Topic: Culture

Key Connections

Key Connections (May 11, 2018)

Pastor, Don’t Avoid Uncomfortable Topics (Brett McCracken, The Gospel Coalition) …the whole counsel of God—revealed to us in his Word—is challenging to preach. But preach it we must. Otherwise, we as pastors have the blood of our congregations on our hands (Acts 20:26). Does the New Testament Misquote the Old Testament? (Peter Krol, Knowable […]


Is It Arrogant For Christians To Say They Know the Truth?

Relativism Everybody makes truth claims. The rise of a mode of thinking called relativism has saturated our Western culture. People who hold to this ideology believe specifically or subconsciously that they are their own determiner of truth—that truth is not absolute. This is truly arrogant thinking, because it makes a […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (March 30, 2018)

Comparison Is Not the Thief of Joy (Abigail Dodds, Desiring God) The Bible even assumes that some will be more Christlike and mature than others. Noticing these things isn’t a sin, but a gift, and it need not lead to the evaporation of our joy, but can be the water for […]


Don’t Waste Your Western Comforts

Proverbs 30:7-9 presents a way to pray for your financial state. It says, Two things I ask of you;     deny them not to me before I die:  Remove far from me falsehood and lying;     give me neither poverty nor riches;     feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (February 23, 2018)

At Home in Wakanda (Greg Morse, Desiring God) In God’s coming Wakanda, he offers something even greater than the world of Black Panther: a unity made perfect through diversity. The different colors will complete the painting. The different notes will strike the chord. The eye will join with the nose and […]

Five Ways to Celebrate God’s Deliberate Design

Last night, my brother Travis and I flipped through old baby and toddler pictures of ourselves. We laughed at the way the shots reflected our personalities. Travis was constantly moving, destroying, and building. I, on the other hand, was always talking, reading, or imagining. My mom often reminds us what […]


Selflessness in a Selfie World

I am dealing with how to be selfless when I feel like someone is invading my space. Annoyances pop up, one after another, making my frustration level run high. Why won’t they go away? Can they not use their own stuff? Sinful thoughts like these fill my mind as I […]

sermon clip

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 […]

tips College student

20 Tips for the Christian College Student

For the most part, I loved my college years. My parents’ faith became my own, and I experienced greater joy in Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, and evangelism than I ever thought possible. I also made mistakes and have regrets that I’ve had time to reflect on these past 10 years. […]

Overcome evil

How to Overcome Evil with Good

These are difficult days in our country. 16 years from the attacks on the Twin Towers, the threat of terrorist violence still hangs over us and over freedom-loving people around the world. After many years of hoping for progress, anger and violence over issues of race have reached new intensity. […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (September 8, 2017)

Rosaria Butterfield: “Why I Signed the Nashville Statement” (Rosaria Butterfield, Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) Conversion to Christ did not initially change my sexual attraction for women. What conversion did change immediately was my heart and mind….The gospel gave me a light that was ruinous. It ruined me for […]


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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]


Do You Need to Recharge Your Soul?

I’m not techy. Even though I work for a digital magazine and am grateful for the ability to get the gospel to more people because of it, I don’t love technology. I prefer paper and pen to computer and screens. I like the feel and smell (especially the smell) of “real” books, […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (May 11, 2017)

To the childless on Mother’s Day (Chelsea Patterson, The ERLC) As a childless woman, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder of what I don’t have, and what I long for. Seven Things Church Members Should Say to Guests (Thom S. Rainer, LifeWay Pastors) Today, I am looking at a very basic […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (May 4, 2017)

Stop Photobombing Jesus (Garrett Kell, The Gospel Coalition) Are you frustrated or discouraged when God “overlooks” you? Those are good times to re-evaluate why you follow Jesus. Satan Wields Ignorance of the Word as a Weapon (Kelly Needham, True Woman) Ignorance of the whole of God’s Word makes us easy targets in the […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (March 22, 2017)

8 Prayers You Should Regularly Pray for Your Pastor (Stephen Altrogge, The Blazing Center) Pastoral ministry is a business unlike any other. It is a dangerous business. A sacred business. A business where the souls of people are at stake. Should I Give Up Something for Lent? (Denise Loock, Unlocking the Bible) […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (March 8, 2017)

The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment (Al Mohler, Albert Mohler) The popularity of this book among evangelicals can only be explained by a lack of basic theological knowledge among us — a failure even to understand the Gospel of Christ. 5 Reasons You Desperately Need Your Bible (Kristen Wetherell, For The Church) […]

president's day

10 Prayers to Pray This President’s Day

It’s President’s Day. Workers rest from their labors and schools temporarily close. This is a day of honor, a national holiday to remember the forty-five men who’ve served our country in the prestigious role of President of the United States. Regardless of what the title POTUS evokes for you, President’s […]


Five Resolutions Against Technological Distractions

This presidential election I made the regrettable decision to try and watch one of the debates via Facebook. I say “regrettable” because the medium of viewing on Facebook changed the entire experience of a debate for me. Instead of listening carefully to what the candidates were saying or not saying, my […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (January 25, 2017)

How to Live Under an Unqualified President (John Piper, Desiring God) Followers of Christ are not Americans first. Our first allegiance is to Jesus, and then to the God-inspired word of Scripture, the Bible. What to Do with Uncomfortable Bible Verses in the Psalms (Lianna Davis, Unlocking the Bible) As David was praying […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (January 11, 2017)

7 Ways Smartphones Can Enhance Your Spiritual Life (Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition) Christians must therefore think critically about how smartphones affect us…Yet in watching out for the pitfalls of technology we should not overlook the ways that smartphones can be useful for spiritual formation. We Read the Bible Together…You Can, […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (December 14, 2016)

5 Reasons to Read the Bible When You Feel Absolutely Nothing (Stephen Altrogge, The Blazing Center) Did anything really “happen” during my reading? Did the Bible make any difference? Why should I even continue when it just feels like I’m going through the motions? When Christmas Is a Fresh Reminder of […]


Advent and Our Post-Election Longings

Where do we go from here? Perhaps that’s the question you are left with as the election season comes to a crashing halt. Like a slow-moving train on an uncertain collision course headed straight for our souls, the election lasted seemingly forever, but has now left much darkness in its […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (November 9, 2016)

10+ Predictions for the New President (Kevin Halloran, Anchored in Christ) While fear may continue for some, it shouldn’t paralyze the children of God—we have too many glorious promises and facts to hold on to… Do You Have What It Takes to Live in This World? (Colin Smith, Unlocking the Bible) Do […]

live in this world

Do You Have What It Takes to Live in This World?

Here’s the question: Do you have what it takes to live in this world? Do you have a hope in which you can rejoice? Do you have a patience with which you can endure? Do you know the help of God on whom you can call? Because all of this […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (October 26, 2016)

Why Does God Regret and Repent in the Bible? (John Piper, Desiring God) …when God makes a promise to us, he does it with complete foreknowledge of all the future circumstances and is, therefore, never caught off guard by anything. Ten ways to appreciate your Pastor (Meaghan May, The Good Book Company) Ministry […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (October 5, 2016)

How to Sabotage Your Pastor’s Sermons (Erik Raymond, The Gospel Coalition) Hearing a sermon is not an automatic sanctification pill. Sadly, many times the sermon gets undermined by other factors….With that, here are five ways to sabotage your pastor’s sermons. Is God Tired of Listening to Me? (Denise Loock, Unlocking the Bible) Do […]

election season

Five Reasons to Hope in God This Election Season

With important issues on the table and potential long-lasting implications of an election, it can be easy to get caught up in all of the hype, madness, and passion that abounds during an election cycle. There are several pitfalls Christians can fall into with their thinking in regards to politics: You […]

pokemon go

The Parody of Pokémon GO

To evaluate elements of popular culture from a theological or theoretical perspective sets you up to sound like a jerk. It’s unavoidable. It’s hard to be critical and not sound uptight. But what is the alternative? Should we close our eyes and fail to see that every new form of […]

throw stones

Love Doesn’t Throw Stones

Jesus’ statement pierced the heart of every person present, though he addressed his words to no one in particular. If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. (John 8:7, NIV) From the self-righteous Pharisee to the humiliated adulteress—each one […]


A Biblical View of Patriotism

So many people have great affection—even pride—for the place they live. Often, all other peoples and places are found lacking in comparison. Others love their country, but have anxiety and fear about the direction they see their governments heading. Finally, some have never had a sense of belonging, a sense […]

refugee crisis

How the Christmas Story Helps Us Understand the Refugee Crisis

When should a person flee their country? Calculated, well-thought plans come in all shapes and sizes for refugees. Some families are forced immediately to leave, while others plan the flight in successive layers. No matter, the plight, the pain, and the cost remain the same, for each refugee must face […]

Announcing a Royal Baby

The queue wrapped around the palace. Young and old, people stood all day for news of the royal baby. Prince William and his bride, Kate, had just given birth to the next heir to the British throne, and the throngs were breathless as they waited to welcome the new prince […]


When Freedom Is Actually Slavery

In many ways and on various holidays, our nation celebrates freedom. Freedom to worship God in public places without restrictions, freedom to believe various worldviews, freedom of speech, freedom to vote and participate in democracy – the list goes on and on. Praise God for the United States of America, […]

Three Principles for Interacting with Political Candidates

Headlines are king when it comes to writing. When I worked as the news editor during college, writing headlines was a skill I was consistently trying to hone. I needed to make them catchy enough to get someone to read it, without giving too much away so people wouldn’t want […]

object lessons of the love of Christ

Called to Be Object Lessons for Christ

My family once took a trip to Washington D.C., and we took in all the monuments, memorials, and museums that we had time for. There was only one problem: our youngest son had the flu. His illness manifested itself progressively throughout the day, and he was a trooper. But by the end of […]

love sports

Why We Love Sports (and What This Says About God and Us)

Chicagoland has gone wild over the recent success of the Cubs, as have other cities around the nation who support their beloved sports teams. The energy in the baseball stands is palpable these days, fans packing the stadiums to support the players that represent both their city and their pride. […]

Can Christian Love Prevent Us from Being Persecuted?

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) With these words, Jesus announces that he is the pinnacle of love. At the cross, we have a Savior who not only died for his friends, but also for his enemies. Romans […]

Colliding Kingdoms in Kentucky

It was bound to happen. Kim Davis, county clerk in Kentucky, is in the news for appealing to her Christian beliefs as a defense for not signing marriage licenses of any sort. Davis has been in jail, was released, and the news is all over it. Davis feels that marriage was defined by God, and […]

political process

Two Reasons to Stay Engaged in the Political Process

Right around this time every four years, a political circus captivates the entire country and is spotlighted by every imaginable media outlet. Presidential campaigns can become taxing to follow. Perhaps you’ve already heard a candidate’s stump speech from past elections. Perhaps you’re skeptical of any politician’s ability to do what they […]


The Gospel Doesn’t Allow for Prejudice

Prejudice is inherent to humanity. Prejudice, in its most heinous form, can be seen in the recent events of South Carolina. In a stirring article by Albert Mohler on his website, he writes, “The ideology of racial superiority is one of the saddest and most sordid evidences of the Fall and […]

hostile culture

The Joy of Living in a Hostile Culture

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8) To the ends of the earth. To fulfill this calling of Jesus – to […]