Christian Life

Christian Life

Thank You

Sometimes my prayers are characterized more by habit than by heart. “Father, I thank you so much for this food and for this day and for my family and for every blessing. Thank you for our house and our clothes and our friends. And, of course, thank you for Jesus.” I can say all that—and quite a bit more—without thinking at all about what I’ve said. Do you ever do this? We fall so easily into the rut of ritualism,…

Getting along

Have you ever (secretly) wished that everybody in the church would be more like you? Most of us probably wouldn’t admit it, but maybe we’ve looked down our noses at some church folks and wondered why they’ve got the issues they do. Truth is, if everybody in the church was like you and me, we’d still have problems. It’s just the way it is. Last week I wrote about how much I appreciate the sweet fellowship of God’s people, and…

God’s family

I’m sure there’s enjoyable fellowship outside of God’s family, but I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like not to have the church. These are my people. Oh, they’ve got their problems, of course (don’t we all?), but people within the household of faith are my support group. I grieve and rejoice with them, I depend on them, I need them. Where does everyone else find this? At a local bar? With their bowling club? I’m thinking it’s a…

Look ahead

It’s a cliché, I know, but it became a cliché because it’s true. Don’t live in the past. Is that you? Are you beating yourself up over something you did years ago? I think the apostle Paul struggled with that. In some of his letters he mentioned the terrible things he’d done to Christians years earlier, referring to himself as the “worst” of sinners and the “least of the apostles” (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:9). It bothered him. I’m…

Expectations

In Luke chapter 9, we read that Jesus sent His disciples into the towns and villages to teach the gospel and to heal.  Followers of Jesus should expect to be sent. We don’t become Christians to be served or catered to. So, in our youth ministry, we are hoping to help equip our children for their mission to reach out to the lost and dying world and show them Jesus. But when Jesus sent his disciples out to work, he…

Inviting

I’ve heard of people who have led thousands to Christ in their lives—through preaching to huge audiences or writing books or tracts that reach thousands. That’ll never happen for most of us. Paul established dozens of churches, and Peter preached to enormous crowds. Both of them wrote letters about Jesus that have been read by hundreds of millions. My circle of influence is considerably smaller than that. Once we’ve realized that, we’ve got two options. We can resent our situation,…

Chest-thumping?

Maybe there’s a little bit of a my-dad-can-beat-up-your-dad spirit in many of us, but most of us also recognize it’s not much fun being around someone who’s always one up. Is there a braggart or two in your world? It might actually intimidate kids on the playground, but it’s wise not to try it in God’s house. Read Paul’s boasting below, but don’t miss his point: For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory…

Stiff-necked

Ever dealt with someone stubborn? I mean really stubborn, as in talking-to-a-wall stubborn? [Some of you are thinking, Yes, I’m married to him . . . :-)] I’ve even heard some folks describing themselves this way as if it were a compliment. It’s not. Or at least God never uses it that way. In fact, sometimes it’s translated with a word that creates an interesting image: And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it…

Rejoice

I suppose a certain level of anxiety is part of living on this fallen earth. I haven’t yet met the person—even among those following Jesus—who lives a completely carefree life. Do you worry at times? Get stressed out? Lie there staring at the ceiling in the wee hours of the morning? I doubt we’re the first ones to struggle with it. It seems like every page of Scripture says something about it. Take this one, for example. To one of…

Who in the world is Epaphroditus?

You’ve got big names in Bible history, and then you’ve got Epaphroditus. We know a lot about Abraham, Moses, David, and Paul. They’re the movers and shakers on the human side of God’s story. But Epaphroditus? He gets six verses. But as one of my old Bible teachers used to say, they’re chock-full of meaning. Try not to hurry through them. I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and…

Doubt…I Get it Now

From time to time, when an idea occurs to me…or I hear something that I want to explore further, I start typing and then title it and save it for a rainy day.  Recently I was looking for something to work on and noticed a file entitled “Doubt.” I thought, “We’ve been studying doubt in the teen class, so I’m sure I can add to that one.”  I opened it and saw these words: “Doubt…I get it now.” I looked at the date…

Standing up

I love reading biographies, and Eric Metaxas has written two excellent ones. Amazing Grace describes William Wilberforce’s twenty-year fight to abolish the British slave trade. Bonhoeffer discusses the courageous life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who stood up to the Nazi regime and was eventually hanged for his convictions. In his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast a few years back, Metaxas himself made a point about the common theme in these biographies: both of his subjects fought for…