Bible & Theology

A Table For The Broken

BY RJ GRUNEWALD

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he invited a rag-tag group of sinners to have a seat at the table. The table was so important that while Mark described, “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost,” Luke suggested, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking.”

A Table For The Broken

Is It I, Lord?

BY ERICK SORENSEN

I suppose it's natural not to want to take the blame or admit it when we have a problem. Even us adults never really grow out of it, we just learn to paper over our issues with euphemisms or more reasonable sounding excuses: "No, not me. I'm not abrasive and rude; I'm just honest and tell it like it is."

Is It I, Lord?

You Can’t Always Outrun The Pain. That’s OK.

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

Have you ever read the Old Testament book of Lamentations? It’s not one of those Bible books that tend to make it too often onto devotional lists, sermon schedules or motivational posters. That's too bad. At first glance, the book seems deeply depressing.

You Can’t Always Outrun The Pain. That’s OK.

Hunger And Thirsting

BY SCOTT DAVIS

I always thought that people who hunger and thirst for righteousness are those who are so zealous to do good deeds that they are constantly gobbling up righteousness at every turn. They sort of sounded like a religious Pac-Man- a compulsive eater of good deeds.

Hunger And Thirsting

Christ Is Still Holding Fast

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

Most Christians are no strangers to pleading with God to change their circumstances or relieve their suffering. Whether its physical pain/sickness or the despair we feel when we lose another battle with that same old sin we've been fighting as long as we can remember, we are desperate for God to intervene.

Christ Is Still Holding Fast

The Truly Good Shepherd

BY MARTIN LUTHER

You have heard that after his sufferings and death Christ our Lord arose from the dead and entered upon, and was enthroned in, an immortal existence. Not that he might sit up there in heaven idly and find pleasure in himself, but that he might take charge of the kingdom

The Truly Good Shepherd

Where Do We Go When We Fall Asleep For the Last Time?

BY BRANDON HANSON

I just visited a dying woman. When I arrived, she was sleeping so deeply that she had to be gently shaken awake. It took some persistence. She was quite exhausted. Dying must be hard work. As soon as she had shaken off her sleep she was bright, alert, and clear.

Where Do We Go When We Fall Asleep For the Last Time?

Faith Is Not What Some People Think

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.

Faith Is Not What Some People Think

Fear & Fruit Bearing

BY JAY SAWRIE

Growing up in the Bible Belt religiosity that I did, there was always an emphasis on fruit bearing. I can remember countless youth rallies where the evangelist would ask sugar high teenagers, "What are you doing for God? Are you a missionary to your school or in the locker room? Is God calling you to the mission field somewhere?

Fear & Fruit Bearing

Jesus Only Gives

BY DONAVON RILEY

When we're under stress, when we're weighed down by responsibilities, and when we feel like nobody cares and no one can help us, we run to God. We ask God to send us a preacher to remind us of his promises. We ask God, like a child asks his father, that he focus our attention on his baptismal grace…

Jesus Only Gives

The God Who Bottles Our Tears

BY CHAD BIRD

One of my jobs in high school was helping local ranchers work cattle. We’d vaccinate, cut off horns, castrate, mark their ears, and brand them. It’s hard, dirty work. By the end of the day, my hat had been sprayed with blood, my shirt smeared with snot, my boots soiled with manure and urine.

The God Who Bottles Our Tears

Why Bad News Is Good News

BY MATT JOHNSON

Martin Luther knew something about economics. Well, God’s economics anyway. It goes something like this: you can’t pay your way into heaven, and it was wrong of the Pope and his cronies to say so. The Christian life is all of grace and nothing of personal sacrifice or performance. These are the big ideas that frame Luther’s 95 theses.

Why Bad News Is Good News

Agree With Your Enemy

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Paul describes this faith in most significant words, namely, when we cry Abba! Father! For in the spirit of fear it is not possible to cry, for we can scarcely open our mouth or mumble. But faith expands the heart, the emotions, and the voice, but fear tightens up all these things and restricts them, as our own experience amply testifies.

Agree With Your Enemy

Grace In The Wilderness

BY JESSICA THOMPSON

God’s children spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Imagine the hopelessness. Imagine the frustration. Imagine the seeds of distrust that were blooming into outright trees of anger and pain. “He brought us out of Egypt for this?” Some of us don’t need to imagine this anger, this pain, this sense that maybe God has forgotten or betrayed you.

Grace In The Wilderness

Stop Conflating Caesar With Jesus

BY BRANDON HANSON

Appealing to our religion to push our political and social sensibilities is not what Jesus died for. And when we make it about that, it becomes more exclusive than the very inclusive Gospel. It sets up dividing lines that God never put there; boundaries that He sent His Son to break, walls that were torn down in the death of Christ.

Stop Conflating Caesar With Jesus

The Advantages Of Praying Drunk

BY MATT JOHNSON

Think about it. God’s grace can quickly become theoretical and it plays out in our churchy practices and attitudes all the time. What if a homeless drunk began showing up to church services, but he’s really slow to change? He will need a lot of grace in order to live the sanctified life.

The Advantages Of Praying Drunk

How Long, O Lord? Climbing 109 Mountains

BY CHAD BIRD

I finally climbed all 109 mountains. My journey began out of desperation, fueled by anger, fear, resentment. I didn't how long it would take, nor the toll it would take from me. I simply climbed, some days only an inch, other days a few feet. And sometimes I plummeted backwards.

How Long, O Lord? Climbing 109 Mountains

Grace and Peace for Stubborn Sins

BY MARTIN LUTHER

The terms of grace and peace are common terms with Paul and are now pretty well understood. But since we are explaining this epistle, you will not mind if we repeat what we have so often explained elsewhere.

Grace and Peace for Stubborn Sins

Examples Of Grace

BY KYLE G JONES

I was once asked why I thought young people were leaving the church in droves after they graduated high school. As a director of youth and family ministry, I’m well positioned to answer. My response: Sunday school. We’re losing young people as children in Sunday school because we’re teaching Bible stories to modify behavior…

Examples Of Grace

Giving Up For Lent

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

Our church doesn’t talk a lot about giving up things for Lent. Lent seasons means we have Sunday night services as well, where we bring in speakers who talk about a different theme each year—usually surrounding the idea of the suffering of Christ. It fits because Lent is the season in the liturgical church calendar when we reflect on the suffering of Christ.

Giving Up For Lent

Jesus – The De-Motivational Speaker

BY MATT JOHNSON

Americans love the vicarious sense of pride they get from the odds-defying underdog myth. But often, all the attaboy-ing translates to spiritual performance and a definition of sin that is closer to good intentions gone awry than war against the maker of the universe.

Jesus – The De-Motivational Speaker

The Advocate

BY JESSICA THOMPSON

If you are going to memorize a passage of Scripture, can I suggest these two verses? My guess is you are going to need the good news they deliver every day of your life, multiple times a day. I love the tone that John is taking here, “My little children” is such a sweet term of endearment.

The Advocate

Repentance In Your Name vs Repentance In Christ's Name

BY MARTIN LUTHER

What is repentance in His name? Hereby he singles out the repentance that is not made in His name, and therefore the text compels us to consider two kinds of repentance. First, a repentance not in His name is, when I come with my own works and undertake to blot out sin with them; as we all have been taught and have tried to do.

Repentance In Your Name vs Repentance In Christ's Name