But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come…
Evil people and impostors will become worse,
deceiving and being deceived.”
– 2 Timothy 3:1, 13 –
Manipulation and deception have been part of the human story since the very beginning. Now the technologies that are shaping our culture make it easier than ever for smaller groups of people to influence and move much larger groups of people into deeper lies and deception. As people of the Truth who root our lives in Christ, we need to be AWARE of who is really speaking to us and where they are leading us.(more…)
In 2001 George Barna published Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ. Based on studies at that time, Barna had come to the conclusion that at the practical level of everyday life, there was very little difference between Christians and non-Christians. His conclusion: the churches were not producing spiritually mature followers of Christ. What we say we believe had little impact on our lived out values.
Just a couple of years earlier, Dallas Willard had already highlighted this problematic issue in The Divine Conspiracy. Willard would go on to write several other books addressing what he called The Great Omission: the churches are not encouraging and training those who believe in Christ to follow Him toward maturity.
Could it be that the solution to this ongoing evangelical disaster is that we should get back to who we are called to be and do what we were supposed to be doing in the first place?(more…)
No book (besides The Scriptures) has been more significant in my spiritual growth than Dallas Willard’s Renovation of the Heart. What was so impactful for me is that Willard presents pursuing discipleship and spiritual maturity in a way that is attractive and desirable. All too often, following Christ is presented as a hard and dreary task that we just have to “white knuckle” through. This vision seems far from the “easy yoke” and “light burden” that Jesus Himself offers (see Matthew 11:28-30).
Here, Willard gives a practical presentation of who the “Children of Light” are – the people we are called to be in Christ with the goal of being like Christ (Ephesians 5:8). As we have been focusing on spiritual growth and maturity, I thought Willard’s description might help us all think a little more clearly about what we mean by spiritual maturity, practically speaking.(more…)
In 1984, Francis Schaeffer mourned the compromises that Evangelicals were making in terms of standing for truth and morality in his classic work The Great Evangelical Disaster. He warned that the compromises of his day would have severe ramifications for the institutional evangelical churches if not corrected.
Recently, Gallup – the global analytics and advice firm – released results from a study that showed for the first time since they have been collecting data, church membership has dipped below the majority – only 47% of Americans claim any form of religious affiliation.
We are increasingly hearing terms like “Exvangelical” to describe people who are walking away from Evangelicalism and/or “the church.” What do these things mean? and What do they signal for the future of Christianity in America?(more…)
Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:58 –
The verse above is one that has come to mind many times this year. This exhortation and encouragement comes at the end of Paul’s magnificent defense of resurrection in general and specifically the reality of Jesus’ resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-58.(more…)
When we come to one of the genealogies in the Bible, we will more than likely just skip past it and get on to the good stuff. The New Testament actually begins with a genealogy, the family tree of Jesus. Not many of us would put this text on our list of “life verses” or favorite passages. But if we take the time to understand what Matthew is doing here, we will not look at this “boring list” the same way again.(more…)
The Love of Christ Controls Us
Martin Luther posed a powerful question in the open letter called “Whether One May Flee a Deadly Plague” or “Whether One May Flee Death.” Written during the time when the plague was ravaging Europe, Luther says the proper question to ask is not, “What would Christ do?” but, “What would you do if it were Christ?”(more…)