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Know Your Southern Baptists: Kevin Smith

Dec 12, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Kevin SmithName: Kevin Smith

Position: Smith is currently a teaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, as well as an assistant professor of preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Previous: Smith was pastor of Watson Memorial Baptist Church. He has planted a church in Tennessee and pastored in both Kentucky and Tenneessee.

Education: He has earned a B.S. from Hampton University and an M.Div. from Church of God Theological Seminary. Smith is currently a Ph.D. candidate at SBTS.

Why is He Important: Smith is experienced as both a pastor and teacher. In addition to currently serving as an assistant professor at SBTS, he has taught at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Lee University. Before being appointed to the faulty at Southern, he served as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow since 2002.

Smith is a regular conference preacher and has taken short-term mission trips to the Caribbean and Africa. He is also a member of the Organization of American Historians and the American Society of Church History. In 2006, he became the first African-American ever elected Vice President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Notable Quotes:

If one is a Christ-follower, at a minimum, Romans 12:15 ought to keep us from being indifferent and insensitive to the pains and hurts of other saints.

Seminary students appreciate studying with a pastor who is pastoring a congregation.

The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness and self control, not passivity, timidity, conflict aversion, and general cowardice.

If someone tries to overturn 2,000 years of biblical teaching by obfuscating with convoluted rhetoric attacking strawmen, you should beware.

Christ-followers that “struggle” against sin in their lives should be a conviction to those that are “at ease in Zion” with no struggle.

Others in the “Know Your Southern Baptists” Series:

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Time to Move Beyond “Defending” Marriage to “Rebuilding” Marriage

Dec 11, 2014 | Trevin Wax

41X4iJ2IbyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_There is an ever-deepening divergence between the church’s understanding of marriage and the culture’s understanding. With the rise of no-fault divorce, common cohabitation, and same-sex marriage, many evangelicals are wondering what we do next.

Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet have written an immensely beneficial book, Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for MarriageThe book helps us come to terms with our contemporary setting, how we got here, and how Christians can provide a faithful witness among the ruins of society’s most cherished institution. I asked John and Sean to stop by today to answer a few questions about this book.

Trevin Wax: Your book begins with the assumption that same-sex marriage in all fifty states is likely to soon be legal. Some Christians respond to the shift and think, “That ship is sailed. We can stop talking about this now,” as if the only point of talking about marriage is political! What do you say to those who respond with a shrug to the historical trajectory of embracing gay marriage?

John & Sean: One of the reasons we chose to  write on this topic is because of hearing that exact line from a youth pastor of a large church. Even if it’s legal, we thought, how can you say you’re not going to talk about it anymore? For a youth pastor, that would be dereliction of duty. If it is indeed here legally, Christians now have to think through what that means for discipleship, church life, vocational faithfulness, religious freedom, and dozens of other things that are being impacted by the normalization of same-sex marriage.

We wrestle with all of these things in the book, but a fundamental assumption we have is that the legal status of marriage does not alter one bit our Biblical responsibility to it. The last line of the Manhattan Declaration, co-authored by Chuck Colson, Robert George and Timothy George, says it quite well: “We will ungrudgingly render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but we can never render to Caesar what belongs to God.”

Trevin Wax: The first part of your book focuses on what you consider to be the central question in this debate: “What is marriage?” Why is it so important to start here?

John & Sean: T.S. Eliot once observed that whenever you come across a new machine, you ask two questions:

  1. What is it for?
  2. What can we do with it?

He was writing on education at the time, but his point applies here. Before you decide what to do with something, it is essential to know what that thing is for?  Before we decide that marriage should be expanded to include same-sex couples, we must first know what marriage is including the purpose it serves in the larger society.

In the book, we argue this two ways. First, as Christians, we answer the way Jesus answered when he was asked about marriage and divorce. In Matthew 19, he was asked about divorce laws (what to do with marriage), and he took his questioners beyond the law to Genesis (what marriage is for as created by God). This is a strategy we should use. Rather than going to Leviticus or Romans first, we need to understand what God intended for marriage in the Garden!

In Genesis 1-2, the Bible clearly lays out an understanding of marriage as it was intended by God. When folks say, “The Bible never talks about same-sex marriage,” we agree. There are historical reasons for that. But the Scriptures do lay out, from the beginning, a clear understanding of what God intended marriage to be. He started human history with a wedding, in fact.

Second, we also answer the question without referring to Scripture. Our take is that God’s design for marriage is built into the fabric of human existence. So, it’s no coincidence that God’s created intent for marriage has been pretty much universally recognized throughout human history, even by pagan societies, as well.

Even societies that tolerated and promoted homo-erotic activity, did not consider those relationships to be marriage. Why? Not for moral reasons, but for obvious reasons about male-female sexuality and especially children.

Trevin Wax: You lay out two competing definitions of marriage. Can you explain where these definitions come from, and why they matter?

John & Sean: The long-held definition is what Robert George, Ryan Anderson, and Sherif Girgis call the “conjugal” view. This is a bit of a clunky term, but it essentially recognizes that marriage serves a larger purpose than just recognizing sincerely held affections. Primarily its purpose was that of protecting, producing, and preserving future generations. Therefore, marriage is a pre-governmental institution that gives a context for procreation. It’s not created by the state. It’s recognized by the state. This has been the accepted definition for a long-time.

The revisionist view (again to borrow a term from George, Anderson, and Girgis) sees marriage as a human construct. The purpose of marriage in this view is simply to bless strongly held affections. Thus “sincere love” is all it takes to justify marriage, in this view.

These are radically different definitions, and it’s been rightly noted that to transition to the second view will not merely include same-sex couples in this institution. Rather, it fundamentally re-defines marriage for everyone, and will lead to other forms of so-called marriages (and already is).

Trevin Wax: The second half of your book begins with a call to repentance for Christians. What do evangelical Christians need to repent of, and why is it important we begin by looking at our own sins before anyone else’s?

John & Sean: It’s important because it’s what Christ calls us to do. We have to clear up our own houses. In the book, we identify several things that are in need of self-examination by Christians, and therefore repentance.

First, we need to repent for not upholding marriage. Same-sex marriage is only the latest example of how marriage has failed, and it’s not the most important. We have not taught clearly what marriage is. We’ve had seminar after seminar on how to have happy marriages, “godly” marriages, and great sex lives. But because we’ve not taught what marriage is, we’ve essentially decorated a wrong view of marriage with Christian lingo. We’ve also not modeled marriage well. It’s not lost on the larger culture that there were no marches against no-fault divorce or cohabitation, which have been more destructive to marriage than same-sex marriage.

Second, we need to repent anytime we’ve failed to reach out to the LGBT community with the love of Christ. We’ve had a very bad mantra in the church for quite a while, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” If we did inventory, however, we’ve done much more hating the sin than loving the sinner. Love is not a passive absence of hate. It is active, and we haven’t loved as well as we should have.

Trevin Wax: One of the most hopeful chapters in your book is titled “Giving Marriage Back to the World.” The church has been in similar circumstances before. How have we responded in the past? And how does this prepare us for the future?

John & Sean: Sexually broken cultures are unsustainable, and ours is a sexually broken culture in many, many ways. We’ll continue to see sexual exhaustion set in, both in individuals and in society at large. We think Christians should stop talking about “defending marriage,” and realize that marriage needs to be rebuilt into our society. And the vacuum left in the wake of our sexual exhaustion will provide an incredible opportunity to do what Christians throughout history have done: point to a better way.

We aren’t the first generations of Christians to find ourselves in this kind of a situation. The rumors that Christians always bring in rules to squash the pagan sexual fun are just not true. Some of the first apologists defended Christianity by pointing out that Christians do not share their partners or engage in pederasty. The love their wives, etc. This was an incredible witness, and the more broken the pagan culture became, the more attractive this way of living became.

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Worth a Look 12.11.14

Dec 11, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Worth6Kindle Deal of the Day: A Cross-Shattered Church: Reclaiming the Theological Heart of Preaching by Stanley Hauerwas. $2.99.

Recovering the sermon as the context for theological reflection is crucial if Christians are to negotiate the world in which they find themselves.

Canon and Culture - 7 Things Christians Should Know about Torture:

This report should be the beginning, rather than the end, of the discussion on the morality and legality of torture. To aid in future discussions, I’d like to highlight seven things I believe all Christians should know about torture…

Cathy Lee Grossman – The Billy Graham Crusade That Made Unbroken Possible:

Two October evenings in 1949 brought together an alcoholic war hero and a fiery young evangelist. From then on, neither would be the same.

Fun stuff from Chris Martin – The 10 Commandments of Christmas Eve Services:

If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably been to a couple of Christmas Eve church services. Here are some basic guidelines:

1. Thou shalt not have more poinsettias on stage than persons in the audience.

Are Americans Obsessed with Video Games? Not Really, But We Like to Think We Are

More than 40 years after the first home video game console hit store shelves, most adults think their fellow Americans play video games too much, even though they seldom, if ever, play themselves.

This is another church our team gets the privilege to serve with The Gospel Project!

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3 New Testament Examples of Knowing “What Time It Is”

Dec 10, 2014 | Trevin Wax

wineskinA couple weeks ago, I made the point that Christian leadership is never timeless. Instead, it is a timely application of God-given wisdom regarding specific decisions that must be made in particular moments in time.

Last week, we looked at several examples from the Old Testament of knowing “what time it is” biblically. Today, I’d like to follow up with some New Testament examples.

Ethics and Eschatology

A brief summary of New Testament teaching on obedience makes it clear that one’s view of history (both its origin, trajectory, and end) informs and motivates Christian ethics, the choices one makes and the direction one is to take. Believers are not only called to obey God and exercise wisdom because it is the right thing to do, but also because of “what time it is” according to the biblical worldview.

This interplay is seen at work in the parables of Jesus, the letters of Paul and Peter, and, in general, in New Testament teaching on eschatology.

1. The Parables of Jesus

Many of Jesus’ parables emphasize the disciple’s need to understand the current eschatological moment and then live accordingly. Like the Old Testament literature, discipleship is portrayed in terms of “wisdom,” and wisdom is defined by living in light of “what time it is.”

Discipleship is described as wise living in light of the eschatological reality proclaimed by Jesus.

  • The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders (Matt 7:24-27) teaches that wisdom is building one’s life on Jesus’ words in preparation for the coming storm of God’s judgment.
  • The bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13 are contrasted in the same manner, reiterating the message that discipleship is formed and described within the context of eschatological preparation.
  • In the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30), the disciples who receive commendation for being “good and faithful servants” are those who live with eschatological anticipation, choosing to invest in ways that maximize the king’s resources.
  • Jesus’ analogy of putting new wine into old wineskins (Matt 9:17) is traditionally understood as a reference to the overlap of eras, referring to the coming kingdom, which will no longer be contained by the exclusivist tendencies of God’s chosen people who have lost their saltiness and who have failed to be a light to the nations.
  • Likewise, Jesus speaks of a faithful servant whose anticipation for his master’s return leads him to alter his priorities (Matt 24:42-51).

In these analogies, one sees that leadership and discipleship are not described as a generic faithfulness to God’s commands, but rather a specific faithfulness formed by the disciple’s understanding of “what time it is” and what the future holds. The vision of the future affects the disciple’s actions in the present.

2. Paul’s Writings

Like the parables of Jesus, Paul’s leadership, expressed in his letters, often connects ethical exhortation to eschatological reality. This connection is seen most prominently in his Thessalonian correspondence, but also in Romans 12-13 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.

For Paul, eschatology not only provides the context for one’s obedience; it is also the motivation for one’s obedience. Believers are children of light who belong to the day that is dawning, and they put aside the evil deeds of the night (1 Thess 5:1-11; Rom 13:12 ff). Here’s how N. T. Wright puts it:

“Paul’s vision of Christian virtue . . . is all about developing the habits of the daytime heart in a world still full of darkness.” (After You Believe, 137)

This eschatological focus is consistent with other New Testament references to the church as first-fruits or a colony of heaven, such as Philippians 3:20, where the Apostle Paul compares the church to soldiers in a foreign land, a community both heavenly and earthly, with citizenship in a future coming city.

Our belief in Christ’s purpose for the future of the world is what gives us power to overcome anxiety and weakness (Phil 4:4-9), to “stand firm” on the rock of resurrection reality (1 Cor 15:58).

3. Peter’s Letters

Peter’s leadership is demonstrated through his comforting and challenging words toward a persecuted people. His ethical exhortations are grounded in and motivated by a vision of the future. His leadership is timely, because he instructs believers to obey in light of “what time it is” according to the Bible’s eschatological clock.

At this point, Peter picks up on the exile theme prominent in Jeremiah’s writings and helps the early Christians relate to the world while remaining pilgrims in it. Ed Clowney comments:

“On the one hand, we do all before God and for God. . . . On the other hand, Christians also live before the world.” (The Message of 1 Peter, 102‒03)

Peter’s instruction contains both a comforting and challenging element. He comforts the people by exhorting them in light of their glorious future. He challenges the people by exhorting them to use their freedom not only to praise God, but also to be his witnesses in the world.

Conclusion

Christian leaders who understand “what time it is” biblically are called to make disciples and teach them to obey Christ’s commands (Matt 28:16‒20). This “Great Commission” is impossible without a clear understanding of Jesus Christ as Lord of the world (the statement that precedes the Commission), and Jesus Christ as the One who is present with his people until he returns (the statement that follows the Commission).

The Church lives between the time of Christ’s first and second comings, and therefore, we find ourselves in the middle of an age to which we must not conform.

Leadership is contextual, because the mission is eschatological, which means that believer’s obedience must be marked by the horizon of Christ’s second coming.

In summary, throughout the New Testament, ethical exhortations are tied to eschatological pronouncements, with the Bible’s vision of the future providing both the context of and the motivation for Christian obedience. “Understanding the times” from a biblical perspective is essential for Christian leadership.

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Worth a Look 12.10.14

Dec 10, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Worth5Kindle Deal of the Day: Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. $0.99.

How are parents to raise children so they don’t become Pharisees (legalists) or prodigals (rebels)? It’s all about grace-filled, gospel-driven parenting/

Trillia Newbell – Why I Think the Christian Ought to Care about “Race Issues”

That’s why I’m asking my fellow friends and anyone who reads this to consider putting down your arms and defenses and try to understand on a personal level. Get personal. My dear friend told me yesterday that he sees this as not an “issue” but a “person”. He is a white brother, he is like a brother. And he has made this personal.

The Political Perils of Abortion Absolutism:

Republicans know from bitter experience that mainstream media will try to depict them as supporters of criminalizing abortion — a minority position. But Democrats have learned — or should have — from the experience of Senator Mark Udall in Colorado this year, that abortion absolutism hurts them as well.

The Strange Oprahfication of Rob Bell:

Bell seems to have embraced the role of “life-coach” for one of American culture’s most famous institutions of vapidity and materialism. In other words, Bell has now become the very thing he once decried.  He has become a prophet of American “moralistic therapeutic deism.”

Greg Forster – Not Just a Rape Culture: The University’s Rape System

Nowadays, we hear it preached up and down the land that “politics is downstream from culture.” It’s certainly true that almost none of our most urgent problems will be cured, or even significantly affected, by one party or the other winning the next election. But, in fact, politics is not “downstream” from culture. Politics is part of culture, and some of our cultural problems are political problems that demand political solutions. The longer we ignore this, the more women will be brutalized by the rape system that now dominates Greek life at many large colleges.

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Pikes Peak and My Comprehensive Exams

Dec 09, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Pikes_Peak_from_Garden_of_the_GodsPikes Peak. July 1999. 14,115 feet above sea level.

I remember the freshness of the air and the exhilaration of the accomplishment. We spent all day hiking to that summit in the Rockies, and upon arriving at the top, I was overcome with a deeply satisfying sense of exhaustion.

I’m thinking about Pikes Peak because, this week, I’m taking the written portion of my comprehensive exams as a PhD student at Southeastern Seminary. Today and tomorrow, I’ll spend several hours writing essays in response to various questions, and next week, I’ll defend those answers before a group of professors.

In conversations with friends who’ve scaled this summit, I’ve realized that the “comps” experience is different for everyone. Some told me that studying for these exams was the most taxing part of the PhD process, even more difficult than writing the dissertation. Others claimed the preparation phase is part of the fun, and that it’s a good opportunity to discern where you are in your overall education.

I’ll soon figure out which group I agree with. In just a few hours, I’ll be in a room with a couple pieces of scrap paper and a computer. It’ll be me, my brain, and my Bible. And when the professor hands me the questions, I’ll be praying for the Holy Spirit to bring to mind the many things I’ve studied. Right now, I feel these four emotions.

Anxious

After you’ve read dozens of required textbooks, after you’ve been in intensive seminars, after you’ve written thousands of words and delivered multiple papers in a given field of study, you can’t help but want to do well, to show that you’ve actually learned something during this time of preparation.

The anxiety sneaks in through nagging questions: Do you really know this subject well? Can you write convincingly? Can you show that you’ve learned?

Relieved

Anxiety is met with relief. Relief in knowing there’s not a lot more you can do to prepare for these exams. You can’t cram for them. You either know your field well enough to write in it, or you don’t.

Like a politician who has been working hard for months (or years), you’re experiencing Election Day. All that matters is in the past. This is the moment for you to do well or come up short. So now, you sit back, stare at that computer, and demonstrate through your writing where you are in the educational process.

Grateful

I’m grateful to friends and family for bearing with all the theological conversations. I’m grateful especially for Corina and what she has done to enable and assist me on this journey so far, even when the demands have been difficult.

Students like to commiserate about seminar requirements or the tediousness of studying for exams. The camaraderie of the trenches is part of the educational experience. But surely we must ask: Who are we to have been given the privilege of scaling these peaks? Why us and not others? What a glorious gift of grace to be able to study this way!

We have more knowledge at our fingertips than most great men and women of faith had in their entire libraries. And with English as our first language, we have more opportunities to access vast amounts of accumulated knowledge than do many people in other parts of the world. What a gift!         

Challenged

With that sense of gratitude comes the challenge. How can we show our gratitude for these opportunities? What will we do with all this knowledge? Are we wiser than those who have gone before us? Are we better people because of what we’ve learned? 

“To whom much is given, much is required,” Jesus said. The challenging aspect of that statement holds true for those of us pursuing higher education. It’s not about titles or book deals or academic respectability. It’s about the church. Ben Witherington is right:

“Research by a Christian is never done just for its own sake, or even just to advance knowledge in a given field. It is done in service to the Lord and to his church.”

Conclusion

To those of you who read my blog, would you pray for me this week?

Pray that I’ll make much of Christ as I take these exams. Pray that I’ll do excellent work in His honor. And pray that, having scaled this peak, I’ll take a deep breath, give thanks to God for the privilege, and serve His people better.

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Worth a Look 12.9.14

Dec 09, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Worth4Kindle Deal of the Day: Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey by Daniel Montgomery & Mike Cosper. $0.99.

Competing voices tell us that the Christian life is all about this or that: missions, discipleship, worship, the cross, or the kingdom. It’s as if we are navigating the Christian life with fragments of a map—bits and pieces of the good news—rather than the whole picture. If we put those map fragments together, we discover a beautiful, coherent picture.

J. D. Greear – Why We Fail to Progress Past Ferguson:

As I am a white man, raised in a white community and pastoring a church—while increasingly multicultural church—arising from Anglo origins, let me explain what I hear the black community saying to us. I am sure there is more, but this is what I have heard…

H. B. Charles – The Pastoral Ministry of Shaking Hands:

I contend it is a good thing for a pastor to hang around after services to shake hands with church members. It is not just a courteous thing to do. You should consider it further ministry to the people you minister to in the pulpit.

It’s interesting to see how denominations like the Evangelical Free Church of America are navigating the ongoing soteriological conversations about Calvinism and Arminianism:

Doctrine matters to the EFCA! (Two other important assessments of our Survey that are relevant to our Preconference and Conference: (1) there is a strong agreement on essential doctrinal truths; (2) there is breadth represented in the areas of the “significance of silence.”)

How Not to Preach Matthew’s Birth Narratives at Christmas:

Pastors often substitute secondary applications for the primary interpretation in their Christmas sermons. We sideline the main purpose for these stories – to teach about Jesus – and focus on the incidental actions of the characters instead.

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Repentance Entails a Life of Mission

Dec 08, 2014 | Trevin Wax

M00050269Imagine this scenario. You are sightseeing in a European city, walking down streets looking for a national landmark. You ask someone on the street where the landmark is and find out you are going the wrong way. At this point, you have a choice to make. You can continue on your path, assuming you know better than the local. Or you can turn around and go the other direction. But that turning around involves taking steps in the new direction. It would be silly to take the advice of the local person, turn around, and then stand still. You won’t reach the landmark simply by turning. You have to take steps in the other direction.

In considering the nature of repentance, we often focus on the turning around aspect. But we mustn’t miss what comes next: taking steps of obedience as a result of true repentance, a true “turning.”

Repentance and Purposeful Obedience

We see this in the language of “turning” we find in the Old Testament. Here is a portion of Psalm 119, where the psalmist, in response to the Lord’s all-consuming worth (v. 57), requests grace form the Lord, considers his ways, and then turns his steps back to God (v. 59).

The Lord is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. I have sought Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise. I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees. I hurried, not hesitating to keep Your commands.

The change of mind wrought by repentance (v. 59) results in taking steps back toward God. The repentant sinner now has a desire to keep God’s Word (v. 58-59). His obedience is purposeful, and there is a sense of urgency attached to it. Note how the psalmist, after “turning his steps,” now hurries without hesitation to keep God’s commands.

Repentance is not something that comes naturally. We cultivate a life of ongoing repentance on purpose. We consider our actions in light of God’s grace toward us through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then, we walk in a new way of life, committing daily to follow our Savior. We put to death the deeds of the flesh as we walk by the Spirit.

Repentance and God’s Mission

One of the primary ways we take steps of purposeful obedience is to join God in His mission.

I love the story of Peter’s miraculous catch of fish, which leads him to fall to his knees with repentant spirit in response to Christ’s miraculous display of power and grace (Luk2 5). He felt sorrow for his sin and he committed to following Christ. We should remember, however, how that story ended. His following Christ entailed fishing for people. He didn’t simply renounce sin; he also received an evangelistic commission.

The same held true of the Apostle Paul. When he recounted his conversion experience before King Agrippa, Paul described his repentance as an embrace of this new calling on his life: to summon others to turn from darkness to life.

The repentant person is not content to step into the light and leave everyone else in the dark. We should not be content with celebrating our freedom from Satan’s tyranny while we dismiss the countless people around us still in chains.

Repentance entails a life of mission. The purposeful obedience on display in our lives of ongoing repentance is a missional obedience. As we walk worthy of repentance, we call others to follow Jesus.

– adapted from my contribution to The Gospel Project, Winter 2015, “The God Who Saves”. To preview The Gospel Project for free, click here.

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Worth a Look 12.8.14

Dec 08, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Worth6Kindle Deal of the Day: Finding God in The Hobbit by Jim Ware. $1.99.

Unlocks the mysteries of Middle-earth, sharing insightful reflections on scenes and characters from Tolkien’s classic.

10 Subliminal Retail Tricks You’re Probably Falling For:

Consumer experience these days is not simply designed; it’s engineered. Research determines the ads you see, the scents and sounds you encounter in stores, even the way a salesperson might casually touch your arm. It’s not all high-tech brain science, but here are some of the tricks companies use to entice you to spend more.

Whatever Happened to St. Nicholas?

How did a fourth century heretic slapping bishop from Southern Turkey wind up being a fat, Coca-Cola-swigging American elf?

Stephen Witmer – Keeping Eschatology and Ethics Together:

For Jesus, as with Paul and the other NT writers, eschatology and ethics were thoroughly enmeshed, so that it is not possible to take over the latter without the former.

5 Most Common Ways Churches Determine Pastors’ Salaries:

In this article, I offer the five most common ways churches establish the pay level of a pastor. I am offering these five approaches from an informational perspective rather than evaluating them. Also, many churches use some combination of these factors.

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In Gratitude We Give With Joy

Dec 07, 2014 | Trevin Wax

3122541120_61b0d9c53aDear Lord,
from Your treasure we give,
for all that we have comes from Your gracious hand.

In gratitude we give with joy.

Remove any barriers deep inside us that obstruct giving.
Help us to know of Your provision for our own needs
so that we can help provide for those who are on the front lines sharing the good news.

May our generosity spring from love, vision, and joy.

Direct our gifts to the right destinations.
May many believe and dedicate their lives to You.
Amen.

– From The Mission of God Study Bible

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