The beauty of identifying with Christ is that He doesn’t need defending.
Receiving is difficult. Being given something affects us differently than being the giver. Receiving something is harder than earning it, especially for driven people.
Jesus is no talisman. Crucify "Jesus as key to your personal achievement" and he will stay dead. But the real Jesus achieves a victory greater and far superior to any wish-dream of any man.
Union with Christ is an abiding reality.
Moses would not make a good postmodern. The notion of “things that are revealed” is so certain, so objective, so confident sounding. Yet, Moses doesn’t shy away from the idea that God has given His people revealed things—truths about Himself, truths about man, truths about the world. And all these belong to God’s people.
“No,” she pulls a blanket up over her head. I know you want to hide, I want to say. Confession makes us feel naked even with all of the weight of hiding on top of us. I know where she is, but I ask for her to show herself anyway. Coming face to face with the one you’re confessing to is important. I know it from the garden. I…
If nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, what then?
It is not uncommon to hear people say things like: “Aren’t we all sinners? What gives you the right to make moral judgments about someone else? Isn’t that God’s job?”
During the last few years we have been putting a mild label on sin.
"Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?" said the poet.
"What X marks the spot for me?"
"As long as Christ hath it, believers shall not want."
The deal is all of Christ for all your nothing.
"Would I know the fullness and completeness of the salvation God has provided for sinners? Where shall I see it most distinctly?"
"If you will not let me live, then I will die."
While God certainly asks missionaries to pick up their life, leave everything, and go wherever, His call on His disciple's lives doesn't end there.
"The brother dismissed my view as impossible on the grounds that the Holy Spirit, who does not lie, had told him the truth on this matter. Being young and bold, I pressed on with my explanation of grammar, context, and translation, but was brushed off by a reference to 1 Corinthians 2:10b-15: spiritual things must be spiritually discerned -- which left little doubt about my status."
When we believe that the things we possess are actually ours or exist because of us, they begin to control and define us rather than the other way around.
You can't just decide to change your heart, Thomas Chalmers says.
We have been racing from God, and yet in Christ, we find ourselves racing home.
How much are you missing because you assume all the answers are in the back?
Self-denying humility ought to show up in the way we worship together.
Thou who wast lifted up upon a cross
art ascended to highest heaven . . .
We need the Jesus who loves us in our Genesis 13 moments and our Genesis 12 moments.
We should note that in all the Bible's words about reproof and rebuke and discipline, the Bible never says to "confess one another's sins."
Jonathan Edwards saw God's grace as a tide of goodness.
I believe obscurity is good for Kingdom laborers, particularly pastors, and most especially newly up and coming pastors.
Every theological idea which makes an impression upon you must be regarded as a challenge to your faith.
When we are tempted to doubt the Father's faithfulness, we have no further to look than His provision of Christ.
"If any Christians are in earnest and full of love to God and man, they are those who know what Grace has done for them."
"If there is to be a renewal, it will be a renewal that grows out of the blazing center that is the glory of God in the face of Christ."
When I fret about life, time, finances, relationships, I'm tempted to control them for my preferred outcome. When I rest in the giver of good and perfect gifts, I see every allowance as unmerited favor and can walk in the confidence as one who is held by the God of the universe—the perfection of every attribute.
Christ died to redeem men and women from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation. When those men and women gather together, we ought to sing as only redeemed men and women can.
Why so much grief? Why waves upon waves upon waves of sorrows? If the Lord desired to deprive atheists and agnostics of ammunition for their powerful theodicy argument we would welcome the cessation of pain. Even for those of us committed to the Lord’s sovereignty have existential reasons to doubt when the miseries pile up.
In the pastoral ministry world, we sometimes get the impression from the Bright Minds Among Us that only losers quit. Well, maybe so. But Jesus came for losers.
Two sweet words start the reversal of our will and fate.
Are there areas of your life that you find yourself comparing to others? If we constantly find ourselves in “comparison mode,” we may have placed our identity in the accomplishments and status of this world.
Whether it’s a laughable underwear-on-stage experience (laughable later), or a deeply unsettling loss of integrity, embarrassment is a besetting quality of human life. It lurks and stalks beneath the surface of our circumstances, waiting to sink its teeth into our every failing and loss — intentional or naive, serious or jovial, public or private, embarrassment is a trained hunter of human failure.
When we dwell on the gospel, it should stir within the depths of our soul an uncontainable joy.
Pastors, your sermon prep is not sufficient for personal nourishment in the word of God. We must be chasing after Jesus constantly in the Scriptures in order to feed our hungry souls and, consequently, to feed our churches.
In these moments our humanity lies bare. Our greatest fears are realized—we are exposed for the weak and woefully inadequate people we are. We failed to meet even the lowest expectations. Things that are so seemingly obvious nobody should mess them up.
Elyse Fitzpatrick is a popular conference speaker and author and one of the leading voices in helping the evangelical church apply the gospel to all of life. She was recently kind enough to answer a few questions for For The Church on the importance of gospel-centrality and some of the alleged perils of it too.
In 1535 Martin Luther wrote a little book on prayer for his barber, which included a helpful recommendation that believers pray through the Ten Commandments as a means to warm one’s heart to God. What can following Luther's example show us about living honestly before our neighbors?
When we feel like our lives are a mess and hope seems to be just beyond arm’s length, we know that God has sent Jesus into the mess of this world and then became a mess for us. And it helps us see the need to extend the hope of the gospel to those whose lives seem hopelessly a mess.
As a young man, just converted to the faith and boiling over with anger toward my stepfather, I spent a lot of time praying imprecatory psalms. It wasn’t hard to cast myself in the image of the unjust sufferer, echoing David’s cries for vengeance on my enemies. But at some point during all that vitriol I read the book of Jonah . . .
When I feel small, there is the gospel that reminds me that my size and worth is determined by that which was sacrificed for me.
Acts 2:42-47. A bunch of normal folks, like you and me, praying, eating, and worshiping together. It’s not much different than my church’s community groups that meet around the Dallas/Fort Worth area together. It’s a relief, a needed calm. And yet it isn’t calm at all . . .
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
- Luke 17:20-21
In Jesus' day, the Jewish world was fractured into factions, each of which sought to…