What Are the Marks of the Church?

We hear lots of voices from different churches. Everyone is claiming to be “the one true Church.” How can we discern if we are following God’s will? Christa Petzold provides us with some biblical advice to help us understand the “marks of the Church” and discern which churches are faithfully preaching Jesus. The following has been adapted from Gathered by Christ: The Overlooked Gift of Church.

Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness Perseveres in Love

My husband’s family gathered at our house one summer for a Fourth of July cookout. When it got dark, we went outside for sparklers and fireworks in the driveway. As we lit some sparklers for the kids, my father-in-law’s phone beeped and he said, “I have a phone call. Go ahead—I’ll be right back.”

5 Bible Verses about God’s Plan for You

The concept of “God’s plan” can be nebulous. The platitude, “This was just God’s plan,” rings hollow—or even hurtful—in times of pain or terrible events in history. While we cannot always pin down God’s plan for our individual lives, we can observe, straight from Scripture, God’s ultimate plan for salvation.

Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness Grows

When I taught an English as a Second Language class at my church, I often ran into a challenge. A student would ask me what a particular word meant, and even though I knew the word, I struggled to describe its meaning without using the same word. The word itself embodied the meaning for me; I could feel and know the meaning but could not put it into different words. It was just … itself. (Luckily for my students, online dictionaries came to my rescue!)

3 Prayers for Grief

For those experiencing grief, sometimes the sting of loss can be amplified by the rest of the world happily going on about its business. Taken from My Prayer Book, these grief prayers are a helpful resource for those wondering how to pray for comfort while grieving. 

4 Myths about the Book of Revelation

“Come, Lord Jesus!” cries the apostle John near the end of the Book of Revelation, the final (and perhaps most widely misunderstood) book of the Bible (Revelation 22:20). And we join him in this cry. Whether at the common table prayer (“Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest”) or in moments of dire anguish and deep distress, we likewise call to heaven, praying that Jesus would return soon. But when will He? And what is Jesus going to do when He does? The following excerpt from Confessing Jesus provides some clarity.  

FLAME’s Experience with Confession and Absolution

Read Christian hip hop artist FLAME’s powerful first experience with Confession and Absolution and the comfort it provides. The following has been adapted from Extra Nos: Discovering Grace outside Myself.

Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness Gets Its Hands Dirty

The air pressure in my car’s tires was running low, so I pulled up to the gas station’s air compressor to top it off. But when I connected the air hose to one of the tires, I saw that it had gone nearly flat. Putting more air into it didn’t help. I would have to change the tire.

5 Powerful Reasons to Read God’s Word Every Day

We all like the idea of reading. Think about those cozy autumn-themed paintings featuring a little wood cabin with a figure in a rocking chair cradling a book by the warm fireplace glow. Or maybe you think of those whip-smart characters in a TV show who always seems to find the clever solution to a bind through a book that they’ve read. The idea of reading is commonly compelling, but the follow-through occurs far less frequently. People with a successful daily reading habit are even more rare. Continue reading to be encouraged with five reasons why you should read every day.

3 Prayers for Pastor Appreciation Month

Did you know that October is Pastor Appreciation Month? Pastors do so much beyond what we see on Sunday mornings— they visit the sick and dying, provide counseling, and are leaders for church or school staff, for example. Take a moment to give thanks for your pastor and pray for his ministry.

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