Most of the world assumes that who we are flows out of what we do. We answer questions regarding our identity by describing our occupations, hobbies, interests, and skills. “I am a farmer.” Or, “I raised five children.” Or, “I am a student.” Building our identity in this way wreaks havoc in two ways, however. (more…)
You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:23-25)
There are six people in my house. I don’t drink milk, because it’s gross. That leaves five milk consumers. Those five milk consumers go through, on average, four million gallons of milk per month. Or at least it seems like that. We buy milk every single time we go to the store, and still we run out every time before we get to the store again. No gallon of milk ever comes close to expiring in my fridge. Yet still, when we shop for milk, we try to find the “freshest” gallon we can – the gallon farthest from its expiration date. You do the same thing, I’m sure.(more…)
Deep inside each of us, we think that there is something about us that makes us acceptable to ourselves, to others, and to God. This is the reality of human nature. Perpetually, we rely upon some kind of spiritual resumé to make us worthy.(more…)
My daughter Elliot has fine blonde hair. Right now, it is quite long – and usually messy. When she goes to school or to church, her mom fixes it for her. But the rest of the time, she lets it go. It is always hanging down in her face or in her food.
Occasionally Elliot will take a balloon and rub it, hard and fast, against her shirt sleeve. Having done that, she’ll then take it and hold it beside her head, and all of her hair will immediately cling to that balloon. (more…)
…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25b).
Christ’s love for his bride is both unconditional and self-sacrificial. To say that another way, Christ loved his bride at great cost to himself – before she was attractive. He gave himself up for the church while she was still lost and dead in sin (see Romans 5:8), when she was living in utter rebellion against him. This is stunning. Consider why. (more…)
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:34)
We probably don’t use the word treasure all that often. When we do, we might imagine Johnny Depp absconding with some fictitious artifact while chased by eye-patched vagabonds in pirate gear. More apt in our culture is the word value. Our treasure is just that – what we value. In Luke 12, Jesus teaches that there is an ironclad link between what we value and our joy. (more…)
One key to growth in prayer is simple: Don’t give up. Be persistent. Be faithful. Be constant in prayer (Rom 12:12c).
The Lord genuinely wants us to pester him with prayer. I choose the word pester carefully and deliberately, largely because of Luke 18:1-9, which begins this way: And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Jesus teaches here that God delights in his people coming to him, again and again and again, with our prayers. That is what he wants. This is what he loves. Really. (more…)