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Church Life Articles

  • James Petitfils — 

    Don’t you just hate it/love it when a book takes a long-standing ministry practice or cultural disposition you’ve unwittingly nurtured and totally applies the ol’ command-option-esc (or control-alt-delete to be P.C.) to completely reset things? A text I’ve been reading for the Kern Reading group at Talbot School of Theology--namely, Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert’s, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2012)--just pulled this on me. Let me explain ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Jesús fue un inmigrante. Todos los cristianos también somos inmigrantes. Por lo tanto, Cristo se identifica con nosotros y nos entiende. Como sus seguidores debemos imitar su ejemplo y aprender de él. También debemos mostrar compasión por aquellos que son extranjeros al venir de otros países y regiones ya que reconocemos que todos nosotros somos también peregrinos y extranjeros ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Jesus was an immigrant. All Christians are also immigrants. Therefore, Christ identifies himself with us and understands our situation. As his followers we should imitate his example and learn from him. We should have compassion for those foreigners who come from different regions and countries because we recognize that we all are also strangers and exiles on earth ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Have you ever experienced pain from someone you deeply love? I have. Few things in life are harder. The hurt penetrates even deeper when the person who has spurned you also turns his back on the Lord. Following is a list I drew up in my journal some time ago during a period when I was facing rejection from someone I deeply loved. This list helped me remember that there are examples in the Bible of others before me who experienced relational pain from close family members, friends, or mentees, but who continued to look to the Lord in the midst of their sorrow ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    With the globalization of everything in today’s society, the concept that the whole world is my “neighbor” to love (i.e. help) is a valid mindset. I can see images of impoverished children on my phone; I can visit communities with economic challenges on the other side of the globe through international travel. Organizations such as ONE (whose celebrity advocate Bono rallies millions of his fans to sign its petitions and give money at U2 concerts) and Compassion International (which enlists millions of church-goers to sponsor a child in need by allowing a donor to see pictures of the children and pick the child based on looks and/or the desired country the person is drawn to) have rallied countless Christians and non-Christians alike to eliminate poverty in our lifetime. All of these streams of conscious-searing “voices” call me to get involved to help the less fortunate, which I can do, they say, “with minimal effort” on my part: simply give a few dollars a month, about the same amount I spend on coffee each week. So how can I resist this simple call to help? ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Israel cried out, “Give us a king!” (1 Samuel 8:6). Against his will, God gave his people what they wanted. A real superstar. Saul was the handsomest and tallest man around (9:2). That didn’t work out very well, did it? It never does ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Los cristianos son seguidores de Jesucristo. La palabra que se usaba en los tiempos de Jesús para designar a sus seguidores es discípulos. Por lo tanto, ser un cristiano es ser un discípulo de Cristo (Hechos 11:26). En Lucas 14:25-35, y en otros pasajes más, Jesús establece los requisitos para los que quieran ser sus discípulos. Grandes multitudes le seguían asombradas de su mensaje y autoridad. Sin embargo, Jesús no estaba complacido solamente con que mucha gente le siguiera sino que él deseaba que aquellos que tomaran la decisión de hacerlo, lo hicieran de acuerdo a unas normas específicas. Así que, Jesús se detuvo y delineó en esta ocasión cuatro características indispensables para sus seguidores. Para ser un buen cristiano o discípulo de Cristo es necesario cumplir con las condiciones que Jesucristo indica.

  • David Talley — 

    Recently, I learned of a book, and for some reason I felt like I knew the author. So I did some searching and found the website for the church where the author now serves. His bio confirmed the connection. He had graduated from Biola University with a B.A. in Music in 2002 . Since the town I call home (Birmingham, Alabama) is where his church is located, I decided to pick up the book, flip through it, and then get together with him so I could congratulate him on his book. For no particular reason, I was not really expecting to benefit from reading the book. My goal was simply to be an encouragement to one of our graduates. But I did not just flip through the book. I found myself reading each chapter closely because this book was thoughtful, well-written, informative, and full of wise and reflective teaching ...

  • Daniel Kim — 

    Undoubtedly, Christians in America should be commended for the growth of missions in the last two to three decades, and specifically the growth in short-term mission trips (STMs). In 1989, there were 120,000 American “short-term missionaries.” This number has exploded to 2.2 million at a cost of $1.6 billion in 2006.[1] This statistic comes from authors Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert in their somewhat controversial book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself. The natural question that the authors consider—and one that we all should as well—is whether we are being good stewards of God’s money and resources with each STM.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    The grind of the 9 to 5 work life has perplexed many a believer who sometimes stops to wonder, “Is this all there is?” No doubt, since the Fall of Humanity (Genesis 3), work has indeed become something altogether different than God intended prior to our expulsion from Eden. Even so, many believers may come to wrongly conclude that work is, well, just “work.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Work matters ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    My story is like many others. When my wife and I got married and came to the United States, we told our parents that we would be back in two years. Our plan was to study at a seminary in Dallas and after our graduation to return to the city where we were born, grew up, and where most of our relatives and friends live. 19 years later we still live in the United States and most likely we will never go back permanently. Just like has happened to many others, through the years our temporary residency here became a permanent one ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Mi historia se parece a muchas otras. Cuando mi esposa y yo nos casamos y nos vinimos a vivir a los Estados Unidos les dijimos a nuestros padres que en dos años regresaríamos. El plan era estudiar en un seminario en Dallas y al término del programa regresar a la ciudad en la que crecimos y en donde viven la mayoría de nuestra familia y amigos. 19 años después seguimos viviendo en los Estados Unidos y lo más seguro es que nuestro regreso ya nunca se dé. Como a tantos otros les ha pasado, nuestra estadía temporal se ha ido convirtiendo en definitiva al paso de los años ...

  • John McKinley — 

    The story that follows is a parable of human experience as essentially relational. People are individuals and vitally connected to others. Everyone lives according to relationships. The overemphasis on our individuality is misleading so that we ignore the ways that other people affect us in beneficial and disabling ways. This parable is an illustration of one sort of benefits and damages through being generated in families ...

  • Gary L. McIntosh — 

    A number of years ago, professor Robert Munger of Fuller Theological Seminary conducted a survey to determine the satisfaction of board members. One of the questions he asked was, “Since serving on a church board, do you feel your spiritual life has improved or declined?” The answer? Eighty percent of board members said their spiritual life had declined while serving on a church board. How would you answer that question? Unfortunately, for many board members, the answer is not positive ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Actually, there are lots of ways to kill a prayer meeting. Display bitterness or hostility to someone just before you start praying; that’s sure to do the job. Or thoughtlessly rush into a prayer meeting, without any spiritual preparation, cracking jokes up until the moment you bow your head. That, too, has a good chance of killing a prayer meeting ...

  • John McKinley — 

    Does God speak to Christians in dreams or in our hearts? If we have never had this experience, then are we missing something and should expect it? Is there a danger of relying on a personal word from God instead of looking to the definite word of God given as the Bible? ...

  • Karin Stetina — 

    What is the purpose of life? How does work fit into the purpose? As a college student I spent many hours contemplating these important questions and many others, such as: Do we have free will or are we predestined? What is the best form of worship- hymns or praise songs? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Maybe you have asked some of these same burning questions? ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    ... The topic is work. Something important for all of us, and it’s one that has interested me in particular teaching already five years now a theology of work course for Biola’s Crowell School of Business MBA program. Work is also a topic that naturally engages the desire for kingdom impact in the culture, because, as Karl Barth says, “human culture is produced in work. So the Faith and Work movement is right on target for engaging a ready audience in a worthy endeavor. This of course isn’t the only good of theology of work ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I started the New Year by worshiping, fellowshipping, and preaching at Taft Avenue Community Church in Orange, California. At one point in the service, Pastor Bob Burris read aloud a short explanation of why Christians sing during times of worship. I appreciated what he read and want to share it with you today. The reading was adapted from a blog post by Kevin DeYoung, cut down to a length that could be used in a worship service. Why do we sing when we worship together?

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    En los últimos días se ha dicho y escrito mucho sobre Cuba. La muerte de Fidel Castro ha originado un sin fin de perspectivas sobre su legado, sobre la Revolución Cubana y sobre el bello país de Cuba en general. En lo personal, he tenido el privilegio de viajar a Cuba en trece ocasiones, de convivir con muchísimos cubanos en diferentes contextos y de hacer una investigación sobre la educación teológica en Cuba. Me gustaría resaltar que en Cuba ha habido un avivamiento espiritual por muchísimos años en donde el Espíritu Santo ha estado obrando poderosamente a lo largo de la isla. El crecimiento de la iglesia ha sido tal que muchas denominaciones no se dan abasto en la preparación de líderes y en el discipulado de los nuevos creyentes.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    El evangelio según San Juan empieza con una declaración asombrosa que describe el origen del universo y nos da una descripción de Jesucristo: “En el principio era el Verbo, y el Verbo era con Dios, y el Verbo era Dios. Este era en el principio con Dios. Todas las cosas por él fueron hechas, y sin él nada de lo que ha sido hecho, fue hecho” (Juan 1:1-3) ...

  • David Talley — 

    I have grown in prayer through the years, although there have been numerous ups and downs. As a result, there are certain practices that have helped me. I want to share one of them with you today, and perhaps add another in a later blog post ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The title of this post is the exact title of a new little book written by Andrew David Naselli & J. D. Crowley and published by Crossway. This new book is intended for a general Christian (non-academic) audience, addressing an oft-neglected subject: the conscience. Discussions of this topic have been few in recent years, despite the fact that the Greek word for “conscience” (συνείδησις) appears 30 times in the New Testament (20 times in the writings of Paul). The book is short (142 pages without the appendices and indices). Thankfully, it is also clearly written. One can easily imagine a book dealing with the so-called grey areas being less-than-clear. The authors have done a fine job in making a complicated subject easy-to-understand.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    My friend Ken Berding wrote a recent blog post explaining his concerns about using The Message. As he pointed out, people often treat it as a Bible translation, when it is actually a very loose paraphrase. One of Ken’s observations is that The Message routinely adds meaning to or subtracts meaning from the original Greek and Hebrew text. While doing detailed work in the Greek New Testament and in several English translations, I have repeatedly found this to be true.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    En los próximos días terminará la campaña electoral para elegir al nuevo presidente de los Estados Unidos. Puede ser que cuando lea estas líneas estemos a pocas horas de las elecciones o quizá las votaciones ya hayan terminado. Independientemente del que resulte ganador, los últimos meses han sido muy pesados y el ambiente social demasiado tenso en todos los sentidos. Expresiones de desaliento, frustración o hartazgo se convirtieron en el común denominador para muchas personas que ven con alivio el fin de la larga carrera presidencial.