Putting Your City in Its Place

Jonathan Parnell

A few years ago, before starting a routine read through the Book of Acts, I picked up a green colored pencil to highlight every mention of cities and regions I might come across. Each occurrence of a geographical name was to be softly shaded. Beginning with “Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria” (Acts 1:8) to “Cyprus and Cyrene” (Acts 11:20) to Seleucia, Perga, Lystra, Attalia, Neapolis, and so forth,…

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Worship Where the Wild Things Are

Marshall Segal

One of the unavoidable realities of corporate worship in this world is distraction. Our minds are already prone to wander completely apart from anything happening around us in that room. But anyone who’s been in church for more than a few minutes knows there are always more things going on than we can ignore. Unruly children, unresolved conflict, uninhibited personalities, untalented singers, unsilenced technology, and an unending list of other…

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We Will Be Like Him

David Mathis

It’s almost too good to be true.

The Christian doctrine of glorification is stunning, to say the least. Not only we will see Jesus in all his new-creation glory, but we will share with him in it. “When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

If the Scriptures didn’t make it so plain, we wouldn’t have the gall to…

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How Can Self-Denial Be Hedonistic?

Jon Bloom

The Christian life is a journey to the greatest joy that exists. But “the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14). Why is that? Because, paradoxically, as Jesus’s disciples learned in Mark 8, in order to pursue our greatest joy, we must deny ourselves.

It was a moment of euphoria for the disciples. Jesus was the Christ. Peter had confessed it…

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History Could Happen Again

Nathan A. Finn

Jonathan Edwards wrote a number of books that became famous, even during his own lifetime. One of his lesser-known works was a 1746 book titled An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer, For the Revival and Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. Edwards wrote the book after learning about a group of Scottish ministers who circulated a “memorial”…

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Confessing Our Sins Together

Ryan Griffith

In a chapter on confession and communion in Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes that “he who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. . . . But it is the grace of the gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come as the sinner you are, to…

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Preparing for the Storms of Life

Christina Fox

Where I live it is hurricane season. And like anyone familiar with the Atlantic or Caribbean knows, it’s important to be prepared for a hurricane. Every summer we stock up on supplies of batteries, water, canned goods, and other necessities. We make sure to keep our tree limbs trimmed. We map out where we will go in the case of an evacuation.

For many who live near the coast though,…

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The Seven-Year Itch and the Joy of Lifelong Marriage

David Mathis

German politician Gabriele Pauli shocked her conservative party and sent waves through news outlets worldwide when she proposed in September 2007 that marriage should only last seven years.

Described at the time as “Bavaria’s most glamorous politician,” the 50-year-old, twice-divorced, motorcycle-riding Pauli campaigned for party head, in part, with the hopes of institutionalizing what some have called “the seven-year itch.” Her plan was that marriages would automatically dissolve after seven…

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The Aesthetics of Prophecy

Toby J. Sumpter

Beauty is all the rage. You can’t get three sentences in modern theology without tripping over words like “aesthetics” and “beauty” and “Christianity and the arts.” And in many ways this is a welcome shift. The several-century Christian retreat from the arts seems in many ways on its way to a full reversal. Francis Schaeffer has begotten many godchildren, and they are busy exploring, engaging, and perhaps most hearteningly, creating

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Primer on Reading the Bible

John J. Hughes

The Bible is not an ordinary book, and we will never taste its choicest fruits if we approach it in an ordinary manner. Here are seven short pieces of counsel, from a lifelong Bible-reader, to help you make the most of your own study of the Scriptures.

1. Exalt God’s Word

God exalts his word and name above all things (Psalm 138:2). His words are flawless, like silver refined in…

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