Dickens’ Christmas Mystery

After you have put up your decorations and prepared your mulled cider read Dickens’ “A Christmas Tree”

“A Christmas Tree” was published in 1850 at a time when the Christmas tree tradition was strong in Germany, but not yet the fad that it has become in the 21st century. Dickens was showing some English readers a first look at this Christmas tradition.   For fun Christmas reading this season, I highly recommend... Continue Reading

Two Florida Churches Merge With Hope Of Bridging A Racial Divide

Two Florida churches are soon expected to undergo a merger that pastors hope will help send a message on race relations throughout the state -- and beyond

In the coming month, the church will undergo small but critical moves to merge the two institutions and will officially launch a united congregation within the first few days of the new year. Charles will serve as the primary teaching pastor while Clifford will oversee all of the Christian education along with a weekday and... Continue Reading

Dear Suicidal Friend, There Is Hope

Hope grows out of Christ-like character, which can only be produced in the fires of suffering; therefore, a believer should not seek escape from suffering.

Hope is confident expectation in God to be faithful to fulfill each and every one of His promises. Hope is in God. It is found in no other place. But what exactly does that mean? What mental ‘hooks of hope’ can we hang our thoughts upon? What truths must we continually feed to our idea-voracious... Continue Reading

Fleeing Persecution, Christian Converts Find Safe Houses In England

There are over 2.8 million Muslims in England and conversions are few; Christian Concern hopes British families will open their homes and hearts to ex-Muslims whose lives are at risk.

Christian Concern believes thousands of Muslims are anxious to convert and in need of housing so they can get back onto their feet after suffering verbal — and sometimes physical — attacks from families, friends and co-workers. “We are motivated by a deep sense of love and compassion for those that feel trapped in a situation... Continue Reading

The Only Movie Villains Left: Republicans, Christians & God

With the Sony hack, no more North Korean villains in movies

Dang. With the Sony hack, no more North Korean villains in movies. China is funding our movies now, so no Chinese villains. Castro is now a hero, so no Communist villains of any stripe. Muslims will fatwa, riot or bomb, so no Islamic villains. Liberals still rule Hollywood, so still no Left Wing villains. Looks like... Continue Reading

Andrew Luck Is Revolutionizing Trash Talk

You probably don't expect Andrew Luck to be much of a trash talker; it depends on your definition of trash talk.

Luck’s father, Oliver, told Clark it’s just how they raised their son, to be polite. “My wife and I raised all four of our kids with appropriate values, with respect for other people and to be kind and generous and I guess that carried over to the football field.”   You probably don’t expect Andrew... Continue Reading

11 Christmas Eve Sermons That Often Get Preached, But We Don’t Want To Hear

What is the pastor going to preach this year?

I know there are a lot of great Christmas sermons that have been and will be preached. I know that many of my fellow pastors work hard to proclaim the story of Jesus born into the world for all creation and for us in particular. But I think Christmas can drive pastors, squirrelly, trying to... Continue Reading

UNBROKEN Film Gets My Dad’s Faith Right

I was 4 when the movie rights to my father’s life story were acquired by Hollywood –and finally, on Christmas Day, UNBROKEN will reach the big screen

That was his greatest hope for the film version of UNBROKEN: not that it would be applauded by fellow Christians, although he certainly would have been honored and humbled by their appreciation; but that it would be seen by non-Christians drawn to a rousing epic about the indomitable human spirit who, when the credits have... Continue Reading

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association To Release New Documentary About Unbroken’s Louis Zamperini

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will release a new documentary film on Dec. 25 called 'Louis Zamperini: Captured by Grace.'

Louis Zamperini is also the subject of ‘Captured by Grace’, a compelling, documentary-style film that chronicles his remarkable journey – from Olympic runner to WWII prisoner of war – all the way to his return home and encounter with Jesus Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles in 1949.   CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ANS)... Continue Reading

How Christmas Lost Its Soul

Christmas is a chance to showcase the best of Christianity. Instead, it vomits up the worst.

“Much of the best music the world has ever produced is in some way Christian, yet at Christmas time they go out of their way to showcase the worst. It’s the spiritual equivalent of McDonalds bringing the McRib back every year for a limited time. If the baby Jesus were alive today, he’d demand earplugs along... Continue Reading

Serving The God of Holy-Love

God’s love provided in Christ’s death what God’s holiness required

“Christian service is unique for three reasons. First, it is unique in its source. That source is our redemption in Christ. Second, it is unique in its objective, which is to model, as far as is possible, Christ’s kind of servanthood. Third, it is unique in its character, for it is motivated by God’s holy-love.... Continue Reading

Speech Perversion and Gospel Truth

Jesus opposed the devaluation of speech, which turned language from stewardship into gamesmanship

“Jesus teaches us here that all our speech—every word—is spoken before God and lies under his scrutiny. Each word involves the reality of God in our lives. That is, by each spoken word those around us can know if God is really in our character. Our language betrays our heart. It is unavoidable. “For out... Continue Reading

George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, You, and Me

We need to decide whether information that has been made public should really be considered public

“It is only a matter of time before something like this happens to someone you know. At some point you may well be faced with the opportunity to go rooting through another person’s emails after they have been hacked and made public. So let me ask: Will you read those emails? Will you read your... Continue Reading

Husbands, Make Submission Joyful

In combining biblical submission with leadership, the beauty of God’s design for marriage is seen

“Christ is the picture given to the husband to follow in leadership. He must be willing to give up the greatest personal comforts for the sake of his bride, just as Christ was. Therefore, the husbands concern in marriage is not his happiness and ease, but his wife’s.”   Last week we began looking at... Continue Reading

Thabiti Anyabwile Is Wrong

Both the left and right are wont to baptize their social and political views with the Gospel

“Mr. Anyabwile and others think that in the providence of God the deaths of black men at the hands of police, particularly the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and the stranglehold used on Eric Garner in New York City, have pressed upon American society and the Christian church the issue of racial justice.”... Continue Reading

Kentucky Rejects $18M In Tax Incentives For Noah’s Ark Park

The group behind the project — Answers in Genesis — says it is considering legal action

“State tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination or otherwise be used to advance religion,” Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart wrote in the letter. “The use of state incentives in this way violates the separation of church and state provisions of the Constitution and is therefore impermissible.”   A proposed Noah’s Ark theme... Continue Reading

‘It Meets My Needs’ and Other Bad Reasons for Choosing a Church

Not all reasons for choosing a church are created equal

“If your primary goal is to be entertained, follow an entertaining pastor. If your primary goal is to know Jesus, follow a pastor who can lead you to the throne. If you don’t know how to assess which is which, ask yourself whether people walk away from the worship gathering thinking, “Wow, that pastor is... Continue Reading

3 Christmas Pitfalls for Parents

Bring the full picture of Christ’s redemption into as many conversations as you possibly can this Christmas.

If we want to give our children the gift of clearer gospel understanding this Christmas, we must put more thought into how we lead them than we put into buying gifts and making Pinterest crafts. How should we shepherd our kids through a season laden with greed? Should we give one present per child, tithe... Continue Reading

My “Boring” Christian Testimony

How I know it's nonetheless real.

And so I began to fear that I hadn’t really been saved—or, at least, that my story of being saved wasn’t quite legitimate. My before-and-after-conversion pictures (assuming I could even pinpoint a particular moment) didn’t look that different. With no outward markers of coming to Christ, I questioned whether I had at all. Perhaps I... Continue Reading

One Sentence That Pastors and Church Staff Hate to Hear

It isn’t “I love you, but…”; it is more dreaded than that

As a leader in a local church and in other places, I got to the point where I did not entertain such veiled criticisms. I tried to be polite and say, “I am sorry, but I cannot listen to you further because you will not give me the specific sources of the concerns. If you... Continue Reading

Christian, Where is Your Joy?

Should a believer’s life be marked by joy? And what if it isn’t?

The Savior has come, and He will come again. In the face of this truth, how can we be anything but joyful? No matter our circumstances, no matter the pain, sorrow, grief, fears, dangers, heartaches we face, we are His, and He will never leave us. And one day, He will come and take us... Continue Reading

Can God Prevent Evil?

Yes, He could stop all that is evil, but does not do so for His own glory.

So is God being unjust by not preventing evil? Not at all. But we must understand that if He is to wipe out all that which is evil, that means He would have to wipe out all of humanity. It is in His grace towards some that He doesn’t deal immediately with the evil that... Continue Reading

Torture and Police Brutality in a Real Police State

What happened to nine North Korean teenagers who were forced back to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in May 2013 by the Laotian and Chinese governments

Although North Korean defectors are recognized internationally as refugees, China routinely violates its obligations to respect the principle of non-refoulement under international refugee and human rights law and sends North Koreans back to certain imprisonment and probable death. So in April of 2013, MJ, his wife, and the nine teens began a journey from China... Continue Reading

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Said

“Christianity is so easy. I don’t see what the big deal is.”

If you think that Christianity is easy, then maybe you are not loving people very well. Perhaps you are not living very closely to other believers. Perhaps you are not frequently applying the gospel. Perhaps the person and work of Jesus is not the model and motivation for your love. When we examine the Bible and... Continue Reading

Top Ten Books of 2014

This doesn’t mean I agree with every point in all these books, but it does mean I found them helpful and insightful.

When I say “best” I have several questions in mind: Was this book well written and enjoyable to read? Did I find it personally challenging, illuminating, edifying, or entertaining? Is it a book I am likely to reread or consult often? Do I see myself frequently recommending this book to others?   This list is... Continue Reading

What Was Mary Thinking?

While she was no co-redemtrix, Mary has a lot to teach us.

Mary recognized her humble state and the unmerited blessing of God in being chosen to be the one who would give birth to the Savior (vv 46-50). What’s more, Mary had a keen understanding of the promises of God in the old covenant and how these promises were being fulfilled through the child that she... Continue Reading

300 Years After His Birth, Whitefield Has Staying Power With Evangelicals

George Whitefield, who was born in England 300 years ago on Dec. 16, 1714, is regarded as a catalyst for the First Great Awakening

“He was far more famous than Franklin when they first met,” said Kidd of the mutually beneficial relationship that lasted for decades. “Franklin kind of hitches his wagon to Whitefield’s star.” Across the Atlantic, the evangelist befriended members of the British aristocracy. “Whitefield had connections even within the royal family in Britain,” said Kidd.  ... Continue Reading

The “Celibate Gay Christian” Movement: How Should We Think About It?

The “celibate gay Christian movement” is known for its emphasis on teaching gay people to use their same-sex attraction to serve God

The defining element of same-sex attraction is desire for a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex. Once that desire is removed, it is no longer SSA. It is just friendship. In that sense, same-sex attraction is not a means to better, more holy friendships. It is an impediment to them. When one feels... Continue Reading

College President Sorry For Saying ‘All Lives Matter’

The president of Smith College is apologetic for telling students on the Northampton, Mass., campus that "all lives matter."

The issue is a problem at colleges around the country, Lukianoff said. He noted that Columbia Law School recently allowed students to postpone final exams if they felt they had experienced emotional trauma. The University of Hawaii, meanwhile, recently prohibited students from handing out the U.S. Constitution in most areas of campus, and only reversed... Continue Reading

Erskine College and Seminary Announces Major Restructuring Plan

Erskine College and Seminary President Paul Kooistra announced several program and personnel reductions in a letter addressed to students, faculty and staff

At the college, three professors voluntarily announced intended separations from Erskine at the end of the current fiscal year. Other savings will come from several salary reductions because of sabbaticals and load reductions. Additionally, the department of Modern Languages, which houses a French and a Spanish major, as well as several minors will be eliminated.... Continue Reading


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