Several years ago a Missouri preacher, Steve Shepherd, related a story about a woman who was in the grips of severe depression.
She felt helpless. Hopeless. And afraid. For weeks she wept constantly. She didn’t want to be left alone for fear she would take her own life. When she went to bed, she hoped she would never wake up.
Her Bible Study class intervened and purposed what they called “The Brave Christian’s experiment.” In desperation, the woman decided to try this plan which basically called for God to be at the center of one’s life.
The plan consisted of these five steps. Continue reading
“Big things come in small packages” is an American idiom that implies that the value of something is not always determined by its size. Such is true of books in the Bible.
For a book to be noteworthy it doesn’t need to be large like Psalms with its 150 divisions. Or filled with intriguing prophecies like Isaiah. It doesn’t demand apocalyptic images jumping off the page like Revelation. Nor does it require riveting historical narratives like Genesis. Continue reading
“Preaching must be marked by three elements, advised Warren Wiersbe. “Conviction. Warning. And appeal.”
In other words, “Reprove, rebuke and exhort.
To quote an old rule of preachers, “He should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” Continue reading
Paul Fritz calls them “the triad of Christian virtues.”
Philip R. Davies wrote, “These three graces form the essential elements of the Christian character.
An unknown author referred to them as “the holy and beautiful sisterhood of Christians virtues.”
And what are they? Continue reading
Bill Maher is a social commentator, comedian, actor, and TV Host, who’s highly critical of religion. Several years ago he wrote and starred in a documentary entitled “Religulous”, a combination of the words “religious” and “ridiculous.”
Maher once described Christians as having a neurological disorder that keeps them from thinking. “Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don’t need, Maher boldly claimed. “But I’m not an atheist, no. I believe there’s some force. If you want to call it God… I don’t believe God is a single parent who writes books.” Continue reading
“What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying” was once noted by American author, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Emerson’s observation speaks to the importance and impact of our influence.
The dictionary defines influences as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.” Simply defined influence is the sway one has over others. Continue reading
In his book, Hell’s Best Kept Secret, Ray Comfort relates a tragic story about a woman who was once walking along a riverbank with her child.
Suddenly the child slipped into the river. The mother screamed in terror. She couldn’t swim, plus she was in the latter stages of pregnancy. Finally, somebody heard her screaming and rushed down to the riverbank. Continue reading
David Owens, A New York preacher, tells a story about a well-respected British minister who boarded the trolley early one Monday morning from his suburban home to downtown London.
He paid the driver as he got on the trolley, and being preoccupied with his busy schedule and the needs of his church he didn’t notice that the driver had given him too much change.
When he sat down he looked at the change and his first thought was, “My, how wonderfully God provides!” Continue reading
In his Daily Bible Study series, William Barclay tells a compelling story about an evangelist named Brownlow North. Apparently, in his younger days, he had lived a wild life.
“Once, just before he was to enter the pulpit in a church in Aberdeen, he received a letter. This letter informed him that its writer had evidence of some disgraceful thing which Brownlow North had done before he became a Christian, and it went on to say that the writer proposed to interrupt the service and to tell the whole congregation of that sin if he preached.” Continue reading
Last night at the Florida College Lectures, Phillip Shumake, presented a lesson from Luke 15, on probably the most famous of Jesus’ parables. Like Phillip and the Dutch artist Rembrandt, whose masterpiece depicted the return of the Prodigal, we also share fascination with this parable.
These parables were precipitated, as Phillip pointed out, by the Pharisees who criticized Jesus and murmured, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” The insinuation and implication is that Jesus associates with sinners because he is one of them. In other words, “birds of a feather flock together.”
In response to their accusations, Jesus told three parables. The lost sheep. The lost coin. And the lost son. Indeed these parable are like “a three act play” that present a unifying theme. All three were lost. And all three were diligently sought. And when they were found rejoicing ensued. Continue reading