As a kid, I was a mama's boy. An overweight, pudgy little boy who was afraid to touch a spider even with a stick, who was so freaked out by his first week-long trip to summer camp (his first time away from home for that long) that he wet his sleeping bag every night that week, and who was afraid to try new things or meet new people. Peers quickly picked up on such things, even in elementary school, and no small amount of taunting was the result.
What's wrong, Russo, afraid? Russo runs like a girl! Russo's got boobs! Look everyone, Russo's got boobs! You're such a girl.
Things in middle school were worse, of course. I was a somewhat bookish kid, with my nose in a Stephen King novel more often than not. I didn't watch football or wrestling. I didn't automatically know all the rules to every sport we played in gym class (and the teachers assumed that all the boys already knew). I kept a journal, and worked on art projects, and wrote short stories and poetry. I kept my sexual fantasies to myself. I couldn't catch, I ran slow, and I was picked last for pretty much every sport. More Here...
Greetings, friends! We know at some point you've thought to yourself, "Self, I think Revelife should feature a post about [enter subject here]." Truthfully, we agree! There's really no subject that is entirely off-limits here at Revelife, so whatever it is you think we should talk about, we think you should write something about it and submit it to us!
At the end of last week I noticed a tweet that had been posted by Ed Stetzer as he labored over a blog post for the following day:
“Working on a difficult blogpost for tmrw. Trying to speak truth & grace at the same time is not easy. I’m not sure I have it right yet.”
I love God’s timing, because that tweet articulated exactly what I was feeling that day.
As some of you may have seen, last week I wrote a post for Her.meneutics on cross-gender friendships and marriage. It was a post I had felt led to write for some time, but I had dragged my feet for months. Although the post mentions no one by name, it criticizes particular people and particular perspectives, and as a Christian I never engage in public critique casually. It is something I approach soberly and cautiously, not only because the internet is such a difficult place to communicate clearly, but because we are likely to hurt one another unnecessarily. More Here...
Part of being a Christian is being grateful for all our God gives to us and does for us. We should be operating every day with an attitude of loving thanks to our God. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us clearly and without question that this is how we should be living. "In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (Notice it says 'in' everything, not necessarily 'for' everything. That tells me that this is talking about giving thanks in every situation, not that we should be thanking God for everything that comes our way. A lot of bad things are going to come our way, and while God does work all things for our good, I don't think it's wise to blindly thank God for things we have to suffer through.)
One important aspect of grace is that it cannot be earned. Romans 11:6 says "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace." The grace of God extended to you is not done so on the basis of your work. Grace is not payment for services rendered; if you are doing good, and if, as far as you can tell, you're doing everything right, and God blesses you, you might think that you deserved that blessing, that you earned it. But you didn't. You can't. And if you think you earned or deserved however God chose to bless you, then you probably are not properly grateful for that blessing. More Here...
This is an argument that I have always found to be lacking in evidence.
Numerous times I have been told by fellow Christians (often teetotalers) that the wine that Jesus used couldn't have been or wouldn't have been alcoholic. I have heard explanations that "new wine" refers to unfermented grape juice, or that Jews of Jesus's day used some kind of mixture made from dried-and-powdered grapes and water (so... grape Kool-Aid?), or that Jesus was a Nazarite and couldn't drink alcohol (but if that was the case, he couldn't have grape juice either). My favorite was a simple subjective "Well, he wouldn't have wanted people to get drunk, so when he turned water to wine of COURSE it meant grape juice!"
God's speech also emphasizes his sovereignty in creating and maintaining the world. The thrust is not merely that God has experiences that Job does not, but that God is king over the world and is not necessarily subject to questions from his creatures, including men. The point of these speeches is to proclaim the absolute freedom of God over His creation. God is not in need of the approval of his creation. It is only the reader of the book who learns of God's conversations with Satan; Job himself remains unaware of the reason or source of his sufferings. The traditional interpretation is that, humbled by God's chastising, Job turns speechless, giving up and repenting his previous requests of justice. However, another interpretation is that Job's silence is defiant, and that what he gives up is not his belief that justice be done, but his confidence that God will behave justly.
I don't mean that God has no good reason to allow suffering. God may have a fantastic reason. My concern was I didn't understand why we can't hold God to account. More Here...
This past weekend I attended the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing. I didn’t really know what to expect (it was my first “writers conference” in my life!) but my favorite part was, by far, connecting with other Christian women writers. Shout out to all you amazing ladies!
One of the writers I FINALLY got to meet was Amy Julia Becker. You may remember that I’ve featured her here on my blog before. She recently came out with a memoir about her daughter, Penny, who was born with Down’s Syndrome, and I posted twoexcerpts from her book last Fall.
Amy Julia’s book has received rave reviews, and even if this is a topic that does not seem immediately relevant to your life, I would still encourage you to check it out. Amy Julia has processed her daughter’s life from a profoundly theological perspective, and the conclusions she has reached are not only powerful, but applicable to us all. More Here...
I want to talk about grace. Grace is not something that I have understood very well, and I still really don't understand it. As far as I was concerned, grace was a cute term people used for the reason why God offers us salvation even though we don't deserve it. It is that; the offer of something we don't, and can never, deserve.
We all know Ephesians 2:8-10, where we see explicitly that salvation is given by grace and through our faith, right? But I was already saved, and I knew that I couldn't have worked my way to heaven if I wanted to, so what more use for grace did I really have? The truth is, grace is something I need a lot of, and probably not something I have been very good at accepting from God.
I still don't completely understand grace, but I do know that God's love is extended to us by it. Grace is the reason that God can continue to love a stupid, selfish, hurtful sinner like me, and love me just as I am. Even in my best version of myself, I am nothing that God should love me. More Here...
Today is Sunday, and all over the globe, Christians are headed to their local churches to celebrate and worship with one another. We here at Revelife really hope you'll find a local church to attend today, but we also know there are circumstances that prevent you from making it to church on Sunday morning.
That's why we feature the services of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. Today, Pastor Andy Stanley will continue in the series Christian. To many people, the term "Christian" is a loaded concept -- and not necessarily a positive one. In this series, Andy is unpacking what it means to be a Christian, and his answers might surprise you.
Tiny Arguments is an idea I’ve had for a while now. My aim is to create a repository of tiny arguments, expressing a view in as few words as possible, so that instead of establishing the same common ground in multiple venues, I (and hopefully others) can point others here and five minutes later continue the conversation in more interesting and profitable ways. I will begin with my tiny argument for women in in ministry.
I believe that God calls women to all roles within the church and equips women to both pastor to and teach all members of the church.