Reprise: So You Think You Are a Red Letter Christian?

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“Red Letter” Christianity is kind of a hot topic these days. If you spend much time in the Christian blogosphere (which presumably you do if you are reading this) you are sure to encounter writers, thinkers, the occasional pastor and especially commenters, who proudly proclaim themselves to be “Red Letter” Christians. Whether it is referring to those involved in the formal organization headed by Tony Campolo (I know he would likely object to the description a formal organization and him as the head but that’s what it is and that is what he is) or just to individuals who self identify that way the basic idea is that they follow Jesus’ teachings, the things in red typeface in red letter editions of the bible, as a kind of canon within the Canon.… Continue reading

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Back to the Basics: The Canon of Scripture

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Back to BasicsMany times when a Christian encounters push back concerning the Faith, it comes in the form of questions and questioning about the Bible. In some of these cases it is a matter of how the Bible came to be recognized, compiled or created. In order to lay some ground work for a better understanding of this subject I would like us to look to the New Testament as an example of how the Bible came to be. The format for this post will be a bit unorthodox as it is presented as a series of questions and answers followed by some recommendations for further study, all for the purpose of taking us Back to the Basics.… Continue reading

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What Makes a Faithful Church?

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From time to time, we all need to reassess various areas of our lives. It is good to take a step back, take a breath, and re-assess a situation. We all need to do this in our own personal lives with Christ (2 Cor 13:5; Ps 19:14). And we all need to do this with our church life. We need to be very careful that the church we are actively involved in is still a faithful church; a church that Jesus sees as faithful. We need not to stay in a church simply because we grew up there nor because it is comfortable nor because we don’t want to mess with the hassle of finding a another church nor because “we have invested so much!” The church is a precious, vital part of your spiritual maturity in Christ.… Continue reading

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Youth Ministry Done Right

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Almost 4 years ago, I began full-time youth ministry in a local church here in NW Arkansas. This is certainly not my first go-around with youth ministry in terms of leading and volunteering. However, this is the first time I believe I am doing youth ministry in a way that pleases God and is faithful to His Word. How do I know this?

Before I arrived in Arkansas, I wrote up a Philosophy of Youth Ministry in order to get my head on straight of why I do what I do with the youth and church I serve. I wrote a summary of that here on PS23 in a past blog.… Continue reading

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Messianic Hope and the Gentiles

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Even before the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:17–21), God appointed Christ and His perfect sacrifice as the basis for showing mercy to the Gentiles. Through Christ they could experience hope in spite of being strangers to Israel and not being recipients of God’s covenants with Israel (Ephesians 2:11–13). The apostle Paul understood this point very clearly and the Spirit of God led him to repeatedly write of its profound significance. One such occasion appears in Paul’s epistle to the Romans:

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.

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