Christian Living

Can You Do ALL Things?

"Knowing the context, to what does “all things” refer? Does it refer to anything at all? Does it mean that you can climb a mountain on an extreme wilderness hike? Does it mean that you can win a football game if you pray beforehand? Does it mean that you can pass your exam at school? Does it mean that you can go to work and exceed the sales goals at work because you claimed this promise by faith? ....it doesn’t mean any of these things." - P & D

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Where Must Faith Always Look

Where Must Faith Always Look? I’m sure we all know that the answer is Christ – at least we ought to! I know, but I’m afraid I don’t always live it. I need constant reminders. So this isn’t me sermonizing (I’m unqualified); it’s a confession of my failing, and a passing on of a message from someone else…

That someone else is Ian Hamilton. The message comes from his little book The Faith Shaped Life. In the Chapter Where Faith Always Looks, Hamilton tells us that he has never been in the habit of making New Year resolutions. But he then recounts why he broke the habit of not making a resolution.

The reason he broke his habit was that he’d been reading through the Letter to the Hebrews. Hamilton noted that it was a “fascinating,” “sobering,” “and richly encouraging read.” The Hebrew Christians had come under the influence of false teaching and were pressured to “give up on Christ and return to Judaism.”

Hamilton writes that, “They had become ‘dull of hearing’ (Heb. 5:11).” They had slowly become spiritually deaf. They allowed the (significant) pressures of life to “de-centre Jesus in their lives” and “he was no longer the chief object of their faith and the first call upon their love.” The writer admonishes them to consider Christ (Heb 3:1, 12:2-3)!

This is a human condition I must contend with on a daily basis. It’s a daily struggle for me. And I bet I’m not alone.

Hamilton notes:

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“It might cheer you up to know there’s a good reason for Christians to be of good cheer”

"...there’s a phrase in the King James Bible I was looking at recently: 'Be of good cheer.' In Greek, it’s just a single word (θαρσεῖτε). But as our English language has changed, Bible translations have changed to keep up with accurately communicating the sense of this word. What does it mean? How is it used?" - Brent Niedergall

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From the Archives – Good and Angry

They may not be many in number, but they do exist: Christians who are thoroughly confused about anger. During counseling, reading, and sermon-listening, four myths have come to my attention repeatedly. Here’s a brief, non-expert—but hopefully thought-provoking—response.

Myth 1: If you don’t let it out, anger will drive you crazy.

This popular notion probably has its roots in Freudian psychoanalysis. Freud’s million-dollar idea (or at least the pop-psych version of it) was that the human subconscious sort of reroutes “repressed” emotions into psychoses that seem unrelated to their causes. Pent up anger can eventually make you think you’ve been abducted by aliens or that people you know and love are afflicted by a strange disease only you know about and that you have to shoot them to cure them. So, to be healthy, we must express not repress.

This kind of thinking about anger is common in popular film and television. If only the serial killer had openly expressed his anger, he would never have become such a monster. Cue commercial.

Sometimes Christians view anger this way as well. “I just need to vent,” they say.

But if we remove the Freudian assumptions, the idea that it’s healthy to openly express anger looks highly questionable. Is there really a place anger goes to lurk when we’re not feeling it? Certainly our thoughts and beliefs live in memory, but what if anger—and other emotions—really exist only when we’re feeling them?

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Should we stop thinking “work-life balance” and start thinking work-life integration?

"When I sought 'balance,' I felt guilty when I 'worked' during the evening because that was 'family time,' and I would have felt guilty if exercised during the day because that is 'work' time. Which is one reason I gained 30 pounds as a ministry leader in my early 30s" - 5 Ways Thinking Work-Life Integration Has Helped Me

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From the Archives: Should We Suffer Fools Gladly?

Just about everybody complains about the quality of discourse on the Internet. In my experience, it isn’t much worse than the quality of discourse most other places—with one important exception. Foolishness of the verbal variety has always required cheap and easy forms of communication in order to really thrive. The talk of fools is not merely ignorant but impulsive, spontaneous. So, for centuries, the cost of publishing has been a mitigating factor, filtering much of the worst sort of foolishness out of the world of the written word. Printed error tended to at least be thoughtful error.

But decades of steadily-improving Internet technology have changed all that. Now any idiot who can click a mouse can publish his insights for the eyes of millions at the cost of pocket change. And since the Web also facilitates rapid interaction (of the sort previously limited to conversation), fools can now speak or write their minds (Prov.18:2) at each other at a rate, and with a passion (Prov. 12:16), previously undreamt of.1

So it’s probably fair to say: there’s no foolishness like Internet foolishness.

There is a bright side to Web publishing and interaction. I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t believe that. But today, in honor of All Fools Day, let’s consider some principles for dealing with fools and foolishness—including the Web variety.

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