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Been Thinking About

Been Thinking About

Articles by Been Thinking About

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Who Am I?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is widely remembered as a German author and pastor who was arrested in 1943 for his role in resisting the policies of the Nazi government. While in prison he continued to write and was assisted by sympathetic guards who smuggled his letters to the outside. He was executed on 9 April 1945 as […]

The Spirituality of AA

I recently heard a friend say that going to an Al-Anon meeting was like going to church. This person talked about what it was like to be able sit together in such broken love. I’ve heard others talk or write about what it is like to walk into other12 Step meetings where they immediately feel […]

Why is the Bible Called the Word of God?

This is an important question because there are many voices in the Bible. In its pages we hear our Creator quoted as saying, “Let there be light”, and Satan’s subtle challenge, “Did God really say…?” Between the first words of Genesis and the last words of Revelation we find prophets and poets speaking in their […]

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Mindsight and Violence

In an unpredictably violent world it’s hard to think straight. This isn’t all bad. In dangerous moments our survival often depends on reactions that enable us to act quickly either in our own behalf or for the sake of others—when we don’t have time to think. Way too often, however, we all end up doing […]

Coming Together into 2015

Day is starting here in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. at 15 degrees with blowing and drifting snow. Just got a phone voicemail alert that our offices have a 2 hour delay in opening as we all dig out and face the icy, snow covered roads. As you can see, I have access […]

In Mystery and Hope

As we recall the events of 2014, the tragic loss of AirAsia 8501 renews memories of the lingering sorrow and lack of closure on flight MH370. The mystery of the missing Malaysian flight and all of the unanswered questions surrounding it are a reminder that, even in an age of instant access to global information, […]

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Peace on Earth

Moments of peace point beyond themselves to One far better than ourselves. Sainsbury’s, the third largest chain of supermarkets in the UK, has produced a Christmas 2014 Ad that rises above its commercial interests. In attempting to re-create a World War 1 Christmas “miracle”, it provides a taste of peace, foreseen in an ancient prophecy […]

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A New Testament

In our last conversation, Bill mentioned a book by Gaylord Enns called Love Revolution. I remember reading it some time ago, finding it to be a surprisingly important book, and then forgetting about it. So went to my shelves this past week, found it, and have been mulling over it ever since. In this book […]

Am I Listening?

Am thinking it might be important to have another conversation about issues of authority and obedience. Many of us have been taught to net out our relationship with God in two words— trust and obey. Trust God. Do what he says. Could anything make more sense than the thought that our Creator God deserves our trust and obedience? […]

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Ed’s Story: Gratitude

Some of you may have seen the story of Ed Dobson either on a widely distributed CNN.com link or on the five Day of Discovery conversations that I did with Ed about his experience with a slow progressing form of ALS. I just got word from Ed’s wife, Lorna, that the Moody Radio Network is […]

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Simplicity and Complexity

I found the conversation following the last post  thoughtful and encouraging. Yet my heart aches for the friends who, as Jeff1 suggests, have been led to distraction, disappointment, and disillusionment by false leads about the Bible. In that regard, I think Pooh’s questions about how to recognize misinformation about the Spirit and Word especially helpful. […]

As Philae Sleeps

Some of us have lived long enough to remember reading about, the Russian accomplishment of putting Uri Gagarin in space, followed by the US achievement of landing Neil Armstrong on the moon. Now European scientists have given us a new memory. Will we ever forget the day this week when we first saw those crisp […]

The Heart of a Park Ranger

While thinking more about our Father’s world, I found an inspiring article in the BBC Online Magazine about Africa’s oldest national park. It’s the story of Andre Bauma, a park ranger, who describes how, in addition to his love for his family, has found a special place in his heart for an adopted orphan gorilla […]

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Her Father’s Zoo

June Williams was only four when her father bought seven acres of land to build a “zoo without bars”. Growing up with exotic animals, one of her closest friends was Mary the chimpanzee. June tried to teach Mary to tie a knot but never succeeded. She inherited her father’s empathy for animals and recalls his […]

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Why God Withholds

In Haddon Robinson’s booklet on The Lord’s Prayer, he quotes from George MacDonald’s comment on Luke 18:1. The section that Haddon quotes ended with the thought, “God withholds that man will ask.” I thought the quote was so thought provoking that I went back to the original source and am copying what I found here. […]

Related Topics

> Featured

> Biblical Studies

A powerful exchange between Jesus and a religious lawyer

The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the greatest short stories Jesus ever told. Today we take a look at the stirring conclusion to a powerful exchange.

A narrow-minded heart exposed

Teachers cringe at this question from their students: “Is this going to be on the test?” This question reveals to teachers that the students have focused their interest on getting a good grade, rather than learning. Join us on “Discover the Word” as we discuss why Jesus told the classic story of the Good Samaritan.

One of the most familiar stories Jesus ever told

Questions and answers. Sometimes we ask questions we already know the answer to. Sometimes we ask questions to reveal what the other person does not know! Today on “Discover the Word,” we explore how Jesus used questions and answers to reveal a man’s heart. Don’t miss this insightful conversation.

> Christian Beliefs

Disappointing Heroes

A recent book that puts a fictional flavor on a slice of US history portrays Old West gunslingers Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday as shiftless bums. In an interview with National Public Radio, the author said of the real Earp, “He didn’t do anything remarkable his whole life, ever.” Through the years, in books and Hollywood movies, they’ve become heroes. Yet reputable historical accounts show that they were not.

In contrast, the Bible is full of flawed people who became real heroes. But don’t lose sight of the vital source of their heroic actions. The object of their faith was God,…

The Bible: Why Does It Endure? Part I

Take a closer look at the fascinating process of biblical research that helps reveal the foundations and credibility of the timeless wisdom of the Bible. Dr. Daniel Wallace, biblical scholar and researcher, uncovers results that point to the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Gain a deeper understanding of what is revealed in the […]

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Living Your Theology

Beware of not acting upon what you see in your moments on the mountaintop with God. If you do not obey the light, it will turn into darkness. “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23). The moment you forsake the matter of sanctification or neglect anything else on which God has given you His light, your spiritual life begins to disintegrate within you.

> Christian Living

Purpose in Routine

A rolling-ball clock in the British Museum struck me as a vivid illustration of the deadening effects of routine. A small steel ball traveled in grooves across a tilted steel plate until it tripped a lever on the other side. This tilted the plate back in the opposite direction, reversed the direction of the ball and advanced the clock hands. Every year, the steel ball traveled some 2,500 miles back and forth, but never really went anywhere.

It’s easy for us to feel trapped by our daily routine when we can’t see a larger purpose. The apostle Paul longed to be…

Speak the Truth, or Keep Silent?

If you’ve ever wondered what it means to be candid, talk to my mother. If she didn’t like something, she’d say so without mincing her words. If she felt we were making the wrong decision, she’d harp on how the cons outweighed the pros.

Friends Through Thick and Thin

Without my dear college friends and sisters, my wedding would not have been possible. A photo of my bridesmaids shows them in their pretty dresses and bearing bright smiles, but these belie the many hours and days of frantic efforts to put a wedding together in spite of a famously indecisive bride.

> Christian Ministry & the Church

first love

Growing communities, rooted in God’s love and story, reaching out and restoring lives.

Reflecting God’s Glory

The 12th-century Chinese artist Li Tang painted landscapes animated with people, birds, and water buffalo. Because of his genius with fine line sketches on silk, Li Tang is considered a master of Chinese landscape art. For centuries, artists from around the world have depicted what they see in God’s art gallery of creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). The Bible tells us that our creativity as human beings comes from being made in the image of the Master Creator (Gen. 1:27).

God chose artists who worked with wood, gold, silver, bronze,…

two things we need

Fire requires oxygen and fuel in tandem to keep burning—something that’s important to know in my part of the world when winter snowstorms come calling! If you don’t have enough oxygen flowing to the logs you’ve set ablaze, the fire will die down. And if you run out of wood, you’ll soon be trying to warm your hands over cooling ashes!

> Christianity & Culture

The Search for Meaning: Science & God

Using debate-tested conclusions and simple illustrations, Science & God examines the tension between science and religion to clarify the issues.

The Search for Meaning: What Matters

This documentary puts worldviews under the microscope and walks you through four predictable stages of life to help you sort out and process your quest for meaning.

5 Ways to Live for Yourself

What’s all this about “denying yourself” and “living for others”? Look, I know we can’t decide when we were born and when we will die, but come on, I have every right to decide how I should live. This life belongs to me.

> Devotionals

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The Purpose of Prayer

Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life.

why disobey?

Why should I obey this commandment from God? I pondered. Is it because the consequences of disobeying Him would be bad? Hmm, but is that all? Ah, I see it now—my thinking was turned around. I should have asked, “Why would I disobey?”

Disappointing Heroes

A recent book that puts a fictional flavor on a slice of US history portrays Old West gunslingers Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday as shiftless bums. In an interview with National Public Radio, the author said of the real Earp, “He didn’t do anything remarkable his whole life, ever.” Through the years, in books and Hollywood movies, they’ve become heroes. Yet reputable historical accounts show that they were not.

In contrast, the Bible is full of flawed people who became real heroes. But don’t lose sight of the vital source of their heroic actions. The object of their faith was God,…

> Ethical Issues

I’ve Come to Help

Reporter Jacob Riis’s vivid descriptions of poverty in 19th-century New York City horrified a generally complacent public. His book How the Other Half Lives combined his writing with his own photographs to paint a picture so vivid that the public could not escape the certainty of poverty’s desperate existence. The third of fifteen children himself, Riis wrote so effectively because he had lived in that world of terrible despair.

                 Shortly after the release of his book, he received a card from a young man just beginning his political career. The note read simply, “I have read your book, and I…

Speak Up

When I hear stories about young people who have been bullied, I notice there are always at least two levels of hurt. The first and most obvious comes from the mean-spirited nature of those actually doing the bullying. That’s terrible on its own. But there’s another, deeper hurt that may end up being even more damaging than the first: The silence of everyone else.

It hurts the one being bullied because they’re stunned that no one will help. That often makes bullies more brazen, leading them to intensify their meanness. Worse, it heightens the embarrassment, false shame, and loneliness of the…

A Letter from the Battlefield

For more than two decades, Andrew Carroll has been urging people not to throw away the letters written by family members or friends during a time of war. Carroll, director of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University in California, considers them an irreplaceable link to tie families together and open a door of understanding. “Younger generations are reading these letters,” Carroll says, “and asking questions and saying, ‘Now I understand what you endured, what you sacrificed.’ ”

When the apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome and knew his life would soon end, he wrote a letter to a…

> Evangelism & Missions

A thought-provoking conversation on evangelism

This week we’ve been talking about how to share the gospel in a pluralistic culture. It’s the same challenge that the apostle Paul faced in his day.

An Unfinished Story: Telling My Friend About Jesus

Everyone has their story of what it’s like to share Jesus with their friends or family members. Some stories have a happy ending, where the person eventually comes to know and love Jesus. Some don’t have such a happy ending, where the person passes away before accepting Jesus into his or her life.

Blessing our enemies by finding common ground

When the nation of Israel was exiled to Babylon, Jeremiah gave the Jewish leaders unexpected direction. He said, “Seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its peace you will have peace.” Listen in as we continue our series on Acts 17.

> Life Struggles

true beauty

Beauty isn’t skin deep—not for the believer or for those who don’t know Jesus. A movement to see beauty in women of all shapes and sizes and the call to reject the false standards of entertainment and advertising continues to grow. From marketing campaigns using larger-sized models to local groups teaching young girls to be confident without wearing makeup, the message is clear: You are beautiful and you are powerful . . . simply by being you.

Who am I?–Atsuko’s Story & Kara’s Story

Many people struggle to find their true identity. For Kara, abuse and abandonment made her feel like an orphan her entire life. For Japanese-born Atsuko, it was her faith in Christ that made her feel like an outsider in her own culture. Discover how God gave each of these women stability and hope even when […]

no ordinary struggle

Near the conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King, Frodo is on the verge of completing his mission to destroy the Ring of Power. With the fate of Middle Earth hanging in the balance, all that’s left is to cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom.

> Marriage & Family

It’s What We Do

My father was critically injured when he took a bullet in the leg as a second lieutenant leading his men on Hill 609 in North Africa during World War II. Dad was never again 100 percent physically. I was born several years after this, and when I was young I didn’t even know he had been wounded. I found out later when someone told me. Although he felt constant pain in his leg, my dad never complained about it, and he never used it as an excuse for not providing for our family.

My parents loved the Savior and raised us…

A Letter From My Father

On one of my free days, I decided to clear some of the drawers in my room. As I was sorting through some old letters in one of my drawers, I stumbled on a letter I had not seen in a long while and had clean forgotten about.

Finding marital reconciliation at the cross of Christ–Gerrie and Clyde’s Story

When Gerrie eloped with Clyde, it seemed nothing in the world could break them apart. But when the demands of life pressed in, they began to drift away from their commitment. Learn how this struggling couple found peace and reconciliation for their marriage at the cross of Christ.

> Relationships

Are there Real Friendships in this World?

Whom will you call a friend? Is it just someone you can have a meal and watch movies with? Or is it someone you can chat and gossip with? What kind of person is he or she? We often describe a true friend as someone who will stick with us through thick and thin, who values us, and who won’t hurt or betray us.

When life comes to a standstill–Vivian’s Story

When the diagnosis comes so hard and fast that you can hardly breathe, where do you turn? Hear how the power of a loving God and the ongoing support of His people helped Vivian battle through her cancer journey. Find strength to hang on no matter what you’re facing.

Making Those Around Us Better

If you were coaching a group of players and your task was to make them better, what would that look like? That’s the question we’ll wrestle with on Sport.org Radio. Joining us will be Pittsburgh Steelers back-up quarterback, Landry Jones and Baltimore Ravens chaplain, Johnny Shelton. It’s all about “Making Those Around Us Better” on […]

> Spiritual Growth

why disobey?

Why should I obey this commandment from God? I pondered. Is it because the consequences of disobeying Him would be bad? Hmm, but is that all? Ah, I see it now—my thinking was turned around. I should have asked, “Why would I disobey?”

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Praying With Confidence: Overcoming Disappointment In Prayer

Having a conversation with God can sometimes be a struggle, especially when you feel that He has let you down. Find out how you can get past the disappointment and regain your confidence in God, as author David Egner shares five basic principles of prayer. Discover how you can renew your sense of joy and trust in God when you use His Word as the basis for your prayer.

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Sacrifice and Friendship

We will never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we surrender in every detail of our lives. Yet self-surrender is the most difficult thing for us to do. We make it conditional by saying, “I’ll surrender if . . . !” Or we approach it by saying, “I suppose I have to devote my life to God.” We will never find the joy of self-sacrifice in either of these ways.

> When Life Hurts

When Things Don’t Go Well

The first words that many people like to quote when misfortune hits are: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). But that’s hard to believe in hard times. I once sat with a man who had lost his third son in a row, and I listened as he lamented, “How can this tragedy work for my good?” I had no answer but to sit silently and mourn with him. Several months later, he was thankful as he said, “My sorrow is…

Life in the Face of Death: Honest Conversations with Ed Dobson and Mart DeHaan, Part 3: Be There

Having been diagnosed with ALS and given only two to five years to live, former pastor Ed Dobson was suddenly challenged to face the reality of death. Watch his story of an uncommon journey toward a new quality of life and purpose. “Be There.” Many of us wonder what to say when someone’s life falls […]

cross-shaped service

I was sorry to hear what you’d been through when we last spoke,” my friend Adrian said as we walked. “How are you and Merryn doing now?” “On the whole,” I said, “we’re doing better. I guess we’re trying to focus on the up-side of our situation and the opportunities it brings.”