Bible & Theology

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

Revelation 2:18-29 | Shrine Of The Sambatha | 018

BY BRANDON HANSON

The danger was not necessarily inside the city. Nor was it from an obvious source. Outside the walls of Thyatira, lay a small shrine of white stone. Neither the Imperial Cult, nor the cults of the Pantheon held great sway in Thyatira.

 Revelation 2:18-29 | Shrine Of The Sambatha | 018

What Did Jesus Look Like?

BY JAKE ALLSTAEDT

When I was growing up, I remember that my pastor, before the closing prayer of his children's sermons, would ask us to close our eyes and imagine the most beautiful, most loving picture of Jesus that we could. We were to believe that He was right there with us as we prayed.

What Did Jesus Look Like?

God, I’m Mad At You

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

How many times have you been mad at God? Probably more than you’d like to admit. I remember a time when a family member said some very hurtful things to me, and I was very upset. I felt the comments were extremely unfair and disingenuous.

God, I’m Mad At You

Can I Get a Fruit Check?

BY BRANDON HANSON

We’ve all been there, waiting in line to check out, and the person ahead of us questions the price of something that was just rung up. I remember one lady ahead of me complaining that one item was a whole 18 cents more than the advertised price!

Can I Get a Fruit Check?

Was The Son Of God A Sinner?

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Paul does not say that Christ was made a curse for Himself. The accent is on the two words “for us.” Christ is personally innocent. Personally, He did not deserve to be hanged for any crime of His own doing. But because Christ took the place of others who were sinners, He was hanged like any other transgressor.

Was The Son Of God A Sinner?

What Is Lacking In The Suffering Of Christ?

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

Did the Apostle Paul just say that “he fills up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ?" That seems a little at odds with Jesus statement "It is finished." Perhaps salvation isn't complete? Jesus suffered a lot, but maybe a little more suffering is required from each of us?

What Is Lacking In The Suffering Of Christ?

God’s Not Looking For Spiritual Gurus

BY MATT JOHNSON

An honest faith recognizes that bad news always precedes Good News in the Christian life. Only by abandoning our own efforts to please God and throwing ourselves on God’s mercy will we begin to legitimately thirst for God’s kindness and grace. 

God’s Not Looking For Spiritual Gurus

No God But The Lamb

BY NORMAN NAGEL

You have not faced death fully unless you have faced the death on Calvary. Jesus was, in fact, a good man. Two bad men were dying along with Him. One of them acknowledged the truth, “We have it coming to us, but not this one.” Jesus was different, yet He was on the center cross, dying along with them.

No God But The Lamb

Revelation 2:12-17 | Bring On The Bull | 017

BY BRANDON HANSON

Pergamum was huge. Think New York. Think Las Vegas. Think of London. If the other cities had their attractions, Pergamum was the place to be just because, well… it was the place to be. They may not have been the greatest at any one thing, but they had it all.

Revelation 2:12-17 | Bring On The Bull | 017

The Dung-Slinging God

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

The prophet Jonah longed for one thing: to see the Assyrian city of Nineveh utterly destroyed by the wrath of God. His wish eventually came true. The later prophet, Nahum, describes in terrible and graphic detail the fall of the city. Nahum is a book almost entirely devoted to the horrors of the wrath of God.

The Dung-Slinging God

The Consolation of Weak Saints

BY MARTIN LUTHER

I have often stated above and elsewhere that it pleases me greatly and is salutary for us to hear of the weaknesses of the saints, for these examples of weakness are more necessary for us and bring more consolation than the examples of that heroic and very great fortitude and other virtues.

The Consolation of Weak Saints

When It’s Time To Give Up

BY MATT JOHNSON

In our democratic society we love to talk about freedom. But anybody out there ever tried to be perfect? Ah, shucks. Turns out we’re not as free as we thought. Freedom of the will is a thorny issue—but only theoretically speaking. The problem of the un-free will is not a philosophical problem.

When It’s Time To Give Up

Can Jesus Save A Christian?

BY BRANDON HANSON

You’ve likely seen it yourself or at least heard of it happening. I recall hearing testimony after testimony from Christians who had been convicts, gang members, drug addicts, alcoholics, perverts, deviants, anarchists, extortioners, and scam artists. And Jesus saved all of them.

Can Jesus Save A Christian?