As Christians redeemed by Jesus, we get to live with the joy of the victory that Jesus has already won for us. We also live under the Great Commission—the instructions that Jesus spoke to His disciples in Matthew 28 to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (vv. 19–20). Although Jesus’ words in the Great Commission were clear, we might not know how to approach conversations about Jesus with friends and family. But we know that God uses us as instruments to share the Gospel with those around us and that the Holy Spirit works faith in us and others. Here are some books that you can use as tools to help build up the confidence to speak clearly, share the joy of salvation in daily life, and carry out our calling to make disciples.
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.
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.”
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.