In the first century, Jewish people had high hopes for the messiah. They expected him to defeat Israel’s enemies and free them from bondage. When Jesus appeared, those around him expected a victorious leader. Even at his ascension, the disciples wondered if he was about to restore the kingdom to Israel. Their expectation was for a physical victory, but they would eventually learn that his kingdom is much more profound. Continue reading
This is the first of what I hope become regular posts, each listing a Bible verse related to God’s voice in our lives. I’ve been noting these for some years, and recently counted over 250 of them. So the idea is to post each of these, sometimes with a little comment, just noticing how much the Bible says about God speaking.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:1–2 (ESV) Continue reading
Churches generally struggle to get people to be involved in service, and to live out the truth that everyone is to be a minister and use their gifts to serve God. The common teaching is that this is to be done in a local congregation, within an organized church.
However, it’s almost always a struggle to get people involved, despite repeated encouragement. This is often chalked up to apathy, or distractions, or people not prioritizing kingdom work appropriately. However, maybe there’s more to it, and the reason has more to do with God leading people to serve in ways not on the church list, but people don’t know how to do that. Or perhaps they don’t have a clear leading, don’t feel like committing to something without one, and don’t know how to seek the Lord about service. Continue reading
In today’s world of fake news and alternative facts, discernment is increasingly important. This is no less true in the spiritual realm, where it is even more important for eternal matters. Scripture gives guidance to practice discernment in a number of places, but one of the most direct is in 1 John 4. The common view of that verse seems to limit its application today, but careful examination reveals additional details that are very helpful. Continue reading
As Christians, we are to make disciples of Jesus, forming a growing group of people who become more and more Christ-like each day. To be successful at this, we need to understand what making disciples involves. Of course, it starts with evangelism and proclaiming the Gospel, but that is only the beginning of the lifelong activity of discipleship. To really be successful, we need to understand the difference between Christian discipleship and secular discipleship.
The discussion in this essay considers these things from a new perspective, and reveals something important that is often forgotten. Continue reading
In high-tech businesses, people labor in a world dominated by technology and finances. Because profit is the primary goal, it’s easy to become distracted. Yet we are still to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2). Some businesses have Christian newsletters, and that can help, as do prayer groups and Bible studies at work, and opportunities to minister to others. We are also to work diligently at our jobs, but is there a spiritual basis of the work itself? Continue reading
There are many aspects to one’s walk with the Lord, but knowing the Word is centrally important. Understanding the truths of Scripture is an example of having spiritual discernment in general, because the important things in Scripture are spiritual truths. There are many resources about interpreting the truths of Scripture as intellectual exercise, but these may not apply to all cases where one needs spiritual discernment. There seems to be something missing, and I think we can see that when we look at the New Testament’s teachings about discerning truth. For example, Paul had some wise words that can be applied to interpreting Scripture with the proper mindset: Continue reading