But what exactly is faith that leads to eternal life? First, it’s worth noting that the words believe or belief and faith in the New Testament all translate from the same word. So, to believe is to have faith, and to have faith is to believe. Faith or belief is a trust and dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died for our sins and rose to life. It might help to think for a moment about the following three aspects of faith as counterparts to the three kinds of doubt.
Yet it’s one thing to sleep, and quite another to sleep through a “great storm.” Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell the story of Jesus asleep in the boat. “A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion” (Mark 4:37–38). Waves breaking into the boat. Not only is this a testimony to how tired he must have been, but also how trusting. What serenity of soul, what rest in his Father, that he slept in the storm.
We might even say, “No one ever slept like this man!”
Sometimes we talk about repentance as if it’s feeling bad or guilty about our behavior. We feel guilty if we’re caught. We feel guilty if we’re not caught. We feel guilty if we’ve let someone down, or let ourselves down. There’s no question that repentance requires us to be convinced of our guilt. But you can feel guilty and still love the sin you’re guilty of. Anyone who’s given in to the pull of lust can tell you that. “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly” (Prov. 26:11). Repentance isn’t a feeling.
While I have experience in consulting in church security, I have always tried to connect churches with experts in the field of security who can give recommendations out of their weight of experience and training.
So, in trying to help pastors, my team reached out to security professionals both in and out of the church to ask how we can think through questions of security while at the same time remaining welcoming and open to our communities. So as pastors, elder teams, and ministry leaders begin the hard and complex process of refining their security processes, I want to offer a mix of pastoral and practical advice for us all to consider.
Second chances are often God’s means of providing mercy to his people. There does come a point where his mercy is exhausted and he grants judgment, rather than the second chance (Numbers 20, Josh. 7, Acts 5:1-11). But then there are times where he gives repeat circumstances, another chance not only to behave better, but to see his unchanging mercy towards his people. The Israelites got a second chance. They crossed the Jordan River in the same manner they crossed the Red Sea, only through the might and power of God who splits the seas in two. They are sent into the spy out the land, a land that still contained the same terrifying enemies of God. They enter the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey that in many ways resembles Eden, the land that Adam and Eve were cast from after they failed to trust that God had been good to them. The Israelites failed the first test, would they pass the second?
A favorite from the archives:
Sermon prep methodology fascinates me. I love learning how pastors manage their time to prioritize prayer, study, writing, and practice. Through the years, my own habits have changed pretty drastically. I used to joke that my prep was like “Forrest Gump”-ing my way into a good sermon. It was basically a happy coincidence. I don’t joke like that anymore (and not just because it annoys my wife). Actually, I work really hard to prepare any sermon or presentation. I’ve never considered myself a natural public speaker, so I don’t wing anything.
So what do I do? Today, I thought I’d share a bit about what my current process looks like.