Conduct Worthy of the Calling

[429 words] The fabled “Pony Express” was short lived. It lasted only about a year and a half (April 1860—October 1861). The transcontinental telegraph put an end to the need for the horses and their riders. However, in the brief time it existed, the service made a lasting impact on American history. Before the creation…

Competing with Culture

[370 words] King Solomon knew he was in for a fight. He knew it would be a challenge to keep his children from giving in to the pagan culture that surrounded them. He would plead with his son to listen (knowing it was a very real possibility he wouldn’t): “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,…

Sermon Outline: Increase Our Faith!

In Luke 17, the Lord asked His disciples to do something that is evidently so challenging and daunting that they cry out, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). What did He ask them to do? What did He require of them that was so difficult? There are several ideas to consider: Don’t be a stumbling block.•…

Something is Missing

[503 words] On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig uttered some words that would go on to be some of the most iconic in history. After being diagnosed with a debilitating disease, standing only about two years from his death, the man who had played more consecutive baseball games than anyone else ever had gave this…

He Will Take Us Through

[202 words] We are constantly reminded that life can be challenging. Life can be hard. Sometimes….life can be very hard. But we don’t go through alone! We don’t go through it unnoticed by heaven! Someone has said: “Since God the Father intends to make you like Jesus, He will take you through the same experiences…

Who or What is Shaping Us?

[435 words] “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). This time of year emphasizes just how special it is to be with family. Gathering around…

23,000 Breaths

[363 words] “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6). One of the good things about the Thanksgiving holiday is that we are “forced” to stop our busy, self-centered lives and count our blessings. It is so easy to take our blessings for granted! I was recently reminded of how…

Now It’s Personal

[432 words] Deion Sanders has worn numerous monikers. Neon Deion. Prime Time. These days he is referred to as Coach Prime. Sanders was undisputedly one of the greatest athletes of his generation as he was a two-sport star in both professional baseball and football. These days he is the head football coach for the University…

When Jesus Doesn’t Come

[350 words] At separate times, both Martha and Mary said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (cf. John 11:21,32). There are a few ways to understand these grief-stricken words. First, it is likely these were often repeated words around the home: “If only Jesus was here.” It…

Showing Our Christianity

[240 words] “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human…

Expectations of a King

[414 words] On May 6, 2023, the United Kingdom had their first coronation ceremony for a monarch in 70 years. By all accounts, this was an elaborate and fascinating ordeal. Whether you consider yourself to be an Anglophile or not, there is much here to ponder in this special event. • It was estimated that…

Planting Seeds

[368 words] I’m no poet, but I certainly appreciate those who can create thought-provoking and vivid images with the words that they write. I came across an ever-so-brief poem recently that has made quite an impression on me. It is called, “Forecast” by Luci Shaw: “Planting seedsInevitablyChanges my feelingsAbout rain” There are numerous helpful insights…

What Nebuchadnezzar Teaches Us About God

[243 words] Nebuchadnezzar was one of the most influential foreign kings in the biblical record. In world history, he was known as one of the greatest kings to ever live. Holy Scripture speaks of him in human terms as the “king of kings” (Dan. 2:37; 4:1; Ezek. 26:7). He is known to us as a…

Spiritual Bucket List

[399 words] Creating the proverbial “bucket list’ can be a lot of fun. Coming up with a list of things you would like to do one day in the not-too-distant future is also a good way to take the first step in accomplishing your goals. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are expected to be…

Consumed

[383 words] An other monumental election season has come to an end. And, again, the season has consumed us! Let me give you an example: My family had to travel to St. Louis recently. On Saturday morning, as we were enjoying our complimentary breakfast with the rest of the weary travelers, the television in the…

The Logic of Humility

[401 words] Someone once said, “No one stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon and says, ‘I am awesome.’” Why not? Because when we are confronted by that which is immense and sublime, we are designed to feel at least two things: (1) our own smallness, and (2) the assurance that something huge and…

Celebrate Freedom

[311 words] In a letter dated July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife: “This will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance,…

Hearing Your Name

[286 words] There is just something about hearing your name. On some occasions, it is scary. If your mom or dad ever calls you by your whole name—first, middle, and last—you are likely in pretty big trouble. On other occasions, it is a special honor. Graduation ceremonies are a great example of this. Why in…

Am I Strong?

[338 words] How do I know if I am strong? There are numerous ways to measure physical strength. One example of a physical strength test would be the bench press. Each year at the NFL combine players demonstrate how many times they can press 225 pounds. Fifteen to twenty-five times seems to be about the…

Thankful for the Gospel

[425 words] Gospel = Good News. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that sinners can be saved! Thanks to the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, sinners like you and me have hope because we can be cleansed of our sins and made righteous in the sight of God.…

Sincerely Wrong

[313 words] “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s…

The Beauty and Power of Hope

[306 words] Viktor E. Frankl is one of those rare and special individuals who survived Hitler’s concentration camps. He went on to become a well-respected psychiatrist in his time after the war. Frankl dedicated his life’s work to exploring and sharing the necessity and influence of meaning and hope. Frankl observed that the people who…

Pursue Righteousness

[151 words] Numerous times in Scripture the Lord encourages us to “pursue righteousness.” The term righteousness is variously used, sometimes referring to virtuous or obedient living and other times referring to the condition of being made innocent by God and thus acceptable to Him. The idea is this: The Lord expects us to live a…

Lessons Learned from Joshua

[289 words] The book of Joshua is so great. Not only is it “for our instruction…and…encouragement” (Romans 15:4), it is captivating! Joshua tells us of war and intrigue, victories and losses, warnings and challenges, miraculous signs and wonders (huge fortified walls crashing down, a river drying up for people to cross, the sun standing still,…

When It Seems All Is Lost

[73 words] When it seems all is lost…remember that the Creator sees us (Job 34:21; Psalm 33:13-15; Heb. 4:13). When it seems all is lost…remember that this world is not all that there is (Job 1:6; 2:1; 16:19; Rev. 21:3-4;  Matt. 25:46). When it seems all is lost…remember that our Redeemer lives (Job 19:25; Heb.…

All Things New

[298 words] Happy New Year!  How many times have you heard that phrase in the last few days? Most likely, the person saying it to you sincerely desires for you to have a great 2022.  Of course, it could also mean that they are just thankful 2021 is gone and a fresh new year has…

Making Sense of Moral Outrage

[544 words] This is a time of moral outrage. Anger and animosity quickly and easily spill over from one person to the next, often in violent outbursts. Riots and looting have been recorded and reported from the streets of several major U.S. cities. Bitterness and condescension is lobbed from one side of the aisle to…

Finding Favor

[257 words] Numerous times in Scripture we read about godly men and women who “find favor” in the sight of God and the people around them. It seems to be a common characteristic. For example:  Esther is described again and again as one who won favor in the sight of the king and his subordinates…

Father, Forgive Them

[114 words] The Jewish authorities: “They spit in His face and struck Him. And some slapped Him, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?’” (Matt. 26:67-68). The Roman soldiers: “They spit on Him and took the reed and struck Him on the head” (Matt. 27:30). Peter: “I do not know…

How Often Do I Really Have to Go?

[160 words] In this unusual time of a pandemic due to the COVID virus, of course we seek to be compassionate, flexible, and understanding. We must do our best to take care of each other (Matt. 7:12; Phil. 2:4). That being said, how much is “enough” when it comes to assembling with the saints? At…

No Excuses

[227 words] On September 26, 2021, Elijah Saolo was about to win the Quad Cities Marathon in Illinois. As he sprinted down the final stretch, not only was he in the lead, he was on pace to set a record time!  But then, instead of turning right and following the designated path, he went straight…

Delight

[127 words] To “delight” in something is to experience great pleasure. It is to be pleased by someone or something. Scripture tells us that God delights in His Son (cf. Isa. 42:1; Matt. 3:17). In like fashion, we should too! Knowing and following the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, should delight those of us…

Help in Time of Sadness

[322 words] Numerous are the occasions that may cause us to feel the emotion of sadness. Seeing someone we love make sinful choices will break our hearts. Seeing someone we love go away (either temporarily like moving or permanently like dying) will cause a wellspring of tears to overflow. Scripture prepares us to expect times…

Times Change

[354 words] Most of the time, change is good. We all want to grow, get stronger, learn more, see more places, etc. Certainly we are aware of the fact that our methods and tactics must change and adapt when we become ineffective. We must take advantage of opportunities as they are presented. On and on…

To Be Noble

[283 words] According to Philippians 4:8, whatever is noble is listed second among the many things upon which we are to think (cf. NKJV). How often do we make the effort to focus on the noble? Do we even really know what the word means? After all, it isn’t a term that is used very…

Who Is Jesus?

[474 words] Divine names are extremely significant and packed full of meaning Men like Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David received a progressive revelation of the character of God by means of those names. B.F. Westcott once wrote, “Each name authoritatively given to God is, so to speak, a fresh and lasting revelation of his nature.…

Being A Difference-Maker

[240 words] Most of us are pretty good at making excuses and rationalizing as to why we are not more vocal in sharing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus with others.  “I don’t know enough!” “I wasn’t trained for this!” “That is someone else’s job!”  The list goes on but you get the idea. …

The Truth

[122 words] It seems so hard to trust people these days. Who can be counted on to tell us the truth?  Here is what we know: Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).  Additionally, we know: It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).  Therefore, we absolutely must spend more…

The Best is Yet to Come!

[259 words] We know we need some good news. In fact, we need as much good news as we can get! With 2020 behind us, we are desperate now to be told that something good, something better and brighter is on the way. Well…it is! “But the path of the righteous is like the light…

Made for Another World

[160 words] C.S. Lewis once wrote, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” We know that we were made for another world. Scripture teaches it. Our own experience testifies to it. The Psalmist wrote, “As a…