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Confessions of a Godly Man Who Doesn't Like Church

Church does not excite me, even when Sunday rolls around. But church has benefits, and has grown me closer to God and fellow believers. But because Jesus never shied away from tough conversations, here are 3 reasons I find church difficult to embrace.

5 Ways to Survive the End of the World

Did you feel it? Scientists recently reported that Earth reached its highest average temperature in recorded history. Is this the beginning of the end? Some people believe climate change will be the end of us, or the world could end with a global pandemic like covid–19, a worldwide natural disaster such as solar flares from the sun, or nuclear or civil war. When an era like the 2020s brings chaos and calamity, people begin to talk more about eschatology—the theological study of the "end of the world" or "end times."What we believe about the end times determines how we live in the middle. As Christians, the Bible is our final word about the ultimate destiny of humanity—and it has a lot to say. Jesus, Paul, John, and Peter all spoke about the end of the world as if it could happen at any moment. Peter wrote:The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore . . . (1 Peter 4:7 NLT)“Therefore” is the pivot Peter uses to swing from scary predictions to practical steps as he reveals these five surprising strategies for surviving the end of the world as you know it.Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/franckreporter

5 Signs You Belong to a Legalistic Church

If you are new to Christianity, you may have never heard of the term “legalistic.” However, over the last 20 years this word has been synonymous to a profane word of the faith. No one wants to be known as a legalistic church or person. This term is meant to signify a person or entity that has a heavy focus on God’s law and works rather than His grace and mercy. Often, those associated with being legalistic are known to add additional human standards to God has slated as truth. Before long, more time is focused on judging others, outward appearance, and keep up with the Old Testament law rather than sharing God’s love. Although Christians should always seek to serve the commands of God, we have to be careful that we don’t neglect to build a relationship with the Lord. Whenever, rules take precedence over true worship, legalism may be present.With this in mind, here are 5 signs your church may be legalistic.Photo Credit: © Getty Images / Bicho_raro

3 Cautions before Preaching on Prayer

They invite you to bring a talk, a lesson, or a sermon on prayer. Your first thought, if you are normal, is, “Who me? What little I know about prayer you could put in a thimble.”There are some things we do not want to teach, no matter how great the temptation is. Here are three cautions for anyone about to teach prayer.

3 Ways to Be a Leader, Not a Follower

God calls you to be a leader, not a follower. Here’s how to do so, plus encouraging Bible verses about leadership for inspiration as you work to be a leader, not a follower.

5 Most Well-Known Christian Symbols and Their Meanings

Christian symbols have been illustrating important aspects of our faith since biblical times. While symbols themselves are simple, they represent profound spiritual concepts with deep layers of meaning. Many different symbols exist in Christianity. Let’s explore 5 especially well-known Christian symbols together, and discover how they can inspire us with awe.What Is Christian Symbolism?Christian symbolism includes any symbols that represent parts of Christianity. During the first few centuries of the church, Christians often used symbols that weren’t widely known, in order to prevent unnecessary persecution. After the Roman Empire legalized Christianity in the 4th century, Christian symbols became more well known. Christian symbolism now features both symbols that are original to our faith (such as the cross) and symbols that have been adopted from other uses to represent Christian concepts (like the candle).Symbols communicate significant spiritual concepts in simple ways. That helps us focus on the core meaning of those concepts. Using symbols, we can quickly direct our attention an aspect of our faith that has many layers of meaning. Symbols can inspire us to learn more about what they represent. In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I describe howwe can encounter God’s wonder through symbols – especially symbols in our dreams – and how that can inspire us to become lifelong learners.By learning about 5 of the most well-known Christian symbols, we can find inspiration from the profound spiritual truths they represent.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Arthit_Longwilai

10 Things in Your Church That Alienate Introverts

It was my first time in this particular setting. I sat through the worship and teaching times, quietly getting a sense of the group and how things worked. I was enjoying myself well–until the sharing time began. Each person in the room began to share personal struggles. As I watched it became obvious that everyone was expected to participate. Now I love the idea of honest vulnerability, but as the leader prodded me not once, but twice, to share something personal with people I’d never met, I became uncomfortably aware that this didn’t feel like a very safe place. If you’re an introvert like me, you understand my hesitance. Many social and church situations are designed with extroverts in mind—situations that can leave the other 50% of society feeling uncomfortable. Here are 10 church things that can alienate introverts. Janna Wright told her first story—something about kittens and lost mittens—at age two. As an author and speaker she still loves sharing stories, especially through her “biz-nistry,” Grace Thread, and her recent book, Grace Changes Everything. Janna adores deep talks, the Colorado mountain air outside her back door, and most of all, helping women of faith thrive in their God-given adventure stories. Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Rawpixel

What Do We Really Know about Angels?

Angels have a lot to do, especially for those who have eyes to see. I believe that most of their work goes on behind the scenes where they are usually not noticed. Let me give you a short Biblical primer on the nature and work of angels.

Why Is Your Church Ignoring These Sins?

When we speak about "the Church" doing this or that, we tend to paint a picture of pastors, elders, or those in leadership at the forefront — as if they bear responsibility for sin issues on the rise in today's congregations. But according to Scripture, you and I are the Church. And if you and I are the Church, then the responsibility to identify and act on sin issues begins with us. As Rachel-Claire Cockrel points out, "There are certain sins that Christians are always good at pointing out - usually in others. But there are a few that we tend to ignore, and these same few are the ones we also tend to commit more often ourselves." Here are 8 sins that your church congregation — and you — are likely ignoring:

The 5 Most Frustrating Things Pastors Do

There are times when ministers do the most self-defeating things. Not all of them, thankfully. But enough to warrant our addressing the issue as a caution to the rest of the Lord's stable of shepherds. Here is my personal list of the 5 most frustrating things pastors do.

7 Sneaky Idols Destroying the Church Today

“Put away your idols.”I traveled to India several years ago for mission work. I loved the culture and the people. One of the interesting sights along our travels was how common statues of idols were.India has hundreds of gods in Hinduism, and while we were driving or walking along, we would pass a little shrine with a statue of one of those gods.As a person of the Western world, I don’t see shrines and polytheistic gods dotting the landscape.Or maybe I do. Just because we may not have statues of gods on our streets or in temples, that doesn’t mean we don’t deal with idolatry.What is an idol? An idol is worshipping the work of our own hands. Whether we make a physical idol or bow down to our own intellect and philosophy, we can participate in idolatry in a number of different ways.The scripture is replete with examples of the people of God being told to get rid of the idols in their midst (Genesis 35:2, Joshua 24:23, Isaiah 31:7, Ezekiel 14:6).In essence, it’s mentioned twice in the 10 Commandments: You shall have no other gods before me, and you shall make no graven images. Literally the first two.From Jacob in Genesis to Ezekiel, hundreds of years later, the nation of Israel, Yahweh’s chosen people, the tribes he delivered and protected, continued to go back to idolatry. And God keeps calling the people back to himself.Why is idolatry a big deal? First, because there is only one God, and to worship anything or anyone else is a lie.Second, worshipping other gods has an effect on our behavior. In the scripture, idolatry always coincided with oppressing the poor, violence toward the innocent, and sexual immorality.What are the idols the church should get rid of today? Here are seven.Photo Credit: ©John Mark Smith/Unsplash

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