Unashamed of the Gospel

Paul says in Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” These words have been powerfully on my mind and heart over the last few weeks. What does it mean to live and behave in our culture around us in a way that is “unashamed of the gospel?”

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Just and Justifier – The Meaning of Good Friday

Good Friday is marked as the day in which the Church remembers the death of Jesus Christ. All over the globe Christians from many nations and people groups will be gathering to remember one moment in human history, the moment in which Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross. But what is the significance of this event? In an increasingly post-Christian culture like ours it is easy to mark this simply as a “religious” holiday, and forget the deep spiritual work that was accomplished through the cross. But we cannot settle for just a casual observance of Good Friday.

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God’s Everyday Sovereignty in Ruth

Ruth is a precious woman in God’s story of redemptive history. The book of Ruth has quite a fascinating place in the life of a Christian. There are no grand narratives at play. There are no great battles or famous kings (except for the genealogy provided in the final verses). The main narrative of the book of Ruth is a simple beautiful story of God’s faithful invisible hand guiding and providing for His people for the sake of His glory through redemptive history.

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When God Chooses Shepherds

“The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.” (Amos 1:1, ESV)

No one would have expected Amos for the task God gave him. It seems that God is always choosing the least likely for the task at hand. That was certainly the case in his selection of King David when he too was just a youth serving as a shepherd. The selection of Amos is also surprising though. He introduces himself as, “among the shepherds fo Tekoa (Amos 1:1), and then again in Amos 7:14-15 he describes himself as a “herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs.”

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An Invitation to Explore God

“I believe that each of us have minds that are able to think rationally and logically about statements of truth, and to come to decisions about those claims based on our reasoning. Faith is not to believe in something despite evidence to the contrary, that is foolishness. Faith is to believe in something beyond and yet in line with where the evidence leads…”

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The ‘Overcoming’ Temptations

“For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”
2 Peter 2:19

To allow anything control of our passions and emotions is to be overcome. The word Peter uses for “overcome” gives the sense of defeat and succumbing to a greater force. Each day of our life we are confronted by any number of potential conquerers. These conquerers often rise up from within as remnants of the person we once were before Christ.  At other times they arise from without as new foes guarding and forbidding a certain path that Christ would invite us upon.  The presentation of that which threatens to overcome is most often presented as a blessing.  That which overcomes is often a good thing which we allow to become the greatest thing. Continue reading “The ‘Overcoming’ Temptations”

How the Spirit Activates Your Life

When you receive the Holy Spirit it is an utterly passive encounter. When joy floods into your life, and life becomes truly alive, you are a recipient of that grace. The actor is God invading and permeating your existence in a new and powerful way through the Holy Spirit.  There is no activity on our behalf to receive this free gift. It is undeserved uninitiated, and unstoppable.  It is good for us to consider the overwhelmingly “awful” nature of that reality for just a moment.  The greatest collective achievement of human history (the divine union of God and man through the Holy Spirit) as well as the most satisfying individual experience of the Christian life, is one in which we have utterly no control. Continue reading “How the Spirit Activates Your Life”

Why Is Scripture Memorization Important?

“I have stored up your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

This little verse packs a powerful punch, and over the last few months it has taken on an entire new meaning for me. Each morning as part of my morning time of devotion I have been committing about ten minutes to memorizing a portion of Psalm 119.  I have had seasons of my life where I have had stronger or lesser commitments to memorizing portions of scripture.  But the consistency and daily routine of working through a larger chunk of scripture like Psalm 119 has already begun to bear much fruit.

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Deborah & Barak – A Celebration of Dependence

One of the first things we see in Judges chapters 4 and 5 is that Deborah is an altogether different type of Judge.  She’s a woman that leads from a posture of wisdom rather than physical strength.  Deborah is a beautiful example of a Godly courageous, faithful woman leading into her strengths in God’s Kingdom.  One thing I love about the story of Deborah is her relationship with the Barak, the General of the People of God’s army.  After Deborah is introduced in chapter 4, we are then introduced to Barak.

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