Month: May 2016

Not a Simple Story

Life seems straightforward in the laws of the Old Testament. Obey God and get blessed. Disobey Him and expect trouble. It’s a satisfying theology. But is it that simple?

King Asa’s story seems to fit the pattern. He led his people away from false gods and his kingdom thrived (2 Chron. 15:1-19). Then late in his reign, he depended on himself instead of God (16:2-7) and the rest of his life was marked by war and illness (v. 12).

            It’s easy to look at that story and draw a simple conclusion. But when the prophet Hanani warned Asa, he said that…

“Our sufficiency is from God”

On July 4, the U.S. will celebrate Independence Day. But today on “Discover the Word,” the group will talk about how, as individual believers in Christ, we can celebrate Dependence Day. And that’s every day when we sincerely say, “Our sufficiency is from God.” Today on “Discover the Word,” we will discuss the essence of prayer, complete dependence on God. Tune in today to “Discover the Word”!

Memorials

Early in our marriage, my wife, Kristen, and I hiked a mountain trail. The day was full of color, with a hot, yellow sun overhead, lush evergreens on each side, and copper-colored soil beneath our feet. We came upon a tree on which numerous hikers had carved their initials. Filled with the joy of our new life together and the beauty of the natural world, we felt like leaving a memorial too. Using the teeth of my car key, I scratched “A + K” into the bark.

Knowing and Doing

Chinese philosopher Han Feizi made this observation about life: “Knowing the facts is easy. Knowing how to act based on the facts is difficult.”

            A rich man with that problem once came to Jesus. He knew the law of Moses and believed he had kept the commandments since his youth (Mark 10:20). But he seems to be wondering what additional facts he might hear from Jesus. “ ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ” (v. 17).

            Jesus’ answer disappointed the rich man. He told him to sell his possessions, give the money to the…

“The Essence of Prayer”

What drives you to your knees in prayer? For many of us, it’s worry. This week on “Discover the Word,” we are going to talk about “The Essence of Prayer.” When we’re desperate for relief from our anxieties, we often treat God like Mr. Fix It. But is a quick solution what God promises to give us? Join the group today on “Discover the Word”!

Praise from Pure Hearts

During my friend Myrna’s travels to another country, she visited a church for worship. She noticed that as people entered the sanctuary they immediately knelt and prayed, facing away from the front of the church. My friend learned that people in that church confessed their sin to God before they began the worship service.

            This act of humility is a picture to me of what David said in Psalm 51: “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (v. 17). David was describing his own remorse and repentance for his…

Rich in Good Works

An audition for a singing competition on TV captured my attention. Strumming on a guitar he’d learned to play just a year earlier, a young man named Anderson wowed the judges when he performed his original song, “My Best Friend.”

Can’t Die But Once

Born into slavery and badly treated as a young girl, Harriet Tubman (c. 1822–1913) found a shining ray of hope in the Bible stories her mother told. The account of Israel’s escape from slavery under Pharaoh showed her a God who desired freedom for His people.

 

Eventually Harriet slipped over the Maryland state line and out of slavery. She couldn’t remain content, however, knowing so many were still trapped in captivity. So she led more than a dozen rescue missions back into slave states, dismissing the personal danger. “I can’t die but once,” she said.

 

Harriet knew the truth of the statement:…

The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire, Part IV

Take a closer look at the struggles faced by early Christians and their driving force to endure, as Dr. Joseph Stowell takes you on an amazing journey to modern-day Rome. On this Day of Discovery join Dr. Stowell as he travels to the renowned ruins of ancient Ephesus to discover an important chapter in the epic story […]

What Sets Us Free

Recently I did some major damage to my shoulder. Several tendons and ligaments were torn and I had to have physical therapy for a few months. The therapist made an interesting statement as he massaged and manipulated the injury site: “You have to get blood to the damaged areas; it’s the only way to heal it, even if it’s painful.” The only way to put right what is broken is to force blood into those areas, no matter how difficult the task, and allow the blood to carry away the scar tissue and heal the injury.

Unquestion Revelation

In that day you will ask Me nothing —John 16:23

When is “that day”? It is when the ascended Lord makes you one with the Father. “In that day” you will be one with the …

He Walked in Our Shoes

To help his staff of young architects understand the needs of those for whom they design housing, David Dillard sends them on “sleepovers.” They put on pajamas and spend 24 hours in a senior living center in the same conditions as people in their 80s and 90s. They wear earplugs to simulate hearing loss, tape their fingers together to limit manual dexterity, and exchange eyeglasses to replicate vision problems. Dillard says, “The biggest benefit is [that] when I send 27-year-olds out, they come back with a heart 10 times as big. They meet people and understand their plights” (Rodney Brooks,…

Set free from sinful habits and thought patterns

Statistically, as many as two-thirds of released prisoners find themselves back in jail. Today on “Discover the Word,” our team, along with guest Karen Swanson, reveals how it is possible to be set free from habits and thought patterns and not go back to them. The conclusion of our series “We’re All Prisoners,” today on “Discover the Word”!

Washed

Steady rains had transformed the hardened terrain of our backyard into a soaked softness. Walking outside, I felt the coolness of the water and mud squishing between my toes. Our dogs had been digging in a small area, so I decided to move a few cement blocks to block the patch of ground from their reach. My work left me covered with moist dirt and grass. Deciding to wash before heading indoors, I watched the clear stream of water make my skin clean once again.

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