Archives: April 2015

Are we Worthy of the title “Christian”?

A story I heard recently got me thinking about the state of my faith: One day, after he had conquered vast expanses of the known world and amassed an army larger and more fearsome than any other in existence, Alexander the Great looked over his assembled forces with a sense of satisfaction. That is, until […]

Correct Gently

At the end of a conference in Nairobi, Kenya, our group traveled from the conference center to a guesthouse to prepare to fly back home the next morning. When we arrived, one person in our group reported that she had forgotten her luggage back at the conference center. After she left to retrieve it, our group leader (always meticulous on detail) criticized her sharply to us in her absence.

the front porch

In some hills of the USA’s mid-South, much of life is lived on the front porch. Neighbors stop by unannounced for a glass of sweet tea or cup of coffee. No invitation is ever necessary.

How God lovingly responded to Samson’s final prayer

After a lifetime of ignoring God and piling up mistakes, we’d assume God would in turn forget Samson. But today join us as we discover God’s response to Samson’s final prayer: “Please remember me!” God never leaves or forsakes us.

Image Consultants

In our media-saturated age, image consultants have become indispensable. Entertainers, athletes, politicians, and business leaders seem desperate to manage the way they are perceived in the eyes of the world. These high-priced consultants work to shape how their clients are viewed—even if sometimes there is a stark contrast between the public image and the real person inside.

what’s my motivation?

If you’ve ever watched an actor at work or tried acting yourself, you may have heard the expression, “What’s my motivation?” It’s a question that’s an important part of method acting, for one’s motivation will lead to it being done well.

Access To God

Technology is a blessing in so many ways. Need a bit of information about a health problem? All you have to do is access the Internet where you instantaneously get a list of options to guide your search. Need to contact a friend? Just send a text, email, or Facebook post. But technology can also be frustrating at times. The other day I needed to access some information in my bank account and was asked a list of security questions. Unable to recall the exact answers, I was blocked from my own account. Or think of the times when an…

Need a reminder that God hasn’t forgotten you?

Remember Me! That was the heartfelt prayer of a woman who felt lost and completely forgotten by God. Discover how God answered Hannah’s prayer in a personal and loving way.

Do We Still Need to Fast?

I’ve never been one to subscribe to the spiritual discipline of fasting. I’ve always considered it irrelevant in today’s context—almost extreme, in fact. Fasting, I thought, was something the Pharisees did to look good and impress people. God, however, has led me to discover that fasting is a lot more than just superficial religiosity. In […]

Why I’m so Affected by the Nepal Quake

Just three days ago, the world recoiled in horror as images of devastation and disaster unfolded on the news—Nepal had been hit by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, the worst to hit the nation in more than 80 years. Having been to Kathmandu numerous times and forged some good relationships with the locals there, I was […]

decision default

Steven and his dad regularly took their motorcycles for a ride along the East coast of South Africa, past the bathers and the fishermen, till they reached the deserted sand and sea. One day, after climbing their favorite sand dune, they competed to see who could make it back down in the least amount of jumps. On the 18th jump, Steven heard a bloodcurdling scream from behind. His father had landed on a hidden tree stump and sheared off part of his heel. The experience has left Steven cautious with his own children, allowing them to play on sand dunes,…

How does God want us to respond to the life He’s given us?

We’re not in control of the hand we’ve been dealt. But we do have a choice in how we play the cards we have. Join us as we conclude our study in Ruth with a biblical challenge.

In The Same Boat

When the cruise ship pulled into port, the passengers got off as quickly as possible. They had spent the last few days enduring an outbreak of a virus, and hundreds of people had been sickened. One passenger, interviewed as he disembarked, said: “Well, I don’t mean to complain so much. I mean I know everybody was in the same boat.” His seemingly unintentional pun made the reporter smile.

Related Topics

> Featured

> Biblical Studies

The Jewish Roots of Christianity, Part III

The Jewish and Christian faiths share a rich common legacy in a chosen people, a land of promise, the God of Abraham, the Old Testament Scriptures, and holy days instituted by God. So how Jewish should the Christian faith be in look and practice today? Join us as we venture into the Jewish roots of […]

The Jewish Roots of Christianity, Part II

From the days of Moses, the Hebrew people have found a common bond in the words: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One!” Yet, suddenly, in the first century, thousands of Jewish people began worshiping a Man who claimed to be one with the Father in heaven. How could this radical […]

The Jewish Roots of Christianity, Part I

Judaism and Christianity: Two spiritual points of view, seemingly worlds apart, yet sharing a common city, story, and Messianic hope. Discover the rich heritage of the Christian faith, which is grounded in the same Old Testament Scriptures as Judaism, and deepen your own understanding of the Scriptures. Join us as we venture into the Jewish […]

> Christian Beliefs

Our Sure Foundation

The workers knew something wasn’t right. A crack in the exterior wall of an 8-story building in Bangladesh was a tell-tale sign that the edifice, still under construction, was pretty sketchy. Sadly, the structure tumbled down the next day, resulting in the death of more than 150 people and injuring more than a thousand others. Eventually, it was determined that a faulty foundation contributed to the big collapse.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

We read in Psalm 139 that we’re “fearfully and wonderfully” made. Let’s continue the series, “Beauty Full Beings.” God fashioned our bodies to reflect His nature and to fully experience the joys of His creation. Our bodies are not enemies to be conquered, they’re a sacred place, a temple of the Holy Spirit.

> Christian Living

"Love One Another"

Love is an indefinite thing to most of us; we don’t know what we mean when we talk about love. Love is the loftiest preference of one person for another, and spiritually Jesus demands that this sovereign preference be for Himself (see Luke 14:26). Initially, when “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5), it is easy to put Jesus first. But then we must practice the things mentioned in 2 Peter 1 to see them worked out in our lives.

The first thing God does is forcibly remove any insincerity, pride, and vanity from my life.

Reaching Beyond Our Grasp

Reaching Beyond Our Grasp

The Power of Simple Words

Raucous laughter marked the guests in my father’s hospital room: Two old truck drivers, one former country/western singer, one craftsman, two women from neighboring farms, and me. 

                “…and then he got up and busted the bottle over my head,” the craftsman said, finishing his story about a bar fight.

                The room bursts into laughter at this now-humorous memory. Dad, struggling for breath as his laughing fought with his cancer for the air in his lungs, puffs out a reminder to everybody that “Randy is a preacher” so they need to watch what they say. Everything got quiet for about two seconds;…

> Christian Ministry & the Church

Reflections of Marriage

Our pastor read this verse during a sermon: “It’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am” (1 Corinthians 7:8). Quite happily wed himself, he followed the reading by saying, “Marriage complicates things.” Seconds later, a masculine voice emitted a long exaggerated “Aaaaamen.” The congregation broke into laughter.

Helping Each Other

“The body of Christ” is a mysterious phrase used more than 30 times in the New Testament. The apostle Paul especially settled on that phrase as an image of the church. After Jesus ascended to heaven, He turned over His mission to flawed and bumbling men and women. He assumed the role of head of the church, leaving the tasks of arms, legs, ears, eyes, and voice to the erratic disciples—and to you and me.

Jesus’ decision to operate as the invisible head of a large body with many parts means that He often relies on us to help one another…

People Power

A man was boarding a train in Perth, Australia, when he slipped and his leg got caught in the gap between the train carriage and the station platform. Dozens of passengers quickly came to his rescue. They used their sheer might to tilt the train away from the platform, and the trapped man was freed! The train service’s spokesman, David Hynes, said in an interview, “Everyone sort of pitched in. It was people power that saved someone from possibly quite serious injury.”

In Ephesians 4, we read that people power is God’s plan for building up His family. He has given…

> Christianity & Culture

No Floating

I was power-trimming weeds beneath a large tree in our backyard when I felt a painful, burning jab to the back of my skull. Turning, I noticed several hornets buzzing around me. Having been already stung by one, I fled the scene. Later that night I discovered I had bumped the hornets’ watermelon-sized nest with my head! A sting had snapped me out of my clueless state, one that could have resulted in me being swarmed and stung repeatedly.

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.

> Ethical Issues

Blessing What God Blesses

In 2014, something called the Multidimensional Poverty helped researchers determine that there are 1.6 billion poor people on earth! When you read through Scripture, it soon becomes clear that God has always had a particular concern for the poor, the forgotten, and the vulnerable (Deuteronomy 10:18, 15:11). And when Jesus spoke His Sermon on the Mount, it’s not surprising that He first blesses the poor (Matthew 5:3). So if we’re to be about God’s business, shouldn’t we bless those who God blesses?

Consider the Poor

The year was 1780, and Robert Raikes had a burden for the poor, illiterate children in his London neighborhood. He noticed that nothing was being done to help these children, so he set out to make a difference.

He hired some women to set up schools for them on Sunday. Using the Bible as their textbook, the teachers taught the poorest children of London to read and introduced them to the wisdom of the Bible. Soon about 100 children were attending these classes and enjoying lunch in a safe, clean environment. These “Sunday schools,” as they were soon called, eventually touched…

Torture and persecution will not prevail–Kodjo’s Story and Volodya’s Story

Kodjo and Volodya lived in very different parts of the world, yet both shared a belief in Christ that was tested to the limits of human endurance. Even torture and persecution could not stop these two men from sharing their faith. Be encouraged as you share the love of Jesus Christ with others and step […]

> Evangelism & Missions

One Day, Every Nation

One summer I spent a month in Bolivia, living with missionaries at a fledgling Bible school. Different jobs awaited me each day. Sometimes I cooked, cleaned, or did laundry. But every day I worked on construction projects. I loved learning all of the different tasks (okay, not the laundry!). One day, a pair of missionaries from another religion came to the school to tell us about their beliefs and to challenge ours. The thought of answering their questions intimidated me. I put my head down and kept working while a friend talked with them. I remember thinking, “I’m glad I…

Finding Waldo

Waldo is the cartoonish star of “Where’s Waldo,” a now-classic best-selling children’s book series. Waldo hides himself in the crowded painted scenes on each page, inviting children to find where he’s hiding. Parents around the world love the moments of sweet discovery when their children’s faces signal they’ve found Waldo. They also enjoy the occasions when they’re invited to help find Waldo.

Shortly after Stephen, a deacon in the early church, was stoned to death for proclaiming Christ (see Acts 7), a widespread persecution broke out against Christians, causing many to flee Jerusalem. Another deacon, Philip, followed these fleeing Christians into…

A Treasure to be Shared

In March 1974, Chinese farmers were digging a well when they made a surprising discovery: Buried under the dry ground of central China was the Terracotta Army—life-size terracotta sculptures that dated back to the third century bc. In this extraordinary find were some 8,000 soldiers, 150 cavalry horses, and 130 chariots drawn by 520 horses. The Terracotta Army has become one of the most popular tourist sites in China, attracting over a million visitors annually. This amazing treasure lay hidden for centuries but is now being shared with the world.

The apostle Paul wrote that followers of Christ have a treasure…

> Life Struggles

Are You Being Prepared?

I worked at a fast-food restaurant for over two years in high school. Some aspects of the job were difficult. Customers verbalized their anger while I apologized for the unwanted slice of cheese on the sandwich I didn’t make. Soon after I left, I applied for an IT job at my university. The employers were more interested in my fast-food experience than my computer skills. They wanted to know that I knew how to deal with people. My experience in unpleasant circumstances prepared me for a better job!

                Young David persevered through an experience we might well call unpleasant. When…

Out of the Ruins

In the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem you’ll find Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue. Built in the 19th century, the synagogue was dynamited by commandos during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

For years the site lay in ruins. Then, in 2014, rebuilding began. As city officials set a piece of rubble as the cornerstone, one of them quoted from Lamentations: “Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old” (5:21). 

Lamentations is Jeremiah’s funeral song for Jerusalem. With graphic imagery the prophet describes the impact of war on his city. Verse 21 is his heartfelt prayer for God to intervene.…

What’s in the Bank?

In the winter of 2009, a large passenger plane made an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River. The pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who landed the plane safely with no casualties, was later asked about those moments in the air when he was faced with a life-or-death decision. “One way of looking at this,” he said, “might be that for 42 years I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education, and training. And on [that day] the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”

Most of us will at some time face…

> Marriage & Family

Surrendering to Love

Can you win by surrendering? Discover how two broken marriages found healing when they surrendered everything to Christ. Hear Tim and Gretchen share their inspiring stories of reconciliation. Find encouragement and renewal for any marriage with the Day Of Discovery online video “Our Weekend to Remember: A Marriage Reborn.”    

Confronting Marriage Struggles: Before and After

“And they live happily ever after.” That’s what I gathered from the movies how marriage would be like. Two people unite and start their married life together.

The Secret I Wish I Never Found Out

Every night, I would come home to see my parents hunched over their dinners, eyes glued to the television screening the latest Korean drama serial. It’s always the same storyline: two love birds entangled in a web of secrets waiting to be discovered.

> Relationships

Burned Out And Guilty At Work

In March 2017, I had a burnout. It came five months after I moved from my hometown in Central Java to the capital city of Jakarta to work as an area manager in a food and beverage company.

My Quest for Love Nearly Destroyed Me

Written By Aphesis, Singapore I come from a family of six. I have an elder sister, a younger sister, and a younger brother. My parents were hawkers. To give my siblings and I a comfortable life, they worked long hours and would not rest unless they fell sick. As a result, my siblings and I […]

Uber Conversations

Jasper Fu drives two hours a day for Uber, an app-based taxi service. He doesn’t do it for the money, since he already has a fulltime job. He says he does it because it’s a good way to “talk to people.” Chinese culture encourages quiet restraint, so it can seem inappropriate to walk up to a stranger and start a conversation. It’s different when you’re picking them up in your car. Jasper says, “Under no other circumstance can I find a stranger to talk with me for like 10 to 20 minutes.”

> Spiritual Growth

Dressed Up

In her book Wearing God, author Lauren Winner says our clothes can silently communicate to others who we are. What we wear may indicate career, community or identity, moods, or social status. Think of a T-shirt with a slogan, a business suit, a uniform, or greasy jeans and what they might reveal. She writes, “. . . The idea that, as with a garment, Christians might wordlessly speak something of Jesus—is appealing.”

According to Paul, we can similarly wordlessly represent Christ. Romans 13:14 tells us to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the…

Getting There (3)

. . . come, follow Me —Luke 18:22

Where our individual desire dies and sanctified surrender lives. One of the greatest hindrances in coming to Jesus is the excuse of our own individual temperament.…

Getting There (1)

Come to Me . . . —Matthew 11:28

Where sin and sorrow stops, and the song of the saint starts. Do I really want to get there? I can right now. The questions that…

> When Life Hurts

Navigating The Storms Of Life

Although it would be nice to believe otherwise, problems and trials are an inevitable part of life. In this excerpt of True North, author Gary Inrig encourages you to fix your compass on God as your constant reference point in navigating the storms of life. Discover how you can stay on course and weather the storm when His Word becomes the active tool for directing your life.

Prayer in Times of Trouble

On October 27, 2014, BBC Africa posted on their social media outlets, “Today we are asking the question: ‘Is the widespread panic about #Ebola justified?’—and we’re looking for callers. . . . Statistically, Ebola still kills far fewer people than malaria and other diseases. So why has it dominated the headlines?”

Tissue Boxes

As I sat in the surgical waiting room, I had time to think. I had been here recently, when we received the jarring news that my only brother, much too young, was “brain dead.”

And so on this day, waiting for news about my wife who was undergoing a serious surgical procedure, I penned a lengthy note to her. Then, surrounded by nervous chatter and oblivious children, I listened for the quiet voice of God.

Suddenly, news! The surgeon wanted to see me. I went to a secluded room to wait. There, on the table, sat two tissue boxes, conspicuously available. They…