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Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Next week will mark the second anniversary of Jamie Coots’s death. He was a father, pastor, and one of the stars of the National Geographic Channel’s reality series, Snake Salvation. The show followed Coots’s life and ministry as a prominent leader in a sect of Holiness Pentecostals who incorporate handling poisonous snakes into their worship in fulfilment of the promise of supernatural power and protection in Mark 16:17-18.
Monday, February 8, 2016
The word religion has become a pejorative in the pulpits of too many preachers, and it has spread to the pews, as well. Well-meaning evangelists and church leaders are willing to labor long and hard to portray religion like a straight-jacket of rules and regulations. The way of Christ is then put forth as the fresh alternative to the villainy of religion. Such efforts are more based in the desire to erase negative perceptions than in an accurate portrayal.
Friday, February 5, 2016
The modern determination to separate who a person is and what he does has also infiltrated the church. The exhortation to “love the sinner and hate the sin” is a clever Christian cliché regularly used to deflect people’s responsibility and accountability for their sin. While it’s true that we should both love sinners and hate sin, the cliché distorts those truths by unbiblically severing the two.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Christians sometimes find their theology in the strangest places. That’s not meant as an indictment—most of us are not searching for truth outside the confines of Scripture. But the church seems to have a nasty habit of allowing the world’s influence and wisdom to encroach upon territory that rightfully belongs to God alone.
Monday, February 1, 2016
It was the “hedge of protection” that intrigued me the most. The prayer warriors all seemed to be in on this exciting discovery of Satan’s kryptonite. As they prayed that hedge of protection over the spiritually vulnerable, it conjured images of a supernatural force field in my mind.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
My early months as a Christian were a joyous feast of fellowship. There was nothing I loved more than to be with my new brothers and sisters in Christ. Every believer I knew seemed so sanctified and intimate with the Savior. I actually felt intimidated by lives that were seemingly lived on another plane of righteousness to my own sinful struggles. But it didn’t take long before I discovered a sub-culture my Christian peers described as “backsliders.”
Monday, January 25, 2016
I don’t eat a lot of sushi, but when I do, one of the ingredients is usually imitation crab. To me, “traveling mercies” is imitation crab in Christian lingo. The phrase communicates something, but it’s a cheap substitute for biblical truth.
Friday, January 22, 2016
The church has fallen into a dangerous pattern when it comes to divine direction. Too many believers today are trying to hear directly from God—whether through an audible voice or a stirring of their souls. Worse still are the people who legitimize everything from heresy to fundraising schemes to simple personal decisions by asserting the leading of the Lord.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Too many people assume their entrance into God’s family is a function of their own earnest desire. Phrases like “Asking Jesus into my heart” or “Accepting Jesus as my personal Savior” are emblematic of a mentality that carelessly reverses the roles in salvation. And that mentality is widespread in the church—today those phrases are some of the most common Christian clichés.
Monday, January 18, 2016
If an unbeliever with no religious background walked into your local church, what sense—if any—would he or she be able to make of phrases like “Ask Jesus into your heart,” “I felt led,” or “Let go and let God”? Taken at face value, what should any of that mean to an outsider? And more importantly, how would the explanation of those Christian clichés lead anyone to a clearer understanding of the gospel and other biblical principles?
Friday, January 15, 2016
As believers, we know we’re called to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). But are you ever discouraged or underwhelmed by what little difference your life seems to make? Are you concerned that your influence as salt and light might not reach very far or go very deep?
Friday, January 15, 2016
We rarely feature book reviews on the Grace to You blog, but I recently read a choice volume that I want to recommend enthusiastically. It's Christopher Catherwood's new biography of his grandfather, titled Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Imagine you see a drowning man, and the life preserver in your hand is all that stands between him and certain death. You wouldn’t disguise the flotation device to resemble the water in which he was drowning. You wouldn’t openly question the efficacy of the life-preserver, or debate the relative merits of other floating objects. And you certainly wouldn’t try to convince him that he could manipulate the power of the life-preserver if he simply had enough faith.
Monday, January 11, 2016
This world is racing to hell. In a full sprint and with the hearty approval of their unsaved peers, unrepentant sinners chase down every temptation, indulge every lust, and gleefully invite their own destruction (Romans 1:28-32).
Friday, January 8, 2016
Another election year is upon us, and with it, renewed hopes of favorable political change. While you don’t have to look hard to find cynicism about government and the electoral process, people of all political stripes greet this political season with heightened interest and great expectations.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Do you ever forget how sinful the world is? Not that any believer could mistake this place for an untouched paradise—but do you ever lose sight of the depth and breadth of this ruined world’s corruption?