The first recollection I have of going to church was with my grandparents. I was a little boy, and I didn't like it at all. I thought it was boring. My grandmother kept shushing me, and I drew cartoons on the church bulletin as the preacher droned on.
Stop and think for a moment about people who backslide spiritually. It doesn't happen overnight. You don't call up your mature Christian friend and say, "Hey, dude. Want to backslide? Seriously? Pick you up at 7:00."
One day I was talking with someone who wasn't going to church anywhere, and I asked why. "Well, I don't want to be judged," the person said.
"My family lost our 14 month old daughter on June 2, and so my question is, what happens to babies when they die? I believe they go to heaven, but as I was reading that people in heaven know about what is happening here on earth, do babies know what is going on? Do they have someone guiding them? Seeing that she was so young, how will she know?"
Here is the thing about love. You can't sit around and wait for the feeling of love. Don't wait to feel love. Just start doing loving things.
In our Christian lives, we are working out what God has worked in; there is our part and there is God's part. Would you like to become "a new you" in 2015?
Imprisoned in Rome and chained to a guard day in and day out, the apostle Paul faced an uncertain future. He didn't know whether he would be acquitted or beheaded. Yet Paul was able to rejoice amid those circumstances.
Did you know that you were prewired for hope? There is a restlessness in the human heart for something more than this world can offer.
I think someone should establish a national Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Maybe they already have. I know I for one appreciate those officers who serve our communities, our nation, and us. These are people just like us, who have, in many ways, made a sacrifice to literally risk their lives each and every day for relatively little pay. I think this appreciation is overdue, especially in the light of the NYC police officers who were just murdered.
There are two ways that we can live our lives: the right way or the wrong way. There are two paths that we can take in life: the right path or the wrong path. The result is that we can live either the happy and holy way or the miserable and unholy way.
I am not a film reviewer, but I am a fan of film in general and have been anxiously awaiting the release of the new movie Unbroken, which is the life story of someone I got to personally know, Louis Zamperini. Let me start by saying I loved it. I, for one, wish Louis's conversion was included in the film.
Are you trying to live in two worlds? If so, then I know something about you. I know you're not happy. Am I right? When you spend time around other Christians, you're uncomfortable because of your sin. On the other hand, when you're doing things you know you shouldn't as a Christian, then you have the conviction of that sin.
In this day of instant information, we can get our news so fast that we don't have to wait for the evening news anymore. We don't have to wait for the newspaper. We can go out on the Internet and get our news in real time.
Christmas is a day of joy. But for me and my family, it is also tinged with sadness, because it is a day when Christopher's absence is intensely felt.
We celebrate Christmas in order to rejoice over God's most precious gift to us. The birth of Jesus Christ is a gift from God that came in simple wrapping, as well as a gift we don't deserve. But the gift of Christ also explains His purpose for humankind.
When you're a child, Christmas is all about receiving gifts. In December, your head is swimming with nothing but images of your favorite toys. But the true message of Christmas is not the presents we give to one another.
This Christmas, don't miss the point of celebrating Christmas. Don't be like the innkeeper who missed Jesus because he was too busy (see Luke 2). Make time for the Lord. Don't be like King Herod who was too afraid to let Christ rule his life (see Matthew 2). Turn your heart over to Christ.
Although it has been more than three decades, I still remember clearly the day I was joined in marriage to my wife, Cathe. She walked down the aisle looking beautiful. I, on the other hand, resembled Jeremiah Johnson with my shoulder-length hair and big beard.
What does the Bible mean when it says that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit? In the apostle Paul's day, when goods were shipped from one place to another, they would be stamped with a wax seal, imprinted with the signet ring of the owner. This was a unique mark of ownership. People could look at the crate, see its wax seal, and know they had better not open it.
Why has the Spirit come into this world? What does God's Holy Spirit want to do in the life of the unbeliever? The Holy Spirit is very involved in the actual work of conversion. You see, before we were Christians, it was the Holy Spirit who convicted us of our sin (see John 16:8). Another way to translate the word convict in John 16:8 is "convince." Notice this verse doesn't say that He will convict the unbeliever of a specific sin. Rather, He wants to convince him or her of sin in general, the root cause of all sins.
Have you ever tried to explain something to someone and couldn't quite find the words? Have you ever tried to describe something complex to a child? For God to describe heaven to us in a way we could understand would be like trying to describe the beauty of Hawaii to a three-month-old child. We're not able to comprehend, in our finite human understanding, all the infinite glories of heaven.
Jesus spoke of people who hear the Word of God, but it never quite takes root. These people appear to be converted and even motivated. They seem to be living on an emotional high and even try to bring others to Christ. Yet they are a picture of soil embedded with rocks. The good seed of God's Word breaks ground and shoots up, but no fruit ever appears. No real change ever results. Theirs was not a true encounter with God.
A while ago, I ran into a guy that I once hung out with in school. I hadn't seen him in about twenty-five years. He had called to say that he was coming to hear me speak, so we arranged to meet beforehand.
If intellectualism alone were the major key to purpose and fulfillment, then our universities and college campuses would be bastions of peace and purpose. Yet as you walk around your typical secular university today, you will see the emptiness of academic pursuit without God. On these campuses you will often find the most bizarre and aberrant ideas circulating today.
When Scripture says, "Love your neighbor as yourself," it is not saying, "First learn to love yourself, and then love your neighbor." Rather, it is saying, "It is obvious you already love yourself. Love your neighbor in the same way."