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The Balance between Grace and Effort – Part 3

This is the third and final portion of our interview with Brian Hedges. Click here for part one. Click here for part two. Many Christians struggle with the balance between faith and works or grace and effort. When we recognize our continuing sins is the answer to just try harder or to believe more? Pastor Brian Hedges new book, Active Spirituality, helps to bring some clarity to these concerns. Brian has graciously consented to answer questions about this important topics. SP:  We read Pilgrim’s Progress to our children as they grew up. Would you recommend that Christians do the same? How does Bunyan’s work help address the balance between grace and effort? Brian: Absolutely! The Pilgrim’s Progress is a great […]

The Balance between Grace and Effort – Part 2

This is the second part of this series of posts. Click here for part one. Click here for part three. Many Christians struggle with the balance between faith and works or grace and effort. When we recognize our continuing sins is the answer to just try harder or to believe more? Pastor Brian Hedges new book, Active Spirituality, helps to bring some clarity to these concerns. Brian has graciously consented to answer questions about this important topics. Brian, thanks for you time and insight in responding to these questions. SP: What does it mean to depend on the Spirit as comported to depending on my own effort? Brian: That’s a great (and difficult!) question. Let me try a short answer and […]

The Balance between Grace and Effort

Interview with Brian Hedges, author of Active Spirituality and Christ Formed In You. This is the first in a series of posts. Click here for part two. Click here for part three. Many Christians struggle with the balance between faith and works or grace and effort. When we recognize our continuing sins is the answer to just try harder or to believe more? Pastor Brian Hedges’ new book, Active Spirituality, helps to bring some clarity to these concerns. Brian has graciously consented to answer questions about this important topics. Brian, thanks for you time and insight in responding to these questions. There will be three posts for these answers. Here is the first question and answer. Shepherd Press: What is […]

Thought for the Lord’s Day

But there is a God in Heaven!   King Nebuchadnezzar had had enough of the mystical song and dance routine his spiritual advisors had been playing before him.  The King had a disturbing dream. He wanted to know the meaning of this dream. He also doubted the authenticity of his advisors. So he devised a test to find out if his advisors could be trusted. Not only would they have to interpret the dream, they would also have to tell the King what the actual dream was.  If they failed to do this, Nebuchadnezzar would have them all killed.   The whole collection of Babylonian advisors panicked and were in great distress.  The King had called their bluff. Because Daniel […]

What is Christian Wisdom?

CHRISTIAN WISDOM is knowing and understanding the truth, obeying the truth, and making decisions based on the truth. Wisdom helps you be more like Jesus in your actions, thoughts and attitudes, by loving God and your neighbor. Here are nine examples of wisdom in action: LOVE is giving willingly of whatever I have to meet someone’s need. HUMILITY is knowing that everything good in me is from God alone, and is not for my benefit first, but for serving God and others. I should not put myself first. SELF-CONTROL is the ability to say no to my wrong desires and yes to what God wants me to do. PATIENCE is accepting problems without complaining, trusting that God will care for […]

70 years ago: a prayer to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization.

June 6, 1944 our President led the nation in prayer to God. The American people welcomed this prayer.  Notice FDR did not speak of many Gods or many faiths or many religions.  He asked that the will of Almighty God be done. Today, we seek protection from a moment of silence offered to a god of our own choosing. Today, we are too proud to seek protection of the one true God.    May God have mercy on our land.   Franklin Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer June 6, 1944   My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing […]

Parenting that Encourages Excellence

The Christian life is so much more than avoiding negative things. It is primarily about engaging in thoughts and activities that bring honor to God. In Philippians 4:8-9, Paul urges Christians to focus on things that are excellent and praiseworthy. Here are two examples: Two young children are fussing and complaining. Negative response:  “Why can’t you two just be quiet! Being noisy and fussy is a distraction to everybody in this house. I don’t want to hear any more unpleasantness, and I mean it! Do you understand?!?” Response that encourages excellence:  “God’s Word says that we should be thankful for each other. Sarah, Ethan, remember that we talked about things we can be thankful for about each other? Well, this […]

Five Proverbs that will bless your parenting.

Proverbs 16 offers key, comprehensive insights about establishing authority on the basis of righteousness; this kind of authority encourages. Here are some selected Proverbs from this chapter: Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,  and your plans will succeed. This is the starting point. The commitment indicated here is total. Commitment to the Lord because of your love for him is the focus of the proverb. This is not so much as achieving a single outcome as it as committing all of your life to honor God. In parenting this would mean a commitment to use God’s methods to accomplish God’s purpose.  Authority without this commitment is destructive! Proverbs 16:11 Honest scales and balances are from the LORD; […]

Joy & Obedience

Obedience is not something to use to gain a reward. Rather, obedience itself is a reward, a great privilege, honor and joy.  Just as I cannot make myself more acceptable to God by my obedience, neither do I want my children to think that I will be more accepting of them because of their obedience.   “Excuse me! Would you mind saying that again?” Sure. Your children must not think that you will be more accepting of them if they obey you.  I know, saying it like this seems awkward. So much of your life is about training and teaching God’s truth.  But the truth is that one’s own obedience does not make him acceptable to God. The last thing […]

Life is more than 140 characters

Our culture’s stars are judged by how well they please their audiences. When the pleasing stops, the appreciation stops–scorn may even follow. But for their brief moment on the culture’s stage, they appear as Psalm 73 says. They have no worries, and they seem to be in control and able to mock God and his ways without fear of consequence. Their tweets are valued as if they were some form of enchanted Kool-Aid. But this vision of the prosperity of those who scoff at God is fleeting; it lasts but a moment.  Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. Psalm 73:18 If you try to understand the “prosperity” of the culture’s stars without an […]