Friday, July 29, 2016

Count the Cost in the New America

Count the Cost in the New America – “Here are eight principles to guide us in engaging the culture around us without being sad, angry, frustrated, or fearful.”

What You Should Know About the Democratic Party Platform

What You Should Know About the Democratic Party Platform“During the recent Democratic National Convention the delegates voted to adopt their party’s platform, a document that outlines the statement of principles and policies that the party has decided it will support.”

Thinking About Your Death

Thinking About Your Death – “I really appreciated this article from Francis Chan addressing why we need to be willing to pause and contemplate our deaths in light of eternity (and also be willing to have candid conversations with our loved ones).”

Stop Assuming Your Neighbors Are Hostile to Your Faith

Stop Assuming Your Neighbors Are Hostile to Your Faith – This is a good word. God is at work in people’s lives whether we see it or not.

15 Things the Proverbs Teach About How to Post on Facebook

15 Things the Proverbs Teach About How to Post on Facebook – “The Proverbs have much to teach us about how to use our tongues, as well as how to use our fingers as we type strongly-held opinions in a super-charged political climate.”

4 Fears that Block Forgiveness

4 Fears that Block Forgiveness“He explains how four common fears lobby against our forgiving someone when he or she asks us to do so.”

Godly Compassion for Hurting People

Godly Compassion for Hurting PeopleJohn MacArthur describes “a wonderful, practical, real-life illustration of God’s compassion.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Biblical Friendship Cannot Be Hacked

Biblical Friendship Cannot Be Hacked – “Surely something as biblical and supremely human as the discipline of friendship is worth recapturing. But where do we begin? How can we reclaim the biblical contours of such an important relationship?”

Why Study Leviticus?

Why Study Leviticus? – “There are many reasons to study Leviticus, but time and space don’t allow me to probe them all. I will, however, share one good reason: because in his first epistle, the apostle Peter relies on it to explain what holiness is.”

God Works in Those Who Wait

God Works in Those Who Wait – “The New Testament gives us at least five specific situations in which God empowers us to wait well.”

What Gives God Pleasure

What Gives God PleasureWhat makes you happy? What pleasures do you pursue? That might be one of the most important things about you. And let’s ask a related question: What makes God happy? What pleasures does God pursue? That might be one of the most important things about God.

10 Ways To Create More Margin in Your Time

10 Ways To Create More Margin in Your TimeHere are a few useful tips to address a common problem.

A Little Gem in Job

A Little Gem in Job - “One of the beautiful but subtle gems of Scripture is found in the book of Job.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

3 Ways to Hate Your Family

3 Ways to Hate Your Family – “It's easier than you may think. At least, it's easier than we'd like to admit. The world pretends love comes naturally, springing out of an unexpected kiss or a baby's first smile. But if love is an iceberg, these things are just the tip. They're the tiny parts we see, the snapshots we post online. Below the surface, true love is daunting.”

Questions to Ask Before We Gossip

Questions to Ask Before We Gossip – “Here are eight diagnostic questions to help you discern with me whether, in talking to others about another person with whom we’re struggling, we’re actually gossiping.”

14 Rules for Being a Godly Employee

14 Rules for Being a Godly Employee – “As believers we know that our calling is higher. We do work for men, but ultimately it is God whom we serve. As we work hard we are ultimately declaring our belief in the Gospel, and our hope in eternity.”

Marriage Manifesto for Men

Marriage Manifesto for Men – It’s a good word for men and women. You are responsible for your marriage.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What King David Can Teach Us About Overcoming Political Anxiety

What King David Can Teach Us About Overcoming Political Anxiety“For as long as there have been democratic elections, there have been politicians seeking to use the fears and anxieties of the people to win votes. But what has increased — and increased exponentially in the past few decades — is the rate at which we are being bombarded by such anxiety-producing political rhetoric.”

Is That God’s Roar in the Distance?

Is That God’s Roar in the Distance? – “God’s judgment of foreign exile for Israel was intended to have the same effect as a lion’s roar. It was to restore the fear of the Lord in them, and then to restore them to their land. Our churches and nations are ripe for God’s roar.”

Is God Always Pleased with You?

Is God Always Pleased with You?“We often hear Christians say things like ‘Don’t feel bad about this sin. If you are a believer, then God is always pleased with you. He can never be more pleased with you than he is right now.’ Is that accurate?”

Monday, July 25, 2016

How Skipping Church Affects Our Children

How Skipping Church Affects Our Children“Your kids notice what you prioritize. And their priorities will be closely tied to your priorities.”

6 Ways to Use Your Job This Week

6 Ways to Use Your Job This Week“Most of us spend just one or two hours every week ‘at church.’ But we spend a third of our entire adult lives at work.” 

Living as An Encourager

Living as An EncouragerEncouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near, Heb. 10:23-25.”

Lay Aside the Weight of Tomorrow’s Trouble

Lay Aside the Weight of Tomorrow’s Trouble“Fear for tomorrow kills our faith for today. So, having faith for today often means killing fear for tomorrow.”

You Have Enough Time to Study the Bible

You Have Enough Time to Study the Bible “Among Christians, I suspect busyness is the top excuse for not studying the Bible. It seems we don’t have enough time for God’s word.”

The Likelihood of Increased Persecution in America

The Likelihood of Increased Persecution in AmericaRandy Alcorn writes about what seems to be the unavoidable conclusion that there will be increased persecution of Christians in the near future.

3 Things Sin Can’t Do To the Christian

3 Things Sin Can’t Do To the ChristianCody Barnhart writes, “Three things to remember about sin to remind yourself that it has ultimately lost its power in your life. These reminders help us eliminate the shame we feel after disobedience and push us to repent of our sin even when we’re tempted to wallow in it.”

Saturday, July 23, 2016

How to Answer Big Questions from Little People

How to Answer Big Questions from Little People – “Kids ask compelling questions. Often they have a lot of them. As parents, we are blessed with the responsibility to train up our children in the Lord. Part of this training involves taking the time to answer tough questions in ways their little minds can understand.”

Five Sources of Our Racial Shame

Five Sources of Our Racial Shame“Whether our racism is directed toward whites, blacks, or other ethnicities, it flows from ignorance, apathy, fear, judgment, and self-righteousness.”

Jesus Repulses, Jesus Draws

Jesus Repulses, Jesus Draws“When we preach Jesus today, we preach for a response. And there is always a response. Jesus repulses and Jesus draws. But an encounter with Jesus never accomplishes nothing.”

The Perfect Spouse Will Not Complete You

The Perfect Spouse Will Not Complete You – “When I’m evaluating couples in premarital counseling, I’m looking for three components: character, chemistry, and compatibility.”

Stop Trying to Make the Bible Relevant to Teenagers

Stop Trying to Make the Bible Relevant to Teenagers “In my years in youth ministry I’ve seen unhelpful and even harmful methods of trying to make Scripture relevant.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

What You Should Know About the Republican Party Platform

What You Should Know About the Republican Party Platform“Why should Christians care about a document that few non-politicians will ever read? Because of the influence the two major party platforms have on public policy.”

What Grief Teaches About God

What Grief Teaches About God  - We have to trust the process.

Our Only Hope: God is Not Like Us

Our Only Hope: God is Not Like Us“Do you really want someone like yourself to be your only hope?”

Browse Worthy: Prayer Helps

Browse Worthy: Prayer Helps – “Here are a few links that may help you to pray with more strength, focus, and quantity.”

How VBS Saved My Life

How VBS Saved My Life – Here’s an encouragement for everyone involved in VBS these days.

Satan’s Favorite Weapon Against You

Satan’s Favorite Weapon Against You – “Superman is almost unstoppable. I say “almost” because he does have one vulnerability. Kryptonite weakens him, and too much of it can destroy him. Tony Reinke is exactly right when he says, “unbelief is our Kryptonite”.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

7 Ways to Deal with Doubt

7 Ways to Deal with Doubt – “Do you ever struggle with doubt? You do if you’re honest.”

Back to the Early Church?

Back to the Early Church? - “While there were some great things happening then, I’m not
so sure that I am eager to get back to the early church days. They, too, had
their problems. Here are a few reasons why we might put the brakes on the
glamorization of the early church.”

How To Pray When Your Soul Is Bone Dry

How To Pray When Your Soul Is Bone Dry – “You know you ought to pray. You know that God invites and even commands you to pray. He loves to hear from you, loves to know you. Yet there are times when your soul feels bone dry, when even opening your mouth to pray seems an impossibility. What do you do?”

Religious Liberty and the Right to be Christian

Religious Liberty and the Right to be Christian – “In one of the most important of these recent cases, a judge found that a wedding photographer broke the law by refusing to serve as a photographer for a same-sex wedding. In an incredibly revealing decision, the court stated, quite straightforwardly, that the religious liberties of the photographer would indeed be violated by coerced participation in a same-sex wedding. Nevertheless, the court found that the new morality trumped concern for religious liberty.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Trouble, We’ve Been Expecting You

Trouble, We’ve Been Expecting You – “Hello, Trouble. We were expecting you. Come right in and make yourself at home. Will you be staying awhile? We thought so.”

The Evangelical Drug of Choice

The Evangelical Drug of Choice – “Our ability to access entertainment and escape from reality has swiftly and effortlessly encroached on every aspect of our lives. Impatiently waiting at a traffic stop? Grab your smartphone. Is your wife annoying you? Login to Netflix. Is the subject in class dry or irrelevant? Check your Twitter timeline. Bored? Instead of meditating and praying, we go searching for Pokémon.”

A Good and Wise Politician

A Good and Wise Politician – This is applicable biblical truth at all levels of leadership in public service.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How Should I Process the Current Tensions and Violence in Our Country?

Pokémon Go in a Fractured and Flattened World

Pokémon Go in a Fractured and Flattened World – “The popularity of Pokémon Go tells us something about American life in the 21st century.”

10 Ways To Resist The Devil

10 Ways To Resist The DevilIt is one of the Bible’s many sweet and powerful promises: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). The question is, though, how do we do this? In very practical ways, how do we resist the devil? Here are 10 of them…

Russia Enacts Laws to Restrict Religious Freedom

Russia Enacts Laws to Restrict Religious FreedomJoe Carter explains the situation in Russia where the government has just passed laws that will greatly reduce religious freedom.

Making the Most of Your Bible Reading

Making the Most of Your Bible ReadingIf you made a resolution in January to be a daily Bible reader and you’re having trouble hanging in there, here are some good suggestions.

4 Ways to Read Song of Solomon

4 Ways to Read Song of Solomon – This is a helpful, brief explanation of how to approach an unusual book in the Bible.

It Can Wait: Our Impatient World Needs Our Patience

It Can Wait: Our Impatient World Needs Our Patience: The world recognizes the importance of patience. But they have no foundation for it. This is where Christians live out the patience shown in Scripture.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Most Popular Posts: Six Defining Characteristics of Generation Z

Six Defining Characteristics of Generation Z“These students have all been born since September 11, 2001—a marker in our U.S. history that will always divide those born in the 20th century from those born afterward.”

Monday, July 11, 2016

Friday, July 8, 2016

Most Popular Posts: Dealing with Sudden Grief

Crisis comes our way often and sometimes suddenly. What should we say?...What should we do? caring for one another in the crisis times.

This article gives simple, practical suggestions.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Most Popular Posts: Making Disciples

We've been talking about discipleship and the stages of spiritual growth in a believer as we've made our way through a study of the Sermon on the Mount. I was introduced recently to a book titled Real-Life Discipleship that seeks to identify where people are in their growth process.

It takes the reader through the general characteristics, typical beliefs/behaviors/attitudes, spiritual needs, and phrases of speech from each of the stages of spiritual growth. It's a good self-examinaton book. The following is a summary of some of the key phrases you might hear at different stages of spiritual maturity...

It’s important that we know where we (and others) are in the spiritual growth process. Jim Putnam says, “listen for a ‘phrase from the stage.’ ” [p.45]

Those who are spiritually dead say things like,

“There are many ways to God.” “I don’t believe in God.” [p. 80]

The Bible is just a bunch of lies.

“There is no hell because God is a God of love.”

“I have been a good person, so I know I will be okay.” [ibid.]

Listen for a phrase from the stage.

A spiritual infant might say,

“I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.”

“I gave my life to Jesus and I go to church, but I don’t need to be close to other people.”

“I don’t have time to be in relationship with another Christian.” [pp. 92-93]

Listen for a phrase from the stage.

A spiritual child might say,

“I love my small group; don’t add any more people to it.”

“My church isn’t taking care of my needs.”

I didn’t like the sermon today; I wish Fr. Tony or Fr. Jeff could preach like Charles Stanley or Chuck Swindoll.

“I didn’t like the music today – if only they did it like…” New Life or Trinity Memorial.

“I’m not being fed in my church, so I am going to a church that meets my needs better.”

[quotes from pp. 106-107]

Listen for the phrase from the stage.

A spiritual young adult might say,

“I love my small group, but there are others who need a group like this. I think I could lead a group with a little help.”

“In my devotions, I came across something I have a question about.”

“I am ready to make disciples, and I will let you know if I need help.”

I noticed that we don’t have a visitation team for shut-ins. Is that something I could do?

[quotes from p. 127]

Listen for the phrase from the stage.

A spiritual parent might say,

“A guy at work asked me to explain the Bible to him. Pray for me.”

“I have a person in my small group who is passionate about working with children. Can you have the children’s ministry people call me.”

I realized discipleship happens at home, too. Will you hold me accountable to spend time discipling my kids?”

[p. 143]

Several of us are planning to go on a mission trip and I have given each person a different responsibility. Where do you think we should go?

Did you hear the differences between the stages? For example, it’s it sad that an adult who’s been active in church for years wouldn’t understand that spiritual adulthood means that we have learned to feed ourselves spiritually?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Most Popular Posts: One of the Greatest Prayers in the Bible

I'll be away for a couple of weeks. I'm re-posting some of our most popular blog articles.

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
—2 Chronicles 20:12

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Glory Not in Your Independence

Glory Not in Your Independence“Our sinful nature tells us that we are independent creatures on a lifelong journey to deeper autonomy. We believe that life is about ‘finding ourselves.’ We believe that the way to reach happiness is to follow our hearts and to do justice to our unique, independent persons.” We might re-think independence.

The Dis-ease of the Presidential Race

The Dis-ease of the Presidential Race“In the last couple of months, the candidates for the 2016 presidential race have narrowed from a wide range to just two presumptive candidates. From initial shock to utter disbelief, a range of emotions has surfaced with the realization of who is still left in this race. Of all of the feelings that are surfacing, the most pressing is my discomfort.”

8 Ways Satan Convinces You To Question Your Salvation

8 Ways Satan Convinces You To Question Your Salvation“Though Satan can never steal the Christian’s crown, though he can never snatch him away from the hand of the Father, he is so envious and malicious that he will leave no stone unturned in robbing the Christian of comfort and peace, in making their life miserable, in giving them reason to live in constant sorrow and mourning, doubt and questioning.”

The Sexual Revolution and the Witness of the Church

The Sexual Revolution and the Witness of the Church“The Christian church has always enjoyed the moral high ground; it has always been understood to be the guardian of what is right and righteous, at least in Western societies. But what we are seeing now is a fundamental change.” 

We're Not Independent

We're Not Independent: "How do you respond when God sends someone your way to correct or confront you? I tell husbands and wives around the world that if they want to experience lasting change in their marriage, they first need to fire their inner defense lawyer."

Monday, July 4, 2016

Bonhoeffer’s Answer to Political Turmoil: Preach!

Bonhoeffer’s Answer to Political Turmoil: Preach!“The German theologian’s words about fear ring remarkably true today.”

Why Has God Blessed America?

Why Has God Blessed America? - “The greatest gift we can give our nation is to help her
citizens be people God can bless. So let's choose to reverence God and place
our hope in his love. Let's pray for others to do the same.”

Displaying the Blessings of Children to a Watching World

Displaying the Blessings of Children to a Watching World – “Our families are a story. What story are we telling? There's a bigger purpose to our family than just having one. God always has a deeper purpose.”

The Sermon that Helped Push the Colonies Toward Independence

The Sermon that Helped Push the Colonies Toward Independence – “Were all the founding fathers evangelical Christians? Far from it. Did the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution establish this land as a Christian country? Definitely not. And yet, Christianity has certainly been the defining religious influence in our history.”

On July 4th: True and Lasting Freedom(s)

On July 4th: True and Lasting Freedom(s) – “Lord Jesus, it’s the Fourth of July—a holiday set aside to remember and revel in the freedom we enjoy as citizens of America. As broken as she is, we’re still thankful for our country and for the privileges we enjoy…”

When Free Men Shall Stand

When Free Men Shall Stand… - “It is hard to imagine that July 4, 1776 was anything but bittersweet for the men who signed the declaration. They knew the principles they were standing for, and they also knew what it would cost them to stand.”

Freedom From the Tyranny of Hyper-Spirituality

Freedom From the Tyranny of Hyper-Spirituality“The tyranny of hyper-spirituality our church culture had foisted on us set us up for disappointment because it held up religious experiences as the means of God’s grace, rather than the finished work of the cross.”

Don’t Waste Your Vacation

Don’t Waste Your Vacation“You never take a vacation from your Christianity, so why would our modern concepts of vacation sway us away from attending worship on the Sunday of our vacation?”

Sunday, July 3, 2016

True Worship Displays, Not Distracts

True Worship Displays, Not Distracts – “The crucial point is that throughout the Bible, the posture and physical expressions of true worship do not distract from God’s glory, they display it.”

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Home of the Brave

The Home of the Brave – “Every true Christian is homeless on earth. All the New Testament writers make this clear. But many Christians living in America have found this reality hard to comprehend. America has essentially considered itself Christian, so Christians have felt at home here.”

Let Us Not Camouflage God’s Wrath

Let Us Not Camouflage God’s Wrath – “The longer I walk with the Lord and serve Him as an undershepherd of Christ the more my spirit is troubled by the increasing tendency among evangelicals to soft-sell God.”

Grandparents, We Need You!

Grandparents, We Need You! “Grandparents carry tremendous influence with their grandchildren. Here are three ways I’m praying my kids learn from their grandparents.”

California’s State Religion

California’s State Religion “In a state ruled by a former Jesuit, perhaps we should not be shocked to find ourselves in the grip of an incipient state religion. Of course, this religion is not actually Christianity, or even anything close to the dogma of Catholicism, but something that increasingly resembles the former Soviet Union, or present-day Iran and Saudi Arabia, than the supposed world center of free, untrammeled expression.”