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The Coronavirus and the Pony
March 25, 2020
There’s something antiquated about our enforced #coronacation. Like peasants in the 14th century warding off the plague-ridden and the unclean, we have abandoned human contact. Handshakes are out; elbow bumps are in. Our cities are empty, our marketplaces abandoned, ou...
Social Distancing, Up Close
March 18, 2020
So here we are. At least, there you are and here I am. Due to COVID19 we are all washing our hands furiously and resorting to the fist bump or worst…the elbow bump. I don’t know, maybe the air high five is worst. It doesn’t matter. The fact remains, we have bee...
'I Shall Not Be Shaken': How God Removes Our Greatest Fears
March 11, 2020
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 Real confidence is in rare supply. Playing it cool is one thing. It’s easy to straighten your shoulders, arch your back, stick o...
Christian Hope Changes Everything
March 04, 2020
We Have Every Spiritual Blessing We who are rooted in Christ also have every spiritual blessing in him in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3). We need not fear because we already have every blessing. Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians that before the world was e...
King Jehoshaphat and the Coronavirus
February 26, 2020
“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” As I sit in my apartment in coronavirus-laden China, I’m hard pressed to think of a better prayer than that one, uttered by a desperate but confident Judean king named Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:12). Th...
4 Things to Pray Before Opening Your Bible
February 19, 2020
I might as well begin with an ironic confession: I tend to ignore articles on prayer. Which means if you click away from this one, I’m in no position to blame you. If anything, I get the feeling. What’s left to be said about the topic? The importance of prayer i...
Seven Ways to Sabotage Your Prayer Life
February 12, 2020
Unanswered prayer will test our faith. Weeks, or months, even years, of waiting on some particular request can tempt us to despair. Jesus, our compassionate Lord, knew this and told a parable to encourage us to endure in prayer and not lose heart (Luke 18:1–8). All of us ne...
The High Stakes of How Christians Approach Power
February 05, 2020
Power is one of the most pressing issues facing the evangelical church at the beginning of this new decade. How do we steward it in Christlike ways? How are we tempted to adopt the world’s (usually corrupting) approach to it? How can we avoid the many ways power and platfor...
Why We're Upset When a Celebrity Dies
January 29, 2020
On the morning of Sunday, January 26, a helicopter carrying NBA star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and 8 other people crashed into the side of a hill, killing all aboard. Social media and all news outlets instantly flooded with expressions of grief and shock over the unt...
As You Start That Diet: 3 Truths About Body Image
January 22, 2020
Goals related to health, fitness, and weight loss top New Year’s resolutions year after year. There’s something about the first week of January that convinces us: This’ll be the year I’ll fit back into my college jeans. Sales on gym mem...
What's Your Primary Story?
January 15, 2020
Every new year we’re reminded of the importance of disciplines, habits, and resolutions. We resolve to do this or that—more exercising, less eating, more Bible study, less Twitter. When we step into a new calendar year, we take stock of the past and look to the futur...
You Are Set Free From Self-Improvement
January 08, 2020
Christ’s Power in Us When our goals begin and end with ourselves, frustration and discouragement are sure to set in, and we’re likely to wind up looking for relief in some other way—a new method or program or book or teaching through which the Lord migh...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 25
December 25, 2019
Devotional: Day 25 Christmas has arrived—the day we celebrate the advent of our Savior Jesus Christ. Reflect on how this reading plan has helped you experience the Christmas season differently. Make a point to help friends or family members download the Bible App t...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 24
December 24, 2019
Devotional: Day 24 So Loved Exposure: Christmas Eve is the last day of Advent. One verse sums it up the best. Read John 3:16. Make a really huge poster or sign of it like you see at sports events or stadiums and post it outside your home. Exploration: Do you feel s...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 23
December 23, 2019
Devotional: Day 23 He's Coming Exposure: Read some parables Jesus told about when He would return. Exploration: What do you think is the main point of the chapter? You've done a lot to get ready for Christmas. What can you do to be ready for the Second Advent? E...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 22
December 22, 2019
Devotional: Day 22 Joy Exposure: Read the passage from Psalms. Get a group together and go Christmas caroling. If you don't know all the words, print out copies of the lyrics before you go out. You can go through your neighborhood or revisit one of the people you've m...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 21
December 21, 2019
Devotional: Day 21 The Greatest Story Ever Told Exposure: Christmas is getting closer! It will be easy to lose focus on Him as the season gets busier. Read the last verse of the Gospel of John. Gather some friends or family and watch the 1965 movie classic The Greates...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 20
December 20, 2019
Devotional: Day 20 The Word Exposure: Read the first chapter of the Apostle John's account of Jesus' life. If you made an Advent wreath spend some time just reflecting and looking at the candlelight. Exploration: This chapter is known for being written in almost a ...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 19
December 19, 2019
Devotional: Day 19 Pray Exposure: Read the passage about Jesus teaching His followers how to pray. Use the Lord's Prayer as a pattern to write down a prayer that has some of those same ideas in it. Exploration: What parts of Jesus' prayer pattern do you often leave...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 18
December 18, 2019
Devotional: Day 18 Fast Exposure: Read the passage about fasting. Christmas is generally a time of feasting. Take at least a day to fast from something. Exploration: Why do you think Jesus asked us to fast? What kind of fasting does Isaiah say the Lord requires? ...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 17
December 17, 2019
Devotional: Day 17 Adopt a Family Exposure: Read the passage about how we have been adopted as children of God through Christ. Many people adopt a family to help during Christmas. Find someone who needs a family this Christmas and make plans to be that family for them...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 16
December 16, 2019
Devotional: Day 16 The Nativity Exposure: Read about the kings who came to worship Jesus. Look at the pieces of a nativity set and consider the features the artist used to show that the scene is centered on Christ. Exploration: What do you think it would have been ...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 15
December 15, 2019
Devotional: Day 15 Impossible Exposure: Read the passage about the arrival of an improbable baby and an impossible baby. God is setting the stage in this dramatic way for the advent of Jesus Christ—who would be characterized by doing the impossible. Explorati...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 14
December 14, 2019
Devotional: Day 14 Christmas Cards Exposure: Read the passage about an encouraging letter. Most of the New Testament is made up of letters. Buy or make a Christmas card for someone who has really been a blessing to you this year. Spend some additional time expressing ...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 13
December 13, 2019
Devotional: Day 13 Concert Exposure: Read the passage. Make arrangements to go watch a Christmas concert or play. Go outside your normal circles and attend one at a church you've never visited or in a part of town you don't often drive through. Exploration: What pa...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 12
December 12, 2019
Devotional: Day 12 True Love Exposure: Read the warning against turning from your first love. Look up the lyrics of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Find at least one other person to sing it with you. Exploration: Who is your first love? Think back to how your feeling...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 11
December 11, 2019
Devotional: Day 11 Snow Exposure: Read the account of creation from Genesis. Create a snowman. Use real snow if you have it, or find a creative way to make a snowman. You can use cotton balls, wadded up paper, or just draw one. Exploration: How is shaping a snowman...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 10
December 10, 2019
Devotional: Day 10 Immanuel Exposure: Read the passages about Immanuel. Make a sign that reminds you that God is with you and hang it up somewhere that you see often. Exploration: Immanuel means "God with us." How is Jesus still "God with us" even now that He's not...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 9
December 09, 2019
Devotional: Day 9 His Names Exposure: Read the passages about Jesus' first coming and His second coming. Listen to the "Hallelujah Chorus" or "For Unto Us a Child Is Born" from Handel's "Messiah"—both are easy to find online. Exploration: Notice how prominent...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 8
December 08, 2019
Devotional: Day 8 The Least of These Exposure: Read Jesus' teachings about the final judgment. Think of someone you know of that probably falls into the category of "the least of these." You may have to think outside your normal circles. Invite them to a meal with you...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 7
December 07, 2019
Devotional: Day 7 Decorations Exposure: Read God's detailed instructions for the decoration of the Tabernacle. Go though your home and examine the Christmas decorations you have. If you haven't decorated, take this time to decorate to celebrate this important season. ...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 6
December 06, 2019
Devotional: Day 6 The Gift Exposure: Read these verses about giving. Go Christmas shopping for someone that is not a part of your immediate family like a patient in a nursing home or hospital, your mail carrier, your garbage collector, or a foster child. Exploratio...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 5
December 05, 2019
Devotional: Day 5 Lights Exposure: Read these passages about Jesus being the light. Research the beginnings of the tradition of Christmas lights. Drive around town with a group of friends or family and look at the different expressions of lights. Exploration: How i...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 4
December 04, 2019
Devotional: Day 4 Servant of All Exposure: Read Jesus' remarks to His disciples about being a servant. In the next 24 hours, live this out by serving someone. Especially think of a way you welcome a little child in Jesus' name. Exploration: Why do you think Jesus t...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 3
December 03, 2019
Devotional: Day 3 Terrified Exposure: Read the account of the shepherds who became witnesses to Jesus' arrival. Exploration: Wonderful and terrifying at the same time! What do you think was going through the shepherd's minds when the angels appeared? Expression:...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 2
December 02, 2019
Devotional: Day 2 The Announcement Exposure: Read the opening chapter of the New Testament—the account of Joseph, the earthly father God chose for His Son. Exploration: Consider how the weight of generations of expectations affected Joseph's ability to step i...
Rediscovering the Christmas Season: Day 1
December 01, 2019
Devotional: Day 1 A Preface to This Adventure What Is Advent? Advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival or coming. The Hebrews looked forward to the coming of a Savior or Messiah—the First Advent. Now, we are waiting expectantly for His return to sweep H...
How to Pray for Unbelieving Family Members
November 27, 2019
God Cares for Us One of the greatest concerns—and heartaches—for many Christians is with the members of their families who have not come to faith in Christ, or who perhaps have abandoned the faith they grew up with. Many, many of us are burdened in our prayer...
8 Signs Your Christianity Is Too Comfortable
November 20, 2019
In many parts of the world today, it can be easy to live a comfortable life as a Christian. Certainly where I live—in Orange County, California—this is the case. But is that a good thing? I’d like to suggest that the Christian faith is inherently ...
Creating Space to Say Yes
November 13, 2019
My wife and I attended the Stronger Together Marriage conference this past weekend. Many things stood out to me throughout the two-day event, but God definitely showed me something else beyond just learning about my strengths in marriage. Specifically, He told me something about ...
Steps for Lonely Christians
November 06, 2019
During our weekly LifeGroup meeting Sunday night, one of our members broke down in tears. She admitted that the "I Got Your Six" sermon series had recently made her depressed, because a series on deep friendships brought into stark contrast her own lack of close friendships. Seve...
Building Loving Relationships Among Church Family
October 30, 2019
Our lives as Christians in this fallen world are a battle (Eph. 6:10–20). The devil doesn't want to see our churches thrive with loving relationships that are filled with godliness, grace, encouragement, and forgiveness. He desires to see us torn apart, waging war against e...
Reclaiming Friendship in the Social Media Age
October 23, 2019
Augustine once wrote that there are two things essential to existence in this world: life and friendship. Yet, as Drew Hunter insightfully points out in his book on friendship, “Friendship is, for many of us, one of the most important but least thought about aspects of...
4 Ways Your Faith Should Shape Your Friendships
October 09, 2019
Friends are the new family. With the traditional nuclear family on the decline in America, people are still searching for some form of stability—and for many, their gaze is turning to friendship. With the largest population of singles our nation has ever seen, we shouldn&rs...
The Conversation About Sex You Need to Have With Your Spouse
September 25, 2019
Years ago, I was eating in a restaurant with a friend. As our meal progressed, the conversation devolved into a lament over the state of his marriage, particularly their sex life. He grew increasingly animated, finally exclaiming loudly: “I knew marriage would be hard, but ...
The Way to Have a Good Fight
September 18, 2019
Want an Extraordinary Marriage? Be an Ordinary Christian.
September 11, 2019
Christians seeking ways to strengthen and improve their marriages aren’t suffering a shortage of advice. Much of it is good, even excellent. But how often are married believers told that the foundation of every successful marriage is an ordinary Christian life—pe...
Fighting for Your Marriage: Day 5
September 05, 2019
So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. Matthew 19:6 For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts...
Fighting for Your Marriage: Day 4
September 04, 2019
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation... James 1:9 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak... Ecclesiastes 3:7 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4...
Fighting for Your Marriage: Day 3
September 03, 2019
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men... Colossians 3:23 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3 Devotional Content: Thomas and ...
Fighting For Your Marriage: Day 2
September 02, 2019
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thi...
Fighting For Your Marriage: Day 1
September 01, 2019
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 The man answered, “‘You...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 4 Reflection Questions
August 30, 2019
Philippians 4 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labo...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 4:14-23
August 29, 2019
Philippians 4:14-23 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonic...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 4:10-13
August 28, 2019
Philippians 4:10-13 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be conten...
Choosing Joy:Philippians 4:8-9
August 27, 2019
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and&n...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 4:6-7
August 26, 2019
Philippians 4:6-7 ...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Chr...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 4:1-5
August 25, 2019
Philippians 4:1-5 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who h...
Choosing Joy: Week 4 Memory Verse
August 24, 2019
Week 4 Memory Verse Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.&nb...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 3 Reflection
August 23, 2019
Philippians 3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, ...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 3:20-21
August 22, 2019
Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. ...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 3:15-19
August 21, 2019
Philippians 3:15-19 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those ...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 3:12-14
August 20, 2019
Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behi...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 3:5-11
August 19, 2019
Philippians 3:5-11 ...circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But wh...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 3:1-4
August 18, 2019
Philippians 3:1-4 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision,&nbs...
Choosing Joy: Week 3 Memory Verse
August 17, 2019
Week 3 Memory Verse Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ...
Choosing Joy: Reflection on Philippians 2
August 16, 2019
Philippians 2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing fro...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 2:19-30
August 15, 2019
Philippians 2:19-30 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Chr...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 2:14-18
August 14, 2019
Philippians 2:14-18 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fas...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 2:12-13
August 13, 2019
Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for&nbs...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 2:5-11
August 12, 2019
Philippians 2:5-11 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness ...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 2:1-4
August 11, 2019
Philippians 2:1-4 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing...
Choosing Joy: Week 2 Memory Verse
August 10, 2019
Week 2 Memory Verse Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Choosing Joy: Reflection on Philippians 1
August 09, 2019
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in e...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 1:19-30
August 08, 2019
Philippians 1:19-30 Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with f...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 1:15-18
August 07, 2019
Philippians 1:15-18 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking t...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 1:12-14
August 06, 2019
Philippians 1:12-14 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the br...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 1:7-11
August 05, 2019
Philippians 1:7-11 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I...
Choosing Joy: Philippians 1:1-6
August 04, 2019
Philippians 1:1-6 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance ...
Stopping the Stigma: How the Church Should Respond to Mental Illness
July 31, 2019
Looking back, I can see God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout my life: a wonderfully supportive husband of almost 22 years, 3 kids who I’m crazy about (even when they drive me crazy), close ties with my parents and brothers, many genuine friendships, and fulfilli...
Addiction - The Richeys
July 24, 2019
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Grief - Michelle Douthitt
July 17, 2019
They say that grief and love go hand in hand. That has been the case for me. On my husband’s 60th birthday, December 20, 2012, we were told he had stage IV pancreatic cancer. I'm a nurse, so I didn't need Google to tell me the statistics. It’s pretty much a deat...
My Divorce Journey - Tammy Hill
July 10, 2019
This week, our own wonderful Tammy Hill has graciously offered to share a little bit about her journey through divorce. Thank you, Tammy, for your bravery, your honesty, and your wisdom. I never thought in my wildest dreams that after 20+ years of marriage and two ...
My Cancer Journey - Mike Spell
July 03, 2019
Mike Spell, worship team keyboardist and CIBOLOCREEK elder, was gracious enough to share the story of his recent cancer journey with us this week. Please keep Mike, his wife Cathy, and their kids and grandkids in your prayers and give Mike a pat on the back when you see him on Su...
Learn How to Disagree Agreeably
June 26, 2019
Imagine you’re at your favorite coffee shop. Everything about the place is great, except the tables are a bit too close to one another. This makes it difficult to avoid eavesdropping. Your reading tends to zone you out from the conversations of others, but not today. You ca...
Love Your Mormon Neighbors
June 19, 2019
I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as Mormonism. Since my parents were active members of the LDS Church, I went to church every Sunday. And like many of those raised in the church, I had a testimony, was baptized when I turned 8,...
When Muslims Dream of Jesus
June 11, 2019
In 2007, Dudley Woodberry and others published a study that recounted interviews with 750 former Muslims who had converted to evangelical Christianity. Many of the reasons they gave for their conversion would be expected—the love of God, a changing view of the Bible, and an...
All You Need Is Love...Really
June 05, 2019
For the next few weeks, CIBOLOCREEK is presenting a series called “Understanding Your Friends’ Faith.” I suspect the importance of learning about the faith of others may be a very foreign concept for many of us. In the fundamental Christian household where I gre...
What’s the Connection Between Hospitality and Evangelism?
May 28, 2019
Don't Follow Your Heart
May 22, 2019
“Follow your heart” is a creed embraced by billions of people. It’s a statement of faith in one of the great pop cultural myths of the Western world, a gospel proclaimed in many of our stories, movies, and songs. Essentially, it’s a belief that your...
12 Characteristics of Christian Friendship
May 15, 2019
Some friendships start because of a shared interest. Others grow from proximity or common life circumstances. Friendships can be based on many things. But there is something uniquely special about a Christian friendship. A Christian friendship is based upon a shared devotion to ...
The Grace and Truth Paradox
May 08, 2019
What if we could reduce Christ’s attributes to just two qualities that we could wrap our minds around? John 1:14 does exactly that. It describes him as “full of grace and truth.” To be Christlike is to be full of what He was full of: grace and truth. ...
Book Review: The Principle of the Path
May 01, 2019
Back in March I was passing through Atlanta, GA and had spent the night at my friend Nathan’s place in Alpharetta. While I was there, Nathan took me to his church, North Point, where Andy Stanley is the lead pastor. That particular Sunday, Andy preache...
8 Blessings We Get From Serving
April 03, 2019
We all want our lives to matter. It’s the reason we do the things we do. We chase promotions and leadership positions because we want to make a difference. We encourage our kids to go to college, get a good job, and make lots of money, in hopes that they, too, will make a d...
Learning From the Prayer Life of Jesus
March 27, 2019
Luke 11:1 reads, "One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.'" There's much to learn from this passage beyond the significant Lord's Prayer that follows it. For one...
CIBOLOCREEK Builds Beds for Kids
March 20, 2019
Saturday was one of the last mornings of spring break for most schools around the city, one of the last chances for many kids and their families to sleep in and relax before returning to school on Monday. But there was no sleeping in for the crew at Cibolo Creek Community Church....
Messiah, Our Passover Lamb
March 13, 2019
***This past Sunday, Pastor Paul talked about Communion and its importance for Christians as a remembrance of Jesus. He also mentioned it's deep symbolic connection to the ancient Jewish celebration of Passover. In his establishment of Communion, Jesus was drawing on imagery that...
Do You Believe These Myths About the Holy Spirit?
March 06, 2019
Pictures of God the Father and God the Son line the hallways of churches and fill religious galleries, but the Holy Spirit is like a mystic figure we aren’t sure what to do with. Most pictures of God the Holy Spirit are nebulous light forms or a dove. It&rs...
5 Reasons God's Grace is Sufficient for You (Even in the Darkness)
February 27, 2019
Why does God say, “My grace is sufficient for you?” And what does it mean that God’s power is made perfect in weakness? Ponder, for a moment, all the ways God displays his power. He controls the raging, torrential storms and the crippling droughts. He causes p...
Sins We Don't Discuss: Gluttony
February 20, 2019
In his 9:15 Q&A session on Sunday, Pastor Paul mentioned gluttony as one of those sins we never think about as sin. Though it’s talked about in Scripture as something that God hates, we usually make jokes about being gluttons even as we’re pointing fingers at thos...
Loneliness in Marriage? One Simple Secret to Turn Things Around
February 12, 2019
He was a good man. A cofounder of a megachurch, Chaplain for the Detroit Lions, inspiring on stage and a leader of men. Everyone loved him and wanted to follow him, but I was left in his dust. My heart felt bruised and cold like the chilling winds that skate over Lake...
Nothing Brings Parents Greater Peace
February 06, 2019
Shortly after our engagement, my fiancé and I traveled to meet her 104-year-old grandfather. Though our visit with her grandfather lasted no more than half an hour, I’ll never forget those precious minutes. Grandpa Rausch greeted us with joy and soon began sha...
8 Ways to Persevere in the Parenting Marathon
January 30, 2019
Earlier this month, more than 50,000 people ran in the New York City Marathon. Last year my daughter participated in this famous race, and she introduced our family to marathon culture. Sharon and I went to cheer her on. Having never attended or run in a marathon, I was sur...
Busyness, Sabbath, and Work As a Gift: An Interview with Eugene Peterson
January 22, 2019
Eugene Peterson was a renowned minister, scholar, and author of over 30 books who died in October of last year. In connection to last Sunday's sermon on the Sabbath, take the time to listen to Peterson's wise thoughts about work and rest in this short interview. ...
How to Reset Your Joy in God
January 16, 2019
You started last year with a tankful of gas — overflowing with energy, motivation, joy, and optimism. Twelve months on, you were empty, running on fumes, joyless, and dreading the new year. You wonder if you can even go another day, far less another year. Three questions ar...
Making and Breaking Habits
January 02, 2019
We all want good daily habits. But instead we sleep in, check our email in bed, and have “just one more.” So, how do we start breaking bad habits and start making good daily habits? Isn’t there a simple three-step plan or a good habits list that will set me free...
December 12, 2018
Nothing increases the darkness of the heart like being surrounded by joy you feel unable to reach. This time of year, it’s almost as if everyone has an obligation to feel happy, so when you don’t, it makes that sadness even deeper. Maybe the fact that other...
The Self-Forgetfulness of Real Love
December 05, 2018
Self-Love vs. Real Love I remember a junior high science teacher telling our class that, were an astronaut to sit somehow on the surface of a black hole and try to signal his spaceship with a flashlight, the black hole would suck the light of the flashlight back into itsel...
When Blessings Become Idols
November 28, 2018
I was in the hospital on bed rest for nine weeks after my water broke at 23 weeks pregnant. It was a terrifying time, a nightmare of wondering if the next monitoring session would show that my son had died in the womb, or that a sudden fever would mean I had contracted a dangerou...
Discerning Idolatry in Desire
November 21, 2018
Most of us realize that enjoying anything other than God, from the best gift to the basest pleasure, can become idolatry. Paul says in Colossians 3:5, “Covetousness is idolatry.” “Covetousness” means desiring something other than God in the wrong way...
Why I (Still) Love Church
November 14, 2018
In my short 30 years, I’ve been in a lot of churches. When I was a baby, my parents took me to a little Southern Baptist congregation that we continued to attend until I was in middle school. I remember growing up learning about Jesus on felt boards in Sunday school, freq...
How to Love People You Don't Like
November 08, 2018
“Nothing makes me more unsure whether I will persevere until the end like spending too long in his presence.” Months had gone by, interactions multiplied, and good intentions no longer were strong enough to sustain my friend. According to him, this particular g...
3 Ways the Church Can Build Better Community
October 31, 2018
I slipped into the back pew and stood there fidgeting with the Bible in the rack in front of me. The church I was visiting met in an old Presbyterian building from the time when churches actually built huge, impressive structures complete with steeple, stained glass, and an ornat...
Good Lovemaking Is About God
October 24, 2018
Years ago a friend named John met with a group of young men. He was the only married man at the time, and the rest were dabbling with pornography. In a moment of brutal honesty, one of them said to John, “I just don’t understand how you can have sex with the same woma...
Porn-Proofing Your Home
October 17, 2018
Do you recycle in your home? If so, chances are you have discussed with your children the importance of recycling in order to better the environment. Unfortunately, the younger generation is now taught more about the dangers of NOT RECYCLING than about the dangers of ON...
3 Ways Facing Shame Can Take Away Its Power and Help You Ditch Porn
October 12, 2018
Disarming the Power of Shame Shame is the painful feeling that tells us that something about us is unwanted or unworthy of love or belonging. Shame is experienced most acutely when we are seen by the eyes of another. We’ve all had those moments where something we at...
Generosity Changes The World
October 03, 2018
The Pay It Forward movement is something that has been going around for years. Every once in a blue moon though, someone gives it an extra boost. It can start by paying for an item for a stranger. It can simply start by passing on a smile. However,...
2 Reasons Christians Lose Their Joy (And What To Do About It)
September 26, 2018
How did you first become a Christian (if you are one)? Remind yourself of the story. Now ask yourself this: did I become a Christian after I’d sorted my life out, or by putting my faith in Christ? That’s Paul’s challenge to the Galatians in 3:2–3: I would...
The Greatest Thing You Can Do With Your Life
September 19, 2018
One of the most wonderful and hopeful things you can know about yourself and your life is captured in a rather unassuming, simple sentence: Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. (1 Corinthians 7:17) The verse ...
5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Studying the Bible
September 13, 2018
1. We don't let the Bible speak for itself. It is a common mistake to ask the wrong questions when reading the Bible. Rather than asking "Who am I?" and "What should I do?," Jen Wilkin, author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds, ...
She Never Came Home: When Forgiveness Seems Impossible
September 05, 2018
We may understand the biblical theory of forgiveness, but life will blindside us with messy situations. How do we forgive when forgiveness seems impossible? Some Christians suffer because they live with pain inflicted by an unrepentant family member. Others struggle to understand...
Lay Down Your Life: Self-Sacrificial Love as Masculine Strength
August 29, 2018
Just after midnight on April 15, 1912, in the middle of the North Atlantic, hundreds of men faced the challenge of going against their natural instinct for self-preservation and laying down their lives for their women and their children. As they tucked their wives and children sa...
What is Love?
August 22, 2018
Last Sunday, Pastor Paul brought our attention to the numerous passages of Scripture that underscore how love is the bottom line in a Christian’s life. This simple, distilled truth is the short answer Jesus himself gave for the purpose of our lives lived for God alongside o...
You Are Not Enslaved to Your Past
August 15, 2018
Christianity means change is possible. Deep, fundamental change. It is possible to become tenderhearted when once you were callous and insensitive. It is possible to stop being dominated by bitterness and anger. It is possible to become a loving person no matter what your backgro...
Faith in Suffering: An Interview With Joni Eareckson Tada
August 08, 2018
If you've never read one of Joni Eareckson Tada's books or heard her speak, you're missing out on some heavy wisdom from a faithful woman who knows intimately what it means to be a suffering Christian. Paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident when she was 17, Joni has si...
10 Ways to Grow Your Marriage While Having Young Kids
August 01, 2018
My wife, Esther, and I live in a small parsonage next to our church. So does Isaiah. So does Naomi. With biblical names like these, you’d think Isaiah and Naomi would be the ideal roommates. But we’ve noticed that Isaiah (who just turned 3) can be pretty moody, and N...
How Far Does God's Grace Go?
July 25, 2018
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he...
Can We Still Grieve Our Suffering When God Makes All Things Good?
July 18, 2018
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) There have been many times in my life when I hated this verse. It was given to me by other Christians when I was i...
July 08, 2018
There is a kind of doubt that goes hand-in-hand with faith in God. We experience it when we’re facing failure. We know that we depend on God. We know that He is the great I Am. He is attuned to our needs, and has promised to be our fortress and our refuge. ...
June 23, 2018
After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do n...
June 22, 2018
Every life has a story and your story is important to us. We want to celebrate what God is doing and what He has done in your life.
Be Light. Be Generous.
June 05, 2018
Do you ever wonder about the people who ask for money at stoplights? I do. It happened today actually. I was stopped at the traffic light and I saw a gentleman walking between the cars with a sign that read, “Anything helps, God Bless.” We made eye...
Is Your Glass Half Full?
May 23, 2018
2 Corinthians 6:1-13 NIV "As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, 'In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.' I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, ...
May 01, 2018
Now early in the morning, as Jesus was coming back to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree at the roadside, He went to it and found nothing but leaves on it; and He said to it, “Never again will fruit come from you.” And at once the fig tree withere...
Fear - Spoken Word
April 14, 2018
How to Beat FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out
April 13, 2018
You’ve heard of FOMO, right? It stands for “Fear of Missing Out.” There’s so much going on in our lives, sometimes we fear if we decide to do one thing, we’re missing out on something even more fun or valuable. But overcommitting is how you c...
Sadie Robertson Connects the Dots Between Heartbreak, Pursuing Love, and ‘Live Fearless’
April 11, 2018
In my new book, Live Fearless, the chapter titled “Connect the Dots” was the hardest for me to write. However, as the chapter states, if I want to be free, strong, and happy, I can’t draw my way around any of the dots life throws at me. I have to put m...
Parenting Your Way Through Childhood Fears
April 09, 2018
Several years ago, I had an encounter with one of the biggest childhood fears facing mankind. Let me explain. My family stayed at a hotel with an indoor water park. As a dad, I watched my kids run to each of the water areas including the pool, lazy river, and the kiddie slides. ...
Bringing Up Girls In A Sex-Crazed World
March 22, 2018
I enjoyed dance and cheerleading for many reasons. Not only did I enjoy the athleticism and social time with girlfriends, but there was the prestige that came along with being a dancer and cheerleader. People automatically assume you are attractive, well-liked, and the life...
March 10, 2018
I stink at making a fire. Well, I did. To my defense, I never had a fireplace growing up. My brothers and I would go out to the fire pit (really it was just the place we burned the trash) gather up pine needles, throw in some sticks, light it and there you go. Nothing fan...
March 09, 2018
I am so tired. I wake up and not long after, I just want to go back to bed. Unfortunately, I express my fatigue through anger. And it’s true that I’m angry. I hate being tired. I hate trying to function through a fog of exhaustion. And yet, I do. Everyday. And it...
Rose Bushes & Cutie Pies
March 07, 2018
Last year, I planted 5 rose bushes. The very interesting thing about roses – at least these kind – they only produce buds on new growth. So, once a rose blooms and dies, the leaves surrounding it get left behind as new growth is sprouted on top of it. About a...
My Book So Far
February 26, 2018
I view my life as a book. Certain seasons become the chapters in the story of my life. My childhood is one, my teenage years are a painful chapter, my marriage could be a book in and of itself. My children each have their own continuing stories. But, I honestly have to sa...
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