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.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Bible-Reading: Works or Grace?

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

Is Bible-reading work?

Notice the question is not "Does Bible-reading work?" That is a different question altogether. "Is Bible-reading work?" could be answered in a couple of different ways.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Delivering the News


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

I check my mailbox every day--always have. I know some people go days without checking their mail, but I can't do that. I find it rewarding and enjoyable to pick something up from the mailbox that has a measure of value and immediate reward. An empty mailbox tends to generate an audible "ugh" as I stare into the hollow metal.

On the days I've been told that something will arrive, there's hardly anyone else I'd rather see than our mail carrier. She becomes a friend for the day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Praising God Wherever You Are

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

"How'd we get here?" the finch asked the warbler.

"I haven't the foggiest," the warbler said, looking down from his branch in the unfamiliar tree. "But while we're here, we may as well sing."

In this life, we sometimes end up in surprising places. Our circumstances will occasionally be totally unlike anything we intended, leaving us perplexed, upset, or even despairing. If someone were to ask us to explain just how we landed in our current difficult situation, we would surely misremember or totally forget a variety of details about our journey--especially some of our own sins and faults that have contributed to the hardship.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Time Is Love


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

Our usage of time reflects our priorities. The person who spends hours checking out of reality via apps on his smartphone prioritizes self-indulging entertainment. The person whose calendar is full of her child's activities prioritizes her child's socialization. The person who can't seem to get away from his office prioritizes money, worldly approval, personal success, or all of the above.

What does it say when a person's schedule is consumed by fellowship with members of his local church? It's unlikely this could mean anything negative. Certainly there are "hidden reefs" in the church (Jude 12), but aside from that, the person who spends much time with God's people is one who cares about what God cares about.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Free Resource to Reach Latter-day Saints

I recently published a new gospel tract designed to reach Latter-day Saints (Mormons) with the message that we cannot exalt ourselves. The same righteousness that is obtained by faith for salvation is effective to comprehensively exalt the believer. The title of the tract is, "Will You Be Exalted?" and the fulness of the content is found below.

You can download the PDF and print/cut/staple the booklets yourself. Just make sure to print two-sided--you'll see how it works. May God bless your efforts to reach people with the good news!

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Inexhaustible Word


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

How strange is it that the Christian spends his life reading the same book over and over? The books we own are largely one-and-done experiences (if you ever even make it to "one," that is), but this isn't the case with the Bible. We continue to read it, study it, meditate upon it, and share it with others as though we'll never finish it -- even when we have read it through many times.

God's revelation possesses the amazing quality of inexhaustibility. It's simply impossible for any of us to comprehensively glean everything from the Bible. There are experts on Shakespeare, who essentially know everything there is to know about the man and his work. The same goes for Homer, Twain, and Dr. Seuss. But that kind of expert will never exist with Scripture. The kind of mastery that may exist over a fellow creature's corpus could never exist over the Creator's corpus.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Unlocking Heaven


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

If you've ever been locked out of a place you were desperately needing to get into (especially if it was urgent), you know how frustrating it can be not to have the key to get in. Many of the doors in our lives have but one key each and we keep them in a special place, knowing that it's in our best interest not to lose them. When you're seeking to unlock that old shed, your everyday house key won't do. You need the key with the perfect fit.

Yet we know that locks can be picked. As our church's resident locksmith knows, where there's a will, there's a way. Especially considering today's use of electronic locks, it is possible to hack your way past any locked barrier if you have the right amount of knowledge and skill.

Not so with heaven.