I believe one of the most difficult things for Christians to do is to show grace.
I came across this article that paints a pretty good portrait. But be careful. It's rather emotional.
The Prodigal Daughter
What I said when a pastor friend asked me to preach after his daughter strayed.
By Patrick Nyaga
I often met with a minister friend to share everything from our family life, to personal struggles, to our ministry victories and challenges. One item that often came up was how to handle issues of discipline in the church. One day my friend shared with me how strict he was when dealing with matters of sexual immorality in the church.
"I preach righteousness," he said, "and I stand for it. If someone is caught in sin, I don't care who they are, they have to confess their sin before the whole church, and then I put them under discipline for six months. During this time they cannot do anything in the church except attend. This is necessary for the purity of the church, and I will never bend from that." I tried to offer a different, more nuanced, perspective, but he was convinced his way was the only way, so I let it be.
We live in an amazing time for people who want to read the Bible. From excellent translations to reading plans to tools for helping with our understanding, it's a great age. Here are some of my favorite tools (and one tool I created myself). And as a bonus, I'm also including a link to the prayer app I'm currently using and enjoying.
In my teaching, I lean heavily on three primary translations, the New Living Translation (NLT), the New International Version (NIV), and the English Standard Version (ESV). These aren't the only good ones, but they are among the best and cover the spectrum from the more free NLT to the more literal ESV, with the NIV tucked neatly in the middle.
If you've never read the Bible through, you should. Problem is many of the plans don't seem to have been written by people who actually use them. To fill that gap, I devised my own plan specifically aimed at people who've never read the whole thing, or who are tired of getting bogged down in the tough sections. I even wrote introductions to each book with some hints on how to get the most out of your reading. We keep physical copies at church, or you can download it here.
If you're not sure you want to read every word of every book in the Bible, but still want to get the big picture story, the OWNit365 One Story plan could be what you're looking for. Big plus, you can manage and read the plan on your computer or smart device using YouVersion's Bible App.
And finally, I've found the PrayerMate app to be extremely helpful. Not only can I put in my own requests and organize them as I want, I can also subscribe to prayer needs from mission organizations like Africa Inland Mission, as well as Operation World, a wonderful tool to help you learn about and pray for Christianity throughout the world.
If you're looking to dig deeper into this past Sunday's message, one great place to start would be the book What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. Best book on grace--and one of the best books on faith in general--I've ever read.
Yesterday I mentioned a Bible reading plan I developed, and I believe I promised to post it on my blog. Well, here it is.
The plan has two features I think are unique. First, it is designed to help you maintain momentum. Some parts of the Bible are easier to read than others, and some parts demand more knowledge than others. This plan is designed to spread out the more difficult sections, as well as introducing the more basic concepts before asking you to dig into the heavier topics.
Second, to help you get more from what you're reading, I've written brief introductions to each book (and in some cases introductions to major sections of a book or two). Warning. Some of the introductions are less pious than you might be expecting.
If the plan sounds intriguing, just click on this link to get started.
Clicking this link will open a new page, that has a box like this on it.
To open the plan in your browser (Chrome, IE, Firefox, etc.), click on this button on that page.
If you always want to access the plan from your browser, just save the link and you're set. But it works better to either save or print your own copy. Once you've opened the plan in your browser, if you put your mouse in the lower right hand corner, this little box will magically appear. The two buttons on the right will let you save or print the file.
This Sunday will be the annual sex sermon. If you have any questions or issues you'd like addressed, message me and I'll see if I can work them in (and discuss without an inordinate amount of blushing).
3.This is not an opening for a God of the Gaps who
intervenes in the areas we cannot explain, but rather who has intervened to
accomplish things that are impossible by natural causes. An example of this is
the introduction of the Image of God into humans.
4.The line between these last two is extremely
blurry and probably occurs on a spectrum. The extreme end of Undirected
Evolution would be deism or agnosticism; the extreme end of the other would be
intentionally-guided evolution, with most people who believe in God and
evolution being somewhere between, but more comfortable with one end than the
other. In my way of defining things, neither definition excludes faith.
5.Super technically, it’s 186,282 miles, 698
yards, 2 feet, and 5 inches per second
Evangelical Christianity often has a strong anti-hierarchical bent. For groups
with a more hierarchical structure, it is usually the responsibility of the
upper-level leaders to define and maintain the group’s adherence.
on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6)
kingdom of heaven is like yeast…” (Matthew 13:13)
is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals
on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s
Passover. (Exodus 12:11)
if not all of what are sometimes deemed historical inaccuracies or
contradictions slip out of sight when we focus on the conventions of ancient
literature…” Walton, John H.; Sandy, D. Brent (2013-11-01). The Lost World of
Scripture: Ancient Literary Culture and Biblical Authority (p. 213).
InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
Walter J. (2002). Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (Second
ed.). London and New York: Routledge. pp. 49–54.
you’d like to learn more about orality, especially its impact on how we read
and interpret the Bible, and if you don’t mind tackling some pretty scholarly
writing, I highly recommend The Lost World of Scripture: Ancient Literary
Culture and Biblical Authority by John Walton and Brent Sandy.
also provide an intersection point for the primary principles of geology. If
you want to get a grasp of the fundamental concepts of geology, including its
history, you probably won’t find a better starting point than studying
example of a coral unconformity is the Eemian disconformity in a fossil coral
reef on Great Inagua, The Bahamas.
the chapter “Watergate and the Resurrection” from the book Loving God by
Charles Colson. Great book, by the way.
Renaissance Europe, the justification for what we today call the scientific
approach to inquiry was the belief in a rational God whose created order could
be discerned from a careful study of nature.” Paul Davies, The Mind of God:
Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning (London: Penguin, 1992), 77, cited
by McGrath, A. E. (2012). Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics
Find Faith (p. 102). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” C. S. Lewis: Essay Collection (London:
Harper-Collins, 2000), 21.
Denis (2008-07-18). Creation or Evolution (Kindle Locations 3211-3212). Monarch
Books. Kindle Edition. To be more precise, some of the genes have been
permanently turned off due to mutations, but that doesn’t directly impact our
letters stand for the four nucleotides that carry the information within DNA,
adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.
it should be emphasised that our shared inheritance with the apes is one of the
most certain conclusions of contemporary biology.” Alexander, Denis
(2008-07-18). Creation or Evolution (Kindle Locations 3135-3136). Monarch
Books. Kindle Edition.
your curious, the close-relative sequence is
in “A Tale of Two Scientists: A Young Earth Creationist and an Evolutionary
Creationist” by Tim Stafford in The Origins Debate: Evangelical perspectives on
creation, evolution, and intelligent design (Christianity Today Essentials)
(Kindle Locations 306-307). Christianity Today International. Kindle Edition.
Inner Fish by Neil Shubin (Vintage Books).
many people would not include an Adam and Eve in that population.
are Christians who think we do not need a literal Adam and Eve, but I cannot
come up with a way to work in the need for Jesus without a Fall in some form,
and I can’t get to a Fall without two people to do the falling. Here’s a great
article by a really smart Christian on how he solves the problem.
Number Two. Number Three concerns the part of the curse toward Eve to “multiply
your pain in childbearing” (ESV). Hard to multiply if there was no prior
childbirth and no prior pain. Not as good as the first two, but still adds up.
with the Darwin Fish: Another ‘Missing Link’ Won’t Destroy My Faith Stan
Guthrie in The Origins Debate: Evangelical perspectives on creation, evolution,
and intelligent design (Christianity Today Essentials) (Kindle Locations
1151-1158). Christianity Today International. Kindle Edition.
Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram (The Literal Meaning of Genesis) Vol 1 Ch 19
Martin, Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe, Basic Books
(May 8, 2001)
A. E. (2012). Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith (p.
99). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
1:6-8 paraphrase. The disciple asked, “Jesus, are you bringing in the end times
now?” Jesus’ response: “None of your business. God will take care of that. Your
job is to take the Good News throughout the world.”
Sometimes stories collide, but if we're not careful we'll miss the force of the collision.
Take this article on USA Today. Seems there is a suicide in America every thirteen minutes.
But don't forget this trending article. Brittany Maynard has chosen to end her life on November 1 because she has brain cancer.
The consensus seems to be that Brittany is brave.
But be careful what you call brave. Words have meaning. If choosing not to fight cancer is brave, what does that say about the person who fights to the last breath?
And what does it say to the person who daily fights the urge to commit suicide?
Words have meaning. Words have power. Use them carefully.