The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Means

Matthew Westerholm

As a brand new worship leader, I loved choosing songs. I loved finding a new song that pounded my heart and changed my world. I loved arranging that new song so that the big key change would bring the shekinah glory. And when I placed five of these beloved songs in the perfect order, I was sure the heavens would rend, Christ would return, and the eschaton would arrive.

So,…

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Finding Heaven Through the Haze

Jonathan Parnell

There are many wonderful things that happen by means of prayer.

The greatest effect, of course, is that God is glorified. Jesus instructed us to pray, “Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). That is the deepest goal from which every other prayer is extrapolated. God has ordained the prayers of his people to be the way through which he accomplishes “the victory of Jesus over this world”…

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Sharpen Your Affections with Fasting

David Mathis

Fasting has fallen on hard times — at least, it seems, among our overstuffed bellies in the American church. I speak as one of the well-fed.

Sure, you’ll find your exceptions here and there. Some pockets even prize the countercultural enough to steer their vehicles into the ditch of asceticism. But they are vastly outnumbered by the rest of us veering toward the opposite shoulder. The dangers of asceticism are…

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Read, Reflect, Write (Repeat)

David Mathis

You are a writer.

Even if it’s just email. Even if it’s hardly anything of significance. Even if you’d never self-identify as a “writer,” or ever consider trying to make a living at something you’re so bad at.

But if you’re literate, chances are you’re not just reading words, but writing them as well. Now, you likely aren’t a very good writer if you don’t think of yourself as one…

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The Question

Jonathan Parnell

Every Christian does the work of ministry. Whether great or small, experienced or new, vocational or not — every Christian has some kind of ministry given them from God.

We all have a calling on our lives, in varying capacities, to bear witness to Jesus’s grace and follow his example in the service of others (John 13:15). Some are unsure about the specifics; others know it without doubt. Some are…

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Running with Jonah

Tim Keesee

“Not called,” did you say?

“Not heard the call,” I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burden, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go

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“Genitalia Are Not Destiny” — But Are They Design?

John Piper

Riding in the wake of the cultural speedboat of the destigmatization of same-sex intercourse is the mainstreaming of “gender non-conformists.” Witness the June 9 issue of Time. Laverne Cox, born a boy, is on the front page, in his chosen female identity.

Cox, the star of the Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black, gives a lengthy and illuminating online interview with Time reporter Katy Steinmetz. It is…

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Side by Side on Sundays

Daniel Souza

I’m just not getting fed at church.
The music doesn't really connect with me.
I wish the preacher would use more stories or illustrations.

Have you heard those statements before? Or maybe, like me, you’ve even said them yourself — or something like them? After all, isn’t that the purpose of our weekly corporate worship gatherings — to be fed? Sadly our preferences too often shape our perceptions of worship,…

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The Peril and Potential of Youth Athletics

David Mathis

Remember, it’s only a game.

That’s an important prompt in youth athletics — not just for the kids, but even more so for coaches bent on winning and parents pressing to live vicariously through their children.

Against the backdrop of our societal obsession with sports is the craziness that has become youth athletics. Once it was just a game; the goal was a good time. Now it can feel like…

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When Wasting Your Life Is Worship

Jon Bloom

We all are happiness hunters. We are all treasure seekers. And as Judas and Mary illustrate, there’s one sure way to measure what we treasure: what we’re willing to spend to obtain it.

The dinner table was buzzing with happy conversation. As Lazarus fielded a stream of questions about what it was like to die and Martha cleared empty plates and filled empty wine bowls, Mary quietly slipped away into…

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