Gospel

Category Archives: Gospel

8 Questions That Help Me Know If I’m Growing Spiritually

newtonbookcoverIt seems like I should be able to determine relatively easily if I’m personally growing spiritually but it isn’t as easy as you think it should be. What exactly should I be looking for in my life? For so many people the indicators of spiritual growth are only focused on behavior. Now of course our behavior is incredibly important to God but when that is the only consideration, we neglect our heart which is where our motives and loves spring from.

I recently finished Tony Reinke’s book Newton on the Christian Life; a book that will almost certainly be on the short list of best books that I read in 2015. Even if you’re not familiar with Newton, you are definitely familiar with his most famous hymn: Amazing Grace. After leaving the slave trade, Newton became a pastor in Olney and later London. While his sermons are rather ordinary, the hundreds of personal letters he wrote are exceptional. They are quite literally treasure troves of spiritual wisdom, pastoral care, and pictures of grace.

Reinke does a great job of surfacing some of Newton’s treasures and helping the reader personally benefit from it. In one section he shares Newton’s marks of a maturing Christian. While this list is hardly exhaustive, it does a good job of probing our heart and helping us see areas of our life that we might need to grow in. After each mark, I included a question(s) to further help me discern where I am spiritually.

Spot-On Theology and Worship…from the Least-Likely of Sources

“Yeah, see…you can’t really celebrate His birth in Bethlehem unless you remember the Cross…and the Resurrection. You gotta keep all three of them in mind, or else it really don’t make sense. That’s why I drew all three.” Last week, I was minding my own business, very busy doing something terribly important, when a member

Consider ‘Making It Personal’ on April 29th

If you are thinking about serving alongside other Christians during #ForColumbia2017 on Saturday, April 29th – and I hope you are – consider making it personal. A few weeks ago, thanks to a partnership with Meals on Wheels, I was able to visit with several aging Columbians who still live independently, in their own homes…but

Three Babies and God’s Grace

On the same Sunday morning in 2015 two babies were born on opposite sides of the world. Neither are particularly special on the surface – neither famous nor particularly noteworthy. Neither knows of the other. However, news of both of their arrivals, and even on the same day, caught my attention and made my eyes a little misty – in a very rich way.

What is so special about these two seven pound babies?

27 Things to Give Thanks For No Matter What Life Looks Like

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for. But when we look around and see that our life doesn’t look like what we wish it did, when circumstances are tough, it’s hard to give thanks. And yet the Bible tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18). But how do we do that when it’s hard to find things to be thankful for?

Here are some things that we can thank God for, no matter what our particular circumstances look like. Really, this list is a lot more about God, who he is and what he does, than it is about us. And it mixes in some things that are true as part of how we, as God’s image-bearers, continue to develop and advance creation. And the fact that it’s 27 is really rather arbitrary (and the order is somewhat random too). Maybe you can take this as a jumping off point and think of another 27.

I can be thankful to God that . . .

True Story: Investing in God’s Kingdom Yields 1000% Return

Like most others, I am regularly tempted to be distracted away from the more-important things in life – i.e. other people and their needs – to focus on my own well-being, particularly when the specter of financial distress rears its ugly head. I’ve lived with money and without it, and while I would agree that

A threat to a good summer

Ah, summer. What good memories I have. The Price is Right at 10 am, lying on the couch, imagining what it would feel like to get to spin the big wheel, make it to Showcase Showdown, and meet Bob Barker. After some lazy television time, I might wander outside for a bit, and then lunch might be a frozen pizza or bologna sandwich. The afternoon would usually involve fun bike rides up and down the street with my brothers and friends.

We made so many brilliant memories and had a great time. What we didn’t have was Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. While we lied on the couch watching television, my mom didn’t check Facebook and see that everyone else had their kids enrolled in an all-day creativity camp or were taking some great trip to the zoo. When we ate our bologna sandwiches and cheese puffs, my mom didn’t have pictures on Instagram of her kids’ friends eating celery sticks, carrots, and cherry tomatoes alongside a nice turkey and lettuce wrap – on a whole wheat tortilla. What has happened to our nice enjoyable relaxing summer?

Darn Facebook. You are ruining my summer life. YOU are the problem.

Or are you?

Getting Ready for Sunday September 13th at The Crossing

Prepare

We start a new sermon series this week in John’s Gospel. Dave Cover kicks it off with a sermon entitled, appropriately enough, “The Gospel of John,” from John 20:30–31. Yes, that’s toward the end of the Gospel and may seem an odd place to begin. But it’s where John gives his purpose statement for why he wrote his biography of Jesus, so it makes very good sense for us to start there. The Scripture reads,

Am I prepared to follow my own advice?

This summer our fayellow carmily was introduced to the Skittle Game – think slug bug without the slugging and using yellow cars instead of VW Beetles. It has been a huge family win. In fact, if you asked me to make a list of five words that encapsulate the summer of 2015 in the Anderson family, ‘Skittle Game’ would be at the top. We have enjoyed this game so much that both my husband and I find ourselves playing it when we are alone in the car. (In case you are wanting to play in your family, taxis and school buses don’t count.)

The other day my two middle kids started arguing over who had called Skittle first. The disputing went on for a while and both, being strong-willed, weren’t close to giving in. I stayed out of the dispute for a while and then, starting to lose it, piped up and started parenting preaching to them. Before I knew it I heard myself say, “Come on, guys. Can’t we just be happy that the other one called Skittle? You should be happy when your sibling gets a point. We don’t want to be people who don’t want other people to succeed and get good things. We don’t want to be jealous or resentful people.”

Those Rare, Precious ‘A-Ha!’ Gospel Moments

My wife and I can hardly exaggerate how grateful we are to be able to send our son to the week-long epic of fun and faith that make up The Crossing‘s annual craziness, “Kids Club.” For our family, 2015 was a banner year for many reasons, but one of those reasons easily eclipses all the