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Archive | Christian Living

How to Keep the Sabbath on a Thursday

A friend of mine once brought to mind a truth that I have seen played out many times in conversation. Upon meeting someone, people in my  generation (good ol’ Generation X) will quickly ask, “What do you do for fun?” People in the generations before me will quickly ask, “What do you do for work?”

 I live in a generation which often defines people by what they do to entertain themselves, yet we live in a world that is intended to define people partially by what they do to employ themselves. 

Why Not Voting is Not an Option

As the political election approaches in America, many Christians boldly proclaim that Jesus is King. Such a statement is often coupled with a declaration that they will not be voting, especially given the apparent choices in the presidential election. For perhaps different reasons, Thabiti Anyabwile writes at The Gospel Coalition: “I’m ‘voting’ by not voting.” But is abstaining the obedience to which the Jesus of Scripture has called us? Does it honor him as the King he shows himself to be?

The Incarnate Word and the Written Word

The doctrine of the Word of God has come on hard times among professing Christians.  This sad state of things is no surprise.  At the very beginning of human history, Satan assaulted the Word of God, which is to insult the character of God.  In so doing, the “father of lies” ushered mankind into spiritual ruin.  Particularly sad in our day, though, is the fact that many professing Christians believe that they are honoring Christ by denying that God’s written Word, the Bible, is everything it claims to be in its self-attestation and self-authentication.

Keeping Covenant with our Youth

Each month the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary sponsors a “webinar,”which is a new e-term for an internet seminar that people can access via their computer.  A PowerPoint presentation accompanies a 30-40 minute lecture usually done by a professor or pastor on a variety of topics.  From “Facebook and Faith” to “Is Your Church Healthy?” to “Ministry to the Poor” to “Biblical Counseling,” solid, Biblical teaching is offered via the internet to anyone in the world who wants to tune in.  Several of our “GenRef Gents” (as I call our contributors) have done lectures.  For access to past webinars, you can go here.

Today at 3:00 I will be conducting a webinar called “Keeping Covenant with Our Youth: Encouraging Congregations in Educating Children.” So often the focus of a congregation’s efforts can turn to activities for the youth rather than their discipleship.  As this issue has been on my heart for quite some time, I’ll be offering principles congregations can implement to encourage the latter rather than falling into the former.  I taught this at our denomination’s Synod meeting this past summer, and have augmented it to include a section I’m calling “Pursuing the Prodigals.”  I’ll be sharing some of what the Lord […]

Asking Questions Like Jesus

Have you ever sat in awkward silence with strangers wondering what to say next? Or, have you wondered how to grow in your knowledge of the world, of people, or of God? Have you pondered how you might more effectively minister to people? One answer to problems posed in those questions is to ask a good question.

Young children ask “Why?” countless times a day. Some of us struggle to mature beyond that stage. I started my first job at age 13. Soon, I frustrated my boss with constant queries, and he finally asked me to stop asking “Why?” Looking back, he was amazingly patient with my abuse of a good thing.

You see, God created the question. He made us as relational beings, and he brings growth through question and answer. If we are to grow in our relationship with God and men, we need to grow as inquisitive creatures.

A Greater Evil

The calendar date alone haunts us because the numbers match what we dial in an emergency.  Pictures of the horrific scenes draw out of our memories the fear and tears of that macabre day.  Hearing stories such as this one of a wife receiving ten years later a note her husband had written before he perished in a tower causes us to grieve for the losses once again.  What a day of evil 9/11/2001 was.

Yet there is a greater evil, friend, and I plead with you to be aware of it.

This greater evil is to reject Jesus as the only Lord and Savior as our nation continues to do.

Are We Really Supposed to Fear the Lord?

Every now and then, people ask me why the Bible talks so much about fearing the Lord. Isn’t it odd to speak of serving God using a word like “fear”? It is a good question, and one worthy of a careful answer.

The Hebrew word translated “fear” (yare’) does indeed mean just that. “Fear” is indeed a good English translation for the word. But we in the West understand the emotion fear a little differently than the Hebrew understanding of that same emotion. To explain, let me talk about a completely different English word for a moment: the English word passion. 

A Voting Question

During this election season, so often we ask or are asked the question, “Who are you going to vote for?”

Yet is there not a more elementary question we should be asking?

What is a vote?

How would you answer that question?   Though not often discussed explicitly by politicians and pundits, it is not difficult to discern what the majority of people think voting means in our culture.  Here briefly are three common expressions of what Americans consider a vote to be.

A Post About Post-ness

Are we to be congratulated for being a “post” society?  The word “post” has come to take on a subtle, special significance when used as a prefix in the world of sociology, philosophy and therefore theology.

The term is used in a general way to indicate “afterward.”  In history, the phrase “post-Reformation Europe” calls to mind a particular set of years and the ideas which have driven and defined it.  But in our culture, the term “post” means not merely a chunk of history and the ideas which animate it.  We use “post” as both a description of how things are and a prescription of how things should be.  It is a comment on the movement of society, but also a self-congratulatory compliment on the particular direction in which we’re heading. 

Computer Screen Verses

Pastors and elders, what about posting these verses above your computer screen to help with temptation?

Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’” He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they commit.” -Ezekiel 8:12-13 (ESV)

These “pictures” of which the angel speaks to Ezekiel come from a word that can be translated “idols” (NKJV), “imagery” (KJV), or “carved images” (NASB).   Be warned.  Acts of private unfaithfulness with pictures will lead to greater public abominations with people.  Jesus said it would be so – see Luke 12:2-3.

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Note: This post was generated by this sad story at Tim Challies and by a comment offered there.