Remember the thrill of winning at checkers or Monopoly? You become the Master of the Board – the victor over everyone else. But what happens after that, asks John Ortberg? You know the answer: It all goes back in the box. You don’t get to keep one token, one chip, one game card. In the end, the spoils of the game add up to nothing.
Using popular games as a metaphor for our temporal lives, this book neatly sorts out what’s fleeting and what’s permanent in God’s kingdom. Being Master of the Board is not the point; being rich toward God is. Winning the game of life on Earth is a temporary victory; loving God and other people with all our hearts is an eternal one.
Using humor, terrific stories, and a focus on winning ‘the right trophies,’ Ortberg paints a vivid picture of the priorities that all Christians will want to embrace. If you think you might need a better game plan – one that offers an eternal perspective – this strategy-filled playbook walks you through what it takes to really win big at the game of life.
There is a truth greater than all the losses and sorrows of life. And it can be discovered in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You are forgiven by a Saviour who died for you, and an empty tomb proclaims that death does not have the final word. This book delves into the meaning of Jesus’ last hours on the cross. Through his death, your life has purpose and meaning.
Carson broadly surveys Jesus’s biblical name as “the Son of God,” and then by focusing on two key texts that speak of Christ’s sonship. The book concludes with the implications of Jesus’s divine sonship for how modern Christians think and speak about Christ, especially in relation to Bible translation and missionary engagement with Muslims across the globe.
Imagine being offered one photograph that captured the essence of God an image that revealed everything you need to know about everything that matters. And imagine if this picture of God would shock you… shake you… and change you forever. Would you look at it? This booklet takes readers to the cross in all its shock, inviting them to see God as they have never seen him before.
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This booklet opens up a frank conversation about the difficulties people have with the hypocrisy they see in some Christians. The author talks about what Jesus means to those who follow him and the difference that has made in her life and in the lives of others. The Way of Jesus is designed especially for you to give away to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.
The Cross – It rests on the timeline of history like a compelling diamond… its tragedy summons all sufferers… its absurdity attracts all cynics… its hope lures all searchers. Jesus’ darkest hours. Mankind’s highest hope. They hang together on the cross for all eternity, leaving no doubt why they call Him Saviour.
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One of the most dangerous qualities of pride is that it sneaks into places in our hearts where other sins once lived. We begin to conquer some sinful attitude, or habit, or addiction with God’s help, and soon enough we marvel at our own strength, or resolve, or purity, as if we somehow accomplished it on our own. C.S. Lewis writes, “The devil loves ‘curing’ a small fault by giving you a great one” (Mere Christianity, 127). The confidence we feel in ourselves after defeating sin can carry us as far away from God as, or even farther than, the sin we defeated.
If we battle some sins, but welcome pride, we will lose the war. But if we suffocate pride, we will starve every other sin of its oxygen.
Pride’s War Against You
Pride lingers in us more than most sins because we fail to see how poisonous and deadly it really is. Pride colors our perception of ourselves and the world around us, blowing a thick, treacherous fog over reality. It cripples our souls, keeping us so focused on ourselves that we’re almost physically incapable of love. And it will damn us if we let it, dragging us to death, but making us believe we’re in control.
1. Pride will lie to you.
Pride convinces us we are more important than God, and that our perspective is better than his. “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). Your heart. More specifically, the pride in your heart (Obadiah 1:3), which declares you know more or better than the all-knowing God. We can be blindly led along by our pride, which Solomon calls “the lamp of the wicked” (Proverbs 21:4).
Lewis, who calls pride “the great sin,” writes, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you” (124). Pride sets our eyes firmly on ourselves — our needs, our gifts, our effort, our problems — and away from the sovereignty, sufficiency, and beauty of God. It clouds our vision of him, and elevates our vision of self. It not only blinds us to him, but removes any motivation to seek him (Psalm 10:4).
Worst of all, pride often wears the appearance of godliness, but lacks its power completely (2 Timothy 3:2–5), breeding false confidence and sure destruction.
2. Pride will cripple you.
Pride blinds and deceives us, but it also cripples us, making us ineffective and fruitless. We become so focused on our own life that we waste it. Again, Lewis writes, “Pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense” (125). If it goes untreated, pride multiplies and spreads, corrupting even our best attitudes and efforts. It must be killed, and killed consistently with routine heart-checks and the sword of the Spirit, God’s word (Ephesians 6:17).
If we sense a lack of compassion for needs around us, or a drying up of our generosity, or a coldness in our concern for the unconverted, or an indifference or even reluctance in serving or sacrificing for others, we very likely have the malignant cells of pride reproducing in our souls.
3. Pride will kill you.
If we allow pride to live freely in us, it can only kill us. Its prime objective is not to make us feel better about ourselves, but to send us to everlasting pain and punishment away from God. Solomon warns us, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Isaiah brings that terrifying warning into higher definition: “The Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up — and it shall be brought low” (Isaiah 2:12).
All pride must perish. In fact, every prideful person must pay that awful penalty. But God, in Christ, made it possible for us to die to our pride without dying for it. Jason Meyer writes, “The glory of God and the pride of man will collide at one of two crash sites: hell or the cross. Either we will pay for our sins in hell or Christ will pay for our sins on the cross” (Killjoys, 13).
Either pride will kill you, or you will surrender through faith and allow God to kill the pride in you.
14 Gospel Principles that can radically change your family.
What is your calling as a parent?
In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God?s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God?grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.
Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy.
Why are so many well-intentioned women falling for poor – even false – theology? The Devil has been effectively targeting women from the beginning, so why are they often left to fend for themselves in so-called women’s ministries? Strengthening women in the church strengthens the whole church. Cultivating resolved, competent women equips them to fulfill their calling as Christ’s disciples and men’s essential allies.
The experiences and beliefs we want our children to have don’t just happen, it is hard work! So this book is a starting point with simple and easy to prepare ways for you to e and encourage children in the faith, and hopefully have fun whilst you are at it.
Do you struggle to provide enjoyable, meaningful and spiritual times of family devotions? Do you avoid the whole subject but have the nagging thought that you should be doing something? This book will equip you for leading your family in worship with the help of some key questions: What is family worship? What have other people done? Why Should I do it? How can I start?
When you pray, does it ever feel like you’re just saying the same old things about the same old things? Offering us the encouragement and practical advice, this book outlines an easy-to-gasp method that has the power to transform our prayer life: Praying the words of Scripture.
Can we trust the Bible completely? Is it sufficient for our complicated lives? Can we really know what it teaches? This book is an accessible introduction to the Bible that answers important questions raised by both Christians and non-Christians. It will help you understand what the Bible says about itself and encourage you to read and believe what it says – confident that it truly is God’s Word.
I’m encouraged to read in your last report that your patient has gotten in the habit of blaming others for his own vices. The way that he lost his temper, and then had the audacity to blame his wife for it, warmed this old devil’s heart. Perhaps something of me is finally penetrating that thick skull of yours.
Continue to work on that wound in their relationship. Whenever he thinks back to those quarrels, keep his attention on what she did to provoke him and not on his own impatience and anger. With any luck, you’ll prevent him from ever engaging in the kind of sincere repentance reflected in those awful words, “Change me first.” I just cringe to think of them.
The question now is what to do should he begin to soften toward his wife; his natural affection and attraction for her could enable this at any time. I see two options. Your man is one of those evangelicals who really believes in the invisible world, including spirits like us. Thus, if you find that his attention moves from his wife as the cause of his outbursts and begins to settle on his own selfishness, you may call to mind his belief in “principalities and powers.”
Devil Made Me Do It
Keep that belief vague. Never let him think that you are in the room suggesting it — more of a general sentiment of “The devil made me do it.” We’ve been running that play on humans ever since their first mother blamed Our Father Below for the glorious incident with the fruit. You might even inflame his curiosity about devils and angels and spiritual warfare and all that, anything to keep him from truly owning his culpability in the quarrel.
Of course, in such matters, there is always the risk of awakening him to the thought that he is not, as he perceives, considering a distant battle (as some old historian might in a dusty library somewhere). Rather, he might realize he is in the thick of the conflict right then, bombs bursting in air all round him, our schemes and plots hatching and entwining him as he sits musing like the silly fool that he is. Should he come to an awareness of this fact, it might awaken some latent courage and nobility in him; he might sit up straight and resolve to “fight the dragon in his own heart” or “take the log out of his own eye.” Worse, he might run to the Enemy for help.
Thankfully, there is another method available to us.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and have recommended it to a number of friends. The book has two alternating narratives, both taking part in the 19th century, 50 years apart.
The earlier story is that of Geesje, who together with her family and large church community led by a pastor, make the long and dangerous journey from Holland to create a new life for themselves in Michigan. Religious persecution, together with the potato blight, have made conditions unlivable in Europe and forced this difficult decision. The journey to an unknown land is made all the more difficult for Geesje by the fact that she has recently fallen in love with a young soldier. Hendrick promises that after his time in the army is over he will follow her to America. Will he ever find her?
Fifty years later Anna travels to the area of the earlier settlement and stays for a time with her mother in a lakeside hotel. She needs time away from her home in Chicago — her engagement has recently been called off and she needs time to think. She meets up with a young man who happens to be a neighbour and close friend of Geesje, now an elderly widow.
Complex and not predictable
The various romances are well conceived — they are complex and not predictable. There is of course an interweaving of the two stories which makes for a fascinating read.
I particularly enjoyed the fact that this novel was based on historical fact — persecuted Dutch Christians did indeed settle in virgin forest on the Michigan penisula. They established an area called Holland, which still exists today. Some dramatic happenings in the narrative – a devastating fire and a tragic shipwreck on Lake Michigan — did actually happen. Many other dramatic events as well as twists and turns in the plot will keep you turning pages.
The book presents a window into an extremely interesting pioneering era when life was much harder in so many respects than today. It is also a good reminder of the calibre of faithful Christ followers who were among the first settlers in America.
Eliminate stress as you spend time relaxing and meditating on the joy found in God’s presence. Be refreshed and renewed as you fill the pages of these journals with your own creative expressions.
These colouring books, journals and prayer books provide an opportunity for you to pull away from the hustle and bustle of life to pray, journal and unleash your creative gifts. Let the wonder and peace of God’s word wash over you, and watch each picture come alive as you fill these intricately designed pages with the beauty of colour, and rediscover the goodness and faithfulness of God no matter what you are facing.
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The Christian life is all about convenience…. The world and the ruler of this world want you to believe this lie. Convenience — the worldly pursuit of ease — has become the Enemy’s battle cry (or, better yet, whisper) in the war for our modern souls. Satan’s strategy has morphed from direct opposition to subtle enticement.
In most American churches, the battle is being fought with wireless routers, HDMI cables, standing desks, and lumbar supports rather than the lashes, stones, rods, and chains of old (2 Corinthians 11:23–25). Today, most of us in the West calculate our significance by our Facebook friend count, newest technology, iPhone notifications, and 401k. The Enemy has recruited our own hearts to fight against us.
A Dangerous Security Blanket
Perhaps our biggest problem stares back at us every time we look into the dark mirrors of our handheld devices. But our contemporary problem has never been convenience — just as the problem in Eden was never the fruit. From Sinai’s stone tablets to today’s tablet computers, convenience has been vital to human advancement and even the spread of God’s kingdom. Even now, I sit conveniently in front of a computer — the modern convenience of our time — while you are scrolling through these digital words conveniently on a digital screen.
The problem, then, lies not with convenience, but with what our hearts make of it. The dark appeal of temptation is to twist good things into idols. Convenience steps in front of God and steals his worship. The world’s empty promises silently hijack our affections. We let cheap knockoffs of fulfillment obscure the true beauty of our nail-torn Savior.
When our hearts fall for the idol of convenience, the call of Jesus to follow him in shouldering a cross feels foreign. The one who saves us quietly mutates into a threat to our counterfeit sanctuaries of advantage. When our security is the warm comfort of secular convenience, we will keep hitting the snooze button on Jesus’s alarming command to take up our cross.
Christ and the Convenient Kingdom
Jesus, however, shows us how to confront this danger. Worn down over forty days with hunger, thirst, and isolation, Jesus meets the Enemy in the barren wilderness. Twisting the good things of God into opportunities for disobedience, Satan entices the exhausted Messiah with the idol of convenience.
Different by Design: By Carrie Sandom Reviewed by Elissa Moran
Many years ago I was at a beach mission on the far north coast. I have fond memories of teaching little kids ‘My God is so big’; of singing with gusto in the massive tent as we washed up after dinner; of visiting local residents and sharing life with them. Another distinct memory at beach mission was an event that helped me to begin to understand what it means to work together as men and women.
I was moving a table in the massive tent and a guy came up to me and offered to help. I was quite adamant. “That’s fine, I can do it”. I was trying to be patient but I was thinking, “Who does he think I am? Does he not think I’m capable to move a table? Just because I’m a woman!” He said to me, “It’s not that I don’t that think you can do it, but I want to serve you.” That was quite a humbling experience!
Different by Design has reminded me, once again, of the goodness of being made differently as men and women. We live in a world where feminism has reshaped our thinking about who we are as men and women and seeks to undermine our differences. Being a Christian chaplain at a university means that this topic comes up a lot! These educated, capable women are told that they can do it all and in fact, they have a right to do so! This book helpfully shows how this worldview could actually be damaging our families and our churches.
Different by Design shows how our differences as men and women are not only biological but essentially theological. The relationship between men and women is actually a reflection of who our Creator is. In God himself (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) there is perfect unity and yet diversity and perfect equality and yet order. What a privilege to reflect God’s image in the world as we relate as men and women! I’ve been reminded that this isn’t something to be ashamed of but to be thankful for.
“To be made in the image of God necessitates being made in relationship with others, just as God himself is in relationship with other members of the godhead.”
Carrie Sandom offers such a thorough and engaging exegesis of Genesis (it’s worth reading just for this!) to show what it means to be men and women, distinct yet dependent on each other. She shows the goodness of God’s order in Adam leading and Eve helping him in the task of having dominion over creation, and yet how devastating it is that Adam and Eve overturned the order in which God has made them. We are no longer complementing each other but competing with each other, we are no longer appreciating our equality under God but seeking to be supreme over each other. And I think we can clearly see this in our world today! The world wants us to believe that women are superior to men and that they can do things better than men. Yet I was reminded that God is not pleased when we despise or belittle or mistreat the opposite sex (page 60). We are not supposed to be competing with each other, but being thankful for each other and for the different roles we play.
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As we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation , CBD will be highlighting books that discuss the contributions of some of the heroes of the Reformation Era. Today we begin with Martin Luther.
Does your knowledge of Martin Luther’s writings start and end with the hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”?
As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation he galvanized, we discover a Martin Luther who was one of history’s most colorful and influential figures. His story is well known, but his powerful writing is often unfamiliar to us.
This illustrated introductory guide to Luther’s life, theology, and works introduces and summarizes his major writings, such as The Bondage of the Will and On the Councils and the Church, and includes, with annotations, the complete Ninety-Five Theses. Stephen Nichols also gives encouragement and guidance for studying Luther’s ethical writings, “table talk,” hymns, and sermons. Includes a select guide for further reading.
“As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, may we not only appreciate the profound ways God used Martin Luther, but may we learn from him. Dr. Nichols gives us a front-row seat on Luther’s life. As we watch, may we have the same boldness and the same lifelong commitment to the gospel.”
—R.C. Sproul, Founder, Ligonier Ministries
“A marvelous mixture of biography, history, theology, and anecdote. If you don’t feel the heartbeat of the Reformation in these pages, check your pulse!”
Variety may be the spice of life, but it’s not the substance.
And yet, given the way many of us evaluate the worship services at our churches, you’d think novelty was an essential mark of a healthy church.
The pull toward something “fresh” is understandable since your church’s worship service probably looks similar week-to-week. There’s singing, prayer, Scripture reading, a sermon. Throw in the Lord’s Supper, a benediction, a baptism, and maybe a couple other things, and you have the elements of most liturgies. The order may be flexible, but there’s consistency in what happens each week.
So, maybe it’s unavoidable to think on occasion, “Don’t we do this every week? Can we mix it up a little bit? Don’t we want it to stay fresh?”
We would do well in those moments to remember that the weekly routines we repeat in corporate worship by faith are doing far more than we can see or feel. When we know that, as we gather with the church, we may learn to see repetition as something to embrace rather than endure.
Repetition Is the Point
We all recognize the value of repetition in some areas. Consider a few examples.
If you’ve ever learned an instrument, you know that the way to learn it is to practice scales over and over until your fingers know the way. I haven’t played trumpet in almost twelve years, but the fingerings are still engrained in my mind and my hands.
Or, to borrow an illustration from James K.A. Smith, think about learning to drive. When you got your license, you had to think about every little maneuver: the blinker, the pedals, the mirrors, and all the rest. Now you could daydream through your entire commute without once consciously reflecting on your driving (please don’t, though).