What Death Has To Say To Today’s Graduates – Some might think it odd to take a long walk through a cemetery the Sunday before college graduation. Yet the liberal arts teach that we must look back to look forward—and not just back to four transient years, but to the minds, the hearts, the legacies of those who came before.
A Reminder Of The Good In Sports – Every now and then we need a reminder of the good found in sports. In these days of corruption, cheating, self-aggrandizing, and criminal behavior, it’s so easy to become disenchanted.
Jesus Isn’t Looking For Flashy – As a follower of Jesus, I didn’t see this coming. This call to be a disciple of the mundane–changing diapers on a big kid, suctioning, stretching limbs, giving meds.
The Bachelorette, The Currency Of Sex, & The Spirit Of Divorce – Married peoples of the earth, remember, you’re displaying something much more powerful than yourselves by staying married. Your covenant to one another displays not just your own love, but testifies to the covenant keeping grace of God that Christ has for his bride the church.
Another Good Reason For 911 – An 81-year-old North Carolina Army veteran touched an emergency operator earlier this week when he dialed 911 — not because he was hurt, but because he was hungry.
Introverts In The Dearest Place On Earth – Roughly a quarter of the population has a preference toward introversion. These folks (and I am one of them) prefer to focus on the inner world of ideas and experiences, tend to direct energy inward and receive energy from reflecting on thoughts, ideas, feelings and memories. It was not so long ago this approach was prized in leadership and churches. Times, however, have changed for the introvert.
Why Islam Grows? – Why do seekers choose Islam, and not something else? Why not, for instance, Christianity?
Don’t Hold Your Hair Back When You Throw Up – Transparency And The Christian – Do we know who we are? Or do we keep our real selves a secret known only to us? Often we live lives so guarded that we, ourselves, don’t even know who we are. We are so scared of what people will think of us that we hide everything ugly, everything dishonorable, everything that stinks . . . or just all the puke in our hair. We throw up and remove all evidence that it ever happened. We are too scared to be transparent.
Don’t Kill That Quote – Quotes are like lozenges, great for savoring but terrible for just straight-out swallowing. Learn how to savor good quotes.
What Would Jesus Read? – In her wide-ranging and productive new book, What Would Jesus Read?: Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century America (University of North Carolina Press), Smith argues that historians should give more attention to the experiences of readers and the ways in which religious books were useful to them and engaged their “daily lives in immediate, material ways.”
Biblical Marriage Has Always Been Counter-Cultural – In first century Roman Empire, when the New Testament was being written, the idea that a husband should sacrificially love his wife was shocking. In 21st century America, the idea that a wife should lovingly submit to her husband seems just as shocking.
How Seriously Should We Take The Phenomenon Of “The Nones?” – I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians only view Christianity as a value system, a set of ethical ideals to aim for (or judge others by) and not as a form of life that makes a difference in everything one thinks and does. Millennials are noted for demanding “authenticity.” The growth of “nones” is greatest among them. Perhaps they are noticing the inauthenticity of many older Christians’ Christianity and want nothing to do with that.
4 Words Leaders Must Say On A Regular Basis – Leaders are always communicating, even when they are not talking. But what words must a leader say on a regular basis? Here are four words leaders must use, not merely every now and then but continually. Over and over again.
Is Christianity Dying? – Christianity is dying. At least, that’s what major newspapers are telling us today, culling research from a new Pew Center study on what almost all sociologists are observing these days—the number of Americans who identify as Christians has reached an all-time low, and is falling. I think this is perhaps bad news for America, but it is good news for the church.
What’s The Point Of A Professor? – IN the coming weeks, two million Americans will earn a bachelor’s degree and either join the work force or head to graduate school. They will be joyous that day, and they will remember fondly the schools they attended. But as this unique chapter of life closes and they reflect on campus events, one primary part of higher education will fall low on the ladder of meaningful contacts: the professors.
Do You Love Theology More Than Jesus? – In the end, each of us has a theology. (Even the act of dismissing theology in favor of Jesus is theological.) If God exists (and He does), and He has fixed attributes (which He does), then the path to loving Him is knowing as much as we possibly can about Him.
If You See Something, Say Something – Ask religion journalists which they’ve encountered more: false witnesses and discord-sowers, or people with firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing who stay silent.
13 Needs That Christianity Meets – Why did you become a Christian? For most people, though, the answer is closer to “because it met my needs.” But what needs does Christianity meet?
The Most Important Step In Becoming More Like Jesus Christ – The first step to become more like Christ is to behold his glory in his Word. That’s why it’s so important for us to regularly take in Scripture. For as we read or listen to God’s word we behold Jesus, and the Holy Spirit transforms us into his image.
Making Disciples In The Everyday Stuff Of Life – I define missional living as being continually-sent disciple-makers who live everyday life with gospel intentionality so we might both show and tell others what worship of Jesus looks like in the everyday stuff of life.
Those Who Think, Read – If we are too busy to think, then we are too busy. And if we are too busy to read, then we are too busy.
A Guy On The Subway – We’re all coming and going so quickly, eyes ahead, joined only by shared space and the sound of our footsteps.
Ugliness Repels, Beauty Persuades – Three or four years after moving to Switzerland, Francis Schaeffer went through a profound spiritual crisis. What brought on this crisis? Going back many years to his time in college and later in seminary, Francis and Edith were bothered by the lack of love shown between Christians, especially where there was any disagreement.
What Is Our Greatest Need? – The message of Christianity is not about improving the world, but about changing people in spite of the world, preparing them for the glory that is yet to come.
Why You Should (Literally) Look At The World Upside Down – It’s a figure of speech to look at things “upside down” in order to get some perspective. But what if there’s more here than just a clever turn of phrase? What if we can’t actually see our world in proper perspective unless we’ve seen it upside down?
Aspiring to the Great Commission Is Not Enough: Knowing the Gospel Doesn’t Mean We’re Sharing It – Research shows that Protestant churchgoers in the United States and Canada as a whole are not telling this good news message. According to Paul, part of our new life is that we have been commissioned by God to reconcile the world to Himself through Christ. So we’ve been reconciled to become agents of reconciliation. Unfortunately, most Christians have become cul-de-sacs on the Great Commission highway.
The Glorious Feeling Of Not Mattering – When I feel small, there is the gospel that reminds me that my size and worth is determined by that which was sacrificed for me. When I feel big, there is the gospel that reminds me that I was dead in my sin and transgression, too lost to even know that I was lost.
Are You Weak Enough For God To Use You? – Boast when God lets you fail. Boast when God reduces the size of your army. God isn’t withholding good things from you. In fact, he’s offering you something priceless. As Hudson Taylor said, “God wants you to have something far better than riches and gold, and that is helpless dependence on him.”
Only God Is an “End in Itself” (But That’s Not the Whole Story) – Can anything be an “end in itself” in the sense of not serving a purpose higher than itself? Does anything exist in and for itself—from a Christian perspective? I will dare to argue not—except God who is not a “thing” but being and goodness themselves—the perfect telos of all beings, activities and products insofar as they have value at all.
Speculations On Pride – C. S. Lewis was right. Pride is the ultimate sin because it is structured differently from all other sin. Pride is the sin of Satan and makes those who suffer from it most like Satan because it alone rejects the tiny, dirty spark of goodness within all other sin.
Six Ways Millennials Are Educating Their Churches Theologically – Over the past few decades, the seeker-sensitive movement, and before that the church growth movement, taught us much about the importance of contextualization in the church. In recent years, however, I have noticed a remarkable—and welcomed—return by younger leaders to the fundamentals of the faith, basic theological education, and the deepening of doctrinal roots.