August 18, 2017

Reading the Puritans: Where Should You Start?

The Puritans lived over 200 years ago, but their words still speak today. Through careful study of Scripture and much prayer, they left a legacy of writings and sermons that address the mind, confront the conscience, and engage the heart. And those who make the effort to mine their works carefully reap rich rewards! (Not sure what I'm talking about? Learn who the Puritans were and why you should read them.) But the list of Puritan authors is over 2000 names long, and their published works number even higher. So where do you start? Here are some favorite go-to recommendations for getting started: Voices from the Past -- Volume 1 and Volume 2 A collection of single-page devotional [...Read More]


How to Study the Bible with Both Mind and Heart

Up until a few years ago, I wasn't very adept at studying the Bible on my own. I knew some basic principles, like reading the introductory material and checking the overall structure of the book before diving in. But I thrived on commentaries and concordances and notes from sound theologians, rather than understanding God's Word for myself first, then exploring what others had said about it. It's embarrassing to admit. After all, I was raised in a Christian home, attended Christian school for over twenty years, and sat under sound biblical preaching in my local church. I knew what the "right answers" sounded like and could usually tell when something was off, yet I couldn't always [...Read More]


Speaking Out Against Abortion

Lately I've been pondering my personal responsibility in obeying the principles of social action that are given in Scripture. For instance... How can I personally care for the "widows and orphans" in my circles of acquaintance? James 1:27 How can I personally offer provisions to care for my loved ones who are in need? Matt 25:34-40 How can I personally love the "unlovely" as Christ loved rebellious mankind? Phil 2:5-8 How can I personally uphold God's standard of marriage (one man, one woman)? Gen 2:24 How can I personally speak out against abortion -- and other "works of darkness"? Ephesians 5:11 We hear these principles preached, but what do we do to personally obey them? I [...Read More]


Social Media: Resources for Christians

{Read "Social Media: a Christian Perspective" here} Social media comes with great responsibility, especially for Christians. We are commanded to think on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praise-worthy... and so everything we share promote those things. That means everything we speak in real life, as well as everything we post online.   How can we do that? How can we fulfill Philippians 4:8 in every social media situation? How can we glorify God in our time online? First, by reading God's Word. You must read it, to know it. And you must know it, to understand and apply it. Second, by reading Scripturally-centered resources. Blog posts, [...Read More]


Review: 31 Day Twitter Tip Challenge

31 Days of Twitter Tips is hands-down the best guidebook for learning Twitter. Or for improving your Twitter experience, learning how to build relationships through your tweets, or finding more time-efficient ways to keep up with the Twitter world. In this newly-released book, Becky Robinson shares 31 tips for getting more out of Twitter. And each of these tips can be completed (or at least started) in just 12 minutes a day. Which makes it incredibly doable, and well worth it. How did it help me? Well, I had already been using Twitter for six months when I found Becky's website, 12 Minute Media. But I was hooked as soon as I saw her tips on there. She shares things like what to tweet, [...Read More]


Helpful Resource: YouVersion

I'm not even sure where to start with explaining YouVersion, other than to say that you HAVE to check it out! It's a Bible application that you can use online both on your computer and on your phone (Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Palm, Mobile Web, etc). It has at least 100 versions of the entire Bible. It has audio for many of the versions. It has reading plans, both "through the Bible" as well as sectional and categorical plans, ranging from 4 days to over 1 year. It has options to highlight, bookmark, and take notes. It lets you share your notes and bookmarks with others. Oh, and did I mention that it's completely free? [...Read More]


Helpful Resource: Sermon Audio

One of the ways I find inspiration for spiritual growth is by listening to sermons - not just in church on Sunday, but during the week as well. I can listen to them on my laptop while I'm doing housework or on my headphones while I'm working out. It's not a substitute for personal time with God, but it's a fantastic way to keep my thoughts focused on Him and to be ever growing in "the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). Some churches make their sermons available on cd. Some post them online, on their websites. Take advantage of these opportunities to listen and learn. Sermon Audio is another great resource.* They have thousands of sermons by hundreds of [...Read More]


Hymn to a Gracious Sovereign

Have you ever considered the great resources we have within the pages of our hymnals? Have you ever thought of using one as a part of your personal quiet time with God? Although the lyrics of our hymns are not divinely inspired on the level of Scripture, the authors must have had some divine guidance as they penned the words. Many of them are based on specific Scripture passages, while others reference some of the doctrines we believe in. Still others are obvious songs of praise to our God or affirmations of our dedication to Him. There are hymns for just about every occasion. We have hymns for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and patriotic holidays. We have hymns that extol the virtues of [...Read More]