Bible & Theology

Why Do We Rejoice?

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Since there exist in the heart these two things- a consciousness of sin and a perception of God's chastisement, the heart must ever be depressed, faint, even terrified. It must be the just and the righteous who are to rejoice in the Lord. First we must be liberated from our sins and perceive a merciful God.

Why Do We Rejoice?

Who Gets the Gifts?

BY BONNIE PETROSCHUK

At this time of year a lot of emphasis is placed on being good. Elves on Shelves everywhere are watching our behavior and snitching to Santa, who is making up his all important list of those who have been naughty and those who have been nice. The parable above, however, sets forth something so counter to that way of thinking that we all have a very difficult time wrapping our minds around it.

Who Gets the Gifts?

Behold Your King

BY MARTIN LUTHER

This Gospel pre-figures Christ coming with grace, and none may receive or accept save he who believes him to be the man, and has the mind, as this Gospel portrays in Christ. Nothing but the mercy, tenderness and kindness of Christ are here shown, and he who so receives and believes on him is saved.

Behold Your King

Don't Share the Gospel with Me: Luther, Forde and a Seminarian

BY RALEIGH SADLER

“Whatever you do, don’t share the Gospel with me?” Those were my exact words to my slightly mystified seminary professor. As he set his coffee down, I could tell that he was holding back in an effort to allow me to process what I was thinking. “To be honest,” I said, “I don’t think God loves me.”

Don't Share the Gospel with Me: Luther, Forde and a Seminarian

Revelation 2:8-11 | To the Church in Smyrna | 014

BY BRANDON HANSON

In the movie, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Jedi Master Yoda recounts the ancient Jedi teaching before a fearful Anakin, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Even in secular culture, we recognize cause-and-effect patterns which begin with something small, leading to a domino effect of increasingly more dire actions and reactions.

Revelation 2:8-11 | To the Church in Smyrna | 014

Are We Reading The Old Testament The Wrong Way?

BY DONAVON RILEY

Often, when we talk about the Old Testament, we talk about God's promises and work for his chosen people, Israel. We talk about God's redeeming promise to Adam and Eve. God calls Abraham out of the Haran into Canaan. God sends Moses to Pharaoh with a message of liberation.

Are We Reading The Old Testament The Wrong Way?

Creedal Thanksgiving

BY MARTIN LUTHER

I hold and believe that I am God’s creature, that is, that he has given me and constantly sustains my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, my reason and understanding, and the like; my food and drink, clothing, nourishment, spouse and children, servants, house and farm, etc.

Creedal Thanksgiving

Identity, and the Self-Stories We Tell

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

What does it mean to be a child of God and to carry his image? This is a theological question, but it is a question necessary for our self-understanding because who we are is derived from who He is and what he has created us to do.

Identity, and the Self-Stories We Tell

Revelation 2:1-7 | To the Church in Ephesus | 013

BY BRANDON HANSON

John begins transcribing this first letter from Jesus to the Church of Ephesus, the Ephesians, his home congregation. In this letter, out of all seven letters, is contained the highest praise and the lightest rebuke. Theirs also is the most magnificent image of the promise as they continue in faith in the finished work of Christ

Revelation 2:1-7 | To the Church in Ephesus | 013

Christianity: The End of Religion

BY DONAVON RILEY

In the beginning, we read about the invention of religion. It begins simply enough in Genesis 3 [6-13]: The woman saw that the tree had fruit that was good to eat, nice to look at, and desirable for making someone wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it.

Christianity: The End of Religion

Come Near To Me, Please

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

There is no shortage of blogs, books, and sermons that use the life of Joseph as a model for Christian living. From not giving up on your “God given dreams,” to fleeing sexual temptation, to being faithful in tribulation, Joseph is like proverbial “Swiss Army Knife” of godliness.

Come Near To Me, Please

Of Works And Grace

BY MARTIN LUTHER

“Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven." These words show and contain in brief what the kingdom of Christ is, namely, this sweet voice, these motherly and fatherly words penetrating our inmost soul: "Thy sins are forgiven." In no other sense are we to view the kingdom of Christ

Of Works And Grace

How Luther Pointed Me to Christ in the Old Testament

BY DONAVON RILEY

Jesus is the Word of God. God’s Word—on two legs. I’d read it in the first chapter of John’s Gospel many, many times. God’s Word was born, suffered, bled, and died for the sins of the whole world. It was all there in the Gospels. It was testified to in the New Testament Epistles.

How Luther Pointed Me to Christ in the Old Testament

Revelation 2-3 | Seven Letters to Seven Churches | 012

BY BRANDON HANSON

My email was once hacked and read, then used to send emails to contacts in my address book. It was not done by some malicious, darknet hacker or scammer trying to rip friends and family off. It was far more innocent, at least in intention. It was done by someone close to me, someone I knew.

Revelation 2-3 | Seven Letters to Seven Churches | 012

An Unimpressive Kingdom

BY ERICK SORENSEN

Have you ever seen a mustard seed? If you have, you know it’s pretty tiny. When deciding how to describe the kingdom to us, Jesus purposely used the smallest known seed at the time. The leaven is hardly anything in comparison to the amount of dough it is placed into.

An Unimpressive Kingdom

Forgiveness Is Finished

BY RYAN COUCH

I’ve had a lot of nasty things done to me in my 43 years of life. Many of which were done by church people while we were worshipping and serving Jesus together. I’ve also done some nasty things to others along the way, but as a highly skilled theologian of glory, I like to believe that the nastiness done to me far outweighs the sin I’ve committed against others.

Forgiveness Is Finished

The Offence of Our Heart on Another’s Sleeve

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

We don’t love little because we have little that requires forgiveness. We love little because we’ve confessed little and hidden much. Therefore we experience little forgiveness. This is what Jesus is teaching both Simon and us when he says, “I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much”

The Offence of Our Heart on Another’s Sleeve

Self-Esteem?

BY ERICK SORENSEN

What do you think of when you hear the term “self-esteem”? I tend to think of two different caricatures: On the one hand I think of Stuart Smalley. He was an old Saturday Night Live character that was supposed to be a motivational speaker type.

Self-Esteem?

A Christian’s Satanic Comfort

BY DONAVON RILEY 

The devil isn’t a popular subject nowadays. The argument is made that we’ve progressed as a culture. We’ve evolved as a society. Primitive superstitions don’t help anybody. It’s not healthy for people to believe that God kicked one of his angels out of heaven, who now works behind the scenes to ruin and destroy us and all our plans.

A Christian’s Satanic Comfort

Revelation 1:10-20 | What Kind of God Is This? Part 3 | 011

BY BRANDON HANSON

Finally, we draw near the end of this three-part article on Revelation 1:10-20. We have also nearly made it to the end of chapter 1 of Revelation. And we’re right back where we started: at the end of the beginning. This is not the last time we will be here.

Revelation 1:10-20 | What Kind of God Is This? Part 3 | 011

On Being Haunted

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

I am often haunted by my past. I am daily haunted by what I should be doing. I am frequently haunted by what I should do tomorrow. I am haunted by my failure to act like my exhortations, duties, and responsibilities expect me to. I often struggle with looking at myself and observing how I am lacking in living right.

On Being Haunted

Enemies Of The Cross

BY MARTIN LUTHER

The thing seems incredible, and I would not have believed it myself, nor have understood Paul’s words here, had I not witnessed it with my own eyes and experienced it. Were the apostle to repeat the charge today, who could conceive that our first, noblest, most respectable, godly and holy people, those whom we might expect, above all others, to accept the Word of God…

Enemies Of The Cross

Whose Bones are Buried Beneath the Cross?

BY CHAD BIRD

Let’s take a walk together. And as we do, I’ll tell you a mystery. We’re heading to a cemetery; I hope you don’t mind. It’s of a different variety, this cemetery, for it consists of a single grave. But a vast grave it is. It had to be. See it there?

Whose Bones are Buried Beneath the Cross?

Revelation 1:10-20 | What Kind of God Is This? Part 2 | 010

BY BRANDON HANSON

The white hair of Jesus’ head teaches us that the Gospel is an ancient mystery. It is the foolishness of God which is wiser than the wisdom of men. And contrary to how we think of white hair today, it does not signify age in the sense of weakness, but in the sense of an ancient and formidable strength.

Revelation 1:10-20 | What Kind of God Is This? Part 2 | 010