Christian Living

"It's All About Jesus" or “Identity in Jesus” or “Union with Christ”: What Do These Phrases Actually Mean?

"It's All About Jesus" or “Identity in Jesus” or “Union with Christ”: What Do These Phrases Actually Mean?

It is one of the most important ideas in the New Testament. Being “in Christ.” Unified “with Christ.” Paul alone uses the phrase “in Christ” (or some variation, like “in Jesus” or “in him”) over 160 times. And as we’ll see below, we can sum up Christianity with these words “in Christ.” What I’ve noticed, however, is that we Christians, especially in today’s gospel-centered circles, use this terminology a lot, but we rarely explain it…

You Don’t Know How You’ll Influence Someone

You Don’t Know How You’ll Influence Someone

Johann von Staupitz. Have you heard his name? Unless you’re a church historian, probably not. But as we’ll see, he’s a hero. And his unsung influence can teach us an encouraging lesson. Christians know the tale about Martin Luther and his 95 Theses he nailed to the church door. We’ve heard how Luther discovered the gospel afresh, finding peace in justification by faith alone through Christ alone. But honestly, we often oversimplify the story…

Finding Daily Purpose in the Gospel

Finding Daily Purpose in the Gospel

“What am I doing?”

It’s a question we ask ourselves from time to time. Confused and muddled—straying from purpose and direction—we continue tasks and work, but we often feel ‘off’ doing so. Funks, moods, and weariness can set it, and we feel lost. We know we were made for purpose. We sense it in our bones. But it is not just any purpose. God tells us that he created this world and has each of us here for a reason. He knows what he’s doing, and we’re a part of something grand. Considering this purpose is no mere theological debate. It’s of ultimate significance and it impacts daily life…

Considering in Christian Living

Considering in Christian Living

It's simple to see change in our actions and behavior. And because of this we can begin to think our Christian life and growth consists mainly in our actions. We can think the Bible is a list of do's and do not's, of actions we are too perform or avoid, and that adhering to these is how we bring about change. But what if we're more complex than that?…

Do My Prayers Really Impact Worldwide Issues?

Do My Prayers Really Impact Worldwide Issues?

What really do our prayers accomplish when it comes to massive, worldwide issues? Do our prayer actually impact big problems and events that affect millions of people? To say the least, worldwide issues are complicated. There are innumerable moving parts in such things. So, once again, do our prayers really do much here?…

Splendor and Sin: How Seeing God's Light Shows Us Our Darkness

Splendor and Sin: How Seeing God's Light Shows Us Our Darkness

After being in a dark room, we can't help squinting when a bright light is illumined. Staggered, our eyes try to adjust as the brightness exposes how dim it's been. We pay attention to the light we're seeing, but simultaneously, we can't help but focus on our struggle assimilating to the light…

He Is Here and He is Not Limited: Why God’s Total Control Matters, Especially in Suffering

He Is Here and He is Not Limited: Why God’s Total Control Matters, Especially in Suffering

A favorite quote of mine came from the late pastor and apologist Francis Schaeffer. Summing two Christian truths he affirmed, “He is there and he is not silent.” God is real—just as real as the phone or computer you're reading this on; and he speaks—he communicates to us in his word. Whether we adhere to these makes or breaks our worldview, feeds or bleeds our faith…

Who Do We Think We Are? Correcting God and Presuming We Know All

Who Do We Think We Are? Correcting God and Presuming We Know All

At the end of the book of Job—the story of the innocent suffering—the main character Job is charged with trying to “correct” God (Job 40:2, NIV). After reading the book through pretty swiftly, I read that verse and agreed that that was essentially what Job was doing much of the time. He was complaining, confused, and correcting and contending…

Can I Hear God?

Can I Hear God?

Do you want to hear God? Or specifically, since he is the one Jesus sent when he left (John 14:16) and since he is God in us (John 14:17), do you want to hear the Holy Spirit? It is good and right to answer yes. We should want to hear from our God and be close with our God. We are meant to have a personal and experiential relationship with Christ by the Spirit…

4 Characteristics of Contentment

4 Characteristics of Contentment

 What is contentment? Is it actually possible? What does it look like (and not look like)? These are questions I have always wanted to dig deeper into. Who doesn’t want to know how to feel more constantly at peace and more consistently content? So, as a result, I have started reading Erik Raymond’s book Chasing Contentment. In this work, he leans on the Bible and other impactful church thinkers to help us see what contentment is…

Your Screens Can Blind You: Finding Joy in the Unseen

Your Screens Can Blind You: Finding Joy in the Unseen

*Article originally published on Desiring God. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). In the current technological world, these famous words by the apostle Paul are becoming increasingly difficult to follow. Sight has always been one of humanity’s primary senses. But now, in the age of colorful screens constantly vying for our attention, it is becoming tougher and tougher to trust in what we cannot see and walk by faith. It is a battle we each fight every day…

Is it the Word vs. the Holy Spirit?

Is it the Word vs. the Holy Spirit?

Jerram Barrs, in his book Shepherds & Sheep (which sadly doesn't appear to be in print anymore!), explains how the Holy Spirit and the Word of God relate in the New Testament. These insights are very helpful as I think this is a frequent issue today. He sets up the issue by writing…