Two days before Christmas last year I was sitting in church when the worship leader invited us to ponder a question: “What is it that you need to release to the Lord during this Christmas time?” He gave us a few moments of quiet to prayerfully contemplate a response. It wasn’t long before I knew … Continue reading Christmas Presence
“The key to missions is contextualization.” “The key to growing the American church is relevance.” If we could put the Christian message in just the right form, and set up our churches to be places where visitors felt comfortable, a lot more people would come to Christ. Right? No, I’m afraid that’s not right. But … Continue reading Is Contextualization the Key to Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth?
I love the fact that in the United States we as a nation set aside one day a year simply for giving thanks to God for his good gifts. At some of our tables, we will take a few minutes before we eat to mention the things that we are thankful for: a new job, … Continue reading A Twist on Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thanks
Last night we encountered some misunderstanding surrounding the word “conservative” during an open discussion after a community meal at The Birdhouse (the mentoring community Trudi and I lead for college students). One of the students commented that I was the first “conservative” she had ever met who was not a cessationist. (Cessationism is the view … Continue reading What Do Christians Mean When They Use the Word “Conservative”?
When my wife, Trudi, was a college student, a Christian friend invited her to visit a church on the other side of town to hear a well-known preacher. Since Trudi had been raised in churches that were rather tame when it came to overtly miraculous activities, she was surprised to discover an announcement in the … Continue reading Can Any Christian Learn How to Do Miracles?
Most of us are amazingly good at making excuses, especially when we do something wrong. I know I am. The other day I was reading my Bible, when I came across one of the most boneheaded excuses I have ever encountered (#1 below). It made me think of how many lame excuses show up in … Continue reading The 10 Lamest Excuses in the Bible
In his classic book on sanctification, Holiness (1877), J. C. Ryle, an evangelical Anglican bishop, penned a profound paragraph on the importance of Christ being both divine and human. It is rare to encounter such devotionally-rich reflections in modern Christian literature, so I offer it to you for your meditation today.
Here is one argument in support of more-literal Bible translations: looser translations have a tendency to soften difficult sayings in the Bible. I am not suggesting anything subversive here; simply that one of the natural pitfalls of trying to translate the Bible more dynamically is a tendency to soften hard sayings. A convenient way to … Continue reading An Argument for More Literal Bible Translations
And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and … Continue reading If Your Phone Causes You to Sin, Cut it Off
Here’s a bit of history that can help you understand something important about Paul's Letter to the Romans. The earliest house churches in Rome would have been primarily Jewish and would have culturally felt Jewish, but in A.D. 49 the Roman Emperor Claudius kicked the Jews out of Rome. Jewish Christians, of course, would have … Continue reading Something About the Book of Romans that will Help You Read it Better