When we speak (be it words of comfort, or advice, or persuasion, etc.), sometimes we appeal to the words of someone whose authority on the subject can be agreed upon by both, the speaker and the listener. We do this knowingly or unknowingly, and examples range from as simple as, “my dad said it’s better if done this way…” to as complex as, “astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the universe is expanding 5 percent to 9 percent faster than expected” (Ashley Morrow, NASA).
Because the Bible is God’s word, it is an incredibly powerful thing. God has communicated His very heart to us in written form; He has given us wisdom and a glimpse into the mysteries of His very being and has revealed His work in human history to us. If the Bible says something, it is incredibly significant - it is something that we should hold on to with our lives! If the Bible gives a promise, that is a promise we can be certain will come true. These promises can give us the most comfort we will ever receive. However, what happens if we get one of these promises wrong? If we misinterpret the Bible and make it say things that it does not, we can give ourselves and others false hope and, in so doing, bring much hurt.
The Gospel is all about the person and work of Christ. If we do not understand the person and work of Christ, then we do not understand the Good News concerning our salvation. Christianity affirms that the one person of Christ is unconfusably, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably fully God and fully man (Cf. the Council of Chalcedon 451). This is called the hypostatic union. Because the Gospel is God come in flesh to save fallen humanity, one must affirm that Jesus is God incarnate or God dwelling among us as true God and true man (John 1:1-14). This is Matthew’s declaration concerning Jesus: … and his name shall be called Immanuel. Immanuel is the Hebrew transliteration meaning God with us (Cf. Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14). Jesus is God with us. While Scripture teaches this truth concerning Jesus, there are many who twist the Scripture and affirm otherwise.
According to a Barna Group survey conducted in 2016, nearly 60% of teens who grow up attending church walk away and become part of the unchurched population after graduating high school (roughly 45%). These numbers aren’t great; in fact, there are many that find them concerning and seek to offer solutions to the issues that are causing our youth to drop out of the church. Some of the studies that have been done on low church attendance among youth point to the need for revitalized programs and systems. If only the church would have a stronger youth ministry, or a greater focus on discipleship, or a more relatable sermon, or edgier worship music, or this, or that. While youth ministry is good and serves a good purpose, and while other programs and structures seek to serve the body in specific ways, the problem is not within these systems. The true issue is within misplaced responsibility. For too long, many have expected the church to do what is the God-ordained responsibility of the parents. Yes, the church makes disciples. Yes, we go to church to worship a God who is infinitely worthy of our praise. The primary disciple-makers of our youth, however, is not the church, it is the parents. Discipleship begins at home. Worship begins at home.
My favorite Bible verse that I have dwelled on throughout my life is “… with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)
In life, as humans, we face unpredictable circumstances: earthquakes, hurricanes, accidents, illness, even death, or circumstances created by humans such as unstable political situations or war. In any life circumstances, God says that with him and through him, “all things are possible.”
Family Foundation - Part 1
As far back as I can remember, I had a deep desire for education. I was the seventh of nine kids in my family. My dad valued education and spent evenings with all of us. I remember having a big round table in the living room where all my siblings would complete homework under my dad’s supervision. Sadly, he passed away when I was only eight years old.
Getting to Know Enlightium Academy’s Executive Director – Part 2
In my article entitled “The Formative Years: Education and Family Years”, I briefly shared about my early dream of starting a school with Christian values. Growing up in Kyrgyzstan, former Soviet Union republic, I longed to be able to learn about God in school.
Adapting to America
Spokane is known for being a family-friendly city with many parks and lakes. The climate is very similar to Kyrgyzstan, where we lived before moving to the United States of America. Our family came to Spokane in August of 1991. Within ten years, more than 20,000 Slavic refugees immigrated from the former Soviet Union and made Spokane their home.
A strong foundation is indispensable if you want something to last. The truth of this principle manifests itself in a variety of contexts. For example, when building a house or any other type of structure, ample time is spent in an effort to create a solid, trustworthy foundation. Without one, anything you spend on the building will be a waste.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Loss comes in many forms and for many reasons. Certainly we experience loss when a person we love dies, but loss can also occur when a friendship or romantic relationship ends, when we lose a part of our life that defined us, or when a drastic change in lifestyle (positive or negative) causes us to change our previous environment and habits.
As we drove into Igoda, I could hardly believe my eyes. When I left in 2011, most of these houses had grass roofs. A motorcycle was still a novelty, to be exclaimed over by children. Little one-room shack shops had just started to pop up along the main road.
This little village in the mountains of Tanzania had undergone a transformation. Now, signs of new affluence were in evidence everywhere: new buildings, new tin roofs, new beautiful, big shops selling fabric, fresh fruit and even toothpaste. And there were cars, CARS parked in front of houses.
From early childhood I earnestly sought to follow the path God has for me. Like many young Christians, I pictured this path as a singular direction, a “destiny”, which I had to find. When I graduated from high school, I was ready to find that destiny. I asked myself sincerely, “What is the will of God for the rest of my life?”
I love Jesus. There is no doubt in my mind. I also love people, and I know that Jesus calls us to share His love with others every day. Even so, sometimes I get distracted. From paying bills to watching sports, grocery shopping to reading a good book, there are a thousand things to compete for my attention.
Many parents ask themselves at one time or another, “How can I set a good example for my child? When is a good time to start? Does it really make a difference?” As Christian parents, we know that God has given us children to teach and direct in His way. It is a great responsibility, but where do we begin?
The Bible is one of the best selling and most influential books of all time. It has inspired movies, television shows, literature, art, education, healthcare, politics… the list could go on and on. The Bible has such an impact on our daily lives and culture that it is hard for us to imagine a world in which it did not exist. Yet even with its great influence and inspiration, the Bible has been, and continues to be, highly controversial.
Hello and welcome back to our series Growing in Grace. This segment is going to focus on three key disciplines of the Christian life: slowing, solitude, and silence. A. W. Tozer said, “The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today.” Tozer is well known for his writings about how to thrive in Christ. I believe he is right when he says that we have a true need for solitude and silence like never before.
Welcome back to our series entitled Growing in Grace. We are discussing how to mature in our faith amidst a fallen world. We have already focused on the importance of meditation and prayer, and are now moving onto understand the value of fasting. This is a subject that is often overlooked or rarely talked about, yet Scripture frequently talks about the value of fasting.
“Post tenebras lux; after darkness, light.” These words were the motto of the Reformation. Throughout the Middle Ages, the Holy Catholic Church found herself victim of a series of scandals and abuses. One needs only to google the name of Pope Alexander VI or Pope Leo X to discover the controversies in which the church was involved. But something was stirring in a small German town in the Fall of 1517. A young radical monk was about to launch one of the greatest and most influential movements the world had ever seen. Light was about to shine in the darkness.
Welcome back to our “Growing In Grace” series. We are currently discussing the Christian disciplines that help us grow in receiving the grace of God fully available to us through Christ on the Cross. The big question of this series is “What helps us know and grow in God’s grace, and how do we do that in our lives every day?” Today’s topic is prayer.
This is the first segment in the series Growing in Grace, which focuses on how we develop and strengthen our walk with Jesus. To start the series off, we will discuss the spiritual discipline of meditation. Like counterfeit coins or dollars, meditation has its counterfeits: taking the same name and similar form. Counterfeit meditation claims to connect you with the divine and grow you spiritually. Often times it produces temporal results (momentary relief from stress for example), which makes it an influential counterfeit. Nevertheless, these forms of meditation do not genuinely transform one’s soul (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18) and bring about lasting healing (Matthew 11:28-30).
We are starting a new Theology In Action series entitled Growing in Grace. The series aims at answering the overarching question, how do I grow in my relationship with Jesus? Specifically, how do we find clarity, conviction, and confidence in Christ, in a culture of confusion, complacency, and compromise? Throughout this series we will allow God’s Word to confront us and answer these questions. It will be divided into seven parts and Jesus will be our exemplar, our template on how to grow in His likeness.