Weekly Once-Over (01.23.2014)
Where Is "The Line" In Dating?: Hundreds, maybe thousands of times I have been asked, in some form or fashion, “How far can we go sexually before marriage?” Often, though not always, the heart behind the question is unholy and unhealthy. There is a powerful illusion that sexual sin is only what we do with our hands, and not also what we do with our hearts.
Art of Presence: I’d say that what these experiences call for is a sort of passive activism. We have a tendency, especially in an achievement-oriented culture, to want to solve problems and repair brokenness — to propose, plan, fix, interpret, explain and solve. But what seems to be needed here is the art of presence — to perform tasks without trying to control or alter the elemental situation. Allow nature to take its course. Grant the sufferers the dignity of their own process. Let them define meaning. Sit simply through moments of pain and uncomfortable darkness. Be practical, mundane, simple and direct.
Daddy Fails Redeemed By Jesus: All fathers experience moments where they feel like failures. Do you know how Jesus can redeem those moments?
The Gospel For A Gay Friend: Josh is no caricature. His experiences and story are true, and they are common. What if Josh were your neighbor or your co-worker or your son? How would you communicate the gospel to him? How would you tell him about the forgiveness of sins, the community of believers, and true identity in Jesus?
Do I Have To Be A Member At A Local Church To Follow Christ?: We live in a commitment-averse society. Single people are delaying marriage until later and later in life, and lowering their expectations for marriage. And while a few generations ago, careers were rooted in a company and workers had a strong sense of corporate loyalty, today people change jobs every few years. We avoid the burden of commitment at every opportunity. Yet we celebrate a gospel that begins with a radical, unshakeable commitment toward us.
Atheist's Letter From Birmingham Jail: In April 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for his participation in the organized, non-violent marches and sit-ins against racial segregation in Birmingham. On the same day, eight white Alabama clergymen, some Christian, some not, published an open letter on unity that decried the demonstrations and urged patience, asking people to restrict their efforts to the courts and not the streets...
Don't Hate, But Pray For Those Who Hate Pro-Life Convictions: In the never-ending battle over abortion, it’s easy to lose yourself in the heat of the moment and to feel a sense of disdain toward those who defend the “right” to take the life of an unborn child. But as Christians, we must not give in to the cultural tendency to denigrate and demonize people on the other side of the political aisle. How can we make a stand for the unborn and yet also love our political opponents? By praying for them by name. It is hard to hate someone you pray for.
How Is God Working In The World? Understanding Miracles and Providence: So what is a miracle, and how is a miracle distinguishable from regular divine action? How can we maintain both a robust understanding of general divine providence and special divine intervention in miracles? In order to understand miracles rightly, Christians must account for God's everyday sustaining providence.
3 Check Points For Spiritual Drift: Drifting is something that happens over time. It’s slow and steady, almost imperceptible. It can happen so gradually in fact that it goes without notice. That’s the real problem with drifting spiritually – you don’t know it’s happening until it’s already happened. But what if you could? Are there certain checkpoints that, if they appear in your life, you know that the drifting has started? That the rope tied to the anchor of faith has started to let out? That you are slowly moving in a direction that you didn’t intend to go? I think there are, and here’s three to think about.
The Gospel And Work: Your calling is determined over time, as you process what you want to do, what God has gifted you to do and the opportunities He’s placed before you. So why do we think this calling is just limited to pastors? Can you not go through the same process to be an engineer, a stockbroker, or a stay-at-home mom?