Podcast: On the latest episode of The Hero of the Story, Brian and I discuss gospel-motivated generosity, what it is and what it isn’t, from 2 Corinthians 8-9. This was a fun and challenging episode for us. I hope you’ll check it out.
As I searched my library and Google Ngram Viewer, I found the phrase “gospel issue” has been used quite often over time, but that its meaning has shifted. In the past, it was used in at least four ways: 1) Authors would teach how the gospel issues in obedience (e.g. “Unless the gospel issues in new lifestyle it means very little.”); 2) periodicals would sometimes announce a gospel issue dealing with the gospel of Jesus Christ; 3) magazines would release a gospel issue focused on gospel music; 4) missionaries would tell how the message of the gospel issues forth through their labor (e.g. “From hence may the gospel issue and pervade all India.”).
Yet none of those quite captures how it is used today, and that always makes me just a tad cautious. I want to be careful adding new terms to our collective lexicon, and especially when we are assigning them a lot of importance (e.g. “gospel-centered”).
The prophetic books of the Old Testament don’t always lend themselves to easy application. When I preach, I try to set these ancient prophecies in context, explain their meaning, and show how some have already been fulfilled in Christ.
The prophets are illuminating, yes. But immediately applicable? Not always . . . unless we broaden our view of application and consider the story behind the symbols.
Last year, my husband and I were sent on a trip to the Holy Land. It felt surreal to walk along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, knowing that Jesus might have walked in the same spot a few thousand years ago. I found myself envisioning Jesus everywhere we went, trying to figure out what it would have been like to be there with Him or to know what He was thinking when He visited those places. The landscapes of Israel are absolutely breathtaking. Did Jesus also find the Sea of Galilee beautiful? Or did He view it in a utilitarian way, to be used for survival, ministry, and miracles?
Many have spoken as if evangelicals are disappearing from the American religious landscape. According to analysis of the data from the General Social Survey, however, the share of Americans who attend an evangelical Protestant church has been consistent for the past 20 years.
Celebrities embody who we aspire to become and invite us—so it seems—into the inner circle of their lives. We are their kitchen cabinet, we are so close to being in their Inner Ring. They are so disarmingly transparent with us. They tell us so much of the truth. They live in our own imaginations, their faces more familiar to us than our neighbors’ or even some of those we call, loosely, in the American way, our friends. They inspire us, ordinary in their extraordinariness, assuring us that they are people like us and thus that we can be people like them. Above all, they beckon us to come closer.
Every age and stage of life has its own special trials and temptations. The young are called to flee youthful lusts (2 Tim. 2:22). The middle-aged are warned about the choking cares of this life (Mark 4:19).
Even seniors have their own age-specific temptations.
A favorite from the archives:
For years, I worked as a graphic designer. And even though I stopped working as one almost eight years ago, I still work with graphic designers. And I work with writers and videographers. And the one thing I learned very early on was there are some things you should just never, ever say to any sort of creative individual.
If you say, for example, “This is what you’re giving me? I could’ve done that,” you’re likely not going to have a good day. And the person working for you will no longer be there within three months. But there are worse, although most are too crass to publish on a Christian blog. However, among the worst things you can say to any sort of creative individual are the following seven words.