Posts in Spiritual Formation

God’s Response to Evil

By Alan Hultberg May. 2, 2016 9:00 a.m. Apologetics, Spiritual Formation, Theology

A while ago, I got a letter from a friend (whom I’ll call “Mary”) struggling with why God allows evil. Some people had told her that God was working through terrible tragedies to produce a greater good (Rom. 8:28). Others had told her that Satan was the cause of evil and that greater faith and use of her authority in Christ would deliver her from difficulties. Mary found little comfort in these well-meaning professions, and in fact was beginning to think that God was either cruel, impotent, or worse, non-existent, a classic case of the problem of evil ...

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Going On Retreat: The Role of Good Intentions in Spiritual Formation

By Steve Porter Apr. 21, 2016 9:00 a.m. Spiritual Formation

“It’s the thought that counts,” we say and, of course, thoughts do count. But the mere thought to do something—the desire and intention to do it—falls short of actually doing it. “I thought about getting you a birthday present, but … I didn’t.” And yet, there is something about the desire and intention to do good that is itself good. It is the right place to start. We desire and then intend to do something good and that desire/intention is an essential part of being a good person ...

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New Book Provides Short Answers to Big Questions about God

By Sean McDowell Apr. 18, 2016 9:00 a.m. Apologetics, Evangelism, Spiritual Formation, Theology

I recently received a copy of an intriguing book in the mail called Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity. One of the authors, Dr. Clinton Arnold, is a friend and colleague of mine at Biola University. This father-son pair tackle some of the biggest theological questions raised about Christianity today, such as, “Is Hell a real place?” “Do angels and demons really exist?” and “Does God hate sex?” If you’re looking for an easy-to-read, insightful, and timely book that tackles these types of questions, then I highly recommend this book. To give you a sense of the content and approach of this book, the Arnolds answered a few of my questions ...

 

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Does God Want Me to Be Happy?

By Clint Arnold Apr. 12, 2016 9:00 a.m. Apologetics, Christian Education, Church Life, Evangelism, Spiritual Formation, Theology

Without any hesitation we can say that yes, God wants you to be happy. The Bible (as well as experience) tells us that the Christian is given happiness in an incredible number of ways. But Christ has actually sweetened the deal and offered us something even better. While happiness is used to describe a basic feeling of gladness and contentment, what Christ offers is joy, which includes happiness, but runs much deeper, lasts much longer, and is felt much more strongly than happiness. The word joy shows up roughly four hundred times in the Bible, and it is no coincidence. Christ wants you to experience the joy that comes from him ...

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The Culture of Complaint: Moving from Complaining to Gratitude

By Karin Stetina Mar. 23, 2016 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Marriage and Family, Ministry and Leadership, Old Testament, Spiritual Formation

This past fall a friend shared an article from the New York Times entitled The Microcomplaint: Nothing Too Small to Complain About. It was amusing to read about all the silly complaints that celebrities tweeted to the world. Everything from the misery of only decaf coffee being available to what the writer deemed a “complaintbrag” of not being able to buy a Persian rug with cherub imagery. This habit, however, does not appear to be limited to celebrities. Cruise ship directors have received equally amusing complaints. For example, one passenger reported that the sea was “too loud” while another passenger grumbled about there being no celebrities on the Celebrity Cruise ship. In the past complaining was something often reserved for private ears. Today, however, it is not only acceptable to publically complain about the littlest inconvenience, it is often encouraged. It has even been identified as a communication style, particularly of Americans, who frequently see themselves as victims. Are Christians exempt from “microcomplaining” or are we part of the “culture of complaint”? What does Scripture have to say about complaining? ...

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An Insight about Praying “in Faith”

By Kenneth Berding Mar. 9, 2016 9:00 a.m. Biblical Exposition, Church Life, Ministry and Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Theology

... When I was younger, I would try to get rid of doubts by closing my eyes (really really tightly) and concentrate (really really hard) on pushing out the doubtful thoughts. And when I (inevitably) started thinking about my doubts again, I’d simply try again (really try this time!) to expel those doubts. But you can’t push doubts out of your mind any easier than you can push other thoughts out of your mind by valiantly trying ...

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If We Ask “According to His Will” It Will Happen, But What is “His Will”?

By Kenneth Berding Mar. 7, 2016 9:00 a.m. Biblical Exposition, Church Life, Ministry and Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Theology

A spiritually-minded friend of my wife and me recently made this comment: “I struggle with the idea of praying according to the will of God. Since I know that some things are clearly according to God’s will, why can’t I just pray directly about those things and know for certain that they’re going to happen? But that’s not the way it works with my prayers. For example, I know that God doesn’t want Christians to get divorced. But I’ve sometimes prayed that God would preserve a struggling marriage that still ended up in divorce ...

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