Nick Batzig – The Doubting Believer

Fifteen to twenty years ago, prominent figures in the missional movement began saying things like, “Our churches have to be safe places for doubters,” or “You should feel like you can come to our church with all of your doubts.” I always felt somewhat uncomfortable whenever I heard these statements–not because I think that our churches shouldn’t be safe place for people to express doubts, but because it seemed as if many were confusing the idea of doubt with the idea of unbelieving skepticism. It is important to recognize that Scripture does not identify doubt with unbelieving skepticism. In fact, the most serious believers may have prolonged periods in which they struggle with doubt–a fact that the Gospel writers unfold in the account of John the Baptist’s doubts about the identity of Jesus while in prison.

During his earthly ministry, Jesus made the shocking assertion, “Among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” Christ praised John as having been “the burning and shining lamp” (John 5:35)–as one who poured himself out for the spiritual well-being of others. John’s ministry was marked by his selfless motivation to see Jesus exalted, “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). John likened himself to the friend of the bridegroom, who, upon hearing the voice of Christ, rejoiced that the Bridegroom had come (John 3:29). John had the unique privilege of standing and pointing to the Redeemer in the flesh and declare, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). John joyfully encouraged his own disciples to leave him in order to follow after Jesus, when Christ began his ministry. John was content to exist for the glory and exaltation of Jesus (John 1:35-37).

To continue reading Nick Batzig’s article, click here.

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R. Kent Hughes – 5 “Do Nots” of Fatherhood

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

1. Criticism

Every year when our family decorates our Christmas tree and I place a tiny red-and-green glass-beaded wreath on the tree, I think of the little boy who gave it to me when I coached soccer. His sarcastic, demeaning father would run up and down the field belittling his boy with words like “chicken” and “woman.” He was the only parent I ever told to be quiet or leave the field. I wonder sometimes how that boy, now a man, has fared.

Winston Churchill had such a father in Lord Randolph Churchill. He did not like the looks of Winston, he did not like his voice, he did not like to be in the same room with his son. He never complimented him—only criticized him. His biographers excerpt young Winston’s letters begging both parents for his father’s attention: “I would rather have been apprenticed as a bricklayer’s mate…it would have been natural…and I should have got to know my father…”

To continue reading R. Kent Hughes’ article, click here.

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R. Kent Hughes – 3 “Dos” of Fatherhood

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

1. Tenderness

The words “bring them up” mean “to nourish or feed,” as in 5:29 which has the same Greek words describing how a man “feeds and cares” for his own body. Calvin translates “bring them up” as “let them be kindly cherished,” and goes on to emphasize that the overall idea is to speak to one’s children with gentleness and friendliness.

When I was a teenager, my best friend’s father was a man’s man. He had spent thirty-two years in the Coast Guard as a non-commissioned officer, a chief bosun’s mate. He was a big man, and in his prime he had put on the gloves with Joe Louis. Officers greeted him first when he walked down the street. He could be rough and tumble. But do you know what he called his 265-pound son? “David dear.” I was “Kent dear,” and I did not mind at all. In fact, it made me feel great. He was not hung up on “Real men do not show affection.” In fact, he still kisses his grown son — a man’s man himself.

We are to be tender. Men are never manlier than when they are tender with their children — whether holding a baby in their arms, loving their grade- schooler, or hugging their teenager or adult children.

To continue reading R. Kent Hughes’ article, click here.

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Dr. Ross Anderson – Carbon: God’s Building Blocks for Life

The Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited). Isaiah 45:18 (NASB)

Isaiah clearly states that God formed the earth to be inhabited. This would imply that every aspect of the environment has been designed for the growth and maintenance of life. This includes everything from the air we breathe, the water we drink, to even the various types of atoms and molecules from which life is made. Over the past century and a half, man has made great technological advances that have increased our knowledge and understanding of chemistry and the environment in which we live. With this increase, many have become acutely aware of just how uniquely suited the environment is for life.

Everyone is familiar with LEGO®, and that a single piece can be used to build a multitude of different structures for different purposes. Well, God has just such a piece that he uses to build the myriad different life forms. It is called carbon. Man, with the mind God has given him, also uses this piece to make many different products for different purposes. Whereas carbon may be viewed as a LEGO® piece, carbon-based compounds are the whole LEGO® set as the same pieces are used to construct the multitude of life forms from plants to insects to humans each with very different structures and purposes.

To continue reading Dr. Anderson’s article, click here.

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Horatius Bonar – Christ Our High Priest: Bearing the Iniquity of Our Holy Things

And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.” Exodus 28:36-38

The sacrifices under the Law were of various kinds. They were not merely numerous and often repeated, but they were manifold in their nature and design. True, there was but one altar, one High Priest, one tabernacle — all foreshadowing the one Savior. But there were manifold offerings, differing the one from the other, to set forth the “manifold grace of God” (1 Pet. 4:10), and the manifold perfections of Him in Whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell (Col 1:19). Thus these sacrifices, by means of their diversity, were all the more exactly fitted to prefigure Him Who is the fountain opened for all sin and for all uncleanness; and the High Priest, in the continual offering up of these, as well as in the performance of the various kindred offices pertaining to the tabernacle, did the more fully exhibit Him in all His completeness as the Servant of the varied wants of sinners.

To continue reading Horatius Bonar’s article, click here.

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Tommy Keene – Reading the Bible: Ordinary Reading (Part 2)

In the previous post we established that good Bible reading requires us read the Bible as God speaking to us in a manner that we can naturally understand. But how do we actually do that?

It’s harder than you might think. Over the years we have trained ourselves to read the Bible in an unnatural way, so we’re going to have to break some bad habits.

Read the book (not around the book)

This may sound obvious, but the first and most important rule for interpreting and appropriating any biblical book is to actually read the book. Our ability to read well is often disrupted by a multitude of distractions, and those distractions halt reading. So read the book as it was meant to be read—that is, in a steady stream without pauses or breaks. You need to immerse yourself in the text.

To continue reading Tommy Keene’s post, click here.

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Jaquelle Crowe – The Greatest Gift a Mom Can Give Her Daughter

The Importance of Mother-Daughter Relationships

I’m 20, and my mom is one of my best friends. She’s my safe space, my closest counselor, and my biggest supporter. And it’s been like this for as long as I can remember.

Somehow my relationship with my mom didn’t just survive my teen years; it flourished during them. My teen years are what formed the bond we have now.

But how did that happen?

The Start of One-on-One Discipleship

All my life, my parents have been intentional about cultivating family discipleship. We did family worship each night. My brother and I were homeschooled, and my parents were diligent about worldview training.

But when I was 12, they became intentional about one-on-one discipleship, and I believe it was this that contributed so significantly to building a relationship with my mom.

To continue reading Jaquelle Crowe’s article, click here.

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Tommy Keene – Reading the Bible: Ordinary Reading (Part 1)

Sitting down to read the Bible isn’t enough. We need to learn how to read it well; and, reading it well is actually more difficult than one might think. Many of us want to grow in our relationship with God, in our knowledge of what he has taught, and in our spiritual lives, and we know that reading the Bible is central to that goal, but we often find our bible reading frustratingly fruitless. What am I supposed to be getting from this text? How does it teach me about Jesus? How does it help me to grow?

Don’t be discouraged. Reading, like anything else, is a skill that needs to be learned, practiced, and trained. You might think “I know how to read,” and once you know how to read it’s simply a matter of increasing your vocabulary. Reading is easy and intuitive, and therefore shouldn’t require any extra training once the skill is acquired. It’s like riding a bike.

But that’s not true. It’s not true for “ordinary” books, and it’s not true for the Bible. In fact, there’s a justly famous book called How to Read a Book (which, I must admit, I have not read) that addresses the complexities of reading, and this is just one of many such books. Reading requires developing certain skills and, like anything else, practicing those skills over and over and over again! That’s true for ordinary books, and it’s also true for the Bible.

To continue reading Tommy Keene’s article, click here.

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Marshall Segal – I Long to See You: What Apple Will Never Replace

Have smartphones and social media really done anything to strengthen your most important relationships?

Your experience may not be mine (I’m sure for many it’s not), but I’m finding our recent advances in technology have not made for more meaningful communication with my family and closest friends. If anything, they have siphoned off something of the urgency and intentionality out of those relationships — out of me in those relationships.

New technologies do offer amazing potential for those with the maturity, discipline, and love to use them well. Text messages enable us to use spare seconds to exchange notes and encourage each other. FaceTime allows us to see the person we’re talking to in real time, suddenly making a phone call more personal. And of course, smartphones and social media almost immediately widen our network of relationships, allowing us to “keep up” with many more old friends while constantly introducing us to new people.

But I suspect that while new technologies have made many new things possible and many old things easier, they have not translated into deeper, more intimate relationships like we might have expected. Has all of our technology made the whole world a little closer, but left us farther than ever from the ones we love most?

To continue reading Marshall Segal’s article, click here.

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Scott Slayton – The Absolute Necessity of Scripture Memory

Recently, I ran across this post about Vern Poythress’ Scripture memory habits. While I had been faithful in my own personal Scripture memory the last couple of years, late last year I started slacking on reviewing the verses I had memorized and this post provided me with the example I needed to get going again.

I doubt that I am the only person who struggles to be consistent in his Scripture memory. Scripture memory has no deadline and rarely does anyone ask us how we are doing in our Scripture memory. It doesn’t feel urgent in the way that many other things in our lives do. Scripture memory falls into what Stephen Covey would call the “important but not urgent” category. We need to memorize Scripture. We must memorize Scripture, but we fail to grasp the importance of it until we are in a situation where knowing God’s word by heart would be helpful.

We need to remember why Scripture memory is so vitally important for our walk with the Lord, so here are seven reasons that you need to store God’s word up in your heart.

To continue reading Scott Slayton’s article, click here.

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