The Real Festivus Miracle

David Mathis
The Real Festivus Miracle

December 23 is circled on my calendar. It’s marked as a day to take a deep breath, refocus, and head into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a fresh sense of what this frenzied season is really about.

By December 23, most of us are up to our necks in holiday craziness and commercialization. We feel like we’re once again stumbling toward Christmas, exhausted and depleted by the most consumeristic season in history’s most consumeristic civilization. Two days before Christmas is... Continue Reading

World, Get With the Program: Joy! Joy! Joy!

John Piper
World, Get With the Program: Joy! Joy! Joy!

Isaac Watts wrote a book on logic and 750 hymns, including “Joy to the World.” That’s my kind of person! Lucid logic for seeing truth, and a living soul for feeling it and singing it. This is what we were created to be.

Watts wrote “Joy to the World” as Part Two of a meditation on Psalm 98. His title was: “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom.” Most agree he was writing about the second coming of Christ, not Christmas.

But it’s not that simple.

Past, Present, and Future

To be... Continue Reading

Mary’s Model for Mothers

Luma Simms
Mary’s Model for Mothers

For a mom living in an age where definitions of motherhood have become plastic, my radar is up for solid models of godly motherhood. We must not overlook one such model — Mary.

Many women were loved and blessed by God in the Scriptures, but one in particular was highly favored by God. The Angel Gabriel was sent to her to say:

Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! . . . Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:28, 30)

Of all the women in history, God... Continue Reading

Top 10 Books of the Year — Chosen by You

Jonathan Parnell
Top 10 Books of the Year — Chosen by You

It’s that time of year. The lineups are out.

The last few weeks of December present a nice opportunity to do a little inventory on the past twelve months, including the best books you’ve read. If you’ve visited some of our favorite sites over the last week, you’ve probably noticed some impressive lists. If you haven’t, go check them out.

For our list this year, rather than create our own, we’d decided to ask you, the readers. Confining it to books published within 2013,... Continue Reading

The Greatest Blessing Mary Received

Jon Bloom
The Greatest Blessing Mary Received

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (Luke 1:42)

Mary was unique in human history. It is absolutely true. She was “blessed among women” (Luke 1:42), and among men as well. She received the singular holy gift of being the mother of our Lord (Luke 1:43). God dwelled inside of her body in human form. Then he lived in her home and was under her care until adulthood.

Focusing on the Wrong Blessing

The mystery woven into Mary’s calling as Jesus’s... Continue Reading

This Is Not Worth Quacking About

David Mathis
This Is Not Worth Quacking About

Did A&E know what would happen when it suspended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson? Whether it was intentional or not, they are cashing in on trillions worth of free advertising.

Perhaps it’s really about LGBT rights at the cable and satellite television channel, half owned by Disney-ABC. But then there’s also the almighty dollar. Conceding to the LGBT agenda is increasingly what’s most profitable, what saves most face, and what brings least financial repercussion.... Continue Reading

Where Does True Love Come From?

Jason DeRouchie
Where Does True Love Come From?

How is love generated in our lives? The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 1:5, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

Love Overflows from a Pure Heart

From the heart “flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). “Out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). The heart is the factory of our soul that generates all desire, thought, emotion, and action. Our heart determines our identity, and that... Continue Reading

Good and Evil Are Not Equals

David Mathis
Good and Evil Are Not Equals

Don’t give Peter Jackson all the credit. He wasn’t the first to desire an adult version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s children’s story The Hobbit. According to author and scholar Colin Duriez, it was actually Tolkien himself who initially had the vision.

Tolkien wrote The Hobbit for children in the early 1930s. It wasn’t until the mid 1950s that he published its trilogy sequel for adults, The Lord of the Rings. Adults were so drawn to Tolkien’s work that late in life, he dreamed of... Continue Reading

You Will Never Be the Same

Owen Strachan
You Will Never Be the Same

Most evangelicals these days just want a gospel Snuggie. Wrap us up. Hold us tight. Numb us until we can feel nothing but hazy contentment. Go to sleep with a big smile on our face. We’re halfway into a dream when—

Someone is gripping our shoulder. He’s wrestling us awake. Our head hurts. Who is this crazy guy? A blurry man comes into focus. It’s Jesus. And — uh oh — he’s got a glint in his eye. That means trouble.

Come on, Jesus says. Wake up. We’ve got to get going.

Really, Jesus?... Continue Reading

Is It Sin to Experience Same-Sex Attraction?

Nick Roen
Is It Sin to Experience Same-Sex Attraction?

There is no way around it. Dealing with same-sex attraction is messy.

There are many issues that, at least on the surface, do not seem clear. Take this question, for example: Is same-sex attraction (SSA) itself sinful, and if so, how should we deal with it?

Here is my humble attempt at an answer.

Taking Our Cues from the Bible

First, note briefly three biblical observations:

1. The Bible explicitly says that impenitent homosexual acts, not homosexual desires, keep a... Continue Reading