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Category: Church Life

  • 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 ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Esta semana hablé por teléfono con un amigo y cuando le pregunté qué estaba haciendo me dijo que estaba en la sala de su casa leyendo las noticias en el periódico local. En tono de broma le pregunté si había encontrado una buena noticia y me respondió rápidamente con un “no” rotundo. Al parecer las malas noticias salen a luz mientras que las buenas se pierden en el anonimato social ...

  • Kevin Lawson — 

    This is fourth and final in a series of blogs on José Bowen’s book, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2012). I shared in my first blog that the main thrust of his book was for teachers to use technology to deliver content outside of class sessions, and shift the use of class time to processing that information, promoting critical thinking and the application of knowledge to real life situations. I then identified three ideas from Bowen’s work that I think have the potential of deepening the impact of our teaching in the church. In my second blog, I put the focus on his first idea, finding ways to use technology to provide content to group members, preparing them for active learning in your Bible study group. In the third blog I focused on how to better use your class time to help students in processing and applying the content of the Scripture you are studying together. In this final blog, I want to give our attention to ways we can use social media and other online technologies to connect with those we teach, promote a stronger sense of community as we follow Christ, and promote the application of what we are learning over time, deepening the impact of our studies ...

  • Mick Boersma — 

    This past spring my wife and I traveled to five states and visited nearly 50 Talbot alumni. Our journeys found us in the San Joaquin valley of California, the Flagstaff-Casa Grande corridor of Arizona, parts of Illinois and Indiana, and the Colorado Interstate 25 from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs. And while our grads were doing all kinds of ministry in a multitude of settings, some basics about life and ministry came through loud and clear. Here are some of the most prevalent ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim comes to a close: Michael: But what if it doesn’t happen the way I hope? What if I set out on a course of action and my impact turns out to be minimal? Jim: I don’t believe that anyone who lives a life of whole devotion to God will only have minimal impact. But it’s not until eternity that we will be able to see all that has occurred through our lives. In other words, we don’t always see fully now. But, let’s say that you really don’t make an impact; you can’t even see a dent. Even then, you’ve lived life according to the purpose for which you were created, and that can never be called an empty life. Michael: But if your ministry is unsuccessful, you haven’t succeeded. Jim: Not necessarily ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: I think I’ll never find a church I can take my family to. Jim: WHY NOT?! Michael: There’s just too much hypocrisy! Jim: I have to agree with you there. Michael: (not listening to Jim’s answer) … I know it’s hard for you to hear this, since you’re in the ministry and everything … (all of a sudden catching on) … did you say you agree?! Jim: Of course I do ...

  • Tom Finley — 

    Amos has much to say about oppression and the plight of the poor in Israel, so it is only natural that his book has become a focal point for discussions about social justice.[1] At least three aspects of the issue dealt with by Amos concern the nature of God, the role of the individual, and the role of the social system ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: I admire your courage. But I still think that what you’re trying to do is almost impossible. Jim: That’s one of the reasons we’re trying it. God is the one who makes the impossible possible. What do you think, Michael? Is the church a triumphant church, or are we just a band of persecuted idealists? Michael: In your case I’d say that you look more like a group of persecuted idealists. At the same time, the church does seem to be making strides in many places in the world ...

  • Joy Mosbarger — 

    For many of us who are not pastors or missionaries, integrating our walks of faith and our vocational callings can be a challenge. Throughout church history, there have been some remarkable men and women who have excelled at meeting this challenge. One such example lived in the early centuries of the church. Her name was Bathild (c. 630-c.680), and she found herself in various vocational situations at different stages in her life. In each of those situations, she found opportunities to be a blessing to others and to advance the kingdom of God ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Jim: The issue, as I see it, is this: Are we supposed to make decisions according to wisdom or should we look for special guidance from God? Michael: That’s the question. Jim: Proverbs tells us that we’re supposed to seek after wisdom in every area of life.[1] Michael: So wisdom is obviously important. Jim: Definitely. But Paul describes the believer as one “led by the Spirit.”[2] This description may be broader than simply the internal processes in decision-making, but also probably includes those as well. The Bible also presents many examples of God giving specific guidance to individuals for specific situations by various means ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: How do you know things are going well? How do you know you’re not actually doing badly in your walk with God and that you just don’t realize it? Jim: What kind of question is that? Michael: A question to frustrate you. Jim: Thanks ...

  • John McKinley — 

    ... In meditation, I now listen for God’s message through the text in a different way. I have stopped merely thinking about the sermon and drilling into the passage, chewing on what the commentary says, and that has helped open things up for me. The result is a different sort of sermon ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Jim: Even in areas of sin, simple confession is often not enough to rid you of the habit that has been formed through patterns of sin. Sin has two main dimensions, the rebellion side and the habit side. Rebellion is dealt with through confession. Ungodly habits are usually eliminated by putting good habits in their place. And the only way to develop permanent good habits is by implementing self-discipline. Michael: (looking frustrated) By raising the issue of discipline, you’ve really hit a sensitive nerve with me. I’ve heard countless messages on self-discipline and am extremely uncomfortable whenever I hear them. Is a disciplined person like you more spiritual than a lazy bum like me? ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    En el 2006, Ken Ferraro, un profesor de sociología de la universidad Purdue publicó un interesante artículo en la revista especializada “Journal for the Scientific Study of Religión” en el que reportaba los resultados de su investigación acerca de la relación entre la religión y el índice de masa corporal. En su estudio, Ferraro descubrió que sí existe una relación entre algunas religiones y la tendencia de sus miembros para ser obesos. Lamentablemente, los cristianos tienen la masa corporal más alta y los bautistas, en particular son los más obesos en los Estados Unidos. De hecho, cerca del 27 por ciento de los bautistas son obesos y, por lo tanto, el grupo religioso con mayor sobrepeso en un gran contraste con religiones no cristianas como la judía, musulmana y budista donde menos del uno por ciento de sus miembros son obesos ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Jim: Maybe we should talk about sin today. Michael: That sounds like a good way to mess up a nice morning … Jim: At least it’s a useful subject. Michael: I’m not so sure about that. Jim: Maybe it would be good to try. Michael: OK, if you insist ...

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    As we consider doing personal discipleship, who we disciple is an important factor. It's important to keep in mind that who God might have you disciple may not be the ideal candidate at first glance ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: You said that the issue is whether the world determines the look of our lives, or whether the Bible determines it. Jim: Sometimes, biblical truths look extreme to us because we’re using the values of the world as our yardstick. Michael: So you think we should all be fools for Jesus. You think that we all need to make a decision to live radical, cut-loose lives for Jesus. Right? Jim: Right. Michael: I thought you said that the Lord has been teaching you about balance recently ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: Do you remember last week—one of the final things you said to me was, “I hope that you’re able to take hold of the life that the Lord has planned for you”? I think I responded with an “I hope so, too.” I’ve been thinking about this all week and I have another question I want to talk about. This one’s really nagging me. Jim: Shoot. Michael: Don’t start that again! Jim: OK. Michael: Do we ever actually get what we’re seeking? We’re told many times in the Bible that we’re supposed to seek the Lord. Is the Christian life all seeking, or is there any finding involved? ...

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    One might think that church leaders would naturally agree on the priority of mission. However, this is not the case. Debate continues today between those who say the priority of mission is to do well in whatever form it takes, while others contend that our priority is to preach the gospel of salvation. Building on the salvation motif found in the Gospel of Luke, this article suggests that the priority of the church is to preach the gospel of salvation.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Jim: Haven’t you noticed that some preachers concentrate on themes of forsaking all to follow Christ, personal discipline, faithfulness in prayer, radical discipleship, the lordship of Christ, and the like, while others exhort us to let go of our self-reliance and learn about the inner joys of the life that God offers? Michael: I’ve never really though of it that way, but you’re right. Jim: Which should they be preaching? Michael: I’m not sure. Jim: I’ve got a theory ...

  • Doug Geivett — 

    Arnold Lunn was born to a Methodist minister, but he was himself agnostic and a critic of Christianity—until he was 45 years old, when he converted to the faith. Lunn died on June 2, 1974. Lunn was a professional skier and full-time enthusiast. He founded the Alpine Ski Club and the Kandahar Ski Club. He brought slalom skiing to the racing world, and he’s the namesake for a double black diamond ski trail at Taos Ski Valley. Lunn credited his agnosticism to the wholly unconvincing cause of Anglicanism. He looked in vain for persuasive arguments for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity. Later he would say that “an odd hour or two at the end of a boy’s school life might not be unprofitably spend in armouring him against the half-baked dupes of ill informed secularists” (The Third Day, xvii). He wrote in criticism of the faith and debated Christianity’s prominent defenders ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: But isn’t there any way that I can have the joy and peace of the Christian life without the necessity of suffering, pain and personal discipline? Jim: You want to have your cake and eat it too? Michael: That’s not what I mean. Jim: What do you mean? Michael: What about all those people who talk about the peace and joy they experience as Christians? Their lives don’t seem to be all that difficult. Perhaps I should aim at that type of life ...