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Unlocking your Lament

Posted on 11/24/2014 by Brandon Thomas

Every one of us wrestles through the realities of a very broken world.  Government is sometimes dysfunctional, seemingly beyond repair.  Laws can be unjust, penalizing the innocent.  Communities discriminate against people because of the color of their skin or their zip code.  Chronic pain may be your unwelcome friend, visiting you each day. 

This world is not without its troubles.

How does the Christ Follower deal with his own downturns?  How do we handle troubles that are not a direct result of our own poor choices?

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The King’s Speech; Blessed Tears Beatitudes, part two of six

Posted on 11/12/2014 by Margaret Ashmore

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

Upon our first inhalation of air in a fallen world, we exhaled with a cry. When we breathe our last, crying will surround us. And rivers of tears in between – from the scraped knees and scary nights of childhood to the deeper soul wounds of adolescence and darker nights still as we grow old, facing the loss of loved ones as well as our own vitality and strength. The Puritans called our time on this earth a “vale of tears” and such it is until the One Who is with us in the “valley of the shadow of death” opens the way to Paradise where His first act will be to wipe every tear from our eyes. Every tear! O, blessed thought.

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Who Wins? – The Final Say

Posted on 11/10/2014 by Leslie Vernick

When I was engaged, my fiancé and I went for pre-marital counseling as most engaged couples do.  I remember my pastor specifically emphasizing the idea of submitting to my husband as the leader of our home. My pastor looked me in the eye and said, “Howard has the final say over things.”

But is that biblical?  Do husbands have the final say when there is a disagreement or conflict and there seems no obvious resolution?

Let’s see if this thinking is truly what God designed marriage to be like.

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How the News Makes Us Dumb

Posted on 11/3/2014 by Kevin DeYoung

If you are going to read just one out of print book with a terrible cover this year read C. John Sommerville’s devastating little book How the News Makes Us Dumb (IVP 1999). I read the book soon after it came out. It was wonderfully iconoclastic then–and that was before the ascendancy of the internet and social media. The news examples are hopelessly out of date (they were already in 1999), but the media criticism is as relevant as ever.

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Three Important Environments for Marriage Preparation

Posted on 10/30/2014 by Greg Wilson

One of the most consistent themes that emerges in counseling young couples, especially in the critical first five years, is the dramatic difference between the time and money that was invested in their wedding compared to the time and money that was invested in preparing for the rest of their lives together as husband and wife. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is somewhere around $25,000.

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The TOXIC Tongue of Comparison

Posted on 10/27/2014 by Brandon Thomas

Words matter.  God speaks loud and long regarding the power of our words.  One prime example, Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue can bring both death or life (NLT).”

While there are many expressions of a toxic tongue, comparing ourselves to others leads to words of death. Comparisons can be a carefully laid trap that will lead you down a road of relational ruin.  Sinful comparing tends to measure our own worth through the lens of others’ lifestyle or accomplishments.  Ecclesiastes 4:4 notes, “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors.  But this, too, is meaningless ­– like chasing the wind (NLT).”

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The Church and Women at Risk

Posted on 10/17/2014 by Justin Holcomb

Lindsey, my wife, wrote this article—“The Church and Women at Risk”— for the ESV Women’s Devotional Bible. This article is relevant for October being designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month                         

The entire article can be downloaded, but here is an excerpt:

The Christian church has, at its best, been known for exemplary love and sacrificial service to “the least of these”—the poor, oppressed, and marginalized. Such service has

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Substance Behind Our Sayings

Posted on 10/15/2014 by Susan Thomas

Jesus said, “Remain in me…” John 15:4a, NLT

Life is amazing. We have big dreams, deep desires, exhilarating feelings and incredible experiences. We love. We laugh. We learn. Yet, in all of life’s beauty, let’s be honest. Life is hard. Pain visits. Betrayal cuts. Dreams go unrealized. Relationships crumble. Crisis happens. Addictions grip. And, even far more frequent, we face daily challenges common to the human existence. Tires go flat. Milk turns sour. Traffic makes us late. Kids have meltdowns in the grocery store. The job is stressful. The spouse is grumpy. Or, maybe I’m grumpy!

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Three Lessons The Church Can Learn from the NFL

Posted on 10/13/2014 by Leslie Vernick

This past month we all watched with horror the video where National Football League player Ray Rice punched his girlfriend in the face and dragged her unconscious body out of the elevator like a sack of potatoes. Day by day public outcry grew over the NFL’s initial treatment of the incident and the lack of serious sanctions against Rice. 

Thankfully public pressure prevailed and NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, reversed his position.  He was humble enough to issue a public apology. He said he was wrong in the way he handled the incident and committed to do better in the future regarding the entire National Football’s League handling of domestic abuse cases.

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