Wednesday, December 30, 2015

10 Questions to Ask of New Year’s Resolutions

10 Questions to Ask of New Year’s Resolutions – “Here are 10 questions to ask of resolutions (whatever time of year they’re made) to ensure we’re being gospel-centered in our approach to change.”

God Ranks High in New Year’s Resolutions

God Ranks High in New Year’s Resolutions - When Americans make New Year’s resolutions, a better
relationship with God ranks almost as high as better health, Nashville-based
LifeWay Research finds.

Atheism Preys on Fear and Prejudice

Atheism Preys on Fear and Prejudice“People are afraid of religion. After all, as is pointed out ad nauseum by all the atheist writers, atheists don’t fly planes into buildings. Granted, but then neither do they build hospitals or establish schools because of their atheism.”

The One Must-Read This Year

The One Must-Read This YearI’ve read several books from the “bestsellers” lists this year but this is the only one that made a real difference in my life.

A Deeper Devotional Life

A Deeper Devotional LifeThis is a great roundup of 12 resources that can help spark a deeper devotional life in 2016. I am always blessed by reading Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions which are included in the resources.

5 Things You Can Give to God Every Day

5 Things You Can Give to God Every DayThe heart of productivity is glorifying God by serving others.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Don’t Just Make a Resolution—Make a Habit

Don’t Just Make a Resolution—Make a Habit – “Instead of just making new resolutions, I intend to make new habits.”

5 Reasons to Read the Entire Bible in 2016

5 Reasons to Read the Entire Bible in 2016 – “I’ve become convinced that every student of Scripture, particularly those of us who are or might be charged with teaching it as a vocation, ought to consider this practice. Here are five benefits I’ve discovered from reading through God’s Word each year.”

Monday, December 28, 2015

What NOT to Say When Friends Are Suffering

What NOT to Say When Friends Are Suffering“There are three popular verses that many believers misinterpret, and as a result, falsely counsel others and misguide their own hearts.”

Spiritual Pride and Reading the Gospels Well

Spiritual Pride and Reading the Gospels Well – “What I mean by “sloppy reading” is that often I come to a text of Scripture thinking I’m reading in order to be informed about how I might believe and live, but actually I’m coming to Scripture for affirmation of what I already believe and how I already live.”

Christian Conflict

Christian Conflict – “Colossians 3:12 specifically helps us to get a bit of a roadmap for what it looks like for Christians to struggle alongside and with one another.”

Lordship Is Not Legalism

Lordship Is Not Legalism“What does countercultural Christianity look like in America today?”

Parenting in the Age of Awfulness

Parenting in the Age of Awfulness“Children are immersed in a culture that stokes disrespect. Here’s how to instill some civility.”

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Signaling Savior

A Signaling Savior – “Despite how we feel, how we act, how we think, and despite how victorious the enemy appears, how much he consumes, how far he invades, the beacon of God’s promise is not diminished in the least.”

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Drained? Receive His Fullness

Drained? Receive His Fullness – “Christmas can leave a good number of people feeling more empty than full.”

The Fullness of God Dwells Embryonically

The Fullness of God Dwells Embryonically – “If God came as a vulnerable, needful, weak baby, we have no need to fear for our own vulnerability, needfulness, and weakness.” 

A Prayer for Christmas Eve

A Prayer for Christmas Eve – Here are thoughts worth considering. 

We Need a Real King

We Need a Real King – “We’re always either wanting to be king, or we’re looking to imperfect people to lead us perfectly. Our kings never fulfill us. And like Israel, we never look to the King we already have.”

The First Noël

The First Noël“Give us a poor child with modest accommodations and little fanfare. Just give us Jesus. We need our King.”

Why I Disagree with John Piper

Why I Disagree with John Piper – “There’s certainly room for freedom of conscience on this issue. Christians will have differing convictions on the use of lethal force.” This article addresses a discussion this week regarding whether or not Christians should arm themselves. I tend to agree with this author.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Morning Without Competitors

Christmas Morning Without Competitors – Here’s an interesting discussion of the contrast between the messages presented by Santa and that of Jesus.

Surviving a Dysfunctional Family Christmas

Surviving a Dysfunctional Family Christmas - A few tips for making it through.

Where the Lambs Are Kept

Where the Lambs Are Kept – A Narrative Retelling of Luke 2:8–15.

Celebrating Christmas from the Cradle to the Cross

Celebrating Christmas from the Cradle to the Cross – “Christmas provides an opportunity for the Church to reflect on and appreciate the life of Christ that leads up to the cross.”

The Christmas Story is Personal

The Christmas Story is Personal“God knows everything about us and yet still loves us through it all. We have never had such a friend nor will we ever. It is love from another land!”

The Manger

The Manger“Mary had been given an incredible honor. So she might have expected something notable to happen before Jesus’s birth. Earthly kings had fanfare associated with them. How much more the Son of God?”

The Cost And Beauty Of Marriage

The Cost And Beauty Of Marriage – “Marriage will bring you more heartbreak than any other relationship you'll experience. But it will also bring you more joy. It is the hardest but also the most fulfilling human relationship you will ever have.”

If I Had Known Then What I Know Now…

If I Had Known Then What I Know Now… - This reflection by a man who pastored the same church for fifty years was heart-warming and encouraging. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Prayer to Keep God in the Center at Christmas

A Prayer to Keep God in the Center at Christmas“During the time when we are celebrating the birth of Jesus and want to abide in His presence, we can so easily miss time spent with Him. Making prayer and God's Word a priority in our life during this Christmas season can be difficult.” 

A Worshipful Christmas

A Worshipful Christmas“The response of the angels, the very messengers of the good news, is instructive this Christmas season. Upon delivering their message, they worshiped.”

The Eternity Before Christmas

The Eternity Before Christmas“The glory of Christmas is that it is not the beginning of Christ.”

Stopping Before You Start

Stopping Before You Start – This article she answers a series of objections to reading through the Bible in the new year. They are the things believers use as excuses most often. 

Our Relatives and Friends Without Christ

Our Relatives and Friends Without Christ - Jim Elliff has a helpful article on interactions with lost friends and relatives over the Christmas holiday.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christianity and Atheism

Christianity and Atheism – “The strange Christmas story offers us “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). The strange materialism story offers us bad news of a great hopelessness that will be for all the universes.”

An Escape from Failure Culture

An Escape from Failure Culture – Here’s a good thought the day after the Steve Harvey/Miss Universe mistake. “There is something within us that feels better when we gaze at the wrinkles and cracks of others, especially public figures.” 

Top 10 Theology Stories of 2015

Top 10 Theology Stories of 2015These stories dominated religious and theological discussion this year. It’s been a busy year.

Muslims and Christians Do NOT Worship the Same God

Muslims and Christians Do NOT Worship the Same God“Arguing that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is often well-intended. But in a world increasingly filled with clashes between adherents of Islam and the west, this confusion is dangerous. Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God and that matters immensely!”

One Big Tip to Make Your Resolutions Stick

One Big Tip to Make Your Resolutions Stick – “’Tis the season to begin to consider those annual New Year’s resolutions. ’Tis the season to first evaluate whether such resolutions are a good idea or a bad one.”

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lay Aside the Weight of Slander

Lay Aside the Weight of Slander“Because of its poisonous power, it is one of the adversary’s chief strategies to divide relationships and deter and derail the mission of the church. We must be on our guard against this closely clinging sin and frequently lay it aside (Hebrews 12:1).”

Must Christians Believe in the Virgin Birth?

Must Christians Believe in the Virgin Birth?“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?”

Friday, December 18, 2015

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? – It’s a question that hit the news cycle this week. Al Mohler gives a great answer.

Advent Meditation: Swaddling Righteousness

Advent Meditation: Swaddling Righteousness“It is this same Jesus who was swaddled in the garments of humility who will soon swaddle his own children in the merit of his righteousness. This Jesus will, by his perfect obedience, earn the everlasting righteousness that will be credited to a sinner like me.”

Four Signs Food Has Become an Idol

Four Signs Food Has Become an Idol“I think it is helpful in talking about gluttony to compare it to other sins and why it is that something good like food and enjoying it becomes sinful.”

Did Jesus Even Exist?

Did Jesus Even Exist?This time of year, there are always attacks on the truth of the Christian faith. This article addresses questions raised by a recent attack.

Christ-Centered Silence for the Noisy Advent Season

Christ-Centered Silence for the Noisy Advent Season – “We all have extra events in December. Whether for work, school, church, or the community, seasonal social opportunities keep us occupied. We assume everyone is “crazy busy.” It’s a noisy season, one of music and cheer. To enjoy the season to its fullest, then, one of the most significant disciplines we can practice both individually and corporately is “Christ-centered silence.”

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Apocalypse at Christmastime

Apocalypse at Christmastime – “With Bethlehem before her, Mary also had Armageddon on her mind. So should we.”

The Pride in Our Holiday Stress

The Pride in Our Holiday StressWe can “stress ourselves out trying to have the perfect Christmas”. Think about how we can display humility to those around us, and in that way, point our friends and neighbors to the cross.

Christmas…The Real Story

Christmas…The Real StoryJohn MacArthur tell the real story of Christmas…the full story.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Good News Bringing Great Joy

Good News Bringing Great Joy – “We want it and we pursue it. But, regrettably, it is often so elusive. But what is it? Why is it so precious, so highly esteemed? And how do we get it?”

Staying Godly in a Godless Workplace

Staying Godly in a Godless Workplace – So, how is it possible for anyone to escape from one’s work unimpeachable and unscathed?

The Uniqueness of Christian Parenting

The Uniqueness of Christian Parenting - “There is something wonderfully unique about Christian
parents. Christian parents seek to maintain a counter-cultural flavor even as
we seek to prepare our children for entrance into that culture as
fully-functioning adults.”

LA School Closing: 4 Ways to Face Our Fears

LA School Closing: 4 Ways to Face Our Fears - The goal of terrorists is obviously to terrorize. John Lahr is right: “The real goal of terror is not to kill people but to kill thought; to so demoralize a society that it implodes from within.” So how do we refuse to be terrorized?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

5 Signs We’re Failing at the Golden Rule

5 Signs We’re Failing at the Golden Rule - What if the famous rule isn’t so much about doing, but overflowing?

Leadership, Prophecy, and Criticism

Leadership, Prophecy, and CriticismWhat does biblical prophecy look like, and how does it apply to us today?

How the Bible Came Alive

How the Bible Came Alive – “I didn’t want to read it because it wasn’t about me.”

How to Love God by Getting More Sleep

How to Love God by Getting More Sleep – “Getting a good night’s rest shows that we know God is in control and will watch over us when we are at our most vulnerable.”

Striving for a More Intentional Life of Prayer

Striving for a More Intentional Life of PrayerHere are some helpful suggestions. Don’t think you need to do all that the author suggests. Just be sure you pray.

A Perfect Christmas

A Perfect Christmas“In the thick of the holiday planning, I must remind myself that Christ does not call us to be perfectionists; he calls us to be perfect.

I Am What I’ve Been Through

I Am What I’ve Been ThroughThe article, written by a woman going through cancer treatments, makes a strong statement.

Just Another Day in America

Just Another Day in AmericaThis article discusses modern news media and how it handles tragedy and crisis. Arthur Hunt says news has become “daily theater, which must be enhanced by a sense of urgency and crisis.”

Monday, December 14, 2015

No Place Like Church for the Holidays

No Place Like Church for the Holidays - Christmas is still a great time to invite someone to church according to Lifeway Research.

Four Truths About God’s Provision

Four Truths About God’s Provision – God always provides for his children, though often it is not in the way we expect or hope.

Gospel Power for a Secular Age

Gospel Power for a Secular Age – “The gospel has been, is, and will always be powerful in every culture—including our secular age.”

The Perfectly Respectable Environmental Movement Has Been Hijacked by Climate Radicals

The Perfectly Respectable Environmental Movement Has Been Hijacked by Climate Radicals “I am not a climate change denier, I am an unsuccessful climate change evidence-seeker, like Jacques Cartier or Columbus peering into the distance to see a new world. And so far there is nothing there.”

Christian Rhetoric During a National Crisis

Christian Rhetoric During a National Crisis“So the question for Christians is now twofold; how should we think about these events, and how should we respond to these events? Much ink has been and will be spilled on the former, but I’m not sure we’re giving enough thoughtful attention to the latter. Can we do better than we’ve been doing?”

Sunday, December 13, 2015

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – “The mystery and the wonder of Christian living are captured. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. Already. But not yet.”

Saturday, December 12, 2015

How to Practice Biblical Hospitality

How to Practice Biblical Hospitality – “When hospitality is described in the Scriptures, there are zero instructions regarding home décor, menu, or table setting. Let’s take a journey through Scripture as we paint a word portrait of biblical hospitality.”

Imprint of King Hezekiah’s Seal Found in Jerusalem

Imprint of King Hezekiah’s Seal Found in Jerusalem - Archeology again supports the biblical record. “The royal seal of an ancient biblical king has been unearthed near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.”

On Disputable Matters

On Disputable Matters – “Every generation of Christians faces the need to decide just what beliefs and behavior are morally mandated of all believers, and what beliefs and behavior may be left to the individual believer’s conscience.”

Friday, December 11, 2015

Three Simple Ways to Encourage People in a World of Negativity

Three Simple Ways to Encourage People in a World of Negativity - Whether it be the latest Trumpian fare or the newest bit of
pop culture controversy, I’ve found plenty of reasons to be upset lately. Here
are some ways to be a light of encouragement.

I Am the Elder Brother

I Am the Elder Brother – “It can be easier for Christians, especially Christians who’ve grown rigid and “proud” of their faith, to slip into tendencies of the elder brother.”

Why Gratitude Is a Spiritual Discipline

Why Gratitude Is a Spiritual Discipline - How expressing thanks opens us up to God's grace.

Modesty Lets Our Light Shine

Modesty Lets Our Light Shine – “Last Saturday evening, Ayesha Curry, wife of NBA star Stephen Curry, was flipping through a Style Weekly and shared her observations with Twitter: Everyone's into barely wearing clothes these days huh? Not my style. 

For the Fall and Rising of Many in Israel

For the Fall and Rising of Many in Israel – A Christmas word from Southern Seminary’s commencement.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Is Your Heart Ready to Help?

Is Your Heart Ready to Help?A lot of noise is swirling around about refugees, America, and the local church. What do we make of it?

How to Know if You Are Called

How to Know if You Are Called“It might surprise you, but in Scripture the idea of calling is not initially a career path we pick, a cause we choose, or a code we use for unlocking God’s will. Biblical calling is, first of all, something done for us. It is God’s summons to the Savior, and to his service.”

You and That Church Need to DTR

You and That Church Need to DTR“Simply put, church membership is how the divinely ordained assembly of God’s people define the relationship between each other. It’s the mechanism that brings clarity to the relationships in the congregation. It’s how the good lines of God-given authority are exercised.”

The Nativity and Its Pro-Life Message

The Nativity and Its Pro-Life MessageErik Raymond begins, “I was rereading the narrative in the Gospel according to Luke yesterday and was stuck with its contemporary significance relative to the abortion debate.”

A Crash Course on the Muslim Worldview and Islamic Theology

A Crash Course on the Muslim Worldview and Islamic TheologyIf you’d like to learn more, this set of videos are well done and not overwhelming.

The Doctrine of Scripture: Defining Our Terms

The Doctrine of Scripture: Defining Our TermsWhen discussing the Bible, there are certain terms that come up. Here is a good set of terms and their definitions. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Happy Choir of Heaven

The Happy Choir of Heaven – “Sadly, many Christians today are ignorant to the startling and strengthening ministry of angels. One of the most important ways this happens is through their example to us.” 

What to Pray When You Don’t Know What Else to Say

What to Pray When You Don’t Know What Else to Say - Reexamining deeper truth of the Lord’s Prayer.

Go Global! Think Beyond Local Ministry

Go Global! Think Beyond Local Ministry – God is a global God. He has always cared about the entire world. Here are some goals to consider in your next steps in ministry.

Keeping the Heart in Our Christmas Traditions

Keeping the Heart in Our Christmas Traditions – “So, if our primary goal at Christmas time is to worship Christ from a pure heart, which traditions deserve to be kept or started? And which deserve to be trashed?”

What’s So Special About Christmas?

What’s So Special About Christmas? –  Jesus Christ is God, and his birth is when God came to Earth.

The World's Most Popular Bible Verses, According to 200 Million YouVersion Users

The World's Most Popular Bible Verses, According to 200 Million YouVersion Users – The popularity of verses in different parts of the world is interesting.

Responding to the MTV Report on Our Abortion Data

Responding to the MTV Report on Our Abortion Data – “Christians must learn how to be both pro-life and pro-women. Those two values are not mutually exclusive, so we must pursue them both.”

Nine Consequences of Debt

Nine Consequences of DebtRandy Alcorn says, “The more you’re inclined to go into debt, the more probable it is that you shouldn’t.”

Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage – Here are some biblical thoughts on a tough subject.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Why You Don’t Need to Choose Between Happiness and Holiness

Why You Don’t Need to Choose Between Happiness and Holiness – “Sin is joy poisoned. Holiness is joy postponed and pursued.”

Is Donald Trump Right About Closing the Border to Muslims?

Is Donald Trump Right About Closing the Border to Muslims?Russell Moore takes on a hot topic. “Make no mistake. A government that can shut down mosques simply because they are mosques can shut down Bible studies because they are Bible studies. A government that can close the borders to all Muslims simply on the basis of their religious belief can do the same thing for evangelical Christians.”

A Case for Not Instagramming Your Holidays

A Case for Not Instagramming Your Holidays - Interesting and worth considering. Here are five questions to ask before you post.

Building Margin into Your Schedule

Building Margin into Your Schedule – “About five years ago in a Sunday morning service our pastor was talking about the importance of having margin in your life. Margin to hear from God, to wait before Him and to expect miracles. That’s vital at a time of year when margin is slim because of the busy-ness of the season.”

When God was Silent

When God was Silent“The gap between the Old and New Testament has been called “The 400 Silent Years” because God had stopped communicating directly with His people. But the 400 yearof silence did not mean that God was on vacation.   He was busy fulfilling prophesy and paving the way for the Son's appearance.”  

Daily Bread

Daily BreadThis is the first in a series on the value of daily Bible reading. “While these are true for any type of Bible reading, a thorough reading of the entire text enhances them. And, while most of us may say we may believe these truths, it’s helpful to be reminded of that which is good for our souls.”

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lay Aside the Weight of Low Self Image

Lay Aside the Weight of Low Self Image – There are holy and unholy ways of thinking of yourself.

The Paradox of Chronic Pain

The Paradox of Chronic Pain – “About 40 percent of Americans suffer from chronic, persistent, and untreatable pain. Imagine this: in a congregation of 200 adults, about 80 of us are currently in pain. So how can pastors, churches, and ministries better understand and care for their suffering members?” 

4 Simple Responses to Science-Based Atheism

4 Simple Responses to Science-Based Atheism – Here are four simple responses to those who claim science has either disproved God or has made belief in God unnecessary.

To Every Mom And Dad

To Every Mom And Dad – David Murray has developed a Bible reading plan with children in mind. You might explore it.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What Child Is This?

What Child Is This? – “Sometimes questions make a point. We call those “rhetorical questions.” Other times the form of a question expresses awe and wonder about something we know to be true, but find almost too good to be true. It’s too good to simply say it directly like we say everything else.”

Saturday, December 5, 2015

How You Should Respond to Evil

How You Should Respond to EvilHow should Christians relate to evil? How should we think and feel and act about satanic evil? Death? Natural Disasters? What about the evil and pain you confront in your own daily lives?

How Do I Stop Spinning Plates?

How Do I Stop Spinning Plates?“How do we calm and control our minds when they are furiously yet pointlessly circling round and round the problems in our lives?”

The Most Essential Life Skill

The Most Essential Life Skill – “There’s one characteristic that separates the successful from the unsuccessful in every walk of life: teachability.”

When Some Turn to Church, Others Go to CrossFit

When Some Turn to Church, Others Go to CrossFitWhen religion fades, people inevitably find something to replace it.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

San Bernardino, Prayer Shaming, and a Better Way

San Bernardino, Prayer Shaming, and a Better WayIs prayer the appropriate response to yet another mass shooting in the United States? 

Judas Betrayed Jesus with Clean Feet

Judas Betrayed Jesus with Clean Feet – “The very hands that will soon be pierced through with nails are at this moment stooping to serve, washing even the feet of one of his enemies.”

Christmas Giving: 10 Ways to Transform Your Christmas

Christmas Giving: 10 Ways to Transform Your Christmas – “Those of us who love the Christmas season often are in the market for ways to make it more meaningful.”

Pursue the Mystery and Glory of the Incarnation

Pursue the Mystery and Glory of the Incarnation – “Have you given much thought to the union of the two natures of Christ?”

Five Ways to Lead in Times of Fear

Five Ways to Lead in Times of Fear – These are troubling times. How can you lead your friends and family spiritually in such times?

How to Pray the News

How to Pray the News – We are bombarded by news. Here are a few practical tips to get you started on praying the news.

God Won’t Fix This?

God Won’t Fix This? – Russell Moore writes, “Should people who pray after tragedy be shamed for not doing something more? That’s the question I address this morning in The Washington Post, after a major news publication mocked the prayers following the San Bernardino shootings with the headline, “God Isn’t Fixing This.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Keeping It All Together This Christmas

Keeping It All Together This ChristmasMark Beeson asks, “What holds you, and yours, together? Who secures your life, when life gets difficult?”

Why Trust the Bible?

Why Trust the Bible? - If you’ve been looking for a book to give non-Christians explaining why the Bible can be trusted, this may be it.

Is Pro-Life Rhetoric Deadly?

Is Pro-Life Rhetoric Deadly?“Pro-life rhetoric is in the news right now, since a deranged man went on a shooting spree inside a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic.” Russell Moore addresses the question.

Four Steps Toward Joy in Repentance

Four Steps Toward Joy in Repentance – “There is a kind of joy in repentance. I say “a kind of” because repentance is also arduous, humbling, exacting.”

Creation Chronology in 1 Corinthians 11

Creation Chronology in 1 Corinthians 11This article may be a little heavy but it makes a great point regarding the creation and biblical consistency.

The Book of Deuteronomy

The Book of Deuteronomy - The Bible Project gives a summary/overview of Deuteronomy (in less than seven minutes).

You Just Need to Obey

You Just Need to Obey“Can you imagine a Christian couple actually praying about living together before marriage? Can you fathom a young woman who professes Christ even bothering to pray about whether she should marry an unbeliever? Can you grasp a Christian businessman having to pray about whether he should tell the truth in a transaction? You just need to obey.”

How Your Church Can PASTOR Your Guests This Christmas

How Your Church Can PASTOR Your Guests This ChristmasHere are some good reminders as we move into the Christmas season at church.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christians Need to Lighten Up

Christians Need to Lighten Up - What being 'slow to speak and slow to become angry' looks like an era of Internet takedowns.

Was Jesus His Mother’s Savior?

Was Jesus His Mother’s Savior? – “Every person—from Adam and Eve forward—needs mercy, forgiveness, and saving grace. This includes Mary, the mother of Jesus.”

The Key to Praying Effectively

The Key to Praying Effectively“When I pray with my kids, I can tell their minds are somewhere else.  They might have their eyes closed, but talking to God is the very last thing on their minds.  I guess for us adults, some things never change.”

Four Life Lessons Learned From Johnny Manziel

Four Life Lessons Learned From Johnny Manziel – Tim Elmore makes some good points about growing up.