At Bethlehem Baptist Church and at Desiring God we use the term “God-centered” a lot. Here is one simple way to tell what we mean and test yourself to see if you are God-centered.
The psalmist describes the motivation of God in saving sinners like this:
Both we and our fathers have sinned... Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. (Psalms 106:6, 8)
God was motivated to rescue them and us from our sin and its penalty “for his name’s sake.” What does “for his name’s sake” mean? It means “that he might make known his mighty power.”
What we mean when we say God is “God-centered” is that he acts like that. He saves for the …
Dear friends of TBI,
With trembling gratefulness in my heart, I look at the remarkable cluster of visionary ministries growing like fruit on the tree of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
- We are a kind of mission sending agency with 85 foreign missionary units (families or singles) who count Bethlehem as their main sending base.
- Campus Outreach has exploded in its four-plus years at Bethlehem with 25 staff on four campuses.
- Desiring God has been spreading resources and holding conferences for over a decade and nourishes people around the world with its Internet presence.
- Children Desiring God is transforming the way children are nurtured in over two thousand churches in the US …
There he sat, the scum of society, a sorry piece of work begging the condescending mercy of pious passersby going in and out of the temple. Enough mercy and he could eat.
The blind man in John 9 didn’t have many vocational options. He had been born blind. And it was his own fault. As a fetus this man sinned in the womb against the Almighty. Either that or his parents had sinned and cursed him. Whichever, he was suffering his just punishment. Those who had been righteous fetuses walked by and sometimes dropped a coin in his hand.
You see, in the law and prophets God had not explained exactly why one person suffers more than another. So theologians surmised that a person’s suffering …
One of the greatest hope-killers is that you have tried for so long to change and have not succeeded. Now you look back and think: What’s the use? Even if I could experience a breakthrough, there would be so little time left to live in my new way it wouldn’t make much difference compared to so many decades of failure.
That’s not true. Suppose you only had five years left to live with a new victory over some old way. Or suppose you only had a year, or a month, or an hour? Would it matter?
At this point stir the thief on the cross into your thinking. At first he was railing at Jesus (Matthew 27:44). Then he was broken by what he saw and repented and cried out for mercy: “Jesus, rememb…
For Noël on Mother’s Day
She sits, the needles in her hands
looping and hooking her heart
into this little blue blanket,
and without any pink strands
stitches closed her wounds.
I'm working on a book on the new birth. The final chapter is designed to give encouragements for personal evangelism. I just added a quote by C. S. Lewis that I love. Here’s the whole section to help you move toward people:
Find People Interesting
Be encouraged that simply finding people interesting and caring about them is a beautiful pathway into their heart. Evangelism gets a bad reputation when we are not really interested in people and don’t seem to care about them. People really are interesting. The person you are talking to is an amazing creation of God with a thousand interesting experiences. Remember the words of C. S. Lewis:
It is a serious thing to live in a so…
It is essential to say grand old truths again and again. There is ample evidence in the Bible that they are quickly forgotten.
Remember, there are different kinds of forgetting.
One is that great truths are gone out of the mind never to return. The other is that they are gone out of the mind for a season (a day, a year) while we languish in discouragement and sin.
Don’t follow Israel here:
“And the people of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side.” (Judges 8:34)
Rather, submit to Peter:
“I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the…
To mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of the modern State of Israel, let’s listen to a voice from 100 years before this state was born.
Who was it that said in 1867 that the existence of the Jews in the modern world was an insurmountable obstacle in the way of reasonable unbelief? It was J. C. Ryle. And who was he? J. I. Packer, quoting Richard Hobson and calling it a “just estimate,” describes Ryle like this:
He was great in stature; great in mental power; great in spirituality; great as a preacher and expositor of God’s most holy Word; great in hospitality; great as a writer of Gospel tracts; great as an author of works that will long live; great as a Bishop of the Re…
The following meditation comes from my devotional lingering over Psalm 96:7. All the modern versions translate it, “Ascribe to the Lord...strength” (ESV, NIV, NASB). Only the KJV renders it with the literal, “Give unto the Lord...strength.”
There’s nothing unusual about this Hebrew word “give” (yahab). It’s used over sixty times in the Old Testament in all the ordinary ways the word give is used.
The word ascribe in Psalm 96:7 is an interpretation. It’s a paraphrase. It’s a good interpretation, I think, but, as with all paraphrases, it short circuits our reflection...
Read the whole article.
As the carnage from Cyclone Nargis moves toward 50,000 dead and beyond, there is a way to pray and act:
1. Be softened to the pain nearby.
The Good Samaritan knew nothing of the calamities in first century Burma, but was commended by the Lord for mercies at hand (Luke 10:25-37).
2. Pray for the followers of Christ in Myanmar:
- That they would be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10; 100:3).
- That they would be awakened from the illusion that this life is long or sure or the main point of eternal existence (James 4:14).
- That they would be given a new vision of the supreme value of Christ who promises his followers that famine, nakedness, and death will n…