• Mom & Bob

    My Mom’s Final Breath

    It can only happen once in a lifetime: you watch your Mom take her final breath. Nine difficult days had passed since the car accident. Although she was still in the intensive care unit, there were reasons to hope my Mom would eventually recover.  It was Christmas Eve morning and I arrived at the hospital…
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  • The Talk

    The Talk, Tim Keller, and a Video about Sex

    I recently had “The Talk” with my fifth-grade son. It was very brief and went something like this: Son, I can pretty much tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about sex in one sentence: God made sex. And if you do sex God’s way, it will turn out good. But if you don’t…
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  • 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…
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  • Prayer 2

    Jesus’ SCARS: How to Spend Quality Time with God

    A 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…
    Read More

Michael Boling Reviews Red Like Blood

Bob Bevington
Written By:
Michael Boling Reviews Red Like Blood | October 11th, 2013

Michael Boling Reviews Red Like Blood

“. . . if there is someone you know who needs to desperately hear about God’s free gift of grace, this book is definitely one to pick up, read, and share with those in need.”

That’s what book reviewer, Michael Boling, recently wrote about Red Like Blood in his blog, Intelmin Apologetics. I recently learned that over the past 2-3 months twenty different bloggers have reviewed Red Like Blood. Since you’re on the RLB blog I thought you might like to hear what people are still saying about the RLB book. Here’s the whole article:

red_like_blood_210wide_300dpiThe grace of God is far too often just a theological concept that in many cases is overlooked or taken for granted. Unless someone has experienced a tremendous low point in their life, the proverbial rock bottom if you will, the wonderment of God’s grace is just a term the preacher throws around for good measure on Sunday morning. Joe Coffey and Bob Bevington, in their book Red Like Blood: Confrontations with Grace, provide the reader an upfront and extremely personal look at what God’s grace looks like by allowing the reader to take a journey through their respective lives, noting along the way how God mercifully reached down and lifted them up in their time of need.

Unlike books that take a theological look at the topic of grace, Red Like Blood is extremely practical. The reader is able through the lens of the co-authors Coffey and Bevington, to truly observe how this thing called grace works and what it looks like in the life of individuals who so desperately need it. The authors are extremely frank as they share their respective life stories so the reader should be prepared for some phrases and statements that are definitely not for the faint of heart or for younger eyes to read or hear. The content at times was a bit “mature” but rightfully so given the experiences of these authors and the necessity for the reader to fully grasp that no matter how far someone has fallen, God is there to pick them up. By not beating around the proverbial bush, the authors are brutally honest about their path and confrontation with God’s grace in their life.

I especially appreciated the format of this book. It was a relatively quick read even at right over 200 pages. The back and forth conversational style of writing made me feel as if I was sitting in the room actually listening to these two men share their life story with me. That engaging and personal approach once again sets this book apart from the more theological style texts on grace, affording the reader to feel as if they know the writers personally. Furthermore, I felt while reading this book a great connection to Coffey and Bevington as I was drawn in to their stories and the passionate telling of how God had moved in their lives.

All throughout this book, helpful tidbits of great scriptural truth are interspersed through the story telling, [Read more...]

Genesis: Are You Missing the Point?

Bob Bevington
Written By:
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...]

I’m Unemployed

Krin Baer
Written By:
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...]

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...]

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...]

Transformed by the Love of the Word

Written By:
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...]

Living In the Tension of Truth

Krin Baer
Written By:
Living In the Tension of Truth | September 11th, 2013

Living In the Tension of Truth

Krin #6 ImageAdmit it, we are all “identity maniacs.”  Whether consciously or subconsciously, we are constantly asking questions about we  relate to the world around us.  How many different ways can we ask the questions, “who am I?” or “why am I here?”

One of the ways we ask and answer those questions is in what we own and consume.  Right now, I’m sipping on designer coffee, typing on a Mac, and wearing a shirt shamelessly brandishing my allegiance to a certain academic institution. These things help define who I am.  Yes, I love coffee, and Macs, and knowing (thinking) that my alma mater is better than yours. If you told me I couldn’t drink coffee anymore, I would rebel.  Ask me to stop using my iPhone?  Get away from me.  If I’m honest, taking away any of these things will make me scream injustice at the sky.  No God, not my Mac! It’s part of “me.”

This is where the “good” Christian will jump in and triumphantly say, “No, Krin, your identity is in Jesus!” Granted, fellow follower, but hold on.  [Read more...]

Prune Thyself

Judge Tom Parker
Written By:
Prune Thyself | September 4th, 2013

Prune Thyself

Half Dead TreeI was driving down the road the other day and came upon a half dead tree.

You know the kind.  It was a tree that was inexplicably healthy and partially dead at the same time.  What is amazing is that such trees are often perfectly healthy the prior year.  Then, spring comes and a portion of the tree never comes back to life.

People can be like that.  Someone’s life seems to go great for a while and then, seemingly out of nowhere, it is as if a part of the person just stops working right.  This can be particularly true for someone’s spiritual life.  A person who is healthy spiritually just goes dry.  They can’t pray and they can’t serve.  And they don’t know why.

So, back to my tree.  I stopped my car and said to the pathetic looking thing: “Prune thyself!”  Nothing happened.  Then I wondered if the tree even realized it was half dead?  Trees don’t look in the mirror, after all.

As I gazed at the juxtaposition of dead gray wood and a thousand bright green leaves it made me wonder some more.  Were there any dead limbs on me?  This is not a question I normally ask myself.  Think about it.  When we think things are going okay in our lives, we are content to let things stay as they are.  Unless I’m on a fitness kick, I rarely want things to change.  Like most, there are times when I actively resist change.

Is that God’s way of dealing with us?  I’m afraid [Read more...]

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