I have parents who talk to me all the time about their struggle with the question, "When should I enforce law and when should I give grace?"
I've been uploading some sermons from 1st Peter to my website, and I wanted to use this Article as an opportunity to reflect upon one verse that I find incredibly challenging.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines faith as a "strong belief or trust in someone or something." The Bible defines faith as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) Isn't it interesting how both of those definitions don't reference God in their initial description of what faith is or what faith does?
So the next time you experience a hard moment, tell yourself this: "these moments are not just for my own growth in grace, but for my calling to be a tool of that same grace in the life of a fellow sufferer."
Well, there are an awful lot of things that we call love that don't rise to the level of what love is and what love does.
What I'm about to write will probably get me into trouble: I'm deeply persuaded that there's entirely too much mediocrity in the church of Jesus Christ when it comes to pastors preparing and delivering their sermons.
In today's devotional, I want to look at a deeper level of disappointment. Just like we have been doing for the past several weeks, we're going to use our dear friend Jonah as a case study.
Whoever came up with that saying was onto something, just like the person who came up with the phrase "actions speak louder than words" - it's much easier to talk about something than it is to actually follow through with it. While these expressions may hold weight in the real world, I don't particularly appreciate them, and here's why: they're fundamentally unbiblical because they devalue the significance of our words.
I wish I could say that since coming to a saving faith, I have found complete freedom from sin. I wish I could say with honesty that my entire life has been a reflection of Romans 6:11 – "dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." But sadly, that's not the reality of my life. Why is it that we struggle day after day? And how do we ultimately break free? That's what this Article is about.
If you want to hear my extended thoughts on the most important Sunday of the year, you can listen to my three sermons on Easter. But for today, I'm simply going to write about three fundamental character qualities that the empty tomb reveals about God.
These are ongoing debates whose conclusions will shape the lives of thousands of boys who are in the process of becoming men. The "manhood" conversation is something no serious Christian can avoid.
God is angry, and his anger is relentless. If you were trying to persuade someone of the Christian faith, that's probably not the first line you would use. After all, isn't Christianity all about an abundantly gracious God who loves his children?
With Valentine's Day upon us, here's a gospel-centered reminder about how to love. But, you don't have to be romantically in love to find this list practical. Every healthy relationship requires love and sacrifice, so if you're a parent, child, sibling, neighbor, pastor, or co-worker, this list is for you.
Does the Bible confuse you at times? One puzzling verse for me has always been Psalm 51:4, when David says to the Lord, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." (ESV)
Paul David Tripp declares why he hates parenting: because we live in a world that's dramatically broken
Your "devotional life" shouldn't be slotted into your daily schedule after your morning workout and before you start your work for the day. No, your devotional life is meant to shape the way you think about your body, your job, your family, your social circle, your calendar, and your budget.
If you had to take a pencil and a piece of paper (if anyone even uses that anymore!) and write a paragraph describing the love of God, what would you write?
I don't know about you, but there are times when I've wondered why in the world God decided to keep me living in this broken world. Wouldn't it be so much better if we had just disappeared into eternity the moment God saved us? You and I are left here for a reason.
I'm afraid that there's a big separation between many believers' worlds of spirituality and reality. Outside of the spiritual world (worship services, small group, ministry activities, personal devotion, etc), their reality is untouched by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Human beings were built with limits. God didn't design you to be a superhero. You and I were created to live dependent lives, never surviving on the basis of our own strength, wisdom and control. From the moment of our first breath, we were limited, weak, and fragile beings. As we grow older, we think that we become more independent.
Love. What is it? A quick Google search will produce several billion answers. Billion - with a B. Yet if you were to read through just a few of those websites, you would end up massively confused about this thing called love.
There's one thing you can know for sure, pastor or ministry leader. In the course of your ministry, you'll be sinned against.And not necessarily by the people you're ministering to, but by the people ministering alongside you.
It's a comical little scene, perhaps even "cute" at first, but the theology of those words obviously stuck with me throughout my life. As I think about my life and the glory of God, I need to remind myself that this life is not my party. You and I have been born into a world that was created to celebrate God. This life is not our party.
Ministry, this side of eternity, will be marked by moments of grief, just like like Samuel's. Perhaps it will be the death of a vision, the need to discipline a trusted and influential leader, the knowledge of someone plotting against your God-given authority, sinful division among leaders, a resistant congregation, or a catalog of other difficulties that can obstruct and divert the ministry of a pastor and his congregation.
It's that time of year again - time to ring in the New Year with dramatic resolutions fueled by the hope of immediate and significant personal life change. Let's be honest. The reality is that few smokers actually quit because of a single moment of resolve. Few obese people become slim and healthy because of one dramatic moment of commitment. Few people deeply in debt change their financial lifestyle because they resolve to do so as the old year gives way to the new. Few marriages change by the means of one dramatic resolution.