God loves you anyway – Acts 28, Part 3

Editor’s Note: This week we welcome Paul Mannino to the blog, and he will be discussing Acts 28. If you want to watch the sermon, it’s posted on Paul’s YouTube Channel here. My wife, Michelle, and I met Paul and his wife, Mary Kate, at the Evangelical Congregational Church’s Pastoral Assessment Center this past January.Continue reading “God loves you anyway – Acts 28, Part 3”

When life’s storms are pounding, be one who not only rests in the presence and promises of God, but help others do the same – Acts 27, Part 5

Are you struggling in the midst of life’s storms? I write this in 2020, and it is not only shaping up to be an active hurricane season, but 2020 is filled with other storms too. Political upheaval, Covid-19, racial injustice. Each of these have affected just about all of us in very personal ways. AreContinue reading “When life’s storms are pounding, be one who not only rests in the presence and promises of God, but help others do the same – Acts 27, Part 5”

Would Jesus say Christianity is polluted or pure? – Matthew 21:1-17, Part 3

Have you ever wondered if Christianity in our day and age is polluted? Or is it pure? These are wide statements, and Christianity is so diverse that one word, like “polluted” or “pure” cannot possibly describe the whole of it. But take a look at trends in the faith. Consider the larger movements within theContinue reading “Would Jesus say Christianity is polluted or pure? – Matthew 21:1-17, Part 3”

How Christian freedom should not lead Christians to behave badly – First Sunday of Advent 2019, Part 4

Have you ever heard Christians say that if churches or Christian institutions don’t have rules and regulations, people will go off the rails leading to anarchy?  So if we want to be good Christians, they say, then we should be making new rules, like the ones in the previous post: no wearing lipstick or smokingContinue reading “How Christian freedom should not lead Christians to behave badly – First Sunday of Advent 2019, Part 4”

Mercy for those who doubt – Jude 17-25, Part 5

“Be merciful to those who doubt.”  Interesting phrase, isn’t it?  So often we conceive of doubt as a negative thing to be avoided, and the result can be that people who doubt are considered to be sinful or strange.  But is doubt wrong? As we conclude our two-week study through the letter of Jude, weContinue reading “Mercy for those who doubt – Jude 17-25, Part 5”

What’s more important: belief or action? – 3rd John, Part 4

As we continue studying the ancient letter of 3rd John, we read at the end of verse 6 that John writes his friend Gaius encouraging him to send some fellow Christians on their way in a manner worthy of God.  In other words, he is saying to Gaius, “keep doing what you’re doing in supportingContinue reading “What’s more important: belief or action? – 3rd John, Part 4”

Be a Refresher of Hearts! Philemon 1-7, Part 5

How do people come away from interacting with you? Think about some of the recent times that you have interacted with people. Maybe it was your family members. Perhaps it was co-workers. Or even social media posts. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the people who were with you, or who were readingContinue reading “Be a Refresher of Hearts! Philemon 1-7, Part 5”

How faith works – Philemon 1-7, Part 3

Have you wondered how faith works? What is faith? I long ago heard that faith is like sitting in a chair. You sit down, believing and trusting that the chair will hold you up. Of course, the chair might be poorly built, and when you sit on it, the chair breaks apart and you fallContinue reading “How faith works – Philemon 1-7, Part 3”

God wants me to be happy, not angry, and never to doubt? [False ideas Christians believe about…God’s desires for Christians. Part 4]

In 1 Timothy 3:12 we read that “all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  Woah.  Maybe God doesn’t want us to be happy, and only cares about us becoming godly or holy, even if it takes us being persecuted? How are we to understand this? Does GodContinue reading “God wants me to be happy, not angry, and never to doubt? [False ideas Christians believe about…God’s desires for Christians. Part 4]”

4 pieces of advice to those who are suffering

Have you ever suffered specifically because you are a Christian?  I don’t know that I have, at least not in ways that would be considered significant suffering, or suffering that led to bodily harm or loss of opportunity or privilege.  Yesterday, I related a story from author Scot McKnight who counseled a teenager who didContinue reading “4 pieces of advice to those who are suffering”