiritual satisfaction. We delightfully receive the new acquisition — a job, a relationship, a success — and we assume, often wrongly, that our joy automatically finds its source in God.”
17 Missing Verses in the NIV? (Video) – Bill Mounce explains why some verses in translations aren’t in the text, are moved to footnotes, or have some explanation such as, “does not appear in the best manuscripts.” His explanation is clear and simple.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Entrusting Our Kids, Grandkids, and Ourselves to Our Grace-full Father – “What more could we possibly want for our children, than for them to love Jesus more than anything or anyone else in the world? What other story would we write for them than a story of resting in your love, growing in your grace, and serving you with joy? The assurance of heaven will always top acceptance into Harvard. May the gospel always be our measure of success.”
Nine Questions to Ask Yourself to Prepare for 2018 – These are worth some consideration.
5 Tips for Establishing a Devotional Routine with Your Toddler – “With that guilt-free vision in mind, here are five quick tips for establishing a regular devotional routine with your toddler.”
Friday, December 8, 2017
Open Your Eyes to All the Gifts God Has Given You This Christmas – “Sometimes focusing on God’s “big miracles”—like curing cancer and making brain tumors disappear—causes us to overlook His small, daily miracles of providence in which He holds the universe together, keeps our hearts beating, provides us with air to breathe and lungs to breathe it.”
We Do Not Know What God Is Doing – “Have you ever stopped to ponder just how strange everything about the birth of Jesus was? Whatever people had imagined the coming of the Messiah would look like, no one imagined it to look like it did.”
Thursday, December 7, 2017
To Recover from Burnout, Regain Your Sense of Control – “It’s far better to adopt an ownership mindset, that sounds like this: Others may have contributed to my situation, but I have the ability to make choices that can improve my present and future. Thinking in this way gives you the license to choose, even in small ways, to take action to recharge and build momentum. Realizing you have autonomy opens up hope for the future.”
Should the US Declare Jerusalem the Capital of Israel? – This is a hot topic nationally and internationally. Jim Denison breaks down the core issues here.
Reading Between the Lines of Justice Sotomayor’s Closing Remarks in the Case of the Christian Baker – This is a watershed case on religious liberty.
No Matter Who Takes the Cake, What Christians Should Do Next Is Clear – “Religious liberty and civil rights are key issues of our day.”
Teach Your Children the Virtue of Waiting – “In busy households, managing expectations for parents and children can be both a trial and a joy. But the season of Advent—the weeks encompassing the four Sundays leading up to Christmas—represents a wonderful opportunity to teach our children, and ourselves, about waiting, a vital but neglected virtue of the Christian life.”
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Warning: Christmas Is Coming! – “I have no problem with beautiful decorations, family feasting, or giving gifts. The Christmas season can be a time when families gather again, renew relationships, and express love for one another. But I’m concerned because there is a war for which story will define our children’s beliefs about who they are, what they need, and what their lives are about.”
God’s Great Patience: 4 Things We Can Learn From It – “The great patience of God is a wonderful thing. To understand it and embrace it will make some very great differences to our lives and ministries. Here are four.”
Thou Shalt Not Create Little “Christian” Narcissists – “If we’re not careful, we can preach a version of Christianity that teaches students that their relationship with Christ is all about them. To be sure, our hands are to be cut off and our eyes gouged out, but there is also a world to be reached and a church to be strengthened.”
Supreme Court Hears Landmark Religious Liberty Case – “Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard what Eric Metaxas calls ‘perhaps the most important free speech and religious freedom case in our lifetime.’”
The Church’s Fate Is Not Electoral: Our Roy Moore Moment – “The bigger point, however, is where we think our fate lies—with our votes, or with God?”
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
For God’s Little People – “For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake, but for the sake of God’s little people — the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to fulfill his word and bless his children.”
14 Truths that Shatter the Lies of Disability – “Disability lies to me and sometimes it is easy to listen and believe. Sometimes I don’t want to live with disability. Sometimes I don’t want to be who God made me to be. [But] God tells me the truth. So I keep listening to Him. He opens the eyes of my heart and I believe. I trust Him and His words. God says beautiful things to me. Listen.”
What Should We Believe? – “What should we believe? That's such an important question, isn’t it? What we believe determines what we worship, and what we worship forms who we become. And John tells us not to believe every spirit.”
The Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case Isn’t about Same-Sex Marriage – “Masterpiece Cakeshop is not about gay marriage. It’s about compelled speech. The Supreme Court settled the marriage issue in its landmark Obergefell decision in 2015. Gay and lesbian couples are free to marry anywhere in the United States, and government at every level now protects their right to do so. But can government require artists, designers, or other creative professionals to celebrate same-sex marriage through their work?”
Monday, December 4, 2017
Advent: Waiting Hopefully, or Rushing Frantically? – “Early in this season of Advent, I want to recalibrate my heart, that I might live and love at the pace of grace. Free me of my busy, cluttered, in too-much-of-a-hurry self.”
7 Sure Marks of a False Teacher – “They’ve been a plague since the beginning and they are a plague today. But what’s interesting is that while the times and circumstances may have changed, their methods really haven’t.”
What Sexual Theft Says About You – “The sin of adultery screams out to the world that you don’t really believe God. Perhaps it will be helpful to make this clear. If you are contemplating adultery, consider at least four probing questions about what you believe.”
What the Bible Teaches About Sexuality – “The Lord has a highly positive view of sex. He has a highly negative view of immorality. And he has a deep concern both for the consensually immoral and for the victims of the criminally immoral. He has more mercy than we can imagine.”
Stopping An Affair Before It Begins – “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 simply one step in a long chain of events, one decision in a long series of poor decisions.”
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Friends Help Their Friends Finish Well – “More than ever, I want all of us to finish well—no one flaming out, burning out, or running out. Life is just too short to fritter away on broken cisterns or fool’s gold, busyness or the illusion of ‘finally having enough.’”
Why Your Prayers Aren’t ‘Working’ – “Prayer is far too powerful to allow routine or religion to steal its effectiveness.”
Why Your Prayers Aren’t ‘Working’ – “Prayer is far too powerful to allow routine or religion to steal its effectiveness.” – “Prayer is far too powerful to allow routine or religion to steal its effectiveness.”
Unlocking Eight Motivational Triggers for Evangelism and Discipleship – How can we "spur one another on toward love and good deeds”?
Friday, December 1, 2017
16 Prayers for Children God Delights to Answer – “God has made it abundantly clear in Scripture that he wants to bless our children and descendants. He’s given us many promises to give us faith to hope and pray for their salvation and well-being. Here are 16 passages of Scripture followed by brief prayers for children in your family.”
Why Is Parenting So Incredibly Hard? – Our culture thinks of children as innocent and impressionable; blank slates awaiting the external influences of education and culture. The Bible says something very different: ‘Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him’ (Proverbs 22:15 ESV).”
5 Reasons We Switched from Small Groups to Sunday School – We are finding this trend to be more and more true: “This fall we did something that will seem crazy to many. We moved from a small group model to a Sunday school model. Most church-growth material over the past 20 years would advise against this move. We are a young, growing, contemporary church. Why would we make that change?”
Why Did Matthew Write His Gospel? Here Are 4 Possible Reasons – Here are four themes to Matthew’s Gospel.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Reflections on Restoration – “In this passage, the apostle Paul calls believers to be agents of restoration for those bound by sin. Many rich things can be said of this passage, but, for the sake of brevity, only four reflections for consideration will be presented here.”
When Community Isn't Gospel Community – “When believers discuss biblical community, we talk about it in different ways: doing life together, life on life, “one another”ing each other. While this sounds good in principle, we often get it wrong in practice. Here are 3 ways we can easily get it wrong and what to do about it.”
Praise God for His Intervention – “In Psalm 18:30-50, David praises God for intervening in his circumstances and coming to his aid when he needed it the most. Today, God wants you to give thanks and praise for three specific ways He intervenes on your behalf.”
The Pragmatic Benefits of God-Given Sexual Boundaries – “If God exists and He created us, He designed our sexuality. And if God is good, then He designed our sexuality for our benefit. Not only is this true, it has pragmatic benefits when we align our lives and behavior with our design. And recent sex scandals illustrate the destructive nature of doing things mainly because they give us pleasure rather than making wise choices that lead to our wellbeing.”
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
NBC fires Matt Lauer for 'inappropriate sexual behavior' – Jim Denison makes some important applications regarding today’s breaking news.
Are You Praying the Right Thing When You Pray to Know God's Will? – “The vast majority of us do not need further education into God’s will. Instead, we need to begin to live more fully in what we already know God’s will to be. This fact changes the shape of our prayers both for ourselves and for others.”
Glorification – “The Bible looks to a final chapter in the story of redemption called glorification. It is the moment when Christ returns, the dead are raised, and all the redeemed are instantaneously transformed into the glorious likeness of Christ.”
How to Find Joy in Your Work – “The more we think about the whole first chapter of Genesis, the more glorious things we see regarding how God views his work, and the wonderful, liberating implications it has on how we are to view our work.”
What Does #MeToo Have to Do with You? Seeking to Be Disciples in a Hurting World – “What does caring mean to you as you hear stories of pain? How are you doing as a disciple of Christ in a world crying out to be heard and healed?”
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
5 Questions to Ask Before Posting To Social Media – “Before we snap one more picture of our hot chocolate topped with a foam leaf, perhaps we would benefit from a brief pause—an extra 30 seconds to ask five simple questions might suggest it’s time to unplug, or at least reconsider when and how we use social media.”