Does Billy Graham Listen to Rap?

Bob Bevington
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Does Billy Graham Listen to Rap? | November 11th, 2013

Does Billy Graham Listen to Rap?

Try to imagine 95-year-old Billy Graham sitting on a rocking chair in his log cabin tapping his foot while listening to rap music. It now appears this has actually happened.

Furthermore, Billy must have actually approved of at least one rapper, Lecrae, or else he wouldn’t have included him in his Final Sermon–one that has already reached tens of millions via video and is likely to become recognized as the powerful and complete gospel message of his long and famous life. It’s a must-see. It’s called, The Cross.

Does Billy Graham listen to rap? Yes. But this begs an even bigger question: Does God listen to rap?

Well. Does He? Because if He does, there are a lot of implications for those of us who tend to normalize Christianity into the limited range of categories with which we are personally familiar and comfortable.

Does God listen to rap? If you, like me, would be inclined to answer, No way! you’ll be challenged [Read more...]

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The blog, Broken at His Feet, reviews RLB

Bob Bevington
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The blog, Broken at His Feet, reviews RLB | October 18th, 2013

The blog, Broken at His Feet, reviews RLB

red_like_blood_210wide_300dpiThe full name of her blog is: Broken at His Feet: Where Jesus Begins to Transform You. I love knowing blogs like this are out there calling people to confrontations with grace! Here’s an excerpt from Heather’s review:

Their writing styles are modern, blunt, humorous and yet raw in all their honesty. This book is about the topic of grace and I think they covered it from every angle possible through sharing their own life stories and those of their friends.

Bob and Joe don’t talk down to you. Their stories are real. They aren’t puffed up to look perfect for they are both broken men saved by grace. Their candid confessions are gut wrenching. Sometimes through reading a chapter I was nodding my head in recognition of what they were going through. You can relate to them.

If you are looking for a life-changing book [Read more...]

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The ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible: Is it the best one for you?

Bob Bevington

The ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible: Is it the best one for you?

imagesIf you are in need of Good News every day;

If you need to change but trying harder only makes you feel defeated and exhausted;

If you want to get closer to God but applying rules isn’t helping;

Then the brand new ESV Gospel Transformation Bible is for you.

Actually, any Bible is for you.

But the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible is special because its supplemental notes:

Display Christ in all of Scripture.

Point the way to grace in all of life.

Available in nine different cover styles. For as little as $20.

Shipping is free from WTSBooks.com for orders over $49.

Here’s a cool video with more info:

ESV Gospel Transformation Bible from Crossway on Vimeo.

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Genesis: Are You Missing the Point?

Bob Bevington
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Genesis: Are You Missing the Point? | October 9th, 2013

Genesis: Are You Missing the Point?

Many people do. This excellent article by Aaron Armstrong brings essential clarity to one of the most foundational passages of Scripture: The creation account of Genesis chapters 1 and 2.            

Jesus on Every Page ImageWhenever we come to the opening chapters of the Bible, we usually spend a great deal of time focusing on one thing: God’s creative work.

This is good and right, to be sure. But too often, it seems our time is spent coming up with ammo for the ongoing creation vs. evolution debate. As important as developing a biblically sound view of how the world came into being is (and it is), in doing so, we sometimes wind up missing the point of the text.

David Murray’s Jesus on Every Page offers a really helpful reminder on this point. Although the creation account has nothing to fear from true scientific inquiry, it is less about science than it is about Jesus—His power, His wisdom, His character and His redemptive work.

From beginning to end, the creation account points us to Jesus. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earthGenesis 1:1 tells us. And it goes on to reveal some essential specifics:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3

In these last days God has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. Heb. 1:2-3a

For by [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Col. 1:16-17

The New Testament authors refuse to budge on this point: God created the world—and He did it through Jesus. This world is His. “He is Lord of the creation,” Murray writes, “as He further demonstrated when He came to this earth: ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!’ Answer? The Creator of them.”

This is the real reason people get in a tizzy about creation vs. evolution.

It’s less to do with the particulars of how the world came into being and more to do with an issue of autonomy: [Read more...]

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I’m Unemployed

Krin Baer
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I’m Unemployed | October 7th, 2013

I’m Unemployed

KrinI’m unemployed.  Yes, that dirty, degrading word has found its way into my life and erected a “vacancy” sign for the entire world to see.  After spending a year of graduate study in England, I packed my bags and headed to the American south to find a job and declare my unashamed love for a certain young lady.

As a part of this transition, unexpected questions began to arise.  After several months without a job and a dwindling savings account, what was I going to do?  What does it mean that I can’t currently provide for a family?  Why do I feel like an enormous failure each time I am rejected by a potential employer?  Is my life worth anything anymore?

After talking with several people far wiser than me, I started to wonder: how does what I believe about God effect what I know about myself in this time of uncertainty?

The Bible says a lot about belief.  The references one could mount with the word would number too many for a simple blog post.  But is the belief that was communicated in the early church the same kind of belief that is communicated now?  Sometimes I think that religious belief becomes a merely intellectual exercise, limited to a knowledge test of history and theology.

But think for a moment.  Belief in my everyday life can fit into roughly two spheres.  First, belief about a fact that begs little trust of the believer: example, I believe that you were born in Sydney, Australia.  This doesn’t change my life.  It may be true, but has little bearing on my existence.  Then there is the second kind.  This kind of belief fundamentally changes who you are.  Do you believe that your husband/wife loves you?

These beliefs change who we are.  I will live my life differently believing that my girlfriend loves me.  I will relocate from across the Pond and face unemployment. And I will give to her, spend quality time with her, and make sacrifices for her happiness.

This is the kind of belief that [Read more...]

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God’s Time: Part One

Judge Tom Parker
Written By:
God’s Time: Part One | October 2nd, 2013

God’s Time: Part One

Parker #7 photoI confess.  I am a wimp when it comes to being able to endure things.  Maybe it is a character flaw.  Or maybe I am just a product of the modern age.  Maybe it is because I am a guy.  You know, we are the type who diagnose a problem, identify and apply the solution, and want the issue fixed.  Now.

The Bible has dozens of encounters involving people who were forced to endure long periods of hardship, torment and stress.  The heroes in these stories kept their faith in God and endured.  Have you noticed how, when we read these Bible stories, we can be lulled into forgetting how horrendous the predicaments the people were in because we already know how the stories end?

For example, Joseph was imprisoned for two years on a false rape charge.  His best hope for an early release went up in smoke when someone he’d helped completely forgot about him.  The entire story of Joseph’s imprisonment and his subsequent release and triumphant rise to power is captured in a little over two pages of the book of Genesis.  You can read the whole account of this part of Joseph’s life in about ten minutes.

What’s striking about this is that Joseph had no idea how long he was going to be imprisoned.  Unless we force ourselves to reflect, we completely miss what being held indefinitely must have been like for him.  In those days prisoners were not protected by constitutions.  They had no trial and no rights.  Take a few minutes to ponder this: Joseph faced a predicament that he did not deserve and as far as he knew, it was not going to end while he was still alive.

Why does this matter?  [Read more...]

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Jesus’ SCARS: How to Spend Quality Time with God

Bob Bevington

Jesus’ SCARS: How to Spend Quality Time with God

Prayer 2A couple years ago I re-worked the well-known ACTS acrostic and found it to be a game-changer in my morning time with God. Recently I re-worked the re-work to make it clearer and hopefully more useful to others. Here it is:

Jesus:  Start by simply meditating on the Person of Christ. Set your heart and mind on him but don’t necessarily put your thoughts and feelings into words. Remember who he is—a co-glorious Person of the triune God. His glory had no beginning. It existed before the dawn of time.[1] It followed him as he entered our world, and could not be contained as he lived a sinless life, demonstrating authority over nature, sickness, demons and death. In a human body, he obeyed in our place to the point of death, even death on a cross.[2] He rose and ascended and will come again to openly and absolutely and unceasingly reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.[3] Yes, he is unfathomable—the point of this step is to become astonished by trying to fathom him even a little.

Take your time with this. Don’t move on until your heart warms toward him with awe and affection.

S = Sin:  Next, ask God to make you aware of your sin. Focus your attention especially on your words, thoughts, deeds and motives of the past twenty-four hours. Agree with him in no uncertain terms—call your sins what they really are: rebellion and cosmic treason. Ask him to grant you repentance.[4] Acknowledge the fact that much of your sin is still unknown to you. Go so far as to declare your utter unworthiness—not a difficult thing to do when you think about the fact that you are spending time in the presence of an absolutely holy God.

C = Cross:  You know what to do with those sins—take them to the cross! Place your trust in Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice there, remembering that it’s because of him alone that you are warmly accepted before the Father. Your sin-bearing, wrath-bearing, curse-bearing Savior also clothes you in his perfect righteousness.

If this good news seems too good to be true, apply the Scriptures on the subject to yourself by personalizing them. There are hundreds of go-to passages for this in the Bible. Make your own list of cross-centered verses and then linger over it until you become assured of being enveloped by His love.

A = Adoration:  At this point, how can you not be filled with gratitude? Praise, adoration and worship come easily. Bask in them for as long as you can. It’s a lot easier to worship after taking your sin to the cross! We will cover this subject in greater detail when we discuss the fifth love language, words of affirmation.

R = Responsive Reading:  This is sometimes referred to as conversational prayer or meditative prayer. Start by reading Scripture beginning where you left off the previous day. As you read and re-read, turn it into a conversation with God. Seek to “hear” what he is saying through his Word, the Bible. Spiritual hearing [Read more...]

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Transformed by the Love of the Word

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Transformed by the Love of the Word | September 18th, 2013

Transformed by the Love of the Word

Chen #2I am a recovering liar. I still often find myself saying things that are contradicted by my true motives. Foremost of these lies is when I say “I love you” to my wife. This lie becomes evident when I substitute “love” in a sentence for “prefer” or “choose”.  Example: Wife, I prefer you before myself. Lie. When push comes to shove, I still prefer and choose myself to anyone else, even my wife. I may abound in acts of service for her, but peel back the layers behind these acts, and there lies the core motive that in order to get I have to give.

I suppose that I could love my wife more by trying harder to “choose” her, but I quickly find myself powerless to change my core motives. Instead, I’m inclined to apply another layer of good actions above the self-centered core.

I previously discussed the greatest commandment, where Jesus lays out the sequence of love prioritization: Love God first with all your heart, then your neighbor. While this commandment of proper love sequencing is critical to maintaining a meaningful relationship with God, it also implies that loving your neighbor genuinely is impossible without loving God first.

Throughout the Bible, human life is compared to dust. It reminds us we are created souls, breathed into fragile tissue that has an 80-year average shelf life. If we choose to live that life without God, [Read more...]

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