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Category: Church Life

  • Mark Saucy — 

    What images do the word “work” bring to mind? If students and others I’ve had the chance to ask are any measure, the first thoughts aren’t all that positive. For myself I can recall flip comments I have made (half-) jokingly about hating when my work gets in the way of my hobby (cycling, mountain biking—the sport of kings!). From what I get from others, I’m fairly typical ...

  • Walt Russell — 

    When was the last time you heard the Bible taught and it penetrated to the core of your being? What about having this experience after thinking, “I could care less about this topic!”? Then, much to your surprise, the Spirit used the Bible rightly-interpreted and rightly-applied to cut through your lack of interest and the absence of a felt need. You stumbled out of the room enthralled with the God who speaks so clearly and powerfully through His Word. You left passionately asking the Lord of the Bible how you could align your life with this amazing truth that you cared nothing about the hour before ...

  • Clinton E. Arnold — 

    Without any hesitation we can say that yes, God wants you to be happy. The Bible (as well as experience) tells us that the Christian is given happiness in an incredible number of ways. But Christ has actually sweetened the deal and offered us something even better. While happiness is used to describe a basic feeling of gladness and contentment, what Christ offers is joy, which includes happiness, but runs much deeper, lasts much longer, and is felt much more strongly than happiness. The word joy shows up roughly four hundred times in the Bible, and it is no coincidence. Christ wants you to experience the joy that comes from him ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Let me begin by saying I am passionate about exposing teenagers to the work of God around the world, as well as to using their talents to help continue that work both where they live as well as other locations both near and far. However, I am concerned about how most short-term mission trips are planned, administered and experienced in ways that demean and undermine the people and ministries we seek to serve, while impressing upon our teenagers “missions” is something you do (i.e. an event) rather than an attitude or lifestyle. I am concerned because for many years as a youth pastor, I was the problem ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Todos los viernes en la tarde un grupo de estudiantes y maestros de la universidad cristiana en donde trabajo se reúnen a jugar basquetbol. Hace unas semanas fui a jugar con ellos y lo que parecía un día normal se convirtió en una experiencia que me ha impactado y que también ha tenido el mismo efecto en muchísimas personas. Después de jugar por más de una hora uno de mis alumnos del doctorado se disponía a irse a su casa cuando le pedí que me esperara unos minutos porque necesitaba hablar con él. Primero se sentó y después se recostó en el césped a un lado de la cancha en lo que terminaba de jugar mi partido. En cuanto el juego terminó fui a hablar con él y en ese momento me di cuanta que estaba inmóvil, sin respirar y con una apariencia pálida y descolorida. Inmediatamente pedí ayuda y mientras algunos lo trataban de resucitar yo llamé a los servicios de emergencias. Gracias a Dios lograron que respirara otra vez y se lo llevaron a la sala de emergencias de un hospital cercano ...

  • Karin Stetina — 

    This past fall a friend shared an article from the New York Times entitled The Microcomplaint: Nothing Too Small to Complain About. It was amusing to read about all the silly complaints that celebrities tweeted to the world. Everything from the misery of only decaf coffee being available to what the writer deemed a “complaintbrag” of not being able to buy a Persian rug with cherub imagery. This habit, however, does not appear to be limited to celebrities. Cruise ship directors have received equally amusing complaints. For example, one passenger reported that the sea was “too loud” while another passenger grumbled about there being no celebrities on the Celebrity Cruise ship. In the past complaining was something often reserved for private ears. Today, however, it is not only acceptable to publically complain about the littlest inconvenience, it is often encouraged. It has even been identified as a communication style, particularly of Americans, who frequently see themselves as victims. Are Christians exempt from “microcomplaining” or are we part of the “culture of complaint”? What does Scripture have to say about complaining? ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Michelle Lee-Barnewall (Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Talbot School of Theology) recently wrote and published Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian: A Kingdom Corrective to the Gender Debate. We wanted to learn more about this book, so we had Michelle respond to some questions ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    ... When I was younger, I would try to get rid of doubts by closing my eyes (really really tightly) and concentrate (really really hard) on pushing out the doubtful thoughts. And when I (inevitably) started thinking about my doubts again, I’d simply try again (really try this time!) to expel those doubts. But you can’t push doubts out of your mind any easier than you can push other thoughts out of your mind by valiantly trying ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A spiritually-minded friend of my wife and me recently made this comment: “I struggle with the idea of praying according to the will of God. Since I know that some things are clearly according to God’s will, why can’t I just pray directly about those things and know for certain that they’re going to happen? But that’s not the way it works with my prayers. For example, I know that God doesn’t want Christians to get divorced. But I’ve sometimes prayed that God would preserve a struggling marriage that still ended up in divorce ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    This semester I am part of a professors’ reading group about the relationship of economics and Christian theology. We are reading several books and discussing relevant issues regarding a theology of work, stewardship, and economics. Obviously every author and participant has a unique perspective about different topics, but in our group we all come from a position of privilege, especially as we talk about poverty and ways to help those who are less fortunate. We have a tendency to talk about the poor as “they,” as people different from us and not necessarily as peers who can also teach us and lead us into better paths as we immerse in their circumstances and perspectives ...

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    The new year is always a time of reflection. Many people make resolutions to lose weight, exercise, continue education, and a host of other plans. Whether or not you make resolutions, the new year is a good time to reflect on your life and ministry ...

  • David Talley — 

    When was the last time you considered the mentally ill or, even much less, ministry to the mentally ill? I have been remembering a good friend. He was my best friend during my freshman year in college. Our rooms were in the same suite in our dorm. We shared a bathroom. We took the same classes. We sat next to one another in chapel because my last name followed his alphabetically. We were on the basketball team. As point guard, I fed him the ball, and, as shooting guard, he made the shot. What a team we were! He introduced me to my wife. We double-dated numerous times. He was the best man in my wedding. We vacationed together as families through the years. We saw one another on at least a yearly basis, our friendship always picking up like we had just seen one another the week before. We shared something special ...

  • David Talley — 

    This article builds on “Hidden Sins, Part One,” which was written previously (August 24, 2012). I forgot to post Part Two, so here it is. The next question to be asked is: What are the results of “hidden sins”, and what can we do about it?

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Why should Christians care about citizenship and politics? After all, didn’t Jesus say that his kingdom was not from this world? (John 18:36) Didn’t the apostle Paul write that our citizenship in in heaven? (Philippians 3:20) God may have instituted civil authorities and empowered their coercive judgments (Romans 13:1) but that doesn’t mean we need to like that brood of vipers, anymore than we suppose Paul was a fan of emperor Nero. Some theologians (rightly worried about the easy assimilation of comfortable Christianity to unquestioning patriotism) have for some time now advanced the view that a Christian’s identity is determined by belonging to the one global church of Jesus Christ and not at all by local loyalties of citizenship. How else are we to understand our spiritual fraternity and equal standing before God? Earthly political citizenship, by contrast, as distributed solely by geography of birth or forced migration, clearly marks some as winners and some as losers in the paths to flourishing ...

  • John McKinley — 

    This devotional is a reminder that God works through us as his instruments in ways we don’t choose. While there are many valuable things of research and teaching that God works through us in various ways, a primary mode of God’s work is easy to forget.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    An Interview with Talbot's Dean, Dr. Clinton E. Arnold, and his son, Jeff Arnold, about their most recent book: Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity.

  • David Talley — 

    Voice of the Martyrs has offered an excellent idea for those who may be travelling during this Thanksgiving season or who might be looking for some special activities to do while gathered with families and friends.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    The national pastime has become a sacred holiday: shopping on “Black Friday.” The day after Thanksgiving has developed into a manic state of sales and spending as retailers, seeking bigger holiday profits, offer new bargains and longer hours to lure holiday shoppers to good deals and great values on amazing products. The spending hype reaches fever pitch as stores open earlier and earlier each year, replacing the day dedicated to gratefulness with unashamed greed and giddiness for a purchase that is meant to show our love for another, bought in rushes of grabbing items that has led to fights, stampedes and debt. Many justify this intense season of shopping with the value of the purchase – the money saved on an item they would buy at a higher price later indicates this was a good value-based purchase ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    ¡Animo! Es una exclamación que todos necesitamos escuchar con frecuencia. A pesar de la presión popular que nos obliga a mostrar siempre nuestra mejor cara y a declarar que siempre estamos bien cuando alguien nos hace la tan común pregunta ¿cómo estás?, la realidad es que todos batallamos con diferentes circunstancias y siempre necesitamos que alguien nos muestre su apoyo y nos anime. Es importante que tengamos personas cercanas que nos alienten a seguir adelante. ¡Todos necesitamos a alguien en nuestro equipo! ...

  • Charlie Trimm — 

    Every year, the week before Thanksgiving brings the annual scholarly conferences for biblical and theological studies. Like most years, Biola and Talbot professors and students are well represented at these meetings in a variety of ways ... The following list (mostly compiled by David Roberts) includes all those at Biola and Talbot participating in the meetings this year. As always, Biola professors and students are doing fascinating work in many different areas! ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I came to Christ as a last resort after a year-long quest to find God back in 1975. With two thriving evangelical churches just a few blocks from my doorstep, why did I explore the Christian faith last instead of first? The cool factor, of course! I was a long-haired, pot-smoking keyboard player in a rock band. Eastern and New Age religion were “spiritual” and cool — Christianity definitely was not ...

  • John McKinley — 

    ... Deeper than the recent history, we seem to be pushing against the same thing that Martin Luther identified as the theology of glory. Luther recommended to us the contrast of the theology of the cross ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    You know that part of your Bible where the gold leaf on the pages still looks pretty fresh? Some of the pages might still even be stuck together. Or, more au courant, the portion you rarely scroll to on your phone or iPad … That’s right, for most of us it’s that part of the Bible starting right after Psalms and going all the way to Matthew. A lot of prophets big and little, and a good bit of Israel’s Wisdom tradition—but it just doesn’t get a lot of air-time in most evangelical churches or personal Bible-reading. Now, I’m the first to admit that last claim stems from my own highly subjective internal polling data, and I’m glad to be proven wrong; but I don’t think I am, because I know a good bit of it’s true in my own life ...

  • David Talley — 

    I believe that we are at a place in the history of the church where we need to have a vision for what we are seeking to produce in people through the ministries of the church. It can be increasingly difficult to maintain a simple focus on our main purpose to “make disciples” in light of the diverse needs of any church body and, therefore, it is easy to get caught up in the “monster of ministry” activity. I believe that we need to think more strategically in terms of what we are seeking to produce in a person and make this a focus for the church. Our biblical mandate is to present every person complete in Christ. What would this look like? Where should our sights be set? What should the life of disciple look like? ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Seminary students are among the busiest people I know. Church + Family + School + Work makes for a challenging time of wise prioritizing. A Talbot professor back in the early 1980s gave his busy seminarians some pointed advice. He instructed us not to spend a lot of our time in local church ministry. “This is your training time,” he asserted, “and seminary is where you need to focus for this season of your life.” At the time it sounded like good advice. Now I’m not so sure ...