Here is the monthly roundup of articles and resources from the web for August 2019.
Bible and Theology
10 Things You Should Know about the New Heavens and the New Earth. Questions abound about specifics of the “end times,” making it difficult to remember the great and glorious hope we have awaiting us. This article helps us remember some things we ought to keep in mind.
What If The Lost Sheep Isn’t An Unbeliever (And The Shepherd Isn’t Jesus)? “Whereas Luke’s version is intended to explain Jesus’s ministry to undesirable outcasts, Matthew’s version is designed to challenge the church—a much bigger theme in Matthew than in Luke, and especially in this chapter of the Gospel—to make every effort to restore wandering believers, rather than dismissing them”
Podcast: How Reliable Is the New Testament? Peter Williams discusses what it means the Bible is inspired, why we can have confidence that our modern English Bibles are consistent with the original manuscripts, and how we should approach apparent contradictions in the New Testament.
Hell Is Not Separation from God:”Whatever the exact nature of this everlasting judgment, it is horrible ultimately for one reason only: God is present.”
The Masterpiece of All Promises: “When you hear and remember the masterpiece ‘I will be their God,’ let your heart soar on the winds of his glory, put to death whatever might hinder your communion with him, and so live up to the privilege of being his.”
Watershed Differences Between Calvinists and Arminians: “The Calvinists didn’t come up with five points to start with. The Calvinists wrote their vision of what salvation looks like and how it happens under God’s sovereignty. When the Arminians read it, they said, ‘These are five places we don’t agree.’ That is where we got these five points.So, if you want to talk about what is the key soteriological differences between Arminianism and Calvinism, you have to take these one by one.
Ethics and Culture
How Pornography Makes Us Less Human and Less Humane. One of the best, most comprehensive, and most compelling articles on pornography and the pornification of our world I have read.
Another Mass Shooting, Where Do We Start? Lament.: “Amid the trauma and tears, how should the church talk about this? . . . How do we weep with those who weep when the fog of a national crisis descends Christians can start by lamenting.”
Ten Principles for Personal Productivity. These productivity principles need to be made into a framed poster that we all place prominently in our houses.
Church and Christian Living
The Freest People Are Servants of All: Why I Love the Apostle Paul: “Christians are free in Christ. Gloriously free. To the world our lives may look very much like the lives of mere servants — constantly subordinating our own comforts to the needs of others. But in God’s eyes, this life of love is the freest of all.”
Putting the “Service” Back in Worship Service: “Consider these four basic ways we can use our Sundays to serve others, as opposed to just being served ourselves.”
Love Your Wife Like Jesus Loves Her: Ten Great Loves for Every Husband: “As a husband, God calls you to love your wife like Jesus loves her, so meditate on his deep, complex, and unparalleled love.”
The Gospel According to Essential Oils. We have traded the Holy Spirit for bottles of plant juice. We have added to the gospel through smells and scents, and promised those we lead that joy is found in something you apply to your skin and not something that happens to your heart. We’ve said forgiveness is enabled by sandalwood and lavender, and have placed the power of the cross on a back burner, after we’ve diffused some angelica for a bit.
You Are Not the Author of Your Story. The honest reality is that most of our stories won’t end up in history books…The chances of your life accomplishments being preserved in a biography are slim to none. Discouraging? It shouldn’t be. Rather, if you are God’s child, you have been invited into a much bigger story — the grand redemptive story — which is now your biography.
Mitch Bedzyk serves as a teacher and worship leader at Elmira Christian Center. He received his Master of Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and works in IT for the NY Office of Mental Health. He and his wife, Sarah, have two sons, Oliver and Micah, and are foster parents. In his spare time he enjoys reading, coffee, guitar, following the Bundesliga and MLS, and playing fantasy soccer. You can follow him @mitchbedzyk