. . . the noble desire that longs to help, to fix, and to rescue is the same desire that Satan can use in ministry to weaken us. He uses it to halt our prayers to the true savior; to bring instability to our faithfulness by making our faithfulness seem to rest on us, not Jesus.
We serve because God tells us to worship him this way, not because we want people to know how awesome our gifts are. We serve because Jesus first served, not because it’s easy.
Our need for others is clear in scripture (Gen 2:18, 1 Cor 1:9, Eph 4:15-16). If you would rather not be in need of others, you’re missing the gospel’s central message: you stand before God as one in need, and what you need above all is Jesus.
And as redeemed image bearers, we reflect our father’s heart to the world. His heart is for the orphan.
No matter who you are or what stage of life you’re in, there are people in your life who are just difficult. People who take more than they give. People who endlessly repeat the same poor decisions that affect your life negatively. People whose personalities are drastically different than your own.
Navigating a finite world of finite resources with self-serving hearts is what makes wealth such a source of temptation for us.
Sometimes church staff members don’t seem to care as much as for each other as they seem to care about the flock for which they co-labor.
I tend to want to fix my kids with my power. I want to say and do all the things that will produce the desired effect in their hearts and behavior; to smooth out their rough edges with solid biblical parenting; to mend their flaws and melt their fears so that I can feel really good about my kind, obedient and happy kids.
In the Old Testament, they only had prophets and miraculous events. They only had the parting of the Red Sea, they only had a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud, they only had food falling from the sky (Ex 13). But we have Jesus—the full revelation of who God is, a final form of communication (Jn 1:1).
The world preaches a message of self-care and boundaries. It says, “this far and no more.” And it sounds good. It sounds good and is good to take care of yourself, to stand up for yourself and to have healthy boundaries in toxic relationships. But what does that look like for a Christian?
You can be a mother humble enough to fail because she trusts the God who doesn’t.
+ We’re looking for writers who are first practitioners—people who can write about ministry because they’re doing it.
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+ Does your piece address a taboo topic with theological clarity? Does it ask new and challenging questions about a familiar issue? Is it theologically precise as well as practical and helpful?
I choose easy, quick gratification because I don’t actually believe that at God’s right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Ps 16:11). When I spend time alone, I’m confronted with my fears. When I don’t want to feel afraid, I run to distractions.
I sat in front of my Bible discouraged and frustrated. For too many days to count, I had felt like I might as well be reading a dishwasher manual. There was a time when I would read my Bible like my life depended on it, but today I couldn’t make myself care.
If we aren't asking God to transform our leaders’ hearts, who are we to complain about their ungodly leadership? We are called to make our requests known to God (Phil 4:6), and that includes desires for transformation in the hearts of our leaders.
It's no shock when I'm impatient with my husband. He's slow and methodical. He doesn't do anything in a hurry. He’s the opposite of me in this way and I love it about him. It's clear I needed to marry a man who measures my temperament with his steadiness. This characteristic of my husband is a means of grace from God to help me grow.
It also drives me nuts.
Often our discomfort with a topic (sex, rape, homosexuality, suicide, etc) can be misinterpreted as discomfort with the person. As believers, we can respond to difficult stories and hard conversations with compassion for the people who share them with us.
He’s not nourishing and cherishing me, I would lament. I’d count down the moments until he arrived home from work, waiting for him to burst in the door and rescue me from my failures and frustrations. When he didn’t live up to my demands, I gave into despair. I tagged him “in” and checked myself “out.”
If our “Christianese” doesn’t align with the words of God himself, what language are we really speaking?
This year will mark the first Father’s Day I have ever spent without being able to see or speak to my dad. For 35 years, even after moving away from home 14 years ago, I have spent almost every Father's Day with him. But this year, I remember him.