In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he says, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” First, Paul tells Timothy to watch his life closely. Why? Because a pastor cannot quench the thirst of others with an empty cup.
Martin Luther was a 16th century German cowboy with a one-trick pony called "Gospel." Utterly obsessed with the subject, this firebrand monk once wrote that “the truth of the Gospel is the principal article of all Christian doctrine . . . Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” If you went to dinner with this guy, you could depend on coming away with a greater sense of why Jesus matters.
I have never been a very athletic person. I was on the soccer team in high school, but in all the time I was on the team we never won a game! Of course, that wasn’t ALL my fault. Let’s just say I was not the only one on the team that did not excel in sports. But at least I can say that I lettered in a high school sport … sort of.
Do you struggle to wait in a world that seems to be sprinting forward at an unfathomable rate? God addresses this over and over in the Bible as He teaches us about the art of waiting.
I confess that one of my least favorite words in the English language is “wait.” Growing up, I wanted to ensure I wasn’t missing out on even one second of what life had to offer me.
I took an apologetics class during my last semester of seminary. Halfway through the semester, doors opened, and God placed a clear call on my life to Boston. (Another story for another time.) When my professor learned I was preparing to move to New England, one of the world’s intellectual hubs, he said, “All you learned this semester will be helpful as you serve.
I replied, “I’m not smart enough to debate or challenge even after taking your class. All I really know is what Christ has done for me.”
Your alarm goes off in the morning, rousing you from your sleep. What is your first response? If you’re like me, you may check Facebook, look at missed emails, respond to text messages or read the news. You do all of this before you even get out of the bed.
From the very moment of waking up, the world is already fighting for our attention. And in this moment we often neglect to look to God in worship and praise. Why am I passionate about this?
I watched my Facebook feed with some humor this past week as several individuals reminded their readers: “Pretend it’s Easter. Come back this Sunday. Jesus is still alive!”
Yes, Jesus is still alive, and this reality should make a difference in how the Easter worshipers in our communities approach the following Sunday … and the ones after that. But it should impact our lives as Christ-followers, too.
It’s a classic movie trope. The main character is alone in the wilderness, huddling close to a dying fire. As the fire dies, glowing eyes begin to appear and multiply. It’s a pack of starving wolves.
But have you ever realized that Jesus says He has put us in that same situation? “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)
For ten days we walked around important historical sites in Israel, retracing the steps of biblical heroes and especially remembering the life of Jesus. In many places there would be two or three shrines near each other, each claiming to be the exact spot where some biblical event took place. It didn’t really matter to me if an event happened 100 feet to the left or the right, it was just amazing to stand near locations mentioned in the Bible.
The expanse of the Grand Canyon. The vulnerability of a newborn baby. The rocky coast of Maine. Mary Poppins on Broadway. Sunset over the Bosporus.
Captivating. That’s how I would describe these things. Each one meeting the definition: Attracting and holding the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence; enchant.
There are many qualities about God's character I find deeply comforting: His omni-ness (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent), His justice, His mercy, His wisdom, His patience, His faithfulness. On and on it goes. These attributes and a thousand more draw my heart to the throne with a profound sense of wonder.
But I keep forgetting He's a Dad — a really, really good one. Which means there's a new characteristic I need to add to my list of what I love about this fascinating God the angels never tire of extolling. Are you ready for it?
Will God be faithful? Will He provide for us? Is He going to save us? Where is He?
These questions must have been in the mind of every Israelite during the time of Esther. They had been taken into captivity and were living under Persian rule. Unlike the rest of their brothers and sisters, they had not yet returned to their homeland (Ezra/Nehemiah) and continued to live in a foreign land under a foreign ruler. To make matters worse, on the eve of the Passover, a decree had gone out that all of the Jews would be destroyed within a year. The future did not look bright for God’s people.
Today is my 40th birthday. As I sit here with my feet firmly planted in middle age, I find that I am joyful rather than fearful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stoic. The other day I typed “my forties” for the first time and I felt sick to my stomach. But as I reflect on God’s goodness in my life and on what I have to look forward to in Christ, my soul is full and content, and I can’t wait for the future, gray hair and all. Here are 3 reasons.
My ministry requires me to do a lot of driving around New England – and in some places that means dealing with heavy traffic. Recently I was driving through intense traffic and was stuck behind two semis driving next to each other on a two-lane road. I noticed in my rear view mirror a SUV quickly darting back and forth between lanes.
Whether you have read the Bible or not, you have probably heard the saying “We have this hope as an anchor for our souls…” (Hebrews 6:19). This is a staple verse, if you will. It’s often written on beautiful decor for your home, fresh-brewed mugs of coffee, even jewelry. Unfortunately, when we see a phrase on a regular basis, it can lose the magnitude of meaning it was intended to have.