Most teenagers experienced a learning deficit during the COVID lockdown of 2020. Many educators believe they will never overcome that deficit. Similarly, could teenagers experience a spiritual deficit when their churches go for many months with no student pastor?
Five years into my ministry, a friend of mine told me he was going to do a series called “Encore,” in which he preached all his greatest hits from his first five years of ministry.
When it comes to questions of justice—whether the context is gender, race, abuse allegations, or something else—there has often been a malaise in the church, in large part because the injustice didn’t directly affect those of us sitting in places of privilege.
In biblical days, Jewish law demanded rigorous cleaning techniques after you’d gotten rid of any kind of disease or defilement; it even applied to your property.
Jesus made a lot of striking statements during his ministry. And a great deal of them had to do with money. This makes us squeamish, but it’s reality: Jesus spoke about money more than heaven and hell. It’s not that he considered money more important than heaven. He simply knew that the way we treat our wealth is a massive barometer for the direction of our hearts.
The book of Daniel can be summed up in one sentence: If you want to make a difference, then you have to be different. You have to be distinct from Babylon in some very crucial ways. For Daniel and his friends, that manifested in the food they ate (or didn’t eat), the way they prayed, and where they placed their highest allegiance.
When God looks for leaders, he doesn’t value what we tend to value. In 1 Samuel 16:7 God says, “‘For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart’” (ESV). In his kingdom, character is paramount because the king we need is one who can reconcile us to God.
DURHAM, N.C. (BP) – John Wesley famously said, “God does nothing in the world except in answer to prayer.” That’s probably an overstatement, but the apostles’ experience in Acts verifies at least the sentiment behind it. It was after a 10-day prayer meeting that God gave Peter the power to birth the church through his preaching in Acts 2.
The last year has revealed areas of weakness in our beloved convention of churches. Fissures and failures and fleshly idolatries. COVID-19 didn’t produce these crises, but it did expose them.
This November I am re-reading one of my favorite books, To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson. Not many books have truly changed my life, but this one has. After reading it in college, I resigned my law studies and went to serve God with the International Mission Board (IMB) as a missionary in Asia. I haven’t picked that book up in 30 years until just a few weeks ago. I’m glad that I did.
DURHAM, N.C. (BP) – By all accounts, this has been a strange year. So perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that a presidential election has come (and gone) without us knowing the clear winner. In due time, we will learn the results of the vote. Until then, what should Christians do in the upcoming days and weeks?