Maybe we assume that by studying Revelation they will need to come to some final conclusion about where they stand on this big, confusing thing called eschatology (the study of end times). And since many of us are just trying to make it to the end of the day with a somewhat clean house and half our to-do list checked, we figure we just don’t have time for that.Read More
Since we first moved in to our house on Sleepy Hollow 6 years ago we've been dreaming up ways to showcase the Gospel in our neighborhood. One way we do this is by handing out hundreds of king-sized candy bars on Halloween. Here's an update on what God has done through the years.Read More
Truth is always good. No matter how harsh it feels. Truth always liberates. No matter how restrictive it seems. And therefore, truth is always worth embracing, celebrating, and proclaiming. It is for this reason that I am delighted to sign the Nashville Statement and proclaim it with joy! Because it is always a good time for truth.Read More
Taking up our cross to follow Jesus is often a painful experience—but we desperately need it. The invitation to die—to take up our cross and lose our lives for Jesus—is truly an invitation to newness of life, to union with Christ, and to ultimate freedom from sin.Read More
Jesus is our Bread of Life, our Living Water, our Pearl of Great Price, our Light, our Resurrection, our very Life. The greatest danger to our souls is that we might abandon abiding in him, following him, and finding our joy in him. Therefore, the best gift a friend can give is a commitment to fight for our joy in and communion with Christ. Conversely, the worst distortion of friendship arises when a friend encourages us, consciously or unconsciously, to place our affections elsewhere.Read More
The things we covet and crave are often good things. But even so, to covet is to become enamored with something other than God. And craving God's gifts when you already have God Himself is preferring the gifts above the Giver.Read More
Though we have more access to the Bible than any generation before us, most Christians still have never read it all. The abundance of biblical access, on smartphones and bookshelves, generally hasn't resulted in an increased personal knowledge of the Word. And yet our generation speaks very authoritatively about God and the Bible.
Lack of knowledge plus authoritative opinions: This is a dangerous combination.Read More
Are you familiar with the story of Athaliah and Jehosheba? Here's why you should know about these two women from the book of 2 Kings.Read More
A new temptation often arises in the subtle shift from learner to teacher, one we often don't foresee. It creeps in as we begin to delight in our own expertise about God, rather than God Himself.Read More
An orphan comes into a world of sorrow before he is able to comprehend what he lost.But in the tragedy there is an invitation: Who will volunteer to make the orphan's grief their own? Who will step in to parent the parentless? And within our hearts we have found an unrelenting and determined answer: "Send us! We will go!"Read More
No Christian hopes to one day find themselves drifting from God. We don’t set goals to love other things most, to serve false gods, or to give in to temptation. But many of us, surprisingly, have found ourselves years into following Christ with an alarming companion: apathy.Read More
I prayed. I believed. I trusted. I hoped. And in the end, I was disappointed. This December, like many before it, God's response to my prayers is no. No, your son will not be home by Christmas. No, that baby in your womb will not live. No, that marriage will not survive. Dashed hopes and unfulfilled longings are familiar companions to my holiday celebrations. I know I am not alone. For many, this month will be as full of heartache as it is of joy. Deferred hope feels like coal under the tree, a confirmation that God has passed over you to shower His blessings on someone else this Christmas. But disappointment in December may actually be due to God's kindness.Read More
Are we giving food too much glory? The Bible gives us the overarching concept that food is a symbol of a greater reality. Our need for daily sustenance, all the delightful flavors, the satisfaction of a full stomach after hunger are all pointing to Jesus, our Bread of Life, our Living Water, our New Wine, our fullness of joy and complete satisfaction.
There are two ways we can elevate the symbol above the Substance: celebrating the pleasure of food above Christ or celebrating the power of food above Christ. The former sees food as the ultimate satisfier and the latter sees food as the ultimate healer.Read More
As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" John 9:1-2 Suffering produces an insatiable desire to blame. Surely there must be some reason why this poor man must suffer all his life without sight. We hunger and thirst for some impetus for it all.
Why are we so bent on finding fault? Partly because we hope to prevent future suffering by finding the cause. Just like you may avoid spicy food if it once gave you heartburn. Partly because if the sufferer is to blame, we can accept the hardship as a legitimate recompense to sin: "She deserved that," or "I had it coming." If someone else is to blame, we at least have someone to take our anger out on.
So how does Jesus answer the disciples inquiry about the cause of the blind man's life of suffering?
Jesus doesn't tell us of a world of needless suffering. There is a reason, but it is one that we have had no category for at all: suffering for the sake of the glory of God.Read More
Grief is the recognition that something has been lost forever. It forces us into an awareness that we have no control to change or fix the situation. What is gone is gone and can never be regained, at least not fully. Grief is an emotion we don't gladle welcome. We keep it at arms length pretending it will go away if we wait long enough. And sometimes it does, but are we really better off for avoiding it?Read More
To choose a knowledge of food over a knowledge of the Word of God is a catastrophic mistake. It is tempting in a world full of the threat of cancer and new diseases or ailments to look to right eating choices to sustain us, but the Bible is very clear that is not the answer. God alone gives and sustains life. Knowing and obeying His word is far better for our health than the most researched, healthy and natural diet plan.Read More
Whole Foods, a high end grocery store, printed this on their brown paper bags: "Buy Goods, Not Bads." A follow up design stated: "Feed your better nature." Whole Foods isn't the first company to jump on the concept of food morality, of good and bad foods. Plenty of people are seeking to eradicate the bad foods and produce more of the good. Here's the question: is the food bad or are we bad? Does bad food corrupt our bodies, or has our sin corrupt the food?Read More
How can you know if you are using the Bible to avoid Jesus? When it becomes a self-help manual instead of a platform to showcase your Redeemer. When the Bible produces to-do lists and not worship. When your Bible reading is devoid of prayer. Proper Bible reading first exposes sin, then offers a Savior. The Bible is a witness to the need for a Savior and the presentation of Jesus as that Savior.Read More
Faith is not a warm and fuzzy feeling. Rather it is a willful choice to believe in the reliability of God even when that belief is lacking in physical evidence. It's easy to believe the promise that God works things for my good when good things have come to fruition; it's easy to believe that God is near when He feels near. But when my feelings and experiences tell a different story than the Word of God, faith isn't so fun anymore.
The test of faith comes when my feelings veer off to the left and God's Word goes to the right. Here I must make a willful choice to place my faith in what I deem most reliable—my feelings or God's Word.Read More
When I consider the last decade of my life, I see a series of deaths: Death of my pride through living in the shadow of my husband's giftedness. Death of my fear of conflict through divorces in my family and among friends. Death of my fear of confrontation through difficult friendships. Death of my desires through multiple miscarriages. Death of my fear of failure through situations where I could not win. Death of my hope in myself through seeing my exposed sin in high-definition focus.
Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, "Does it have to be this way? Can't I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?"
In God's kingdom, pruning is caring. Jesus is the true vine, His Father the vinedresser. Every branch in Jesus that bears fruit, the Father prunes that it may bear more fruit (John 15:1–2).
God's answer to my question is yes. Yes, it does need to die. It must be pruned. Without pruning, my life will become something even I don't want—an overgrown, thorny bush with no fruit to offer.Read More