• Biblical Studies

    Joyful Surrender

    Bible scholars have noted how dangerous and radical the early church’s confession—Jesus is Lord!—seemed to others. Since Israel lived under the oppressive regime of the Roman Empire, where Caesar was considered lord, insisting that Jesus was Lord was a direct affront to Caesar’s supposed power. And yet this confession stood at the very centre of the first Christians’ convictions—and it still stands at the centre of believers’ convictions today.

    Interrupted Fellowship

    The loud, sorrowful cry pierced the dark afternoon air. I imagine it drowning out the sound of mourning from friends and loved ones gathered at Jesus’s feet. It must have overwhelmed the moans of the dying criminals who flanked Jesus on both sides. And surely startled all who heard it.

    Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani!” Jesus cried out in agony and in utter despondency as He hung on that cross of shame on Golgotha (Matthew 27:45–46).

    “My God,” He said, “my God, why have you forsaken me?”

    I cannot think of more heart-wrenching words. Since eternity, Jesus had been in perfect fellowship with God…

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    Christian Beliefs

    Blessing in the Mess

    I got myself into this mess, so I’d better get myself out, I sometimes find myself thinking.  Although I believe in a God of grace, I’m still prone to act as if His help is available only when I deserve it.

    God’s first encounter with Jacob is a beautiful illustration of how untrue this is.

    Jacob had spent a lifetime trying to alter his destiny. He’d been born second at a time when firstborn sons typically received their father’s blessing—believed to guarantee future prosperity.

    So Jacob decided to do whatever it would take to get his father’s blessing anyway. Eventually, he succeeded—through deceit—obtaining the…

    Our Safe Place

    My very first job was at a fast-food restaurant. One Saturday evening, a guy kept hanging around, asking when I got out of work. It made me feel uneasy. As the hour grew later, he ordered fries, then a drink, so the manager wouldn’t kick him out. Though I didn’t live far, I was scared to walk home alone through a couple of dark parking lots and a stretch through a sandy field. Finally, at midnight, I went in the office to make a phone call.

    And the person who answered—my dad—without a second thought got out of a warm bed…

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    Christian Living

    "Will You Lay Down Your Life?"

    Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him. Peter said to the Lord, “I will lay down my life for Your sake,” and he meant it (John 13:37). He had a magnificent sense of the heroic. For us to be incapable of making this same statement Peter made would be a bad thing— our sense of duty is only fully realized through our sense of heroism. Has the Lord ever asked you, “Will you lay down your life for My sake?” (John 13:38). It is much easier to die than to lay down your life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling of God. We are not made for the bright-shining moments of life, but we have to walk in the light of them in our everyday ways.

    We Are Ambassadors

    For many years, I held on to the dream of one day adopting a five year old boy from Russia. “Why such a specific desire?” a former colleague once asked me. “Because,” I explained, “Close friends adopted a five year old orphan from Russia and he’s amazing!” Samuel, the young boy from Russia, continues to be an (unofficial) ambassador for his native country.

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    Christian Ministry & the Church

    The Service of Passionate Devotion

    …do you love Me?…Tend My sheep. —John 21:16

    Jesus did not say to make converts to your way of thinking, but He said to look after His sheep, to see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Him. We consider what we do in the way of Christian work as service, yet Jesus Christ calls service to…

    United in Worship

    Getting a group of people to move in the same way and at the same time requires skill. But over 31,000 women in China made it look easy. Guinness World Records says that 31,697 Chinese women set the record for mass plaza dancing in multiple locations. The participants danced for more than five minutes in six different cities.

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    Christianity & Culture

    It Hides a Well

    In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s splendid story The Little Prince, a lone pilot crashed in the Sahara. He had no water—only a curious boy from another planet to keep him company. As the man tried desperately to repair his plane, the little prince pestered him with random questions and seemingly idle chatter. The pilot’s exasperation grew until he cried out, “I’m very busy with matters of consequence!”

    Generous Church

    Soldiers in the US Army are expected to live by seven values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. And new recruits are also expected to abide by all of these values—not just the ones they agree with. A private can’t say to a commander, “I like all of these values . . . except duty. I don’t want to do that.” I imagine that would result in a whole lot of push-ups!

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    Ethical Issues

    Fearless Love

    Reminiscent of an era we wish were bygone, individuals consumed with hatred and prejudice carried torches and shouted slogans from a hideous time in America’s racial history as they marched across a university lawn. Barely twenty-four hours later, the governor of the state in which the school is located declared a state of emergency due to violent clashes. Only the base depravity of sin decries the life of another as less valuable, less human—and only the power of the cross brings us deliverance.

    A Prayer of Forgiveness

    In 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to integrate an all-white public elementary school in the American South. Every day for months, federal marshals escorted Ruby past a mob of angry parents shouting curses, threats and insults at her. Safely inside, she sat in a classroom alone with Barbara Henry, the only teacher willing to instruct her while parents kept their children from attending school with Ruby.

    Noted child psychologist Robert Coles met with Ruby for several months to help her cope with the fear and stress she experienced. He was amazed by the prayer Ruby said every…

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    Evangelism & Missions

    The Service of Passionate Devotion

    …do you love Me?…Tend My sheep. —John 21:16

    Jesus did not say to make converts to your way of thinking, but He said to look after His sheep, to see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Him. We consider what we do in the way of Christian work as service, yet Jesus Christ calls service to…

    Side by Side

    In ancient times, a city with broken walls revealed a defeated people, exposed to danger and shame. That is why the Jews rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. How? By working side by side, an expression that can well describe Nehemiah 3.

    At first glance, chapter 3 might appear to be a boring account of who did what in the reconstruction. However, a closer look highlights how people worked together. Priests were working alongside rulers. Perfume-makers were helping as well as goldsmiths. There were some who lived in nearby towns and came to give a hand. Others made repairs opposite their houses.…

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    Life Struggles

    Our Safe Place

    My very first job was at a fast-food restaurant. One Saturday evening, a guy kept hanging around, asking when I got out of work. It made me feel uneasy. As the hour grew later, he ordered fries, then a drink, so the manager wouldn’t kick him out. Though I didn’t live far, I was scared to walk home alone through a couple of dark parking lots and a stretch through a sandy field. Finally, at midnight, I went in the office to make a phone call.

    And the person who answered—my dad—without a second thought got out of a warm bed…

    As Advertised

    During a vacation, my husband and I signed up for a leisurely tour down Georgia’s Chattahoochee River. Dressed in sandals, a sundress, and a wide brimmed hat, I groaned when we discovered—contrary to the advertisement—that the trip included light rapids. Thankfully, we rode with a couple experienced in whitewater rafting. They taught my husband the basics of paddling and promised to navigate us safely to our destination. Grateful for my life jacket, I screamed and gripped the plastic handle on the raft until we reached the muddy bank downriver. I stepped onto the shore and dumped water from my purse…

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    Life To Come

    Marriage & Family

    How to Move Forward in 2018

    “Look to the future with the past in mind.”  I came across this phrase last year when I went on vacation in Baguio City, one of the tourist towns in Benguet Province of the Philippines.

    Don’t Give Up On Making Resolutions, Here’s 5 Tips

    Making New Year’s resolutions is one of my favorite traditions of the holiday season. “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” is an unavoidable question asked of friends, family, and coworkers alike this time of year.

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    Relationships

    Impaired Judgment

    I’ve been quick to judge anyone I saw walking in the street while staring at a phone. How could they be so oblivious to the cars about to hit them? I’ve told myself. Don’t they care about their own safety? But one day, while crossing the entrance to an alleyway, I was so engrossed in a text message, that I missed seeing a car at my left. Thankfully, the driver saw me and came to an abrupt stop. But I felt ashamed. All of my self-righteous finger-pointing came back to haunt me. I had judged others, only to do the same thing…

    Favoring Truth

    Talking with a colleague at a Christian school, I was reminded how easy it can be to judge others. Accustomed to the short hairstyles of most of our students, he was offended by the creative haircut of a visiting teen. Challenging his assumptions, I reminded him that our perception of others’ appearance isn’t an accurate way to gauge a mature, spiritual life in Christ.

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    Spiritual Growth

    The Service of Passionate Devotion

    …do you love Me?…Tend My sheep. —John 21:16

    Jesus did not say to make converts to your way of thinking, but He said to look after His sheep, to see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Him. We consider what we do in the way of Christian work as service, yet Jesus Christ calls service to…

    Keep Recognizing Jesus

    The wind really was boisterous and the waves really were high, but Peter didn’t see them at first. He didn’t consider them at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out in recognition of Him, and “walked on the water.” Then he began to take those things around him into account, and instantly, down he went. Why couldn’t our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves, as well as on top of them? He could have, yet neither could be done without Peter’s continuing recognition of the Lord Jesus.

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    Ten Commandments

    Celebrating The Beauty Of Unity In Diversity

    Today on Discover the Word, we conclude our two-week series on building unity within the church called “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” As we’ll see, it’s not about getting everyone to think the way we do, but letting God transform our hearts to be like His. Learn to celebrate differences and the beauty […]

    Encourage The Unity That Jesus Desires

    It’s been said that America is a “melting pot.” But sometimes this blending turns into a clash of cultures. It’s been that way since the beginning. And today on Discover the Word, we’ll see how the church in Rome grappled with embracing all kinds of backgrounds and what the apostle Paul said to encourage the […]

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    When Life Hurts

    Never Abandoned

    The mood in the church was heavy as believers in my city gathered to mourn the horror of a racist demonstration in America and its deadly aftermath. As we united to grieve and pray, a question seemed to hang in the air: What does it mean to hope during days like this—when evil is on full display and when the justice of God’s kingdom seems far away?

    God’s Assurance

    He Himself has said . . . . So we may boldly say . . . —Hebrews 13:5-6

    My assurance is to be built upon God’s assurance to me. God says, “I will never leave you,” so that then I “may boldly say, …

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    Wisdom

    Failure Is Not The End Of The Story

    Today on Discover the Word, we conclude our study of the life of Solomon on a hopeful note. Although Solomon lost sight of God, his failure is not the end of the story. Consider the “true and better Solomon” the Bible and all history points to when you join the group today on Discover the Word!

    True Wisdom That Goes Beyond Mere Knowledge

    We have more access to knowledge than any other generation in history. Most any question we have, we can Google an answer to in seconds. But even with all that knowledge, wisdom still seems to be in short supply. Today on Discover the Word, the team will help us connect to the source of true […]

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    Wisdom of God

    Failure Is Not The End Of The Story

    Today on Discover the Word, we conclude our study of the life of Solomon on a hopeful note. Although Solomon lost sight of God, his failure is not the end of the story. Consider the “true and better Solomon” the Bible and all history points to when you join the group today on Discover the Word!

    True Wisdom That Goes Beyond Mere Knowledge

    We have more access to knowledge than any other generation in history. Most any question we have, we can Google an answer to in seconds. But even with all that knowledge, wisdom still seems to be in short supply. Today on Discover the Word, the team will help us connect to the source of true […]

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