• Impact

    Jesus, the One and Only Way

    John 14:1–14 is part of the lectionary readings for the fifth Sunday of Easter, May 10th. The backdrop for this passage is the Savior’s final meal with His disciples before His crucifixion. During what is now called the Last Supper, Jesus demonstrated what it truly means to be a bondservant. Even though He was the Son of God (1:34, 49), He humbled Himself by washing the feet of His disciples. This act was so deferential that at first Peter refused to allow Jesus to wash this disciple’s feet. In response, Jesus told Peter and his peers that unless this was done, He could not accept them as one of His…

  • Engage

    “The Gospel Comes with a House Key”

    We all have them. That short stack of books that have profoundly impacted our lives. Changed not only our understanding but the way we live. To my short stack I’m adding Rosaria Butterfield’s The Gospel Comes with a House Key.    I’ve read several books on “hospitality.” But none have reached as deeply into the way I think about and practice hospitality as her discussion of it as the overflow of table fellowship and caregiving. Rosaria and her husband’s daily schedule radically incorporates preparing extra food, engaging with neighbors, and filling their guest room as a way to make “strangers into neighbors, and neighbors into the family of God.” In…

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    Ezekiel 3:16-19- Are you a Modern Day Watchman?

    I am convinced that we have lost the urgency of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. I recall a life-transforming moment at the Texas State Fair that proves my own lack of urgency concerning the gospel. A slick-talking salesman took me through their rehearsed speech as they tried to sell me a "balance band." Through some mix of magic, science, and marketing it was supposed to make me more sure-footed. I was skeptical at best but then they demonstrated the product on me and wouldn't ya know it actually worked!  They had made a believer out of me! I purchased several units for my multiple balance needs! I then…

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    Fear or Faith at Work?

      What’s the most challenging aspect of living out your faith at work? Some of us work at home or with other Christians, so being salt and light, and talking about our faith, come naturally. But many of us work in places where talking about Jesus and faith are discouraged. And some workplaces are downright hostile to Christians, so speaking openly could mean the end of our employment. For all of us, shining the bright light of Jesus in a very dark place can feel scary––even dangerous. The average worker faces situations and decisions every day that test the boundaries of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). Fear is real. We’re…

  • Impact

    Stephen, martyred for the faith

    Title: Stephen, martyred for the faith Aim: To evaluate the importance of being both courageous and gracious in letting others know about Jesus. Scripture:Acts 7:51–8:1   The religious leaders’ formal accusations against Stephen, Acts 7:51–53   Acts 6:9–15 narrates an episode involving a group of emancipated Jewish slaves who told the Sanhedrin (the highest court of justice in ancient Jerusalem) that Stephen was preaching against the Mosaic Law and the supremacy of the temple. Stephen’s opponents decided to use the same sorts of accusations that previously had been successful in getting rid of Jesus.    In offering a critique of the religious leadership in Stephen’s day, it is important to avoid the…

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    Dogs and Pigs

                Two years ago I took an Evangelism class—a seminary graduation requirement I had put off. Rehearsing for disaster, I envisioned a mandatory assignment that would leave me covered in eggs and tomatoes. Although my hair would have shone like the sun, I would have preferred a night of thumb-hammering over having to share the gospel with strangers at a grocery store.                 I remembered from Systematic Theology 101 that we cannot prove that the Bible is true. Awesome. At least this frees me to believe without the pressure to convince mockers why I believe. But my eczema still wouldn’t fare well under splattered…

  • Engage

    The Grand Invitation

    “Come.”  It may be the most overlooked, yet powerful word in the English language. It speaks of being included. Of belonging. It comforts us in our deepest area of need to say: we are noticed. We matter. We are wanted. It is a wonderful thing to be on the guest list. Who doesn’t want to be included? Recently I was invited by a friend to attend her daughter’s wedding. It was a small gathering, so I knew the number of people invited was limited. I felt the invitation to “come” was an indication that she considers me to be one of her closest friends. What an honor! Imagine, then, the…

  • Impact

    Jesus-the only way to God

    Pastor and author, Peter Burfeind, has done extensive research concerning the ways in which modern-day America has undergone a “spiritual revolution toward Gnosticism.”[1] The prevailing theory is that the idea of “God” arose within “human consciousness over millions of years.”[2]   Notions, then, about the divine are considered to be abstractions of human thought and communicated in the “myths and teachings of any religion.” This includes Buddhism, Hinduism, Mysticism, and Christianity (to name a few representative examples).    As the argument goes, Christianity is one of many potential pathways to connect with a “trans-cosmic” deity. In turn, the Old and New Testaments are the “result of geniuses”—namely, “prophets and poets”—drawing…

  • Heartprints

    Hospitality: An Overlooked Part of Evangelism

    Do you ever wonder how to encourage your family in sharing their faith? Simple steps such as evangelism training go a long way, but one thing often gets forgotten—the role of hospitality. Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements introduce readers to hospitality as a way of life in The Simplest Way to Change the World. Sometimes as parents it’s easy to get caught up in the mundane elements of day-to-day child rearing. Our ordinary days seem insignificant. But as these authors point out, Jesus is in the business of taking small things and making them big. Not the other way around. “In the same way, the ‘smallest’ things in our lives—ordinary days…

  • Heartprints

    A Free Evangelism Gospel App for VBS

    What we know as “Vacation Bible School,” originally began as “Everyday Bible School” at a New York beer hall in 1898. According to a Lifeway article:   “Initially, it was a plan of a compassionate doctor’s wife who sensed a need to get children off the streets of New York during the summertime. Mrs. Walker Aylett Hawes went to New York City from Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband who was specializing in a medical ministry to children. She noted that many of the children attended to at her husband’s clinic received injuries as they played in the streets of New York City. She surmised that they needed something safe and…