Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Stopping to Pray

"We prioritize prayer in this life as we live for the next."

There's a resistance natural to our flesh that keeps us from stopping and praying when we should. Have you ever wondered why it seems so instinctive to cease to pray rather than to pray without ceasing?

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Embracing the Teaching

"We study the Bible because it is the whole counsel of God."

After He fed the five thousand, Jesus taught the people that He is the true bread of life and that people must eat His flesh and drink His blood to be truly satisfied. The account then reads, "As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore," (John 6:66).

Because of a difficult teaching, many of those who had joined the group of disciples ended up jumping ship. They were done walking with Jesus because His call was too extreme. He was stating that He desired more than mere public association; He taught that true disciples will fully embrace His Person and work. He told them that there is no life outside of embracing Him completely.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Thinking about Evangelistic Relationships


"We proclaim the gospel to the world so that they may be saved."

I remember the people who talked to me about the gospel before I became a Christian, and what those conversations were like. It's likely you remember those people and conversations from your own life, too.

My conversations were all over the place. I've always had a more doctrinally-oriented mind, so many of my questions had to do with the Christian worldview and what God has declared right and wrong. God's people were willing to explore those questions with me and seek answers when I needed them the most. But beyond conversations started by my questions, there were words spoken into my life totally initiated by the Christians.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Love in the Local Church

"We love each other and cherish the fellowship of God's people."

Love isn't a feeling.

Recently, Melissa and I were mocking a lady on television who was talking about knowing a certain man was "the one" because of feelings. That stuff makes for good cinema, but not for good living. If we were committed to those we should love only when we felt like it -- when circumstances were just right and when our hearts were going pitter-patter in just the right way -- we would not be practicing genuine love and we would be in disobedience to God's instruction for our lives.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Praying with Childlike Trust

"We prioritize prayer in this life as we live for the next."

Where you go in times of trouble reveals who and what you trust.

I remember when I was in my first car accident as a driver. I was sixteen (that didn't take long!), and I was at fault; I was alone, and I was scared. I took out the simple LCD screen Nokia bar phone we had at the time and I made one phone call. There was only one voice I wanted to hear in that moment: my mom's. She would know what to say and what to do. And she did. She was the trusted voice of assurance and instruction.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Following Wycliffe's Example


"We study the Bible because it is the whole counsel of God."

John Wycliffe lived during the 1300s and could be considered the original Reformer. He rejected some of the core teachings of the Roman Catholic Church from a perspective that appealed to the Bible alone as his authority. He believed that God's book in the hands of God's people was a goal of paramount importance. Writing for Tabletalk Magazine, Stephen Nichols has done a great job summarizing Wycliffe's life and influence:

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

So That They May Be Saved

"We proclaim the gospel to the world so that they may be saved."

If your neighbor ends up going to heaven, what will be the cause?

There are two ways to answer this: the easy way and the hard way. The easy answer is, "God must save him/her." This is certainly true and good. We know from the Bible that for anyone to be saved, God must cause him to be born again to a living hope. He must choose to do this out of His grace, bestowing love on a sinner so that he will be adopted into God's family, coming to know his Creator as his Father. Every saved person can explain his conversion experience by simply pointing to the good and sovereign God who has intervened to bring light and life out of darkness and death.

However, this isn't a full answer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A Touch of Heaven on Earth


"We love each other and cherish the fellowship of God's people."

What is true Christian fellowship? For some, memories of formal (perhaps dry and boring) Bible studies come to mind. For others, their minds are instantly filled with images of uncomfortable clothes and grumpy people. Many just think of fellowship as church services on Sunday mornings. But is this accurate?

In one sense, these scenes may indeed picture true fellowship. Time spent with God's people in a church building should be considered a Christian fellowship event, though this is not the case for all churches. In fact, there are some church buildings that don't have Christians in them at all. Yet, where two or three real believers are gathered, the Triune God attends the meeting also.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

His Glory and Our Good


"We live for God wherever we are, knowing He has put us there."

The Lord doesn't need our permission to act. You may have noticed that He doesn't ask for it, either.

God brings about whatever is, and He often does so through means of nature's laws (like gravity) and/or man's actions (like electing a President). There are times, of course, when the Lord acts supernaturally, bypassing what we deem to be ordinary, but, by definition, those times are extraordinary. They don't happen often. Rather, we see the day-in, day-out sovereign hand of God through the commonly experienced activities of life.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Prayer: Following Jesus' Example


"We prioritize prayer in this life as we live for the next."

It's an amazing verse: "He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed," (Luke 5:16, CSB).

Some may explain this reality of Jesus' life by considering the pressures He had to face as He possessed (and still possesses) true humanity. Consider the verse before that states He was being hounded by "large crowds" for counsel and healing. Moses's "morning 'til evening" judgments caused him to quickly wear thin (Exodus 18:13ff) -- but he was only dealing with fellow Israelites and did not have a ministry of healing. Jesus was constantly pestered by Jews and Gentiles alike, being expected to care for each one in the fulness of His power. No wonder He often withdrew to the desolate places to pray.