Faith

"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…

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?…

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…

Sparks and Whispers of Wonder: Reading C.S. Lewis in 2018

Sparks and Whispers of Wonder: Reading C.S. Lewis in 2018

Before I list the books I read, I first here want to try to describe what I think makes Lewis unique and why it was just a joy to read him. As noted in the title of this post, the best phrase I could come up with is “sparks and whispers of wonder.” These two nouns, “sparks” and “whispers” summarize much of Lewis’ distinctiveness…

Clarity and Worship in the Depths: Reading Jonathan Edwards in 2018

Clarity and Worship in the Depths: Reading Jonathan Edwards in 2018

Before I list and summarize the books I read this year by Edwards below, first I would like to describe why this man of God is so unique and powerful, and what it was like reading him. I took some time thinking about how to succinctly describe his writing and thoughts…

24 Comparisons Between C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Edwards

24 Comparisons Between C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Edwards

I briefly want to compare and contrast C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Edwards. I read both this year, and enjoyed them almost equally. They had some similar traits, but also were quite different. For the sake of my own ease, I’ll make a bullet list of similarities and differences—twelve of each…

What About Joseph in the Christmas Story? His Life and Legacy

What About Joseph in the Christmas Story? His Life and Legacy

During Christmas season, we wonder in the stories about Jesus’ birth—recounting the star, the magi, the manger, and the shepherds. We sing songs praising the mystery of the Incarnation. We wonder at the angelic visions and pronouncements. The consolation of Israel is celebrated; Mary’s faith is upheld; Jesus’ purpose in coming and presence as Immanuel is exalted. This is good, right, and fitting. But what about Joseph?…

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…

Flies Only Fly Where He Wants

Flies Only Fly Where He Wants

The plagues and the Exodus. These are famous displays of the wonders of God. Much has and could be written about this pivotal season in history. But I want to focus in this short post on the flies and the chariot wheels. Yes, those pesky flies, and yes, just the chariots in the story. These might seem like they aren’t anywhere near the main point of the story, but God used these flies and chariot wheels for his glory. Yet what I want to meditate on here is how he did so…

Sailing Unto Glory: Christian Perseverance Insights from C.S. Lewis in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Sailing Unto Glory: Christian Perseverance Insights from C.S. Lewis in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This third post concerns the third novel Lewis wrote about Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In this third story, Lewis vividly illustrates temptation, perseverance, and trusting God in the Christian faith. For those who are wanting to see a sort of table of contents, here are the ten insights from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The first three concern pride, as Lewis illustrates it so well in the character of Eustace…

Wait, Act, and Always Trust: 10 Christian Life Insights from C.S. Lewis in Prince Caspian

Wait, Act, and Always Trust: 10 Christian Life Insights from C.S. Lewis in Prince Caspian

This is the second post in a series concerning The Chronicles of Narnia novels. Since I am reading C.S. Lewis’ major non-fiction works this year, I have also decided to read the Narnia series. As I do so, I am not only enjoying the captivating dramas, but I also know that C.S. Lewis was (and is) a brilliant mind who illustrated wonderful gospel truths within the stories. These posts then will not mainly be reviews or summaries of the novels, but rather insights about the gospel, God, us, and Jesus I gleaned while in Narnia…

Jesus, Money, and a Fish

Jesus, Money, and a Fish

One of my favorite miracles of Jesus is one that isn’t talked about too much. It probably is less famous because of how short it is; or because it only occurs in one of the Gospel accounts; or especially because it doesn’t directly impact anyone who is suffering or sick, like so many of Jesus’ miracles wonderfully do. But the reason I love it so much is because of what it shows us about Jesus himself…

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…

Faith Is the Conduit of Grace

Faith Is the Conduit of Grace

Charles Spurgeon, in his book All of Grace, describes the connection of faith and grace. These are two beautiful words and ideas which everyone knows are important in the Christian faith, but many don't know how they relate, if at all. Spurgeon is a king of using analogy in order to get across an idea clearly, and here is a great example of it. Speaking of faith and grace…

Is God Inclined to Criticize or Bless?

Is God Inclined to Criticize or Bless?

Some Christians struggle with viewing God as holy, majestic, huge, powerful, and fearful. They more naturally are drawn to his intimacy, immediacy, tenderness, and love. On the other hand, many Christian struggle with the exact opposite. God's majesty, sovereignty, and massiveness is more of their default view of God, while his tender, personal love is harder to taste…