Blog Posts on Sanctification & Growth

Eternity Changes Everything

Stephen Witmer
Eternity Changes Everything

All Christians go to heaven. But some leap and stride into paradise from their deathbeds — peaceful, confident, and happy. Others limp and shuffle — clinging, denying, and frightened. Why the difference?

In my experience, it’s what they know (or don’t know) about what’s coming next. Jesus has guaranteed his people a glorious future. But have they fully grasped what he has fully secured? Those who haven’t will likely die clinging to a broken present rather than a perfect future.... Continue Reading

Three Reasons to Get Some Sleep

Jonathan Parnell
Three Reasons to Get Some Sleep

Life is short. Stay awake for it.

So goes the tagline for the second largest coffee franchise in America. It’s catchy and practical. Drink our coffee, it suggests, not merely for its taste, but for its benefits, that is, to be awake to life. And the reason being — here comes the resonating connection — life is short. The clock is ticking. Our days are numbered. And we Christians agree (Psalm 90:10; 103:15–16; James 4:14).

Life is too short to sleep all the time.

But life is... Continue Reading

Speaking Truth in Love

Tony Reinke
Speaking Truth in Love

God has called you to serve me, and me to serve you, by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). This mutual ministry is what drives me to write truth, and to read and listen to truth from friends.

But “speaking the truth in love” is not so simple as hitting a few keys on my laptop. It requires a cosmic backstory to pull off.

The Apostle Paul breaks the story into three movements in Ephesians 4.

Movement 1: The Gifter Ascends (Ephesians 4:7–10)

The backstory to spiritual gifts begins... Continue Reading

Putting Off Cynicism

Paul Maxwell
Putting Off Cynicism

Cynicism is the attitude that encapsulates the ethos of twentysomethings par excellence. It is, I think, the most covert negative emotion. We harbor it in Christian garb: cynicism toward immature men (“man-boys”), hipsters, a denomination or movement, clichés, and a thousand other things.

Cynicism is so undetectable because it is so justifiable. It wears a mask of insight and godliness, but it conceals festering wounds of harbored bitterness against God and neighbor. We need to... Continue Reading

Love Is Not a Verb

Jon Bloom
Love Is Not a Verb

Two weeks ago, I encouraged us all to make a 2014 resolve to “pursue love” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Based on the following statements by Jesus, I would say that love is the most important thing to pursue this year.

[The greatest commandment:] You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37–39)

This is my commandment,... Continue Reading

Seven Details to See in Your Past

Jonathan Parnell
Seven Details to See in Your Past

The grace of Jesus Christ not only covers our past and sustains our present, but also creates for us a future.

In him our sins are forgiven and we are declared righteous. In him we are sanctified and progressively being transformed into his image. In him we are inseparable from the Father’s love and we can rest assured — no matter what distress may come — he is never letting us go. Past, present, and future.

Our tomorrow is profoundly secure, and one of the best ways to... Continue Reading

Grace Has Brought Me Safe Thus Far

Tony Reinke
Grace Has Brought Me Safe Thus Far

This first weekend of 2014 affords many of us an opportunity to hit “pause” on this busy opening week and to reflect, backward and forward, on our own lives.

Essential at the beginning of every new year is to set aside time to reflect on life, according to eighteenth-century slave-ship-captain-turned-pastor John Newton (1725–1807). This practice was embedded into his personal disciplines, and it emerged as a hallmark of his pastoral work. He penned new hymns and sermons... Continue Reading

Jesus Must Increase: A Prayer for the New Year

Jon Bloom
Jesus Must Increase: A Prayer for the New Year

“Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

If the prayer below captures in some way the deep longings of your heart, I invite you to join me in making it a prayer for 2014.

O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

When John the Baptist made the beautiful declaration in the text above about your Son’s public prominence eclipsing his, it completed his joy! His joy was full! And we know that this was only... Continue Reading