The Closing Ceremonies and the End of History

Ed Uszynski
The Closing Ceremonies and the End of History

The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games have become events themselves, bookends to the highly anticipated competitions they bracket. Given the estimated billion people who watched both the Beijing and London opening ceremonies, the pre- and post- event spectacles arguably attract larger followings than the competitions themselves.

During these non-competitive portions of the games, we experience national pride in our “home team” combined with the... Continue Reading

What Dead Abel Speaks to Us

Jon Bloom
What Dead Abel Speaks to Us

The story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 tells much more about Cain than Abel. In fact, not one word is recorded from living Abel. But the author of Hebrews says that, “through [Abel’s] faith, though he died, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). So what is dead Abel speaking to us?

It was dusk. Cain was working late. Not wanting to face his parents, he was trying to disguise his guilt-infused fear with a preoccupation with his crops. Then suddenly the unmistakable voice of the Lᴏʀᴅ... Continue Reading

The Greatest Victory in All of History

Marshall Segal
The Greatest Victory in All of History

Why did Jesus die? You might have your favorite answer or verse.

He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

We live by and for Christ and him crucified. But have you ever thought about reasons he didn’t die? What are really bad answers to the question? The truth is there are answers — lots of them — that sadly and subtly undermine what... Continue Reading

The Chaos of Humility

Jonathan Parnell
The Chaos of Humility

Humility, for many of us, might just be mild-mannered niceness. We like to think of it all buttoned up and soft-spoken, cloaked in the quiet gray sweater his grandmother made, sitting by the modest fireplace of a friend’s home, patiently greeting and warming a crowded room of other virtues. Humility, as we might picture him, is the unnoticed nice guy who deflects all the praise and makes everyone else feel good.

But maybe we should reconsider.

For the Christian, virtue is better called... Continue Reading

Believer, Become What You Are

Marshall Segal

Romans 12:1–2,

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Believer, you died and the new you is alive, and you are God’s. The whole of our Christian life is learning to become —... Continue Reading

Finding the Fatherless: A Call to Fill the Gap

Phillip Holmes
Finding the Fatherless: A Call to Fill the Gap

It was my sophomore year in college. I sat frustrated in the office of our campus minister, Chad. I don’t exactly remember what I was frustrated about, just that I needed to vent and I knew Chad would listen.

We had only recently been introduced, but he was intentional about meeting with me. Initially, I wasn’t interested. It appeared we had nothing in common. Chad is white. I’m not. He is short. I’m not. He listens to bluegrass music. I didn’t, still don’t, and... Continue Reading

If You Don’t Have a Dramatic Testimony

Stephen Altrogge
If You Don’t Have a Dramatic Testimony

Everyone loves to hear an old-fashioned, rip-roaring, “glory!” conversion testimony.

You know the kind I’m talking about. The dude who was a member of the Crips, a meth dealer, and a mob hit man before he found Jesus. Or the girl who grew up in a Christian home, then got involved in drugs, then got pregnant, then joined a biker gang, then got saved. Or the hardcore atheist who hit rock-bottom, had some sort of existential crisis, and then found Jesus in the most... Continue Reading

A Tender Word for Pharisees

John Piper
A Tender Word for Pharisees

This Sunday I preached at Watermark Church in Dallas under the title “A Tender Word for Pharisees.” There are not many tender words for Pharisees in the mouth of Jesus. Mainly his words to Pharisees are tough, even terrifying (see Matthew 23).

The most moving words of tenderness for Pharisees are in Luke 15:25–31, the words of the father to the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son.

Luke 15 begins with Jesus eating with “tax collectors and sinners.” The Pharisees... Continue Reading

How to Heal When the Church Hurts You

Marshall Segal

Churches really ought to be a refuge for the weary, a safe house for the broken, a rescue for the abused and mistreated. These local expressions of God’s gathered people are meant to offer the love, hope, and healing that God himself offers us in the gospel.

Sadly, some of the most serious and enduring pain is inflicted by the church, by people in these churches. Sin creeps into the corners of our sanctuaries and corrupts leaders, ministries, and relationships. And it... Continue Reading

Put Yourself in the Path of God’s Grace

David Mathis
Put Yourself in the Path of God’s Grace

I can flip a switch, but I don’t provide the electricity. I can turn on a faucet, but I can’t make the water flow. There will be no light and no liquid refreshment without someone else providing it.

And so it is, in a limited sense, for the Christian with the ongoing grace of God. His grace is essential for our spiritual lives, but we don’t control the supply. We can’t make the grace flow, but God has given us circuits to connect and pipes to open in case it’s there.

... Continue Reading