It has become increasingly popular in recent years for teachers of the Bible (myself included) to disparage people who apply Jeremiah 29:11-13 to their lives. “You’re not paying attention to the context!” they loudly protest (…as I have). This post will explore whether such disparagement is appropriate, and conclude that often it is not. I … Continue reading Jeremiah 29:11-13: “For I know the plans I have for you…” Do these verses apply to us…or not?
After an extended time of prayer in the mountains last year, I left with one perspective that has proven extremely helpful to me. Here is that perspective: God has apportioned to each of us who are part of his kingdom not only specific ministries to build up the church and extend God’s kingdom work in … Continue reading How Wide is the Sphere of Ministry God has Given You?
What attitudes should Christians display when compelled by conscience to disobey the government? Before addressing that question, let’s review one thing. Christians normally should not disobey the government. Quite the opposite is the case. In most situations, Christians should obey the government even when governmental directives appear unreasonable or overreaching. There is one broad biblical … Continue reading Christian Virtues for Civil Disobedience
I grew up in a church setting that was really into “higher life” teaching. This teaching goes by many different names, including “victorious Christian living,” “the exchanged life,” and “the crucified life.” A particular stream of higher life teaching that continues to be influential is known as the Keswick Movement (pronounce KES-ik), named after an … Continue reading “Let Go and Let God”?
This morning I talked with someone who was describing some items on their bucket list. A “bucket list,” if you don’t know the term, is “a list of things a person wants to achieve or experience, as before reaching a certain age or dying,” according to Dictionary.com. Such lists routinely include fun activities to do … Continue reading A Different Kind of Bucket List
Are you a people pleaser? Do you do things for others so they will like you, thank you, or just not get upset at you? The Urban Dictionary facetiously remarks that when people-pleasers die, it isn’t their own lives that flash before their eyes; they see the life of someone else flash before their eyes! … Continue reading Are You a People Pleaser?
In the early 1950’s in Communist Russia, three charismatic pastors came up with a risky idea they thought might be worth doing despite the risk. Nik Ripken, in his outstanding book about persecution, The Insanity of God, explains that: “…they planned and organized a youth congress in Moscow and invited all of the young, unmarried … Continue reading Persecution and Scripture Memorization
Have you ever been present when God’s manifest presence breaks into a prayer time, a sermon, a worship service, or a Bible study? This happened quite unexpectedly one morning during a summer class I was teaching—yes, in a college classroom. I was discussing Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-8). What was it, anyway? … Continue reading Strength in Weakness: When God Showed Up in my Classroom
Paul boldly and famously asserts: “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor. 5:14). But what does he mean by “the love of Christ”? If you’re willing to put up with a bit of Greek-grammar jargon, check out this golden nugget in a paragraph from Maximilian Zerwick’s grammar of New Testament Greek. Zerwick writes: …the … Continue reading The Love of Christ Controls Us: But What is “The Love of Christ”?
Have you ever experienced pain from someone you deeply love? I have. Few things in life are harder. The hurt penetrates even deeper when the person who has spurned you also turns his back on the Lord. Following is a list I drew up in my journal some time ago during a period when I … Continue reading It Must Have Been So Painful