See Through the Sour Wine

Jonathan Parnell
See Through the Sour Wine

It was an act of cruelty, not comfort. That is what we see in the last minutes of Jesus’s life, as described in the Gospel of Mark.

Customary of Mark, he gets straight to the point in Mark 15:33. The sixth hour had come and brought darkness. Now it was the ninth hour, three in the afternoon, darkness still smothering the landscape. And Jesus cries out with a loud voice,

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?

Mark tells us the Aramaic because that is exactly what Jesus said. The details are... Continue Reading

The Dead Snake Handler and the Dead Poet’s Society

Jon Bloom
The Dead Snake Handler and the Dead Poet’s Society

On February 15, Jamie Coots, pastor of Full Gospel Tabernacle in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and co-star of National Geographic’s reality show Snake Salvation, died from a snakebite to the hand. Christianity Today has the story. It was his ninth bite in twenty years. The previous eight made him very ill. Once he even lost a finger.

Snake handling as a form of worship is practiced by a small number of churches mostly in the rural southeastern United States. It... Continue Reading

Learn to Fly in the Fellowship

David Mathis
Learn to Fly in the Fellowship

It’s a shame the word “fellowship” has fallen on hard times in some circles, and is dying the death of domestication and triviality. It is an electric reality in the New Testament, an indispensable ingredient in the Christian faith, and one of God’s chief means of grace in our lives.

The koinonia — the commonality, partnership, fellowship — which the first Christians shared wasn’t a common love for pizza, pop, and a nice clean evening of fun among the fellow churchified. It... Continue Reading

Right Thinking Is for Deep Feeling

David Mathis
Right Thinking Is for Deep Feeling

Doctrine is for the sake of delight. Christian theology does not exist for its own sake, but for our desiring and enjoying Christ.

Simply put, the mind is meant to serve the heart. Thinking serves feeling. God gave us the ability to learn and reason, so that we might admire and treasure him above anything else. Right thinking is for deep feeling.

A Message for Every Human

Recently, John Piper addressed the students of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. The... Continue Reading

15 Prayers for God’s Power

John Piper
15 Prayers for God’s Power

I love strength. I love the word “mighty,” as in “Mighty Woman of God,” and “Mighty Man of God.” I love to hear that “Moses was mighty in his words and deeds” (Acts 7:22), and that Apollos was “mighty in the scriptures” (Acts 18:24).

I love it when Paul says, “Act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13), or, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10), or, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).

But make no mistake, the... Continue Reading

Four Kinds of Churches Worth Leaving

John Knight
Four Kinds of Churches Worth Leaving

The saddest stories I hear from parents raising a child with a disability don’t involve schools, insurance companies, or hospitals. The stories that elicit the most bitter words, and tears, are the ones about churches that abandon families with a disabled child because they are “just too difficult to deal with.”

This really happens. Too many parents are told, directly and indirectly, by a pastor or church leader or Sunday School volunteer: You do not belong here. This is... Continue Reading

The Problem with Jesus

Carl Laferton
The Problem with Jesus

When it comes to outreach, we have a problem with Jesus.

Not a problem with who Jesus is, of course. Jesus is the answer to all our deepest questions and longings. He is the compassionate one the broken search for, the forgiving one the flawed need, the strong one the weak can cry to, the challenging one the self-righteous require.

In evangelism, as in all ministry, if we’re not talking about Jesus, we’re missing the point and we’re missing the power.

Imagine Jesus

So what’s the problem?... Continue Reading

Meeting with God

Pat Sczebel
Meeting with God

It is Saturday night, and my wife and I are just about to tuck our second batch of kids into bed. Yup, that’s right, our birth children are all grown up now, and for some crazy reason, we’ve adopted three more and are fostering a baby. This now gives us the privilege of repeating to our younger kids (ages twelve, ten, nine, and one) much of what we taught our older kids about the joy of gathering Sunday mornings as a church.

This past week I asked them to give me a name of someone they... Continue Reading

God Is Bigger Than Your Sin

Marshall Segal

We have all been evil and received evil. The shame of sin and the pain of being sinned against are universally felt in every human heart because we’re born into sin and into a world of sinners. Sin corrupts, and it hinders God’s purposes in our lives.

Or does it? In this 5-minute clip, John Piper asks, “What sins within you or against you are filling you with a sense of inadequacy, which — if you really believed God were sovereign over sin — could not stop you from fulfilling... Continue Reading

The Insanity of Leaning on Our Own Understanding

Jon Bloom
The Insanity of Leaning on Our Own Understanding

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5–6)

When the Bible tells us in this verse not to lean on our own understanding, it is not encouraging us to be irrational. The Bible puts up no wall of separation between our intellect and faith. In fact, the book of Proverbs speaks very highly of understanding: