Archives: June 2015

Raise Your Hand

The St. Olaf Choir from Northfield, Minnesota, is renowned for making beautiful music. One reason for its excellence is the selection process. Applicants are chosen based not only on how well they sing but also on how they sound as part of the whole. Another reason is that all members agree to make the choir their first priority and commit to a rigorous rehearsal and performance schedule.

One of the things that intrigues me the most about this choir is what happens during rehearsals. Whenever members make a mistake, they raise their hand. Instead of trying to hide the blunder, they…

The Day My Sister Got Married

Ever since my sister got attached, I have been anticipating her wedding and the prospect of her starting a family. Imagine my joy when my sister told me that her boyfriend had proposed to her.

Unfair

Which of these two questions causes you to squirm the most: Why do seemingly honorable people suffer? or Why do the people who do bad things prosper? I wrestle with both of them. For instance, it makes we wonder why people who strike unethical deals and cheat on their contracts seem to get away with their schemes and even prosper, while someone who is seeking to live for Jesus struggles to pay his or her bills.

A praise song about bitterness

Typically, we think worship music should express our love, joy, or gratitude to God. That’s why the lyrics of Psalm 73 can be a bit shocking. Join us on “Discover the Word” today for an eye-opening conversation.

Craving A Father’s Love

I always feel a tinge of envy whenever I see a doting father chatting and laughing with his child. I have never had such happy memories. When I was 11 years old, my parents divorced after my father had an affair.

Christ the Redeemer

The famous statue Christ the Redeemer overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro. The statue is a model of Christ with His arms extended so that His body forms the shape of a cross. Brazilian architect Heitor da Silva Costa designed the figure. He imagined that the city’s residents would see it as the first image to emerge from the darkness at dawn. At dusk, he hoped the city dwellers would view the setting sun as a halo behind the statue’s head.

            There is value in keeping our eyes on our Redeemer each day, during the good times and the difficult…

10 Reasons to Believe Christ Rose From The Dead

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In a world filled with belief systems making religious claims, how can you know what to believe? How can you know who to follow? This brochure offers ten pieces of evidence and witness that verify that following Christ is reasonable. As this evidence is examined and tested—we find that it can also be trusted. Click [here] to read or download this…

Why is life so unfair?

If life were fair, good people would always be rewarded and bad people would always be punished. But life rarely ends up that way. Join us today as we take a tour of Psalm 73, which provides a biblical perspective on the unfairness of life.

What Are You Afraid Of?

One of my jobs, being a rock-climbing instructor, includes helping people overcome their fear of heights. I explain to them that the real issue isn’t falling, but hitting the ground. Then I remind my clients that they have the proper safety equipment and good anchor points—making it impossible for them to drop. One thing they need to grasp is that their mind is actually lying to them, and that they can override their panicky thoughts. Being up high is not dangerous in itself; it’s only dangerous without the right safety equipment. Talking this through with them can take a long time,…

From Whining to Winning

Growing up in a traditional family in the Philippines, I, being the youngest, bore the duty of running errands for the family. These usually involved purchasing spices, sauces, cigarettes or worse, sanitary napkins for my sisters from convenience stores.

Rescuing the Reluctant

Many years ago during a water safety class, we were taught how to save a drowning person who is resisting rescue. “Approach the person from behind,” the instructor told us. “Place one arm across the person’s chest and flailing arms, and swim toward safety. If you approach from the front, the person may grab you and pull both of you down.” Panic and fear can paralyze the ability to think and act wisely.

            When two angels sent by God came to rescue Lot and his family from the impending destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:12-13), they…

If

If you had a crystal ball that could show you your future, what do you think you would see? What current choices or decisions would you make to try to change where your life is leading?

A Voice in the Night

Psalm 134 has only three verses, but it is proof that little things can mean a lot. The first two verses are an admonition to the priests who serve in God’s house night after night. The building was dark and empty; nothing of consequence was occurring—or so it seemed. Yet these ministers were encouraged to “lift up [their] hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!” (v. 2 esv). The third verse is a voice from the congregation calling into the darkness and loneliness of the night: “The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you.”

            I think of…

Crossing the Line

The deaf community at the midsize American church was struggling. Two of their most faithful members had died. Their longtime interpreter was retiring, and the church was changing pastors.

Related Topics

> Featured

> Biblical Studies

The Jewish Roots of Christianity, Part III

This program will be available to view Friday, December 4, 2015.  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 […]

The Jewish Roots of Christianity, Part II

This program will be available to view Friday, November 27, 2015. 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 […]

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

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;…

7 Steps for Successful Christian Living

We know what success looks like and how to achieve it. Study hard to get into our dream university so that we can clinch our dream job later on, eat well and exercise so that we will have good health, love people around us so we can enjoy good relationships . . . and the list goes on.

Misplaced Trust

I like watching birds, an activity I developed while growing up in a forest village in Ghana where there were many different species of birds. In the city suburb where I now live, I recently observed the behavior of some crows that interested me. Flying toward a tree that had shed most of its leaves, the crows decided to take a rest. But instead of settling on the sturdy branches, they lighted on the dry and weak limbs that quickly gave way. They flapped their way out of danger—only to repeat the useless effort. Apparently their bird-sense didn’t tell them…

> Christian Ministry & the Church

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…

first love

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

> Christianity & Culture

Breaking the Mold

According to the experts, I’m part of the demographic known as Generation X. Maybe you are too. Born between 1965 and 1980, we’ve been described as being cynical about life, fearful of commitment, and spiritually lost. Ouch!

Shaping Your Thoughts

When Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message” in 1964, personal computers were unknown, mobile phones were science fiction, and the Internet didn’t exist. Today we understand what great foresight he had in predicting how our thinking is influenced in this digital age. In Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, he writes, “[The media] supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind…

When I Got Lost in Different Worldviews

What is your “worldview”? What beliefs and values govern the way you perceive the world around you? Just like how wearing colored lens will affect how we see things, our worldview will affect how we make sense of the things that happen around us, and determine what stand we take in life.

> 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

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…

My Brief Encounter with Adoniram Judson

I had not heard of Adoniram Judson until I came across the biography about him, “Adoniram Judson: How Few There Are Who Die So Hard!” by Bible teacher and theologian John Piper. Intrigued, I decided to read about this “obscure” missionary that Piper had taken time to write about.

Prepared to Go

Theodore Bayley Hardy, a chaplain in the British Army, is one of the most highly decorated noncombatants of World War I. On his gravestone are etched some letters most people won’t understand: VC, DSO, MC. They reveal that Hardy—who died from battle wounds—received the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order, and Military Cross for his service.

> Life Struggles

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…

How our fears can keep us from intimacy with Jesus

Our fears take many forms. Often it’s a fear of being “found out” for who we really are; or we fear the loss of relationships with others because of circumstances that are out of our control. Like the demon-possessed man in the Bible, we’re afraid of what will happen to us if Jesus gets too close.

> Marriage & Family

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.

Repairing sibling relationships

They were the people we grew up with. And whether we enjoyed a close relationship with our siblings, fought like crazy, or never really knew them,  our brothers and sisters can be some of the hardest people to love!  Today on Discover the Word, we talk about how biblical love can repair and reinforce sibling relationships. […]

Every family needs the healing touch of Jesus

Whether it’s a troubled marriage, rebellious children, or generational sin, we may think our brokenness is unusual for a Christian family. But today on Discover the Word, we’ll discover that family fractures are typical in every home! Join the team as they look at why every family needs the healing touch of the Savior. A […]

> Relationships

A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

Dear Ana, You’re an 18-year-old walking on air. You’re in a place where you’d probably never be again. Don’t waste it. It’s probably the most beautiful time, with great moments to treasure.

Talking While Doing

Our best conversations sometimes happen while we’re doing something else. It can be awkward to say, “Tell me about your deepest joys and fears.” But such important topics as these can arise naturally while we’re traveling together, building a shed, or even washing dishes. The task somehow helps us converse more freely. Perhaps we’re less stressed because we’re not focused solely on the conversation.

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.

> Spiritual Growth

Sharper than any double-edged sword

Perhaps you’ve heard someone say that “Christianity is a crutch.” Graham heard that statement often from his dad growing up. And though Steve was raised in the church, it would be in prison that he truly turned to Jesus  Christ. Two remarkable journeys and how God is using these men today.

The gift of God’s grace

A gifted athlete, Bobby earned a scholarship and was the first in his family to graduate from college. But his insatiable pursuit of wealth and material things sent his life into a tailspin he never expected. Find out how a man who thought he’d lost everything instead gained everything in the gift of God’s grace.

Praying to God in Secret

When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place . . . —Matthew 6:6

The primary thought in the area of religion is— keep your eyes on God, not on people. Your motivation should not be the desire to …

> 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…