Here is the monthly roundup of resources and articles for December 2019.
Starting the New Year Right
Ten Questions for a New Year. The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. A great time for us to “Consider our ways.” To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.
Old Paths for a New Year. While we’re grateful for new books and can often benefit from new resources, to grow in Christlikeness we don’t need a fundamentally new approach. We need an old one. The Lord has already given us everything we need, and it’s been available all along: the means of grace.
Seize the Morning: New Habits for a New Year. Is there any single habit more important than getting your soul regularly within earshot of God? Right there with the basic natural habits we cannot avoid — breathing, eating, sleeping — one supernatural habit stands at the fountainhead of all others for our spiritual life and health and growth in a new year: hearing God’s voice in his word.
Podcast: How to Read the Bible Every Day in 2020. David Mathis, author of Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines, discusses how anyone can make Bible reading a habit in 2020. He reflects on the pros and cons of New Year’s resolutions, shares why he prefers the term habits of grace rather than spiritual disciplines, and offers practical advice on making a plan to read the Bible every day.
For more on how to read your Bible in 2020, check out our Bible Study resource page
Bible and Theology
He Made Them Male and Female: Sex, Gender, and the Image of God. Although the modern West has lost its boundaries and celebrates a plethora of so-called gender options, how should Christians understand and critique today’s concepts of gender in light of Scripture? We begin with understanding, and not conflating, four categories: sex, gender, norms, and callings.
Don’t Skip the Genealogies. For Christians then, the New Testament starts not with echoes of Genesis, not with the breaking of a 400 year silence, not with the fulfillment of prophecies, but with us. It sets us right in the narrative, reminding us of who we are and where we fit, rooting us in the story, and the story in us.
Can We Raise the Dead Like Jesus Did? A helpful post in light of Bethel Church’s latest attempt to raise a young girl from the dead. Here’s an incredibly helpful video that was made in response to it from Costi Hinn.
Dangerous Miracles: Why Jesus did Signs and Wonders. The miracles confirmed him to be a teacher sent from God, not just a traveling miracle-worker.
Why Was Jesus Born a Jew? The Devastating Mercy of His Ethnicity. Jesus was born a Jew to devastate every boast in ethnic superiority, and to create one new, joyful, mercy-loving race.
Podcast: What Is the Mark of the Beast?. In this episode, Thomas Schreiner discusses the book of Revelation. He reflects on the best way to approach the book when studying it for the first time, explains what the mark of the beast is really all about, and offers words of counsel and encouragement for pastors hesitant to preach through Revelation in their churches.
Whose Son Is He? How the Gospels Whisper Christ’s Divinity. While Jesus does not wear a cloak emblazoned with “I am God,” the Gospels are full of indications that he saw himself not only as Israel’s Messiah, but as Israel’s true God as well. A divine Messiah. Let us sketch three main ways we see this, first in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), and then in John’s Gospel, where Jesus’s divinity often receives the clearest expression.
But…That’s Your Interpretation! “But that’s just your interpretation”: well, yes, it is my interpretation. Whose else could it possibly be? But in today’s climate, the question is not designed to offer a superior or better-warranted interpretation, but to relativize all interpretations. And that plea for imperious ignorance must not be allowed to stand. It is, finally, incoherent and idolatrous. A far better approach to holy Scripture is preserved for us in Psalm 119.
Chalcedon: A Defining Moment for the Doctrine of Christ. Whatever the failures and flaws of the Christians of the fourth and fifth centuries, it is worth reflecting on the truths articulated in the Chalcedonian Definition, especially at Christmas. For it helps us to see why we can be grateful for — and satisfied, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and humanly, with — the Lord Jesus Christ, our glorious Redeemer: Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel!
4 Ways to Remind Kids the Bible Is True. When it comes to the Bible, Christians know it’s vitally important to develop the foundations, from the start, for the crucial difference between reality and fantasy. Here are four ways that you can remind children the Bible is true.
Church and Christian Living
9 Things You Should Know About the Christian Calendar. Many of you noticed we just concluded our “Advent” sermon series. Here are nine things should know about the cycle of liturgical seasons observed within many Christian churches.
Pray Something Bigger. We have a chance to ask for the big things — that God would turn our hearts to hate sin and love doing good. We should be eager for others to ask God to make us more like Christ. We also can be excited to pray the same for them. These are the weightier matters. These are the prayers we need even more.
Wounding Our Friends. We must become a surgeon for our brothers and sisters – knife in hand, love in heart – and we must cut our friends so they might be well.
Sing Your Heart Out at Church (Even If You Hate the Music). The vitality of a church’s worship depends on members of the body submitting their autonomous freedom and opinionated preferences to the larger community, and ultimately to the Lord …A humble and submissive posture is the heart and soul of Christian worship, because it reflects the deferential character of Christ himself.
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