Whenever you start to become a part of a new community, it is hard. There’s a period when you’re “just starting,” then you move into a “I think I sort of understand what’s going on” stage. During these stages, you may dip your toes into different groups and try to find a groove, your place. I’ve found that this is the stage where I despair. Nothing seems to fit just right; I feel like I don’t truly know anyone and I think that I’ll never be able to truly be involved.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
I was recently reading an article about how as Christians we can have productive political conversations. In it the author said that as Christians, we are in the right position to have good conversations with other Christians because we have the same foundation of beliefs. We can talk in a positive manner about political beliefs we may not share, because first and foremost we have belief in the same Savior, Jesus. I think this same principle applies to talking about Jesus to people who do not yet know the Gospel. We need to find the common foundation and establish authenticity before we discuss our beliefs about Jesus. Where can we find this common ground? And how do we establish authentic connection?Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
This is an adapted excerpt from 5 Things You Can Do To Have a Stronger Family in the You Can Do It Series!
“Add value to someone’s life today.” This encouragement introduces a different perspective to how most people understand the more common “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” golden rule. it’s tempting to see the golden rule as a karmic transaction—people anticipate getting to the degree they give. This misinterpretation is driven by greed and is dangerous because it leads to the conclusion that those who receive much good obviously deserve it and those who receive very little don’t deserve any more. in contrast is the concept of your life as a channel for adding real value, centered in god and the salvation offered through His Son, Jesus Christ. This encouragement places the emphasis clearly on what is being given with no word yet on whether we’ll receive a return on that investment. It reminds us of how God gave everything to us regardless of what we could or couldn’t give in return.
The first week of warmer weather always boosts my mood. I lived 22 years of my life in Michigan so when the first sign of t-shirt weather comes around, I’m outside. Cabin fever is a real thing. Spring weather, the coming warmth of summer, budding on the trees, the boost in mood, looking toward the end of a long season of loneliness, reminds me that God is making all things new through Christ. It makes me grateful and thankful.
Whenever I am coming out of a harder time, I find it helpful to focus on the newness of the day, week, month, or season. Let’s look to God’s Word as we soak in the newness of today.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
We were out to dinner with friends who were visiting us for the first time. As we enjoyed sharing an appetizer and waited for our meals, the conversation turned to our seminary experience. As we discussed what our next year of this journey may look like, questions about our church preferences came up. We always try to answer questions like these as carefully as possible with our non-Christian friends. We don’t want their impressions of the Church to be contingent on what our worship preferences, practices, and experiences are. But this was the “in” our friend was looking for to air his grievances about what he believes is a corrupt institution and unfair god.
How do we respond?Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
As we move into a time in between past/normal/precedented and COVID/not normal/unprecedented, our evangelism efforts may feel stuck. No one wants more events that happen over Zoom, and it’s also still not wise to gather without precautions. We want our unsaved/unchurched neighbors to know we care for them. So how do we spread God’s Word and invite others into the community of church during this time?Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
The first time I realized the full weight of the gift of the cross, I was in a college classroom. In my freshman year of college, I had the immense pleasure of taking UC 154. When I saw it in the Winter 2016 (I'm young, I know) course guide, I knew that it could be wonderful or disastrous. The course was titled “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Themes of Medicine in the Old and New Testament.” As a freshman at a state university, I knew that this class could be an opportunity for the professor to “get even” with religion and use pain they may have received from the church of their youth to belittle or speak against the Bible. Or this class could have been a look into the Bible from a perspective I hadn’t studied before; it could be a class that stretched my understanding of Scripture. I didn’t know which it would be. So, I emailed the prof.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
This is an adapted excerpt from A Year in the Old Testament: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year by Jeffrey Pulse. On Wednesday Lent 2, we look at the wondrous love the Father shows us and how it connects to the story of Abraham and Isaac.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
The season of Lent asks us to remember our fate if we rely on ourselves. It asks us to recognize that we can try and try and try to be righteous, but we will fail. It reminds us that we will die. That we are dust. Bleak, right? Yes, but it’s also true. We daily experience our own failings and the brokenness of the world around us. While we do need to “memento mori” or remember our death, we also need to know that when we trust in Christ and His promises, we will know that He provides everlasting life.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
I’m a pretty active and avid social media user. I’m not a part of the generation that has grown up with social media all around, but I did get my first email account when I was 12. I used it to message my cousins and other close friends before I was allowed to get a Facebook account. I know the power of social media. I’ve seen it used for good as a means to fund a child’s dream or help a family down on its luck. I’ve seen communities form and friendships flourish. But I’ve also seen it create rifts. With such a powerful tool, sin enters. What is good can also sour.
We Christians know that when we witness to Christ’s resurrection and salvation, we do so with the help of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we need to be aware that our social media use affects our witness. Here are three tips for making sure your social media posts are used for God’s glory.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]