Fisher of Men

5 Potential Harms of Facebook

One of my favorite childhood memories is watching the movie Star Wars in the theater in 1977. I (along with an entire nation) was awestruck. Nothing like that had ever been done before. We were all sucked into a new world of spaceships, light sabers, strange creatures, and distant galaxies. But of all the things that caught the attention of the average Star Wars viewer, no doubt the amazing technology of the future was near the top of the list. What would it be like to have robots with personalities, to hover above the ground on a “land speeder,” to play “chess” with virtual-holographic images, and to have lost limbs restored with robotic parts? Of course, in our modern day these very things have largely been realized. In fact, I noticed that when my own son watched&nbs...

How Will the Church Survive?

Question: How can a church survive amid the rapidly changing world around us? Answer: Do what surviving churches have always done. I can just imagine that anyone reading this will have their eyebrows “high-fiving” at this point. What do you mean do what surviving churches have always done? Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing but expecting different results?   The church needs to do what the church is supposed to do. It is what we should always be doing. In simple terms it is the making and training of disciples who make and train disciples. These disciples are followers of Jesus who seek to see others become followers of Jesus. The basis for this comes from many places in the Bible, not the least of which Matthew 28:18-20. “…go therefore...

Who Decided What Went into the Bible?

Just about everyone wants to know how the sixty-six books got chosen to be in the Bible. Why these sixty-six? Why not a few more (or a few less)? Why these books and not others? In Persecution in the Early Church Herbert Workman tells the story of a Christian who was brought before the Roman governor of Sicily during the last great persecution of the church. His crime? Possessing a copy of the Gospels. The governor asked, “Where did these come from? Did you bring them from your home?” The believer replied, “I have no home, as my Lord Jesus knows.” The governor asked his prisoner to read a portion of the Gospels. He chose a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Next he read from Luke: “If ...

God’s Call to Protect Children

We are regularly faced with the horror and prevalence of violence against children: ·         Almost half of all sexual abuse victims are children: 15 percent of sexual assault victims are under age twelve, and 29 percent are ages twelve to seventeen. ·         Studies suggest that up to 10 million children in the U.S. witness some form of domestic violence annually and approximately half of them are also victims of domestic violence. ·         Children are also the victims of sex trafficking at horrific rates: In the U.S., the average age of entry into prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that over 300,00...

Trust God with the Next Chapter of Your Story

As a book lover, my books are riddled with highlights and underlined sections. I dog-ear my pages. (Yes, I am one of those people!) In one book I read recently, I folded down the bottom corners of pages I wanted to come back to later so I could record my favorite quotes. The problem was, when I got to the end of the book, there were about forty folded down pages! When it comes to the story of my life though, there are few pages I want to revisit. Highlighted sections are rare. I wouldn’t consider it a good read and many chapters I’d like to just remove altogether. This time of year marks a new chapter in each of our lives. The pages are fresh and unmarked. We don’t know what lies ahead in our stories and can’t look at the back of the book to find out....

Your Hope for Perfection

The desire and the demand to be perfect is in full-effect today. From photo-shopped models who reflect artificial and unattainable “beauty” in advertising, to the superficial but well-manicured lives of neighbors and friends, we are constantly presented with perfection as the ideal. As much as we, in our saner moments, speak against such superficiality we all feel the pressure. We sometimes even produce the pressure ourselves. This is even true in the church. We want perfection, but often settle for the appearance of it. We sometimes want others to be perfect so we aren’t burdened with their trouble and needs. We often want to appear perfect ourselves because the truth of our imperfection is painful and embarrassing. And then there are those who actually believe they have arrived, or will ...

God’s Word: The Light to Your Path

Available Plans Help? Here’s How it Works 1. Register or Login, so we can show you a customized Bible reading progress tracking chart. 2. Choose a reading plan. 3. Start your daily Bible reading plan! 4. Record your Bible reading progress. Complete your assigned Bible reading each day. Then click the “Finished Reading” button at the top or bottom of the Bible in a Year reading page to record your completion. Carefully work your way through Isaiah in 71 days to experience the full impact of the prophet’s words. Plan Length: 71 days Estimated Completion Date: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 Read from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 in the order in which the books of the Bible are arranged. Plan Length: 365 days Estimated Completion Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Read the Bible in the...

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

Willpower Is Weak If you’re considering making some New Year’s resolutions this year, consider this: like other exercises of raw willpower, most New Year’s resolutions fail miserably. According to research, 80 percent of those who make resolutions on January 1 have given up by Valentine’s Day. Nutrition experts say that two-thirds of dieters regain any weight lost within a year, and more than 70 percent of people who undergo coronary bypass surgery fall back into unhealthy habits within two years of their surgery. “Most of us think that we can change our lives if we just summon the willpower and try even harder this time around,” says Alan Deutschman, the former executive director of Unboundary, a firm that counsels corporations on how to navigate change. “It’s exceptionally hard to make l...

10 Questions to Ask at the New Year

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them. Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going. The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God. 1. What’s one thing you could do this ye...

Be Prepared for Anything in 2014

Wise people are not wise because they are prophets who see the future. Wise people are not wise because they can look into men’s hearts and discern their thoughts and motives. Wise people are not wise because they are better at learning from experience. Wise people are not those who’ve been blessed with superior intellect. Wise people are those who treasure the lamp of God’s Word, seeking out and crying out for the light of truth. In other words, wise people are simply prepared people—biblically prepared and equipped for whatever might come along. People become wise when by God’s grace they are humble enough to accept how unprepared they actually are in themselves. Sacrificing the false god of their own independence, they run to the one place where actual certainty can be found. Then they’...

No Peace of Christmas for Persecuted Christians

For many in the West, if not most, Christmas will be spent in relative peace.  Time together with family and friends, presents under the tree and a hot dinner typify the day of celebration.  Christmas is a national holiday in the United States, and most people will have a paid day off from work.  You can sleep in if you’d like, assuming that the kids or grandkids don’t run downstairs and tear into the presents at an unreasonably early hour.  While there’s been a move over the past generation to stigmatize the use of “Merry Christmas” as a greeting, with politically correct types preferring the more sanitized and non-descript “Happy Holidays,” still there is general acceptance and understanding of what Christmas is. No one will beat you up for buying a Christmas tree or ...

7 Suggestions When God Is Silent

Elijah had been used of God to hold back rain from the people for over three years, because of their sins. Obviously, he was not well liked as a preacher. I can imagine the stress he experienced during those years. Something strikes me, however, that seems to further complicate Elijah’s situation. Consider 1 Kings 18:1: “After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” According to a couple New Testament passages, this “After a long time” was actually three and a half years. The famine was three and a half years long. For three and a half years, the people apparently continued to sin, Elijah continued to hold on by faith, but God said nothing. God was apparently inactive… not speaking… even to Hi...