The Early Bird Gets The Link

The week starts for me today, which always seems odd, anyway happy reading. 

The Gospel Is True. Now Walk This Way

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul tells us how we should walk in light of who we are in Christ. But even more importantly, he shows us where we get the power to walk.

3 Ways Social Media Is Hurting Your Local Church

The church can use online tools, apps, devices, and the internet as a vehicle for getting some ministry accomplished, but it cannot replace God’s ancient disciple making plan. Being social online is not the same as being social in person. Technology shields us from a certain vulnerability that’s necessary in the life of the local church family. Don’t become a self-focused narcissist by socializing, reading, talking, and interacting with groups in your church while constantly looking down at a device. Stop what you’re doing. Look up. Look into the eyes of real people and communicate.

Does God Want Mere Obedience?

Obedience is really the other side of the repentance coin. And Jonah teaches us a bit about the type of obedience that God is looking for. Again a few questions are helpful.

Seattle Reboot: Life After Mars Hill

Many of us were outsiders, spectators of the collapse of Mars Hill and yet sometimes we may forget real people were involved. “The collapse of Mars Hill released a tidal wave of hurt, disillusioned people. Many quit Mars Hill; some quit church or Christianity altogether. Hundreds limped into other area churches, asking about church bylaws and pastoral pay structures before even introducing themselves.”

When Prayer Is Difficult

Prayer is a spiritual discipline that needs cultivation. The ground needs to be turned over. Seeds need to be planted and watered. We wait like the farmer, trusting the seed will sprout and multiply its blessing.

Become Idolaters by Forgetting the Gospel

Everything we do as believers should be inside the framework of the gospel. Good works apart from the gospel have no real foundation and are themselves idols leading us away from savoring Christ.

Advertisements

Remember!

Regardless of what political party you affiliate with, one thing is for sure, those who have given their lives for our country in the armed forces of the United States are worthy to be remembered and honored by their countrymen. The blood of the service men who have fought and died for us in war after war should be the lifeblood of our great nation. Their sacrifice should cause us to pause and reflect on the goodness of God who has given and continues to give our nation men of courage. On this Memorial Day I say thank you to all those who sacrificed what could have been so that I may continue to live in a free country.

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Happy reading.

The Real Root of Sexual Sin

It’s shocking how little our inner evil bestial impulses have to do with our primal genetic intent: procreation. No other human instinct has so many deviations in its expressions. Our culture can’t keep up with the expanding sexual definitions. LGBTQ is now just shorthand for LGBTTQQIAAPPK (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual, polygamous, kinkiness). And this is likely obsolete already. It’s getting tragically ridiculous.

How Objective Beauty Fuels a Culture

I believe that the beginning of cultural decay provably comes when a culture decides that objective reality is a matter of subjectivity—my opinion, what I feel is true….

6 Ways to Avoid Delayed Adulthood

So how can the next generation move toward maturity? How can adolescents grow into young adults? How can college students move through the college years with increasing integrity, character, maturity, skill, and productivity?

Six Ways Men Can Support Women’s Discipleship

Here is an article worthy of consideration, deep thought and action.

How much do I love “Speedo Dad”? Let me count the ways…

This is hilarious! “What really cracks me up is the female voice off-camera that says, “Is that your church?” Ha! Could this have been an elaborate “outreach” ploy? There has to be an easier way!”

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Hope you are having a good week.

Why Should We Read The Bible? 

Seven Ways the Old Testament Deepens our Love for Jesus

Christians go back to the Old Testament to build a bigger and better picture of Jesus Christ. By connecting with his past, we connect better with him and deepen our love for him. The Old Testament connects us with Jesus’ past in the following ways:

Why Is Creation So Important for Understanding the Bible?

The point is that God is the one who is still using his creative power. God is still the one who is strong and in charge, and he’s also commissioned his people to continue to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth with his glory.

Five Ways Jesus Transformed My Marriage

Friend, may you be encouraged by these five ways Jesus works in and through marriage.

Treating young women as sisters in absolute purity

It is likely that Paul adds a word about sexual purity because there is a particular pitfall that is all too common—sexual immorality. A pastor who has learned the art of communicating with warmth and compassion can easily find himself in a situation of emotional connection with a woman that he ought not have such a connection with. And so Paul says that there must be no hint of impropriety in his ministry to younger women.

5 Characteristics of a Godly Leader

May I suggest that what the church needs today is not more leaders, but more godly leaders?

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Be in prayer for all involved in the Manchester Arena attack yesterday.

What Should I Do When I’m Struggling to Read God’s Word?

As I’ve battled through Bible reading in certain seasons, this reminder has helped and humbled me. We open our Bibles to see God and depend on him, and what better opportunity to do this than when we struggle to sense his presence and be moved by his Word. We need God even to meet with him, and this need produces humility within us. So, in a divine turn-of-events, the dryness we feel leads to deeper dependence, exposing our motives and increasing our desperation for God to do what only he can do.

5 Ways Teenagers Often Waste Their Time

The problem is that we do take our eyes off the gospel, and that means we do waste time—especially us teenagers. Every day, in fact, we waste time. There are even certain time traps teens (even and especially Christian teens) fall into again and again. Let me show you five.

Why You Should Keep Your Smartphone in Your Pocket at the Checkout Line

I’m likely destroying my brain and my ability to actually get stuff done.

Sticks, Stones, and Words…Can Cut Me Deeply

Why do we gossip, slander, condemn, accuse, slash with sarcasm, joke crudely, boast, and lie? Every toxic word traces to some sort of pseudo-savior—something that the heart is clinging to more tightly than Jesus.

Smelling the Gospel Flowers in Proverbs

In effort to share and shamelessly disrupt others’ “commute” through this book, I have compiled a short list of verses along with some personal reflections on them. The gospel is in full bloom in the sage’s pages.

Meditation Monday: What Are You Doing God?


Have you ever asked God, what are you doing? I have asked the question many times, usually it is when I am going through a rough patch in life. I remember walking home from class when I was in college, when a friend passing me told me my house was on fire, in fear I ran to my house wondering if my wife and kids got out. When I arrived at the house, the firman prevented me from entering and from a distance I heard someone calling my name, praise God it was my wife. But after all the commotion and I had time to sit and think I wondered, God what are you doing?

Many times when life gets tough, when we face trials and testings we wonder what God is doing in our life. We wonder why is God allowing these things to happen. Then we come to James 1, where James tells us to count it all joy when we face various trials. 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4

There could a myriad of reasons God is allowing trials in your life, but here are 3 reasons to be joyful when life gets tough.

God Is Still Working 

Be joyful because God is still working in your life. We know when the going gets tough God is providentially working all things for the good towards those who love him. If you are going through a tough time, you can be joyful because God is working even though you may not see it at this time.

God Is Working In You To Produce Endurance

Have you ever tried to run a race, play basketball or football without any training? When your young it’s a possibility, but when you are in your 40’s you begin hurting in places you didn’t realize could hurt. 

This is what happened to me when I started jogging. I had to work my way up to a mile, then two and so on. I had to train to produce endurance. 

Be joyful because God uses the hard times in our life to bring us to a place of weakness and dependency on Christ. It is this place of weakness and dependency we begin to realize more and more how much we need Christ. 

It is in this place of weakness, God’s grace produces in us the essential characteristics needed to endure in Christ to the end. Which is why the Apostle Paul can say “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

God Is Working To Make The Best You Possible

First notice James says, “let steadfastness have its full effect.” Which means we are participants of God’s working. The way we respond when we are being forged in the fire is vital to our growth.

Now notice the full effect of steadfastness “that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The full effect of God working in your life through the testing and trials is so that you can be the best you possible on this earth, for his glory. 

Look at the words James uses “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” How is that possible? In Christ! In Christ we are perfect. In Christ we are complete. In Christ we are lacking in nothing. 

Be joyful because the testings and trials of life is God forging the necessary qualities to produce in practice on earth how God sees us in heaven in Christ, perfect, complete and lacking in nothing.

Until Next Time

Count it all joy

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Hope you had a relaxing weekend, here are some links to start your week.

Your Bible Is Not Boring

The fall has left us deeply dysfunctional emotionally. We’re excited by trivia and bored by grandeur. We strain out a gnat to admire and swallow a camel of glory unnoticed. Nevertheless, I want to try to use language that helps us see what God’s glory is, if I can. Hence the effort to find other words besides glory—like worth and beauty and value and excellence.

Patriot-olotry: The Intersection of Theology and Politics 

Faithful Christians cannot allow their thinking on how to live their faith in the current culture to be primarily shaped and formed by talking heads, whether they are “fair and balanced” or they “lean forward.” The news media is the megaphone of modern politics. As such, Christians must be cautious when watching. The old adage, “follow the money” is appropriate. The owners and stakeholders in the various news media companies have a corporate obligation to improve the financial bottom line. These conglomerations must turn a profit. This often runs at odds with the pursuit of publishing journalistic truth. The reporting on most cable news stations typically serves only to confirm prejudices and to inflame passions among those already on board. This generates greater viewership which increases ad revenue which enriches the media company. Patriotism for them means dollars. 

Do You Share God’s Heart?

Jonah is one of those characters. I like to think that I would never run from the call of God, but in ways that we don’t even realize, you and I run everyday.

Missing Words

But it struck me as interesting what has largely been dropped from the Junior Dictionary—words to do with rural life and the countryside, words to do with royalty and empire (this is the UK version after all), and more crucially as far as I’m concerned, words to do with Christianity and church life.

The following words no longer appear: abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, and devil, along with a few others.
You Are His: Experiencing Romans 8 in Times of Weariness

5 truths from “this beautiful Mount Everest of the Bible.”