Month: August 2017

waiting on God

What to Do While You’re Waiting on God

My five-year-old granddaughter asked me how long it would be before her family moved into their new house. Since six weeks is hard for a five-year-old to grasp, I took her to a wall calendar and showed her how long until moving day. Now, each day, as she marks off calendar […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (August 30, 2017)

From the Flooded Grounds of Houston (J. A. Medders, The Gospel Coalition) When I hear more rain on my back patio, my heart aches. Our city is sinking. I shake my head in disbelief as rain and sirens blare around us. As I tell my kids to wear their helmets during […]

Fear Man

The Fear of Man Will Crush You

Earlier this year, my right thumb started hurting. I can’t remember any fall or trauma that caused the problem, but I winced every time I had to grip or press with my thumb. Shaking hands became especially painful. One evening, I was hosting an honor society induction at my college. […]


When God Asks Hard Things of You

On Saturday morning in the quiet of our family room, I flipped to a familiar story in the Bible. With coffee in hand, I opened Hosea. Rather, Hosea opened me. Hosea’s Difficult Story When God spoke to Hosea, what he said was unimaginable: “Go, take to yourself a wife of […]


Bible Q&A: Did Jesus Fall into Temptation?

Question: How can you say Jesus wasn’t drawn to sin? Hebrew 2:18 says, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Answer: We’ve received a number of questions about this. One reason for this is that we can only draw upon our own experience […]

kill sin

20 Practical Ways To Kill Sin Every Day

Sin perplexes us. We love it, and we hate it. We embrace it, and we war against it. We act on it, yet we don’t always understand why. Sin is alluring and confusing, pleasurable and destructive. The redeemed heart has been set free from sin’s power, yet still wars with […]


When Your Opportunities and Influence Fade

I recently spoke with a man who was the chairman of our church 15 years ago. For two years, he was the man to whom I was accountable. At the time, he had his own business and with it, a wide sphere of influence. Today, his world is smaller. His […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (August 23, 2017)

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You and What We Can Do About It (David C. Smith, The Village Church) No plan for smartphone use alone will make us worship and desire God over the things of this world. Through prayer, thoughtful reflection and communal accountability, with the help of the Holy […]


Put Jealousy to Death

It’s in the tightening of your chest, the bile in your throat, and the knot in your stomach. It flashes in lightning fast, infecting whatever happiness or hope you feel. Every child knows it. Every adult knows it. It’s that fierce, familiar green monster – Jealousy. We envy someone else: […]

psalm 119

Are You Teachable? 10 Questions From Psalm 119

School is starting soon. Students are preparing to hit the books again. Some will study to earn a diploma, but no disciple of Jesus Christ graduates from the school of Christian growth. We are all called to learn from Jesus, so now is a good time to ask ourselves: Am […]


Texting and Driving Is Not Loving Your Neighbor

Ping! A new text arrives as you drive home from work. You quickly glance down at your phone and shoot off a response before you forget, and BOOM! You slam into a car stopped at the red light in front of you for an easy-to-avoid fender bender. This type of thing happens every […]

Brett McCracken

“Readers and Writers” Episode 9 with Brett McCracken

I see a pattern of gradual disengagement from the local church that eventually transitions to disengagement from faith altogether. It’s a natural progression. (Brett McCracken) 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. […]


Are You Lukewarm?

As a young boy and an adolescent, the word lukewarm haunted me after I first came across it in Scripture. I wondered if my words, actions, and thoughts were betraying and squelching my faith. I lusted after girls at school and church; I cursed my mom under my breath for […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (August 16, 2017)

You Can’t Love Missions Without Loving the Local Church (Caleb Greggsen, 9Marks) First, there’s a dreadful tendency for both “stayers” and “goers” (at least the young ones) to question motives of the other “side.” Second, missionary zeal and love for the local church should not be competing affections in our heart. […]


The Two Types of Rest You Need

She balanced spinning plates on the sticks in her hands, on her forehead, and in her mouth. The petite Chinese performer twisted her body like a rubber band, magically keeping everything in place. We watched with anticipation as the plates whirled—if one of them slowed down, even for an instant, […]

Social Media

Three Searching Questions to Ask Yourself About Social Media

From political arguments with family and friends, time-sucking Facebook snooping, unhealthy comparisons, and TMI moments, most of us have witnessed the ugly side of social media. But what are the driving forces behind what we share, write, and comment on, and why do we feel the urge to compulsively check […]


Three Antidotes to Fear

“Fear is a liar,” my friend says to me with some regularity. And she’s right. Fear cleverly disguises itself as wisdom or maturity, even logic. Often as we try to problem solve through fear, we either convince ourselves that complete avoidance of the object of fear is achievable, or that […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (August 10, 2017)

Three Surprising Ways Bible Reading with My Kids Has Changed Me (Jon Nielson, Tim Challies) There are plenty of distractions and reasons why reading the Bible with my three young kids is hard. But I’m convinced that the best thing I can do for my children is expose them to the […]

Brett McCracken

“Readers and Writers” Episode 8 with Dave Radford

You enchant, defy, and resonate with the culture around you, and that’s a recipe that follows Jesus’ life and ministry. (Dave Radford) 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 […]

sermon clip

Your Best Defense Against Sin

Video Notes: Christian business person, what will keep you faithful, as you move from city to city, from hotel to hotel, anonymous and often lonely? Common sense? Will power? Enlightened self-interest? Your best defense against sin is to give your heart to the Lord. Wounded Christian, what will keep you […]

Hard Truth

How to Tell Your Friend the Hard Truth

One of my best friends is like a great French roast coffee: He’s super bold. In love, he gives people the truth, confronts sin, and speaks the gospel with no reservations, even to people he’s just met. Like the Apostle Paul, he doesn’t shrink back from declaring anything that is […]

studying the Bible

What’s So Important About Studying the Bible?

Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21) The Bible isn’t an easy book. It […]


Are You Living the Dream?

Maybe you (or someone you know) is “livin’ the dream.” As the phrase has become more mainstream, I’ve quietly wondered, What on earth does it mean? I may live a sheltered life in the suburbs of Chicago, but lately I’ve heard at least three versions of “livin’ the dream,” which […]

Brett McCracken

“Readers and Writers” Episode 7 with Erik Raymond

Hell is for judgment upon those who’ve sinned against God, not simply for those who’ve heard the gospel or not heard the gospel. (Erik Raymond) 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. […]


Three Ways Hospitality Pictures the Gospel

I pulled up to my driveway and sighed, seeing all the kids gathered there. If this sight was something I’d prayed for, why was I so frustrated? I used to tell everybody that I wanted my house to be “the Kool-Aid house,” the one where all the kids played and […]

Christian resources

Key Connections (August 2, 2017)

The Spiritual Power of Giving Thanks  (Kevin Halloran, Anchored in Christ) Something usually fills the void in our souls when thankfulness is absent…Thankfulness is a spiritual discipline to develop in good times and bad. A redwood tree never grows overnight; it grows slowly: day by day, year by year. Here are […]


Is Hope Perched In Your Soul?

Which Old Testament character had the most to say about hope? Job. Surprised? Me too – at first. But the more I study Job’s story, the more I realize that hope enabled Job’s faith to soar above adversity. American poet Emily Dickinson described hope this way: Hope is the thing […]