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Showing posts from 2017

Why Don't I Talk More About Revelation?

There is a reason that I don't spend a lot of time talking about the Book of Revelation. Because, for whatever reason, people will thrust aside or trample scores of clear, concise, and unmistakable Biblical principles and passages, scrambling to pin down some obscure interpretation of Revelation.

Revelation is God's word. We should treat it as such, by reading and attempting to understand it. However, end times discussions themselves tend to have a lot in common with politics. Once the topic comes up, it steamrolls everything else, people start spouting more unsubstantiated opinions than can be counted, and no one really learns anything of real value.

We could put it this way. There are 31,102 verses in the entire Bible. There are 404 verses in Revelation. That means that Revelation makes up a little over 1% of the Bible.

Clearly, it would be reaching too far to suggest that a dogmatic formula for connecting the size of a book and the time a Christians spends in it. However, i…

Letter to My Children

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My Dear Children,

You are growing up before my eyes, and time, indifferent to the sentiments of a father, sees you moment by moment closer to the unavoidable day when you walk out of my arms and into the world. Until that time comes, it is my deepest joy, and most consuming challenge to help you become thinkers, believers, and earth-shaking Christ-followers.

I’m making more than my fair share of mistakes. Sometimes I will discipline when grace would have been more appropriate. Other times I will give grace when I should have been stricter. (Though I suspect you’ll be okay with that one) Sometimes I just won’t have a clue what to do or say, though I may pretend otherwise. Though I want to be the steadfast example for you to follow, I will fall short of that many times. I am after all human: stubborn, selfish, and sinful.

Our culture will do its best to turn you against me... Read more on www.discoverchurchnow.com...

Empathy or Truth

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Have you noticed the number of advertisements that rely on sappiness to sell ordinary products like air fresheners, razors, soft drinks, and soap? Creating an emotional connection between a product and a customer is a powerful sales technique. The same is true of ideas. Humans seem to be hard-wired to respond to emotion over sound reason, and so emotional appeals often hide serious error. With few exceptions, the greatest theological blunders of modern Christianity are emotion driven. That is especially true as the church struggles to maintain Biblical moral standards in a society in open rebellion against God. And, once again, new philosophies on gender, sex, and morality aren’t usually furthered by convincing argument and evidence, but by emotions. Often these emotional tactics are disguised to look very reasonable, and it’s our job to call them out.

My case study for emotional manipulation disguised as reason is this video about empathy from the Lifehacker website. On its face...

Re…

Wanted: Bible Scholars

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American Christians are surrounded by the Bible. We have copies of it on our phones, tablets, and computers, in more translations than we can count. A 2012 Lifeway poll revealed that most American Christians have at least 3 paper copies of the Bible. We put verses on our walls, our car bumpers, our Facebook pages, and our jewelry. Clearly, Christians love our Bibles – or do we? With all the resources that we have available, the numerous versions, and the study and reading apps, every indication seems to be that while Christians are swimming in Bibles, we read, understand, and apply God’s Word less in our lives than we ever have in the past.

Earlier this year, the American Culture and Faith Institute...

Read more at discoverchurchnow.com

If I Were the Devil

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If I were the Devil, I would find a way to make Christians comfortably unaware of deception by getting them to make emotions the measure of truth. I would destroy the ability of God’s Word to change their lives (even though they quoted it on a daily basis) by persuading them that the knowledge and skill to meaningfully understand and apply it is unnecessary and even harmful. I would teach them to take pride in their own ignorance, and judge truth by their own experiences. Then under the pretense of teaching the Bible, I would carefully emphasis some passages out of context, and skip over many others so that even while they think they are hearing God’s Word, they are actually hearing what they want to hear – or what I want them to hear. They would be able to quote the Bible chapter and verse, but its meaning would be lost to them. God’s Word would be little more to them than a series of bumper sticker slogans, powerless to challenge or change them.

I would give them an attitude of sus…

What Does Jeremiah 29:11 Mean?

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If one were to guess which is the most misused verse in the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11 would have to be one of the finalists. From children’s cartoons, to jewelry, to wall hangings, to bumper-stickers, we’ve surrounded ourselves with a verse plucked completely out of its context and provided it with a connotation that is actually entirely at odds with the message it is intended to communicate.
Jeremiah 29:11 reads: 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
Isolated from its context, this sounds like a happy affirmation of God’s plan for your personal well-being. With a little bit of imagination, it might even serve to affirm God’s desire for your own wealth and prosperity, a la Joel Osteenism, but let’s take a closer look. The entire book of Jeremiah consists primarily of its namesake telling the nation of Israel that their continued persistence in idolatry and rebellion towards the one tru…