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Month: July 2017

Repetitive tasks

The Glory of Repetitive Tasks

“Do you think we’ll wash dishes in heaven?” My feet ached from standing, and I winced as I dipped my already-dry hands into the dishwater. The plastic containers had gathered by the sink, and as I worked my way through the pile, I looked for hope as I asked my […]

Where Should the Poor Fall on Your “To-Do” List?

I don’t know about your “Christian to-do list,” but mine’s getting long. I’m supposed to pray and read my Bible and be in a small group and serve and be a well-informed voter and protest abortion and lead family devotions and understand culture and read the latest Christian books and […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (July 27, 2017)

The Danger of Drifting Away (John Piper, Precept Ministries) One mark of Christian authenticity is discontentment with anything less than “all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). Coasting is not discipleship. Drifting in self-contentment is not like basking in the pool of security, but like floating, fast asleep, toward the falls. […]

Brett McCracken

“Readers and Writers” Episode 6 with Paul David Tripp

If all our children needed was a set of rules…Jesus would’ve never had to come. (Paul David Tripp) Unlocking the Bible continues to release weekly episodes of Readers and Writers with Colin Smith, a podcast recorded live at The Gospel Coalition’s 2017 National Conference. Our next guest is Paul David Tripp, […]

funeral

Why Every Person Should Attend a Funeral Once a Year

Every person should attend a funeral at least once a year. Going to a wedding reminds you that the marriage bond is sacred. Going to a funeral reminds you that life is a vapor, that one day yours will be gone. When it is announced in church that someone has died, […]

Prayer

Five Keys for Making Prayer a Habit

Prayer is hard work. It’s not something that comes naturally. We go about our days, engaged in the home or workplace, distracted by good things that would keep us from prayer if we let them. Our hearts are prone to wander from God in self-reliance toward temporary pleasures, rather than […]

fight Comparison

Seven Habits to Help You Fight Comparison

“If only” are two of the deadliest words in a Christian’s vocabulary. If only I looked like her. If only I had as much money as him. If only my kids were as well-behaved as theirs. If only I could speak, work, cook, travel, think, do, be like someone else. […]

Trust God

In Your Trials, Trust God

A cancer diagnosis took me completely by surprise 12 years ago. I was perfectly healthy and had no risk factors. I was processing my questions with a mature Christian friend when she said, “It’s almost a complement, don’t you think?” She was saying that God had allowed this trial and that he knew I would be […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (July 20, 2017)

Selfless or Self-Centered? What Kind of Servant Are You? (Kale Uzzle, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) If you scan through the Bible’s vast array of stories, proverbs, and instructions regarding servanthood, there are three questions that distinguish the real thing from a false co-opting of servanthood. Praying Together as Mentoring and Discipleship […]

Brett McCracken

“Readers and Writers” Episode 5 with Trevin Wax

The Scriptures do more than simply inform us. They form us….We won’t be faithful in the world we live in unless we are truly soaked, drenched in the story line of Scripture. (Trevin Wax) Unlocking the Bible continues to release weekly episodes of Readers and Writers with Colin Smith, a podcast […]

local church

Why At-Home Moms Need the Local Church

A few months ago I met a woman who was new to my city. We met at a popular play place for our kids and talked about the transition to a new town. While I moved here before I had kids, I know what it’s like to be newer to […]

The Gospel Is More Powerful Than You Think

A while back, I was sitting in a weekend class when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the news about the bombings and shootings in Paris. During our dinner break, I sat down at a McDonalds and watched CNN as they reported on the ongoing hostage crises in […]

wrongfully blamed

15 Prayers for the Wrongfully Blamed

Have you been wrongfully blamed? Or have you been misunderstood for your intentions? Pray with me: 1. You see me. God, thank you for seeing me. I know that you are always right, true, and just. You see me, and you see when my heart is loving you through what […]

Christian leader

When a Christian Leader Fails You

Leaders in the church aren’t exempt from sin. No one is. We don’t expect perfect people to lead our congregations, create our resources, and speak into our culture. But we do expect them to uphold the Bible’s authority. We do want them to remain faithful to Christ. So what are […]

faith is shaken

When Your Faith Is Shaken

What makes you question your faith? A crisis, chronic condition, daily drudgery, or something else? If you experience a season when your faith is shaken, you’re not alone. At least three Bible heroes faced a crisis of faith. In each case, Christ intervened and transformed dark moments of questioning, cynicism, […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (July 13, 2017)

Evaluating Our Expectations: The American Dream vs. a Christian’s Hope (Melissa Kruger, Wit’s End) The American Dream might best be summed up as the possibility for a life of freedom, personal happiness, material comfort, and lasting fulfillment (all nicely enclosed in a white picket fence)… In contrast to our typical image […]

Brett McCracken

“Readers and Writers” Episode 4 with Nancy Guthrie

To shine a spotlight on them and esteem their loss is a great source of comfort to someone [who is grieving]. (Nancy Guthrie) Unlocking the Bible continues to release weekly episodes of Readers and Writers with Colin Smith, a podcast recorded live at The Gospel Coalition’s 2017 National Conference. Our next […]

defense against sin

Don’t Follow Your Heart

Video Notes: Our culture is constantly encouraging us to “live in the moment.” If that means to be fully present and engaged in whatever you are doing, rather than being distracted, this is a good thing. But I have noticed this phrase being often used by people who are clearly […]

jewish ministry

Four Guidelines for Jewish Ministry

My parents have been involved in Jewish Ministry for over 40 years, and I‘ve been asked many times how someone can approach a Jewish friend about their faith. Sharing the gospel with people is always difficult, but the issue seems compounded when we engage in ministry to Jewish people. One […]

apply Scripture

15 Questions to Apply Scripture to Your Life

A good question in Bible study helps uncover riches in the text that we may not see. This is true for observation, interpretation, and application stages of Bible study. The following questions¹ will help you apply a passage of Scripture to your life and rely on God for transformation. It may […]

gods love for the poor

Four Truths About God’s Love for the Poor

From time to time, we open our corporate prayer meetings by asking people to praise God for a specific attribute. There are some regulars: God’s power, love, kindness, help, strength, and grace regularly make the list. But as far as I can remember, there’s one attribute that has never come […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (July 6, 2017)

Confessing Our Sins Together (Ryan Griffith, Desiring God) For Christians, confession of sin, ultimately, is application of the gospel. Authentic confession of sin is a mingling of humble contrition before God, faith-filled appropriation of the grace of reconciliation, and heartfelt gratitude for the satisfaction that has been accomplished in the cross […]

Brett McCracken

“Readers and Writers” Episode 3 with Cameron Cole

One of the primary failures of youth ministry is that the gospel is reduced to justification. (Cameron Cole) Unlocking the Bible continues to release weekly episodes of Readers and Writers with Colin Smith, a podcast recorded live at The Gospel Coalition’s 2017 National Conference. Our third guest is Cameron Cole, who […]

God gives more grace

God Gives More Grace to Proud People

It was a day full of “feedback.” A lady approached me after the worship service and commented on my children’s behavior during the sermon. This was after a fellow teacher had disagreed with my plan to teach a weighty subject in Sunday School. I wanted to find a hole and […]

loving

Loving the Church When It’s Hard

“I just don’t want to go back. I didn’t feel welcomed there, and I probably won’t feel welcomed again.” I read my friend’s message after I had invited her to our church, and my heart hurt for her. This wasn’t the first time I had heard these words. Many conversations […]

how to start reading your Bible

How to Start Reading Your Bible

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) There used to be long periods when I would never open my Bible outside […]