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”

How to grow your faith

  In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus tells what I think is one of the scariest stories in the Bible.  It is a story of people who thought they had faith.  But their faith was primarily intellectual, belief.  Jesus says to them that something important is missing.  They did not have the kind of faith that heContinue reading “How to grow your faith”

An early church MMA match – Faith and Works: Paul versus James, Round 1

Did you know that the early church had an theology MMA match?  James vs. Paul. Paul said Faith doesn’t work. James said Faith does work. Each was an important leader in the early church.  Paul its greatest missionary.  James the bishop of its biggest church (and brother of Jesus).  They really seem to conflict withContinue reading “An early church MMA match – Faith and Works: Paul versus James, Round 1”

How to have faith that pleases God

Do you know what faith is?  Do you know if your faith is pleasing to God? Yesterday I mentioned a definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1.  After teaching that description of faith, the writer of Hebrews begins to describe some of the heroes of the Bible and how they demonstrated faith in God. First heContinue reading “How to have faith that pleases God”