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Sep 2013 17 Sep 17, 2013

The question we want to explore is this: How crucial is it to our salvation and endurance in the faith that we be committed to community and the encouragement and rebuke that come from other believers? To answer that question, look at Hebrews 3:12-14 – “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that...Read More

Sep 2013 16 Sep 16, 2013

[Here at Bridgeway Church we highly value prophetic ministry, but only to the degree that it is pursued and practiced in accordance with Scripture. People often ask me how we handle prophetic “words” on a Sunday morning, in a large gathering. It’s one thing to facilitate this spiritual gift in a small group (which I outlined in an earlier post), but when several hundred people are present it poses an entirely unique set of challenges. So here are the gu...Read More

Sep 2013 16 Sep 16, 2013

Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions (Crossway, 2013) (a short review by Matthew Sims; he blogs at www.graceforsinners.com). Sam Storms desires to answers tough questions believers ask. He does so pastorally and carefully. He says, Sadly, many believers walk away from church or from a friend or even from a pastor, frustrated that such issues are either answered badly or met with an “I don’t know,” or perhaps even ignored altoge...Read More

Sep 2013 14 Sep 14, 2013

“And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals. And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:5-6). [Edwards continues his portrayal of Je...Read More

Sep 2013 14 Sep 14, 2013

“Self-sufficiency, like self-absorption, is a no-no in the body of Christ; God will not prosper the pride of those who think they can get along without other Christians’ help. Spiritual isolationism is in his eyes not a virtue but a vice; only through mutuality of dependence, ministry and pastoral care do Christians really grow and churches really go forward.” (J. I. Packer, Praying, 238)....Read More

Sep 2013 13 Sep 13, 2013

Why is God to be “blessed” with exuberant and heart-felt praise? First, it is because in accordance with his great mercy he caused us to be born again. We now turn our attention in 1 Peter 1:3-5 to the second and third reasons. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperi...Read More

Sep 2013 12 Sep 12, 2013

In the previous post we ended by noting that Peter points to four things that account for his explosive praise of God. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvati...Read More

Sep 2013 11 Sep 11, 2013

What do you say to someone who is badly broken, whose dreams have been shattered and whose life is in constant disarray and turmoil? How do you comfort a Christian who wakes up every day to a job he hates or to a chronic pain she can barely endure or to the frustration of dealing with people who disregard your opinions and mock your faith? Where does the believer, the one who has been elected according to the foreknowledge of God and set apart by the gracious work of th...Read More

Sep 2013 10 Sep 10, 2013

In an earlier post we were looking at how Peter identifies his readers (and us). The first thing he said is that we “elect exiles.” But he doesn’t stop with that. He proceeds to define election both in terms of its basis and goal. (1) We are elect, says Peter, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” The first thing this tells us is that divine election was an eternal, pre-temporal act of God before the foundation of the world. ...Read More

Sep 2013 9 Sep 9, 2013

I had lunch recently with a very close friend whom I’ve known for over 50 years. In the course of our conversation he told me about the trouble he faced when he and his wife decided to sell their home and purchase a new one. When they applied for a mortgage loan, they were denied funding because his credit rating came back at a horribly low level. After a bit of investigation, he discovered that his identity had been stolen. One credit agency had him living in...Read More