Thursday, December 31, 2020

Stewardship of 2021

Stewardship of 2021 – “As we begin 2021, help us discern between the good and the best, the non-essential and the vital, and the eternal and the fleeting. No matter what else happens in the New Year, please make Jesus more beautiful, irresistible, and compelling to us.”

Not Greener Grass, But Sturdy Hope for 2021

Not Greener Grass, But Sturdy Hope for 2021 – “I pray, whatever this new year brings, that we may know God’s presence more clearly, love him more deeply, and follow him more closely.” 

3 Questions For Setting God-Centered Goals

3 Questions For Setting God-Centered Goals – “Before you set your New Year’s goals, here are three questions to consider.”

Lord, Make Us Diligent and Desperate: A Prayer for the Pursuit of Holiness

Lord, Make Us Diligent and Desperate: A Prayer for the Pursuit of Holiness – “Lord, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be made.” 

Corporate Worship Provides Care for Your Soul

Corporate Worship Provides Care for Your Soul – “This psalm highlights three aspects of corporate worship that David finds beneficial in his time of distress.”

Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2020

Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2020 – “Here are 2020’s biggest stories about archaeology connecting us with the biblical world.”

How the Psalms Teach Us Contentment

How the Psalms Teach Us Contentment – “In reading the Psalms, one does not draw the conclusion that the writers believed lasting happiness and satisfaction to be found anywhere other than God.” 

In This We Rejoice

In This We Rejoice – “There are so many paths God takes His children down for His glory and their sanctification…and yet, at some point, we walk the same roads and greatly benefit from the exhortation and encouragement they provide, having gone before us.”

2020 Bashing

2020 Bashing – “When a train goes through the tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw your ticket away and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

What Does Deuteronomy 3:16 Mean?

What Does Deuteronomy 3:16 Mean? – “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Feeble Words in Prayer

Feeble Words in Prayer – “Fear not because your prayer is stammering, your words feeble, and your language poor. Jesus can understand you.” 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Resolutions

Resolutions – “In times like these, what should our resolutions look like this year? I think that Hebrews 12:1-2 offers us some solid guidance.”

Godlier Than Last Year

Godlier Than Last Year – “How? Here are some areas to consider.”

Want to Read Your Bible Well in 2021? Don’t Do It Alone.

Want to Read Your Bible Well in 2021? Don’t Do It Alone. – “Approach Scripture alongside others, in the context of a diverse community—otherwise our experiences will limit us, our preferences will govern us, and our biases will blind us.”

 

My 2021 New Year's Resolution

My 2021 New Year's Resolution – Paul Tripp: “The transforming work of grace operates in 10,000 little moments of life more than it does in a series of two or three life-altering events. The quality of your life and the character of your heart is primarily shaped and defined by the 10,000 little decisions, desires, words, and actions you make every day.”

The Bible Is a Lifelong Project

The Bible Is a Lifelong Project – “What if you thought about Bible reading as not merely a new resolution for 2021 but a lifelong pursuit?”

15 Good News Trends from 2020

15 Good News Trends from 2020 – “As we reflect on the end of the year, we should give thanks to God for these 15 ‘good news’ trends.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

More Bad News May Come: Steadiness in a Year of Suffering

More Bad News May Come: Steadiness in a Year of Suffering – “The psalmist writes of the man who fears the Lord, He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

What God Tells Us to Remember

What God Tells Us to Remember – “There used to be a saying on memes that went something like, ‘Don’t look back—you’re not going that way.’ However, though we shouldn’t live in the past, we benefit from considering it at times.”

Spiritual Formation That Fits You

Spiritual Formation That Fits You – “Spiritual formation will look different for different people—and that's okay.”

 

Living with Pain, Hope, and Jesus

Living with Pain, Hope, and Jesus – “On that Day, Lord Jesus, you won’t give us answers, you will give us yourself—which is better by far.”

Before You Say Goodbye to 2020

Before You Say Goodbye to 2020 – “Reflecting on 2020 is an invitation for us to see our need for a Savior.”

Someone Will Catechize Your Kids in 2021. Don’t Outsource It.

Someone Will Catechize Your Kids in 2021. Don’t Outsource It. – “The joy doesn’t come in guaranteeing your children will walk in all the ways of the Lord. It comes in knowing you’ve helped to lay a foundation of biblical truth that will support your family’s faith no matter what may come.”

We Are Blind Without the Spirit

We Are Blind Without the Spirit – “The Spirit primarily does his work by enabling the believer to see the glory of the beautiful and all-sufficient Christ.”

Finish the Year Weak

Finish the Year Weak – “‘Finish the year strong.’ The clich├ęd exhortation is aimed at us all—the businessman trying to meet project deadlines and annual budget expectations, the student prepping for semester finals, the average Joes and Janes navigating holiday chaos with an eye toward some vague sense of individual improvement in the coming year.”

Monday, December 28, 2020

Finish the Year Weak

Finish the Year Weak – “Why?  Because felt weakness is the way to experiencing the Lord’s Spiritual power in our lives.”

How to Speak the Truth in Love

How to Speak the Truth in Love – “When I counsel someone to speak the truth in love, what exactly am I calling them to do?”

The Dangerous Love of Ease

The Dangerous Love of Ease – “We face the peril of becoming flabby, uncourageous, and complacent pilgrims.”

WWJD? Live an Outcast-Driven Life

WWJD? Live an Outcast-Driven Life – “Clearly, calling outcasts was Jesus’s plan, not a deviation from a more ‘sensible’ strategy.”

Jonathan Edwards & Smallpox

Jonathan Edwards & Smallpox – “When we witness the impact of a pandemic, we are reminded again that this earth is not the way it is supposed to be. But we should not react with hopelessness.”

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Bible Reading Plans & Guides

Bible Reading Plans & Guides – God's Word is a powerful thing. We want to encourage everyone to be in God's Word every day. Whether you're just getting started or have been in the word regularly for a while, here are some recommended reading plans we’ve assembled at FBC Allen.

Evil Has an Expiration Date

Evil Has an Expiration Date – “In Revelation 18, John sees the fall of Babylon—the evil world system that has opposed God since Satan’s first deceiving whisper in Genesis 3. Immediately afterward, in Revelation 19, John hears the praise of heaven.”

Grudges or Grace?

Grudges or Grace? – “We can’t control others, and shouldn’t try; but we can take responsibility for our wounds, wishes, and words.”

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Untamed Spirit of Christmas

The Untamed Spirit of Christmas – “Christmas means more than Christ’s entrance into the world. It means his entrance into you.”

The Great Life and the Ordinary

The Great Life and the Ordinary – “The influence of a life of love extends further than we’ll ever know. Who’s to say which of our small unseen acts God will magnify or multiply? Possibly not the ones we’d expect. We’re in no position to measure true greatness. God alone sees. God alone measures.”

On Possessions, Contentment, and Eternity

On Possessions, Contentment, and Eternity – “Not that I am not grateful. In fact, I am very thankful for the abundance that I enjoy. But during this period of self-quarantining, I am haunted by the role these possessions have in my life.”

9 Things You Should Know About Events and Discoveries in 2020

9 Things You Should Know About Events and Discoveries in 2020This is an interesting take on the year gone by.

He Is Enough

He Is Enough – “Ever since Eve desired more and succumbed to the temptation of the serpent, discontentment has plagued our world.”

Friday, December 25, 2020

The God Who Is With Us

Advent Day 25: The God Who Is With Us – He is Immanuel.

Real Darkness Requires Real Hope

Real Darkness Requires Real Hope – “Here are four reasons that the birth of Jesus can give us a hope bright enough to counter the darkness of 2020.”

A Word of Hope for Those Missing Church

A Word of Hope for Those Missing Church – “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos” (Rev. 1:9).

And So We Wait …

And So We Wait … - “Simeon and Anna’s stories have always fascinated me, because I think they teach us how to wait well. Specifically, I think their stories give us four ways we can better wait in our stories.”

Christmas and the Wrong Side of History

Christmas and the Wrong Side of History – “When you think about it, nearly everyone and everything connected to the first Christmas was on the wrong side of history.”

The Hardest Time of Year: Grieving Pain and Loss at Christmas

The Hardest Time of Year: Grieving Pain and Loss at Christmas – “The Christmas season carries heavy expectations. Expectations that often more closely resemble Hallmark images than the quiet expectancy of celebrating Christ’s birth. We picture festive gatherings with family and friends, brightly wrapped gifts under decorated trees, and delicious meals around tables with loved ones. Yet for those who have experienced loss, the holidays often bring a sense of dread.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

How Can I Share Jesus This Christmas?

How Can I Share Jesus This Christmas? – Christmas present us with a unique opportunity to share the best gift of all, the Gospel.

Does the Virgin Birth Really Matter?

Does the Virgin Birth Really Matter? – “What can we say are the theological implications of the virgin birth?”

Advent: A Pleasurable Story

Advent: A Pleasurable Story – “If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to find evidence of the love of God when you’re experiencing pleasurable seasons of life. But neither God nor his love change when those physical pleasures are taken away.”

Praising God in the Darkness

Praising God in the Darkness – “There is a peace which He gives that though we suffer and have moments of weakness, the world can neither diminish nor obliterate.”

The Days Before Christmas: A Prayer of Lament

The Days Before Christmas: A Prayer of Lament – For many people, separated from family this Christmas due to issues of the pandemic, this is an encouraging word.

Omnipotence, Swaddled

Omnipotence, Swaddled – “It’s therefore breathtaking to think that the second person of the Trinity was himself swaddled. The One through whom all things were made, and who controls all things by his sovereign power, allowed his incarnate limbs to be overpowered by the swaddling cloths.”

Why Did Christ Need a Body?

Why Did Christ Need a Body? – “In giving his flesh for the world, the world can have life because now sins can be forgiven, righteousness can be provided, a substitute is there.”

Concluding Corona Comments

Concluding Corona Comments – “Inevitably, a lot of posts on Think this year have been connected to Covid-19 and it seems certain that 2021, at least at first, will also be dominated by the coronavirus. So as we end one virus-shaped year and prepare for another here are three reflections on what we have learned.” These are not hard conclusions but thought-starters.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Plain Tree…A Needed Reminder

A Plain Tree…A Needed Reminder – “This is the first tree in our 22 years of marriage that isn’t decked out with ornaments, but in many ways it fits the kind of year it’s been.” This is a powerful real-life illustration of this year.

5 Tips for Reading the Bible in the New Year

5 Tips for Reading the Bible in the New Year – “Just as the gyms become emptier by March and the junk food returns to the cabinets, people often struggle to keep up their Bible reading plans. That doesn’t mean we should give up, though. Bible reading is vital to our growth as Christians and our relationship with Christ.”

A Word of Hope for Those with Chronic Pain

A Word of Hope for Those with Chronic Pain – “Waiting in chronic pain can wear you down, shrivel your love, fill you with self-pity, and poison your heart. Or it can refine your character, build your patience and endurance, and increase your longing for God. Whether our waiting does the one or the other largely depends on what we believe is on the other side of this suffering.”

Do You Desire the Gift More than the Giver?

Do You Desire the Gift More than the Giver? “How often do I desire the gifts God can give me (healthy children, financial stability, fruitful ministry) more than my relationship with him?”

Why Does It Matter that Jesus Was Born of a Virgin?

Why Does It Matter that Jesus Was Born of a Virgin? – “We ignore the doctrine at our peril; we celebrate it to our benefit and to God’s glory.”

How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament: Part 4—Text Criticism

How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament: Part 4—Text Criticism – “Text criticism is the discipline of restoring the biblical authors’ original words by comparing and contrasting the various copies and translations of the Bible.” Though brief, this is a deep dive into the translation process.

Don’t Be in a Rush to Bid This Year Goodbye

Don’t Be in a Rush to Bid This Year Goodbye – “If there’s anything we should have learned during the past year, it’s how ungrateful we really are. How many things did we fail to recognize as God’s blessings.”

The Story of Ruth and the Secret to Rest

The Story of Ruth and the Secret to Rest – “The book of Ruth is perfect for this moment. It shows us where we can find—even in the midst of today’s turmoil—deep rest for our souls.”

Monday, December 21, 2020

Grace for the Challenges of Our 2020 Christmas

Grace for the Challenges of Our 2020 Christmas – “In ways, perhaps we can’t imagine, make this Christmas one of the most treasured ones, ever—a feast of grace, a celebration of kindness, creative loving for each other; not just daily, but moment by moment mercy.”

Seeing The Good And Not Just The Bad

Seeing The Good And Not Just The Bad – “God is always good. There are always positive things to see. Make sure you don’t just wallow in the bad times of 2020 this reflective time of year; there are many things to thank God for if you look for them.”

A Word of Hope for Strained Relationships

A Word of Hope for Strained Relationships – “After a year like 2020, our relationships are showing wear. We’ve fractured over all kinds of issues, and public-health restrictions have limited our ability to gather, to hug, to worship shoulder-to-shoulder.”

The Story Behind Handel’s Messiah

The Story Behind Handel’s Messiah – “When his operas and his health began to fail, Handel sank into bankruptcy and despair, believing his career was over. In 1741, he was invited to Ireland to direct one of his works at a charity performance. Handel decided to write a new oratorio.”

How to Overcome Temptation

How to Overcome Temptation – “So what do we learn from Christ’s temptation by the devil about our own strategies for overcoming temptation?”

Ye, Beneath Life’s Crushing Load

Ye, Beneath Life’s Crushing Load – “I can’t imagine what feels crushing to you this Christmas season; I’m sure your weariness is multifaceted. What causes your shoulders to slump today? How difficult and exhausting are your labors? Does your progress in life feel sluggish and agonizing? Do you long for relief from these woes?”

The Untamed Spirit of Christmas

The Untamed Spirit of Christmas – “Take courage, Christian. Christmas means more than Christ’s entrance into the world. It means his entrance into you.”

Twelve Major Trends for Churches in 2021

Twelve Major Trends for Churches in 2021 “While escaping 2020 has been a stated goal for many people, there will still be challenges in front of us as we move into 2021. Churches will be among the organizations to confront clear and present challenges.”

For the Joy before Him, Christ Came

For the Joy before Him, Christ Came – “Thomas Goodwin wrote that Christ’s ‘own joy, comfort, happiness, and glory are increased and enlarged by . . .’ Now how would you finish that sentence?”

Music in Wartime

Music in Wartime – “In times of discouragement as well as times of gladness, we can reach for the song. It is God’s gift to us to remind us that victory is sure, even if not yet here.” 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

History Is Gloriously Redemptive, Not Random

History Is Gloriously Redemptive, Not Random – “Free us to be generous and joyful as the Magi. Liberate us to love as you love us, to forgive as you have forgiven us, and to pursue others as you faithfully seek us.”

Not A God Far Away

Not A God Far Away – “All through Scripture, God is assuring His people that He is not a God who is far away.”

People-Pleasing That Pleases God

People-Pleasing That Pleases God – “If you seek first to please God and are satisfied with that, you have but one to please instead of multitudes; and a multitude of masters are harder to please than one.”

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Learning from the Magi

Learning from the Magi – “Among the parts of the birth narrative of Jesus, the Scriptural record of the Magi, coming from a distant land to seek, find, and worship the infant Christ, is far and away one of the most spiritually rich.”

What It Means To Love Christ

What It Means To Love Christ – “Love as God models it is therefore true affection shown in his action. Love is the tree and action is the fruit.”

Have Yourself A Subversive Little Christmas

Have Yourself A Subversive Little Christmas – “Here are three ways to celebrate the subversive little ways God moves at Christmas.”

Christ Will Come to Judge: What We Still and Will Believe

Christ Will Come to Judge: What We Still and Will Believe – “He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”

One Weary Accord

One Weary Accord – “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”

The Incarnation: Its Relevance

The Incarnation: Its Relevance – “To call the incarnation ‘relevant’ almost sounds patronizing. But we need to recognize the intimate connection between this important doctrine and personal piety.”

Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth

Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth – “There are some parts of the Christmas story that easily get overlooked, aren’t there? And Mary’s visit to Elizabeth (Lk 1.39-45), sandwiched as it is between the annunciation to Mary by Gabriel and Mary’s great song of praise, the Magnificat, is one of them. 

In the Dark

In the Dark – “Isaiah tells us of a coming son who will rule and bring peace. He’s writing about a hopeful future, while also addressing his contemporary audience. That announcement was not given to people unwrapping presents and carving the Christmas turkey. They were in a bad way.”

Nazarene – What a Label!

Nazarene – What a Label! – “Would you carry the label, Nazarene?  For some, it is just one of the more obscure labels for Jesus or His followers.”

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Apostle Paul’s Account of Christmas

The Apostle Paul’s Account of Christmas – Scotty Smith offers a prayer thought from Philippians 2.

Tim Keller: Why Christmas Matters

Tim Keller: Why Christmas Matters – “The point of Christmas is that Jesus Christ really lived, and He really died. It happened in history. He did these things. He said these things.”

God Is Good Even When the Holidays Aren’t

God Is Good Even When the Holidays Aren’t – “Believing in his goodness doesn’t make the pain in our lives hurt less, but it does give us the strength to endure.”

Reading the Bible Requires Rules We Already Know

Reading the Bible Requires Rules We Already Know – “We already know the basic principles of biblical interpretation (context, history, and genre). We apply them every day when we read or hear anything. The problem is that we jettison those principles when we open the Scriptures.”

His Broken Body Rose: What We Still and Will Believe

His Broken Body Rose: What We Still and Will Believe – “The suffering, crucifixion, and death of the Messiah — so hard for the disciples to believe — were a wonder to the gaze of heaven.” 

9 Things You Should Know About Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

9 Things You Should Know About Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris – “Here is what you should know about the person who will be the first woman, first African American, and first Asian American vice president in the history of the United States.”

The Good News About Challenges

The Good News About Challenges – “The holidays can be especially tough for so many. It can bring up past memories, losses, and even unwanted anniversaries. This year seems to add an extra level of heaviness with Covid and ongoing strife in our world.”

Trees: God’s Creative Power On Display

Trees: God’s Creative Power On Display – “A tree is not a product of chance, but of divine design.”

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Sweetness of Christ in 2020

The Sweetness of Christ in 2020 – “As we draw near to the end of 2020, we should take a few moments to look back on the year. It’s been an eventful one for sure. It’s been heartbreaking; it’s been sorrowful — and yet full of joy too.” 

Think You Know the Christmas Story? Here are Five Common Misconceptions

Think You Know the Christmas Story? Here are Five Common Misconceptions – “These five misconceptions remind us that sometimes our picture of scriptural stories is shaped more by popular perceptions and modern retellings than by the text itself.”

Advent: A Glorious Story

Advent: A Glorious Story – “There are two words I want you to meditate on this Christmas: glory and peace.”

Christ Confusion: Six Common Errors About Jesus

Christ Confusion: Six Common Errors About Jesus – “Jesus Christ, the God-man, is the central glory of the Christian faith. Yet the very fact that he is both God and man has become the occasion of many misunderstandings and distortions, even among sincere Christians.”

Is Christmas a Pagan Rip-off?

Is Christmas a Pagan Rip-off? – “We’ve heard it so many times that it’s practically part of the Christmas story itself...That’s the story, and everyone from liberal Christians to conservative Christians to non-Christians seem to agree that it’s true. Except that it isn’t.”

A Word of Hope in Scorched Places

A Word of Hope in Scorched Places – “We cannot know the way or the why, but we know the One we follow.”

The Special Role of Advent in 2020

The Special Role of Advent in 2020 – “In 2020, we’re waiting in a whole new way. We wait for a vaccine. We wait for political systems to deliver what they promise. We wait to gather again safely. And in all our waiting, we can further distract ourselves with devices, streaming, social media, alcohol, and more, or we can learn the sacred grace of waiting with hope. This is the purpose of Advent.”

I Need the Old Testament for Christmas in 2020

I Need the Old Testament for Christmas in 2020 – “Advent 2020 is a time when tree roots can grow into anchors amidst the high winds. This will not happen without the Old Testament.”

The Purification of Waiting

The Purification of Waiting – “When we wait in expectation, we do not just sit idly by. We lift our eyes, strengthen our weak knees, and put our hands to the plow, and choose to not look back.”

Fearing and Hoping Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

Fearing and Hoping Aren’t Mutually Exclusive – “Things which normally, on a scale of 1 to 10, might register a 4 or 5, now feel like an 8 or 11—in a C-19 haunted world.”

Thoughts on My Anxiety

Thoughts on My Anxiety – “I have assembled a few thoughts on anxiety which I hope will at least help sufferers make sense of what they are experiencing. I also hope that those who do not struggle with anxiety chronically will gain a little insight into the lives of those who do.”

The Cult of Christian Trumpism

The Cult of Christian Trumpism – This is not about the election or the President. It is about a form of idolatry that is worth the read.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Responding to Ongoing Election Conflict

Responding to Ongoing Election Conflict: Three biblical steps to our “upward call”

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – “I’d encourage you to take some time this Christmas season to read through the verses of this hymn and reflect on the related Scriptures.”

Vaccines and the Christian Worldview: Principles for Christian Thinking in the Context of COVID

Vaccines and the Christian Worldview: Principles for Christian Thinking in the Context of COVID – “It is not wrong for Christians to take measures to avoid getting sick or coming down with the virus. It is not wrong to take the vaccine against COVID-19.”

Good To Be Near

Good To Be Near – “In general, we as human beings are drifters. Even the good things and people that God places us around need to be pursued with intentionality or we will drift away from them.” We drift from God is well but He is near to us.

A Visiting Dawn

A Visiting Dawn – “I’ve grown to love the spaces in between. I haven't always. And to be honest, I haven’t yet fully. Yet I love them more now than I once did.”

Fearless Even in Illness: Lessons for the Hospital

Fearless Even in Illness: Lessons for the Hospital – “God remains sovereign over all the needles and the pathology reports, the bad prognoses and the statistics. His love and faithfulness are everlasting, unchanging, and wholly independent of the conditions listed in our medical charts.”

Monday, December 14, 2020

Christmas: No Time To Invent New Twists on the Old Story

Christmas: No Time To Invent New Twists on the Old Story – “Just tell the story.”

Freedom from Our Navel-Gazing and “My-Nation” Preoccupation

Freedom from Our Navel-Gazing and “My-Nation” Preoccupation – “Isaiah’s vision of the “fullness” of Christmas boggles our minds and enlarges our hearts. It also free us from our “navel-gazing” proclivity, and our “my-nation” preoccupation—whatever passport we carry.”

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Ethical?

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Ethical? – Abortion, loving our neighbor, and the priority of biblical wisdom.

A Word of Hope for the Exhausted

A Word of Hope for the Exhausted – “When we are exhausted, God offers a simple cure: open your eyes. Gaze upon my beauty. See my power. Look to me for all you need.”

Shepherds Abiding in Their Field, Keeping Watch

Shepherds Abiding in Their Field, Keeping Watch – “I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Watts and Wesley: A Tale of Two Hymn Writers and the Christmas Carols that Remain with Us

Watts and Wesley: A Tale of Two Hymn Writers and the Christmas Carols that Remain with Us – “Watts and Wesley keenly understood that the average Christian believes the theology they sing.”

3 Ways to Stop Stressing So Much About Money

3 Ways to Stop Stressing So Much About Money – “Here are three ways you can begin pursuing Paul’s call and stop stressing so much about money—whether you’re the top one percent, the bottom or anywhere in between.”

God’s Clock Ticks Slowly

God’s Clock Ticks Slowly – “How long will this go on? How long do I have to wait? How long will this last? How long? How long? How long?” It’s a question that we all ask, isn’t it?

Black and White Are One: The Church as One New Race

Black and White Are One: The Church as One New Race – “Although loud, radical voices on the left and right are pulling our nation apart over the issue of race, the church has the most powerful message — the gospel.”

Explainer: What is Parler, and why does it matter?

Explainer: What is Parler, and why does it matter? – From the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention: “Here is what you should know about this social media application and why it matters in our public discourse.”

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The God of Heaven Became Human: What We Still and Will Believe

The God of Heaven Became Human: What We Still and Will Believe – “The servants of their Lord happily receive it, and gladly proclaim it, along with a host of other surprising truths an unbelieving world finds just as unpalatable.”

Even Though

Even Though – “Like David, God ordains the valleys so that we remember how much need His comfort in them.”

Look and Live: Christ as the True Bronze Serpent

Look and Live: Christ as the True Bronze Serpent – “Jesus presents himself as the true Bronze Serpent who must be lifted up and looked on for us to truly live. What exactly did Nicodemus learn in these moments? And what can we learn from this intimate encounter with the Lord of life?”

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Dear Friends, Take. THIS. To. Heart.

Dear Friends, Take. THIS. To. Heart. – “Our gratitude grows as we take your calling to heart; but our worship gets supersized as we ponder your humble birthing.”

A Short Biblical Theology of Sickness

A Short Biblical Theology of Sickness – “God has clearly spoken about sickness in the Bible so that we would be prepared for the inevitable.”

Revelation, Fabrication, And Making Things Up as You Go

Revelation, Fabrication, And Making Things Up as You Go – “Some things are revealed from Heaven.  That Holy Bible you own is pretty much the entire category. There are no other books like this one.”

New Study: Frequent Churchgoers Have Better Mental Health

New Study: Frequent Churchgoers Have Better Mental Health – “The only demographic subgroup who didn’t report a decline [in mental health] were those who attend religious services weekly. That group showed an increase of 4 percent compared to 2019.”

Friday, December 11, 2020

What God Gave at Christmas

What God Gave at Christmas – “No one will vote him out and no one will overthrow him. He’s secure. And if you’re in Christ, you are as secure as he is. How’s that for a Christmas present?”

Core Convictions about Prayer

Core Convictions about Prayer – Here are some good reminders.

3 Dangers of a Successful Vaccine

3 Dangers of a Successful Vaccine – “The Bible warns of three dangers that might accompany a successful vaccine—and therefore three spiritual warnings.”

When Homosexuality Comes Home: Three Lessons for Engaging Loved Ones

When Homosexuality Comes Home: Three Lessons for Engaging Loved Ones – “When the cultural conversation becomes personal, bringing discussions to the dinner table that once seemed unthinkable, what does faithfulness to our Lord require?” 

The Surprising Ministry of Encouragement

The Surprising Ministry of Encouragement – “Encouragement is what the gospel feels like as it moves from one believer to another. The ministry of encouragement, therefore, isn’t optional or just for people with a knack for it.”

The Book of Revelation Comes with an Answer Key

The Book of Revelation Comes with an Answer Key – “Revelation is not given to us primarily to predict what will happen at some indeterminately future date. It might do that too, but its chief purpose is more practical.”

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Finding New Life in Your Anxiety

Finding New Life in Your Anxiety “I’ve been reminded of how anxiety, which I’ve long dealt with, can actually be a path to finding new life. Here, my aim is to explain how and offer an example.”

The Universe Was No Accident: What We Still and Will Believe

The Universe Was No Accident: What We Still and Will Believe – “It can be intimidating to confess God as Creator in the face of a worldview that has an arsenal of purported scientific assertions and objections to our creed.”

Who Are the 7 Spirits in Revelation?

Who Are the 7 Spirits in Revelation? – There are a variety of views on this. I believe (along with this author) that it is a reference to the Holy Spirit.

Christ as Hero, Santa as Helper: How to Keep Christ the Center of Christmas

Christ as Hero, Santa as Helper: How to Keep Christ the Center of Christmas – How do we teach our kids the true meaning of Christmas without getting distracted by Santa?

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Advent: A Hopeful Story

Advent: A Hopeful Story – “The Advent season is a hopeful story, and Isaiah 59 is a brilliant Old Testament exposition of Christmas hope. This passage exposes our need for hope and supplies the source of hope with the prophecy of Christ’s birth.”

An Empty Chair at Christmas

An Empty Chair at Christmas – “Into this blackness, the true light broke when God became a man. ‘Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.’”

5 Myths about Spiritual Gifts

5 Myths about Spiritual Gifts – There is often confusion regarding spiritual gifts. Here are some good reminders.

Obscurity

Obscurity – “There was a flurry of excitement in the beginning. Dreams and angelic visitation; a strange new star; foreigners bearing gifts. Then slaughter, a desperate escape and exile. And finally, returning to settle into an average place in a poor village.”

Fight Sin Like a Victor, Not a Victim

Fight Sin Like a Victor, Not a Victim – “Fight your sin like a victor — not a victim.”

Thomas Jefferson Tried to ‘Fix’ the Bible. He Only Succeeded in Making It Sad.

Thomas Jefferson Tried to ‘Fix’ the Bible. He Only Succeeded in Making It Sad. The third president’s attempts to revise Scripture offer a warning about our own tendency to “edit” the truth.

He Is Coming

He Is Coming – “Advent is not merely a reflection of events that happened 2000 years ago. Advent is also an expectantly hopeful season of longing for the second coming of Christ.”

How Do We Deal With The End Of The World?

How Do We Deal With The End Of The World? – “If you believe he's coming back tomorrow, oh, then live like he is coming back today.”

Better Than Being Happy

Better Than Being Happy – “We don’t need a different story, less suffering, or more guarantees to have your joy in the core of our hearts. COVID doesn’t have to be gone; spouses and kids don’t have ‘rise up and call us awesome’; our government doesn’t have to be stable.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

No Word from God Is Fail-able

No Word from God Is Fail-able“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel… “No word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled. Luke 1:34–38 (NIV)

The Surprising Ministry of Encouragement

The Surprising Ministry of Encouragement – “Encouragement is what the gospel feels like as it moves from one believer to another.”

When Change Overwhelms You

When Change Overwhelms You – “Circumstances and responsibilities compound, becoming too much for us, and we wonder what to do with it all.”

Why Doesn’t God Make His Existence More Obvious?

Why Doesn’t God Make His Existence More Obvious? – “What if God did personally appear to each individual and state, ‘I exist!’ There is no reason to believe that this wouldn’t be explained away in similar ways to the miraculous signs of Jesus.”

Repentance vs. Regret

Repentance vs. Regret – “How do I know if I’m experiencing true repentance over my sin or if I just regret the consequences?”

When You Feel Like Pitching Christmas

When You Feel Like Pitching Christmas – “So much has been lost in this time of COVID, and I don’t want to lose my usual Christmas, too.  This is not the December I want, and I feel like swinging this holiday season along with the rest of 2020 over my head and pitching it across the room. Mary and Joseph would understand how you and I feel.”

He Thinks the World is Round!

He Thinks the World is Round! “The path toward truth often begins with a terrifying realization that our tribe has been woefully wrong about many, many things.” This was a fantastic illustration of our worldviews.

Christmas Wondering

Christmas Wondering – “I wonder how people can admire the Lord Jesus and sing the carols and celebrate His birth without wanting to know Him personally and inviting Him into their hearts and lives.”

Monday, December 7, 2020

The Miracle-Worker was a Miracle Himself

The Miracle-Worker was a Miracle Himself – “It is not Jesus’ humanity that is typically objected to by those opposing the claims of Christian theology. It is not his birth to a young woman named Mary that so many reject. No, instead it is Jesus’ divinity that sparks controversy.”

The Prayer Life That Matters Most. (It Isn’t Yours.) – Prayer is vitally important in the life of a believer, but this is an encouraging reminder about pray

The Prayer Life That Matters Most. (It Isn’t Yours.) – Prayer is vitally important in the life of a believer, but this is an encouraging reminder about prayer.

Christmas in a Minor Key

Christmas in a Minor Key – “Since our society so regularly confuses Christmas with the superficial, it is no wonder many people decide to opt-out when life is hard, but this misses the point of Christmas altogether.”

3 Ways to Participate in Missions (Without Leaving Town)

3 Ways to Participate in Missions (Without Leaving Town) – “We will worship in the near presence of Christ, hand-in-hand with everyone who gave and prayed and worked for the spread of the gospel.”

Did the Incarnation Change God? Pondering the Great Mystery of Christmas

Did the Incarnation Change God? Pondering the Great Mystery of Christmas – “The pairing and compatibility of immutability and the incarnation provide Christians with a more solid joy than anything this world has to offer.”

Now, take Christmas. That’s certainly not how I would have done it.

Now, take Christmas. That’s certainly not how I would have done it. – In Isaiah 55, God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.  For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Favor-Craving Satisfaction

Favor-Craving Satisfaction – “Through Jesus’ finished work, we now live in your full, permanent, unwavering favor. The rest of Advent/Christmas 2020, make this more real to us than anything else.”

The Ongoing, Ever-living Christmas

The Ongoing, Ever-living Christmas – The Christmas story is not just a “long ago” story. It’s for today.

Keep Your Life Free

Keep Your Life Free – “The reason why we are so easily drawn to an unhealthy, idolatrous love of money is that we believe it provides security against poverty, and the realization of the dreams we’ve always desired.”

Bill C-6: What the Criminal Ban on “Conversion Therapy” Means for Churches in Canada

Bill C-6: What the Criminal Ban on “Conversion Therapy” Means for Churches in Canada – the United States has run a couple of years behind Canada in such legislative moves in the past.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

In His Presence

In His Presence – “Do you long for things to be different in the new year? Do you need to stop seeking your longing to be satisfied by people, places, and particulars that have no power or ability to do it? David the Psalmist shows us the possibilities that await.”

Precious Words from a Dying Apostle: Lessons for 2020 from 2 Timothy

Precious Words from a Dying Apostle: Lessons for 2020 from 2 Timothy – “Brothers and sisters in Christ, we share in common the unrivaled, single most important reality in all the universe.”

Making Space for a Multicultural Christmas

Making Space for a Multicultural Christmas – “How can each of us celebrate Christmas at the intersection of our faith and our culture, while welcoming differing cultural perspectives on Christ’s birth?”

Saturday, December 5, 2020

The Unexpected Christmas

The Unexpected Christmas – “Nothing about the Christian faith is as we might have expected. Get into the business of a virgin birth, a sinless life, a vicarious death, and a resurrection, and have it happen to a Jew in First Century Roman-dominated Judea, and all bets are off.”

This Pandemic Can Help Us to Identify With the World’s Poor

This Pandemic Can Help Us to Identify With the World’s Poor – “The effects of this pandemic haven’t changed much about regular life for the poor in developing countries. What feels shocking and abnormal to us is simply the way they have always lived.”

The Gentle Tug of Spiritual Disciplines

The Gentle Tug of Spiritual Disciplines – “Your spiritual disciplines will not usually yell at you, but when you neglect them, there are reminders. Learn to tune your heart and mind to the gentle tug of spiritual disciplines.”

The Forgotten Giver of Christmas

The Forgotten Giver of Christmas – “Advent reminds us that we have a Savior, a Redeemer, a Brother and King, but also that we have an almighty Father of infinite wisdom and relentless love, a Father who authored that first Christmas and every one since.”

Becoming Courageous

Becoming Courageous – “You don’t have to be frightened or dismayed because the God who goes before you upholds you in times of faithfulness and faithlessness.”

Perverse Freedom

Perverse Freedom – “The idolatry of absolute autonomy leads to the violent sacrifice of the weak.”

The FAQs: What You Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

The FAQs: What You Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccines – “By having a basic understanding of the process of vaccinations, we can be better prepared to lead our families, churches, and communities in ending this pandemic.”

Friday, December 4, 2020

The Greatest Promise in the Bible

The Greatest Promise in the Bible – “We come now to what is perhaps the greatest promise in the entire Bible. And it is great because it includes all of the other promises in itself.”

How Much Joy Can You Stand?

How Much Joy Can You Stand? – “Our tears and pain have an expiration date; but our joy and delight are just waiting to exponentially surge.”

Why We Should Teach Messianic Prophecies to Teenagers

Why We Should Teach Messianic Prophecies to Teenagers – “Here are four reasons messianic prophecies provide an excellent teaching and discipling tool for teenagers, especially in light of the goal of integration in their spiritual formation.”

The Biggest Threat Faced by the Church

The Biggest Threat Faced by the Church – “In short, the biggest danger the church faces is sin. The biggest danger the church faces comes from the hearts of those within the church.”

Jacob’s-Ladder Christianity vs. Babel-Tower Christianity

Jacob’s-Ladder Christianity vs. Babel-Tower Christianity – “What he has discovered is not so much that God is in that particular place as much as that God is where Jacob is. God is with Jacob and will be with him wherever he goes.”

Atheism’s Empty Soul

Atheism’s Empty Soul – “Atheists don’t have a livable worldview. I don’t say that to gloat. Several atheists who have been candid with me have told me life is ultimately empty and devoid of meaning. That doesn’t mean they can’t feel happy, follow a set of morals, or believe their life is significant in some way. But their denial of God has serious repercussions.”

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Anchor of the Unchangeable

The Anchor of the Unchangeable “The same Jesus who calmed the winds and the waves with a word is the same Jesus who today can calm our troubled hearts with a word (Luke 8:24).”