At times, we treat the Holy Spirit like the red-headed step-child of the Trinity. Why is that? It is the Spirit who sends His preachers armed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit calls, gathers, and enlightens people with His gifts handed out through earthly words, water, bread, and wine.
I am the queen of “good works.” I grew up doing my chores early so I could find extra to-do's around the house. I never missed curfew. I received straight As. I volunteered more during my first two years of college than I took credited hours of classes. My first job out of college was with a nonprofit
There was a great cartoon that recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal. A bewildered man is depicted in Hell standing in front of a smirking Devil with the caption: How can I be here? I didn’t believe any of this stuff.
Now that August has arrived, I ought to set my face to Jerusalem and end my usual pattern of finishing up syllabi for the coming semester the night before classes begin. One of my classes, in particular, cries out for reorganization after last spring’s more “down-and-dirty” than “clean-and-clear first-time-teaching-it” shakedown cruise.
Jesus is faithful, loving, and kind. He gladly helps everybody and is good to everyone. This is what it means that He’s God and Savior. So, we look to Him for everything good. In this way, we learn to trust Him and depend on Him for every spiritual good too. Jesus feeds our stomach so that we can trust Him to feed and clothe our soul too.
It should have been the greatest moment in his career—no, in his life. It should have made him a household name, a legendary hero that children would pretend to be and adults would point to as the mark of true success.
What our heart wants our mind justifies. We want what we want when we want it. There's not a whole lot we can do to curb the wanting either. This may not seem like much of a problem until we ask what our wanting does to effect God's relation to us.
David tells us that working for peace and rest is vain. That’s another word for “foolish” or “meaningless.” Because peace is a gift and not a product, you can’t work your way into it. However—you can receive it by grace.
The Heidelberg Disputation is one of the earliest reformational writings from Luther with its presentation occurring just six months after the famous posting of the 95 theses. Where the 95 theses is a pointed attack on a handful of misdeeds from the Roman church, Heidelberg is a sweeping offensive meant to restore the foundation of all Christian doctrine.
Both Marys and Marthas abound in the church, and there is often tension between them. Sometimes this tension is expressed by exhausted Marthas spouting off the 80/20 rule: twenty percent of the people are doing eighty percent of the work.
There are a lot of disappointed people right now. There are a lot of disappointed Christians too. People who make a mess of their relationships. People who make a mess of friendships, family relationships, work relationships, even churches. People disappointed about their relationships because they're thrown off-kilter by self-sabotage.
Since I was old enough to form letters, I have been writing. I drew pictures and colored, too, and I even plunked away at a piano every now and again, but mostly I wrote. I wrote pages and pages of stories about anything I wanted, and it was glorious.
Do you ever wake up with the weight of your insufficiencies bearing down on you? You sense the reality that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, or successful enough just as your eyes flutter open.
A young man, new to serving God’s beautiful forgiven and life-given people, expressed his deepest frustration to me a short while ago. He recently had a conversation with a young woman who had just completed two years of learning about Christianity.
There is a tragic parable that repeats itself all too frequently in many of our best parishes and Christian homes. While it has many variations, there are common threads that run through all its versions.
The truth is, we love God in spite of ourselves. That does not mean we are incapable of love. All people love someone or something. But regardless of who or what we love, we are called by Selfless Jesus to go further.
Have you ever considered your devotional life? I’m sure most Christians have at least thought about this or have even attempted to read through some sort of book dedicated to focusing their hearts and minds on the things of God. There are selections of daily devotionals to fit into your every routine - short snippets or lengthy meditations.
Perhaps you’ll forgive my reticence to care very much about all of this End of Days talk (what the theologians call “eschatology”) as it seems that, like body piercing and regional barbecue, opinions on the matter are very personal and can be really intense.
I kind of enjoy Ball’s critique of the Bible. He has the same perspective Augustine had when he first tried to read it. When he finally did, Augustine went on to be one of the greatest of the Church Fathers whose writings and works still influence western thought in and outside Christian circles.
There are some people we meet who seem to express love in the same way the sun expresses heat. In fact, every religion ever invented that's based in love is an attempt to spread that expression of love to all people.
The following is an excerpt from Martin Luther’s Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (1535), translated by Haraldo Camacho (1517 Publishing, 2018). Against these empty bubbles and cherished illusions (as I have noted), we teach faith and we give the true measure of faith. First, man should learn from the law to know himself.