Below you will find content we chose for you based off your preferences. You’ll also find some fresh content we hope will encourage you and inspire you to open up the Bible. 

My Top Five

Every worldview includes a perspective about our identity as people. Understanding who or what we are as humans greatly impacts the rest of our worldview. In many places, what the Bible tells us about ourselves resonates with our reality, but also rubs us the wrong way. What it says is uncomfortable. Sin is one of these uncomfortable topics.

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Why the Bad News About Sin Is a Good Thing

No one likes to hear about sin. It’s not comforting to read what the Bible says about us and our sin. In fact, what the Bible tells us about ourselves and our world is really bad news.

The Bible doesn’t paint a pretty picture of us. In fact, it’s a much darker picture than we would imagine on our own. But friend, please don’t leave at this point in the conversation! What the Bible teaches, though really bad news, is very good for us to know. This is true for two reasons.

What the Bible teaches, though really bad news, is very good for us to know.

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Knowing the Truth About Ourselves

First, simply, because it’s what’s true! Imagine you’re suffering from pains all over your body that you can’t explain. You go to the doctor. After looking at your test results and seeing cancer, the doctor does not want to discourage you, so he says, “You’re healthy!”

You’d probably be upset if you found out he lied. You would want to know what’s wrong, not only to understand your experience, but also to know how to respond accordingly.

In the same way, God’s Word diagnoses the state of our souls. It’s clear that there is much wrong in our world and within ourselves. We need to know the truth about ourselves. And, like a good doctor, the Bible tells us our issue straightforwardly.

3

A Cure Only Comes After a Proper Diagnosis

This brings us to the second reason that the bad news about sin is a good thing. When we’re properly diagnosed, we can find the proper cure.

When, in our thought experiment, your doctor lied about your cancer, he also cut you off from any cure. Unlike the doctor, the Author of the Bible loves us enough to give the dismal diagnosis so that he can lead us to the cure.

We want you to understand this before we talk more about what the Bible means by sin. Understanding sin can be a hard pill to swallow.

One of the wisdom books in the Bible, Proverbs, instructs us that only fools despise wisdom and instruction (1:7), reminding us that when we reject truth because it’s distasteful, we’re only hurting ourselves.

We believe the Bible to be the authoritative truth written by our loving Creator to lead us to him. Therefore, we believe his Word that there’s something terribly wrong with us (Jeremiah 17:3). We also believe he has provided the cure.

We share his Word with you because we know ourselves to be sinners in the way the Bible describes, sick with rebellion, regret, and wrongdoing—yet we have also discovered the cure in its pages. We know that if you understand yourself to be a sinner too, then perhaps we may have the joy of introducing you to our Great Physician.

He’s ready to see you, whatever your malady. For he told us, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

We’re sick and in need of a cure. Will you entrust yourself to the Great Physician?

Do you want a spoon or a shovel? That might appear to be a silly question, but stick with me. If you were about to eat soup, you’d want a spoon. If you were to dig a hole for your fence, you’d want the shovel.

How something is designed says a lot about its purpose. The same is true of you. How God designed you says a lot about your specific purpose in life and how you will find joy and contentment in it.

1

Why You Want to Know Your Spiritual Gifts

“What is my place in this world?” is a question all of us ask at some point in our lives. Would it help to know that your place in this world has everything to do with how God has designed you and equipped you to serve him?

For everyone who has faith in Jesus, God gives them his Holy Spirit to indwell them forever (Ephesians 1:13-14). Along with spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) comes spiritual gifts, abilities that God gives his children as he empowers them through his Spirit. It is the Spirit who “apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV). Knowing what these gifts are will help God’s people find joy and contentment in their lives.

Take time to figure out how God has designed you—what spiritual gifts you possess.

For example, so many people are frustrated in their occupation because they aren’t doing something they love to do. Work is drudgery. They wake up unmotivated; the workday drags on; they can’t wait for the weekend. Unfortunately, this is often the case with Christians who feel “lost” in their walk with God. They often float from church to church without any real sense of purpose or belonging.

The Apostle Paul uses the metaphor of a human body when he speaks about spiritual gifts. He says that just as the body has various parts that play a role in the body’s proper functioning, Christians form a spiritual body called the Church that behaves similarly (1 Corinthians 12:12). Every Christian is given one or more spiritual gifts that are meant to be used for “the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7 ESV) and for “building up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12 ESV). When they use their gifts, it nourishes the rest of the body of Christ.

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Four Reasons Christians Don’t Exercise Their Spiritual Gifts

Unfortunately, though, many Christians don’t exercise their spiritual gifts. Let’s briefly explore four reasons why:

1. Ignorance: Some people don’t use their spiritual gifts because they don’t know they have them. Or they mistakenly think they are gifted in ways they are not gifted in. You wouldn’t dig a ditch with a spoon, or use a shovel to stir your coffee, would you? Take time to figure out how God has designed you—what spiritual gifts you possess. We provide a variety of sources on this page to help you in this endeavor.

2. Fear: Some people are afraid to exercise their gifts because they fear they will make mistakes, or face criticism from others. Granted, both of these things often happen in churches today. Ministering in the church has its ups and downs. But don’t let this dissuade you from using your gifts. If everybody allowed fear to paralyze them, none of us would be properly edified in the church. Hand your fear over to God and allow him to lift you up as you use the gifts he has graciously given you.

3. Laziness: Others don’t use their gifts because they don’t want to spend the time. They prefer popping in and out of church without getting involved. Unfortunately, the old adage is true: 10% of the people do 90% of the work. But we will each stand before God and give account of our stewardship of the gifts he has given us (Matthew 25:14-25). It is our responsibility to present ourselves to God as workers who are approved by him (2 Timothy 2:15).

4. Opposition: Another reason why some Christians don’t exercise their spiritual gifts is because they are being held back by others in the church who are intimated by their giftedness, or the Enemy is discouraging them from using their gifts for the good of the Church. If this is the case, speak to your pastor or someone in leadership that you trust, and ask them how you can effectively use the gifts God has given you. God often uses opposition to help us fine tune where we should minister.

Do you want to find your place in this world, and in the body of Christ? Consider how God has designed you. When we exercise our spiritual gifts, as God intended, we will increase in joy and contentment. When we exercise our spiritual gifts, the Spirit delights to bless others through us and bear more of his fruit in our own lives.

As you read the various resources on our “Spiritual Gifts” page, we hope you will discover your spiritual gifts and how to effectively use them for the edification of others and for the glory of God.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Jeremiah 29:11 is in your Bible. It’s God’s Word for you and to you. But it’s also a letter from a long time ago written to someone else. God recorded their experience to tell you about himself. He wants you to know him better through their experience.

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The Context of Jeremiah 29:11

The recipients of this letter were exiles, Jews displaced from their homeland. The superpower Babylon conquered Israel and took these Jews captive. This was no accident and God sent prophets like Jeremiah to warn the Israelites what would happen if they continued to rebel against God and break the covenant they made with him.

God sent hardship into these people’s lives as discipline for their rebellion against him. But, he wanted them to know that his discipline was not definitive of his thoughts towards them. He had plans to restore them to their land. But more importantly, he had plans to restore their relationship with him.

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God’s Heart Behind Jeremiah 29:11

The verse that follows Jeremiah 29:11 says, “’Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘And will bring you back from captivity’” (v.12-14 NIV).

Do you hear God’s desire for his people? He doesn’t want to harm them. He doesn’t want their hurt. He wants their nearness. He wants them speaking to him and seeking him. Their exile was not a sign of his hatred towards them; it was God’s painful pursuit to win their hearts back to him.

The people receiving this letter were grieving the destruction of both their home and the discipline of God. But like a loving Father, God reminds them that his discipline is not his ultimate judgment. Instead it is his way to open their eyes to see how much they need God, so that they might cry out to him to restore their broken relationship.

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Jeremiah 29:11 Is a Promise for You

We are all estranged from God by our rebellion against him, but his good plan and hope for us is that we might not be eternally separated from him. He knows he has made us for a close relationship with him, though we choose to love other things. So God sent us his Son, Jesus, into our world to bridge this gap. Jesus became human just like us. He suffered as our representative, bearing all our sin when he died on a cross, and was forsaken by God on our behalf.

Since the penalty for sin is death, Jesus broke the power of sin when he rose from the dead. Now we are free to be restored to God. God has a hope and a future of eternity with him awaiting everyone who trusts in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.

God may send hard things into our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 isn’t a promise of a perfectly peachy life. It’s a reminder that in the hardest things that happen, God’s kind merciful character hasn’t changed and his hope for us is that we might know him better and draw near to him.

Why are Bible readers so adamant to tell others about Jesus? Yes, sometimes they can be obnoxious, or insensitive, or talk about him in a way that feels like they’re selling something. Sadly, sometimes they don’t even have the right motives.

But by the Bible’s own testimony, it’s genuine love that compels Christians to talk to non-Christian about Jesus.

Love? You say. Yes, followers of Jesus tell others about him because we have come to know and love God, and because we love and care about non-Christians so much that we are willing to risk our reputation and comfort to tell them the truth so that they also might experience the love of God.

Here are three reasons we evangelize, that will help you understand how evangelism is all about love.

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Jesus Is Worth Telling About

First, we tell others about Jesus because Jesus is worth telling about.

In other words, evangelism is all about publicizing the love of God.

In the Bible, we discover that we are all in great danger—that we have rejected the God who created us and choose to live in rebellion against him. Thus, eternal judgment awaits our offenses against our eternal God (Romans 6:23).

In the Bible, we also discover the loving character of God, and repeatedly witness his reflex of mercy towards our sin. We read that God made a way for us to escape his just punishment at a cost to himself in the death of his own Son (John 3:16).

In the Bible, we discover that God offers to remove the punishment for our sin so that we can have a loving relationship with him once again (2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:13-14). Part of that relationship includes God working in us a new heart that can know, love, delight in, and follow him (Ezekiel 36:26). Having a relationship with God through Jesus also includes the hope of spending eternity with him (John 14:2-3).

The Bible tells us that there is a God in heaven who not only is love but has proved his love to us in time and history through the life, death, and resurrection of his son Jesus, who went to the cross not out of compulsion, but out of joy at the thought of redeeming us (Hebrews 12:2)! Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (ESV).

We tell others about Jesus because we have discovered in the Bible the exciting news that God is love, has shown his love to the world, and invited us to enter into a loving relationship with him (1 John 4:8).

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We Love Jesus

We also tell others about Jesus because we have come to love Jesus.

In response to God’s love, we love him (1 John 4:19). Jesus tells us that our love for him will compel us to trust his Word and keep his commands (John 14:15). Before Jesus left earth, he commanded all of his followers to call other people to follow him. That means they must forsake their sin and believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for them, identify with him, and know God through a lifelong relationship with him (Matthew 28:18-20).

Christians want to obey Jesus, and so we publicize the goodness and grace he has shown to humanity. This isn’t a burdensome task, or a Christian to-do list item. The more you know Jesus, the more you love him and want others to know him too.

The more you know Jesus, the more you love him and want others to know him too.

Jesus tells us to tell people about his life, death, and resurrection—that they can be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God (1 Corinthians 15:3). He tells us that God has chosen to change people when they hear the message about Jesus (Romans 1:16). And he’s invited us to participate in saving souls out of judgment into eternal life (Jude 1:23).

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We Love the Lost

Finally, we tell others about Jesus because we love the “lost.”

Part of this wonderful news about Jesus includes some scary news we often find offensive. God demonstrated his love radically because we needed serious rescue. This life is not the conclusion of reality. God will judge the world—every person—before we enter an eternal existence (Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16). This is also part of the Bible’s message.

Having believed God’s love for us shown in Christ, and learned to trust Jesus, we take him at his Word that every person needs salvation from their sin, or else they will suffer eternal consequences (Romans 6:23).

To think that those who don’t know Jesus will suffer his wrath for all eternity makes us shudder, and even weep. Because we are deeply convinced that God is serious about his coming wrath, we warn others, no matter how uncomfortable we may be. We tell others about Jesus because we love them, wanting what’s best for them now and in eternity.

Anything God asks us to do falls under one of two categories, which help us understand his will for our lives—loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:35-39). This is true of evangelism—or spreading the good news. We do it out of love for God and love for others, because we believe that through proclaiming the gospel message, people will come to experience the love of God.

Of all the topics to read about, church membership might not seem like the most interesting or even important. It’s not the most popular or trendy topic.

The idea of church membership likely evokes a range of responses.

Maybe you hear the term church membership and respond indifferently. You might reason that, if the term is not even explicitly mentioned in the Bible, then it’s probably not all that important.

Maybe you hear those words and feel a twinge of anxiety. Perhaps the idea of “joining” church seems scary or even dangerous. Perhaps, you’ve been burned by other Christians or leaders in the past and can’t fathom the idea of committing to “join” a church where others might be able to manipulate, mislead, or even spiritually abuse them.

On the other hand, maybe the idea of church membership carries positive expectations for you. Perhaps you view it as something like a gym membership or a monthly online subscription service. Church membership may be no different than any other kind of membership. To be a church member is to be “subscribed” to all the perks and benefits that a church has to offer. In the end, you view church as a kind of spiritual product or service, and membership is simply way you sign up or become eligible. Like any other service, you can cancel on it or unsubscribe at any time.

Church membership isn’t and shouldn’t be viewed as a service. Nor should we fear that it is another way for others to take advantage of us or hurt us. When we look at what the Bible says, it’s clear that it is not only important but crucial for all those who follow Jesus. But why?

God intends for us to live out the Christian life in community. God has not redeemed individuals to have a one-on-one relationship with him alone. Rather, when God saved us from our sin, he made us a people who are united and bound together in him (Ephesians 2:11-22). We have not only been reconciled to God through Jesus, but to one another as well! Our membership in a local church is where we put the manifold wisdom of God on full display—showing the world how he has united us in Jesus (Ephesians 3:10)!

Church membership, therefore, isn’t a perk or benefit to serves only our own interests. It is the way that all of us who follow Jesus, by God’s grace, help one another grow up into maturity as we encourage and spur one another on in the faith (Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 23-25). Through church membership, we also commit to worshipping God together with his people on a regular basis.

Church membership provides us with the kind of accountability and responsibility that we need to not only grow in our relationship with Jesus but to help others grow as well!

Church membership provides us with the kind of accountability and responsibility that we need to not only grow in our relationship with Jesus but to help others grow as well!

God has so designed the Christian life that you and I need other people. We need our church family to help keep us accountable to living a God-honoring life, to encourage us, to teach us, to guide us through difficult seasons, and to fight the fight of faith. But they also need us to serve them in the same way! Church membership enlists us into the kinds of formal and functional relationships necessary for growth in our relationship with God.

In short, the Christian life isn’t about you and Jesus alone. Rather, it’s about the people of God striving together as they stand side-by-side in faith, hope, and love. Membership in a local church is the means that God has given us to do that very thing!

If church membership seems boring, or scary, or even just plain transactional to you, then we invite you to explore the resources on this page to discover the joy and blessing of being a member of a local church!

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