Use It Well

In this fourth part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we get practical. What does it actually look like to live with the simplicity and contentment found only in Christ in some specific situations that everyone faces? We start this week with a situation that is powerful tempting for just about everyone to seek their contentment somewhere other than Jesus. Keep reading to find out where.

Use It Well

By a show of hands, how many of you have heard of Benny Hinn? The televangelist is a longtime peddler of the Prosperity Gospel. The Prosperity Gospel is a uniquely American heresy (that we have unfortunately exported around the world) which holds that God rewards faithfulness with material blessings, that worldly success is an obvious sign of God’s favor. It holds that the contrary is true as well: Poor health and financial loss and the like are signs of faithlessness on our part. If we aren’t seeing the life outcomes we want to see, it is because we don’t believe strongly enough. Hinn’s specialty is healing. His services are filled with him waving a hand in someone’s direction and that person falling over backwards as she is “slain by the Spirit.” In practice it’s pretty wild stuff.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: James 2:24

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

I’ve said many times before that context is king when it comes to understanding the Scriptures. I’ll continue to beat that drum until I have you dancing to it in your sleep. But there aren’t many verses for which such a reminder is so important as this one. Taken out of context, this verse threatens to unravel our whole understanding of salvation and seems to justify the stifling legalism that has given Christianity such a bad name in so many places. How do we get this right? 

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: John 20:2

“So she went running to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They’ve taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him!’”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

John wrote his account of Jesus’ life and ministry about 30 years after the other three gospels had already been recorded. In that time, the original three had no doubt been copied and shared numerous times. Their stories and presentations of the teachings of Jesus (along with the other New Testament letters) were likely already shaping the young church. The first three, though, were not without their problems. John had the opportunity, knowing that all the other eye-witnesses to the resurrection were probably dead, to “set the record straight.” So, what did he do? 

Read the rest…

Avoid Spiritual Amnesia

In part five of our series, Pursue: Chasing God in a Godless World, we pause to remember.  Along the way of our journeys after Jesus, problems and challenges are going to arise.  When these do, if we’re not careful, we can get so focused on dealing with them that we forget about the God who’s been helping us all along.  Keep reading to see what impact this can have and how we can avoid it.

 

Avoid Spiritual Amnesia

When was the last time you forgot something?  (And if you can’t remember, now counts.)  Forgetting things is frustrating.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out how some things stick, but others don’t.  Usually, it too often seems like the inane, unimportant things stick, while the important ones don’t.  That’s infuriating, isn’t it?  It’s infuriating for us, sure, but it’s infuriating for the people around us who were perhaps counting on us remembering them.  Guys—confession time—we do that more often than our wives do, don’t we?  I know I need to work on that all the time and I’ll bet some of you do too.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 1:4-5

“On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.  But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

We live in a day when the understanding of what marriage is at a definitional level is being lost. We used to know, but as we have gradually jettisoned the cultural influence of the Christian worldview we are losing it. An example of this is the issue of polygamy. Read the rest…