Dwelling on The Good News in A Year of Bad News: An August Reading Plan

2020 has given us plenty of challenges: the pandemic, quarantine and isolation, church closures and re-openings, racial tensions, riots, debates over masks and pretty much everything else tied to COVID-19, politics in an election year, and questions about government intrusion on the Church. Mix in that trying to figure out what families should do for school, and how that affects our jobs and income, as well as churches scrambling to do their best to gather together and care for those struggling with all that’s going on, and there’s plenty to leave us discouraged.

One temptation is to immerse ourself in the news–on TV, online, or through social-media–to stay up to speed and feel informed. The intense debates only fuel this as so many people read articles to defend their cause. It’s no wonder people feel stressed, anxious, and angry. To make matters worse, some statistics indicate Christians are spending even less time in the Bible than they did before the pandemic. We’re filling our minds with bad news and stressful news, meanwhile we’re neglecting to fill our minds and hearts with The Good News.

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New Book Available on Amazon

You can now purchase a copy of my new book Finding Satisfaction in Christ: A Devotional Study of Colossians in paperback or kindle formats. I wrote this over the course of a few years. What began as a small group study on Colossians in the home of our friends Dan and Emily later turned into a Group Discussion Guide for College Park Church that blossomed into a full-length book slowly written off-and-on over the course of a few years. As any writer or teacher struggles with, I hope my personal joy and benefit of studying Colossians leads to your joy and encouragement as you read through Colossians with me. Here’s a bit about the book.

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Let Us Statements and Resurrection-Ascension Statements in Hebrews

Let Us…

Hebrews encourages and exhorts us with a number of “let us” statements. These provide a helpful snapshot of what the book calls us to do as we hold fast to Jesus. I left gaps between the numbers to show which verses are connected.

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Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 13 (Heb. 7:11-28)

Hebrews 7:11-28, especially verses 23-28, reminds us why Jesus alone is the perfect high priest, able to sympathize with us as a human and yet able to save for us as a sinless sacrifice. The language emphasizes the permanency of Christ’s priesthood and the firmness of our salvation. It’s meant to remind us that there will never be a time when Jesus is not interceding for his people. He never takes a sick day or a vacation. He continually lives at the right hand of the Father. It’s a reminder that we are never alone. We are never without an advocate. We always have full and complete access to the Father through Jesus our mediator.

Continue reading Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 13 (Heb. 7:11-28)

Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 9 (Heb. 5:1-10)

As we walk through Hebrews in our reading plan, below are a few additional thoughts, questions, commentary, and quotes. These aren’t designed to substitute your personal study and reflectionon God’s Word, but they’re small supplements to your study. It’s always helpful to begin your study by reading the passage and making some basic observations. See the post “Making Observations”  for basic questions to help you understand and apply what you’re reading.

Continue reading Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 9 (Heb. 5:1-10)

Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 4 (Heb. 3:1-11)

As we walk through Hebrews in our reading plan, below are a few additional thoughts, questions, commentary, and quotes. These aren’t designed to substitute your personal study and reflectionon God’s Word, but they’re small supplements to your study. It’s always helpful to begin your study by reading the passage and making some basic observations. See the post “Making Observations”  for basic questions to help you understand and apply what you’re reading.

Continue reading Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 4 (Heb. 3:1-11)

Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 3 (Heb. 2:14-18)

As we walk through Hebrews in our reading plan, below are a few additional thoughts, questions, commentary, and quotes. These aren’t designed to substitute your personal study and reflectionon God’s Word, but they’re small supplements to your study. It’s always helpful to begin your study by reading the passage and making some basic observations. See the post “Making Observations”  for basic questions to help you understand and apply what you’re reading.

Continue reading Hebrews Reading Plan: Day 3 (Heb. 2:14-18)

Gospel Riches: What’s His is Mine

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

Paul puts together two seemingly opposed descriptions. The believers in Macedonia live in “extreme poverty” and yet have an abundance of joy. Their pockets and houses might be empty but their hearts are overflowing.

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How to Read the Bible with Identity in Mind

After rising earlier in the morning than we want, identity questions invade our mind as we look in the mirror, think about the upcoming day, and decide what to wear. Do I want my clothes to be the casual me, the dressed-up me, the outdoorsy me, the stylish me, or the “life beat me down so I didn’t care” me? We don’t realize we’re thinking in terms of identity, but the questions of “Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do others view me?” shape us all day long.

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