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Month: October 2017

success

Do You Care Too Much About Success?

Video Notes: In a world that often only cares about “what will work,” Christ calls us to care about what is right. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote powerfully during the time of […]

Disappointment

God Is Working Through Your Disappointment

Now the donkeys belonging to Saul’s father Kish were lost. (1 Samuel 9:3) No one likes to lose their donkeys. In fact, people don’t enjoy losing anything. Loss is frustrating. And Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (October 27, 2017)

Lose Christ Alone, Lose Christianity (Stephen Wellum, The Gospel Coalition) Christ alone isn’t a slogan; it’s the center of the solas by which the Reformers recovered the grace of God and declared the glory of God. Christ alone integrates the purposes and plans of God as he has revealed them in […]

spiritual dry spells

Spiritual Dry Spells: Causes and Cures

I’m willing to bet that most of us have experienced a spiritual dry spell—a time when we felt far from the Lord, unfruitful, unmotivated, and maybe a little lost. Feelings of closeness and communion with the Lord faded. That fiery desire to love and serve Christ dwindled. Maybe that’s you, […]

enemies

Pray for Your Enemies

My co-worker’s words were unkind and untrue. How could Beth[1] say such a thing about me? She’s a Christian. She should know better. All day her words simmered in my soul. Each time my mind hit the replay button, my eyes narrowed and my jaw tightened. That night as I […]

Trials

Three Reasons to Be Glad When Trials Come

A friend is the victim of slander at work, and she’s finding it hard to forgive. A young mom is facing the sixth month of her husband’s unemployment, and she’s scared for the future. A mentor just told you the diagnosis is cancer, and he’s angry at God. Are you […]

Defeating Sin

To Defeat Your Sin, Look at Jesus

Strategies abound for dealing with sin. There are mountains of books to help us develop habits to stop lying, beat various addictions, control our thoughts, grow in generosity, or develop contentedness. A quick Google search will reveal list upon list of verses about sexual purity, anger, worry, unbelief, idolatry, business […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (October 20, 2017)

Idolatry at the Office: Confessions of a Workaholic (Kathryn Butler, Desiring God) During these years, I worked so feverishly, not to serve God, but to relish the approval it brought me — and because I feared the implications for my identity should the praise fall silent. Our world, it seems, condones such […]

Church Doesn't Preach

What If My Church Doesn’t Preach the Bible?

I remember visiting a church years ago and thinking to myself, When is this pastor going to finish his introduction and get to the text? Before I knew it, the pastor closed in prayer. His “introduction” was the entire sermon, sharing entertaining stories and therapeutic applications, only lightly (and vaguely) […]

Prayer

Four Hindrances to Prayer

God can seem far away when I pray. It can feel like I’m beating my head against a wall. My prayers feel repetitive, self-indulgent, short, and they seemingly go unanswered. When things are good, or when I have plenty, or even when I’m distracted, God gets too little of my […]

resisted gospel

Hope for Loved Ones Who Have Resisted the Gospel

Anxiety over loved ones who have resisted the gospel and rebelled against the Lord is one of the heaviest burdens we carry in our mature years. When I ask members of our congregation how I can best pray for them, the request I hear most often involves sorrow over a […]

Prideful Heart

Seven Symptoms of a Prideful Heart

Pride is universal—something we all deal with, as ancient as Adam and as relevant as the morning news. Yet we don’t always see our own pride, which weaves like weeds around our lives. Oh, we see it in the obvious ways, but we can be blind to its deceptive, subversive […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (October 13, 2017)

What’s the Purpose of Pastors? (Tim Challies, Challies.com) The Bible assures us that pastors exist to shepherd God’s people in local churches until Christ returns (1 Peter 5:1-5). The calling of the pastor is inextricably tied to the biblical metaphor of a shepherd tending to his flock of sheep. How the […]

Listening

The Loving Service of Listening

The task was simple: Engage someone in conversation—ask about her life, work, class-load, past, or dreams for the future—and don’t interrupt once while she shares. I’ll never forget when I received this assignment as a junior in college. I considered myself a good listener and was excited for an easy […]

Economy

God’s Economy is Different Than the World’s

God’s economy is opposite of the world’s. The world gives to those who earn, and earnings often equal the accomplishment. Our Heavenly Father, however, gives abundantly more and with a completely different value system. The world wants to possess by claiming and receiving. It wants ownership of what’s truly God’s. […]

Infertile

Four Truths for the Infertile Married Couple

As Christians experiencing the pain and heartache of infertility, my husband and I have come to see Sarah and Abraham as dear friends. We would love to chat with them over a cup of coffee; we wonder what our conversations would be like if we asked them about their experiences. […]

Fighting Sin

A Three-Step Strategy for Fighting Sin

As you come to know God better, you will become more aware of your sin. Suppose you go to the movies. While you are watching the film, you work your way through a bucket of popcorn drizzled with melted butter. When you come out, you realize that there are butter […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (October 6, 2017)

Where Is God in a Mass Shooting? (Russell Moore, Russell Moore) Christians sometimes suppose that our non-Christian friends and neighbors want to hear a detailed explanation, to justify God in light of such horror. The Bible doesn’t give us easy answers. Look Up: Trading Introspection for Awe (Jared Mellinger, Desiring God) Looking […]

rich young ruler

When Christ Asks for Everything

Have you ever asked a question that you didn’t really want answered? Or have you ever asked for an opinion, while looking for validation of a decision you had already made? This seemed to be the case with the rich young ruler when he questioned Jesus: And behold, a man […]

Wonder

Stop and Stare at the Wonder of God

Wondering about the wonder of God is always worthwhile. The first chapter of the book of Genesis provides a succinct beginning for marveling at the Almighty as he intricately weaves something out of nothing. In Genesis 1:1-2, the author writes, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. […]

Resentment

Do You Resent the Life God Gave You?

I sat in the restaurant booth across from my husband, but I was distracted by the couple sitting nearby. As I watched them, smiling, enjoying their massive plate of gluten-and-dairy-filled food while my body ached and stomach churned, resentment began to rise in me. I bet they can eat whatever […]

Confess

Bible Q&A: Do I Need to Confess My Sins to Other Believers?

Question: I need help. I want to confess my sins, but I don’t know who to confess them to. Do I just need to confess to God, or does he ask that we confess to others? I’m embarrassed of my sins, and I don’t know who to talk to about them. Answer: The […]