Posts in Spiritual Formation

The Call to Love Thy Neighbor: Promoting True Human Flourishing in a Consumer Society

By Karin Stetina Jul. 18, 2016 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Ministry and Leadership, Spiritual Formation

In Scripture God bids us to “love our neighbor” no fewer than eleven times. Yet centuries later the church still struggles with its calling to do so. From the pulpit to the pew, Christians interpret this command in a variety of ways. In his book Word vs. Deed, Dr. Duane Litfin, president emeritus of Wheaton College, addresses this struggle writing, “The gospel is inherently a verbal thing, and preaching the gospel is inherently a verbal behavior. If the gospel is to be preached at all, it must be put into words” (20). Though this is not a new topic in theology, the Evangelical church in the West is seeing the urgent necessity to find the balance between word and deed in the dynamic culture of the 21st century. The church is more aware than ever of the pressing needs of the world. Technology has given us unprecedented access to seeing the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs that exist worldwide. On our smart phones and computers we can watch natural disasters destroy cities and wars and violence destroy lives. While knowledge of the needs of the world is growing, there is a great necessity to understand how the church is to respond. What is the biblical view of how the church is to care for others, particularly in light of the growing awareness of the pressing needs both near and far? ...

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Triggers for Change in Economics and Sanctification

By John McKinley Jul. 11, 2016 9:00 a.m. Spiritual Formation

When reading the book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor ... and Yourself,[1] one passage stood out to me as an important analogy for understanding God’s providential work in sanctification. We often wonder why God allows, directs, or initiates difficulties and trials in our lives. The Bible is full of these promises that we will have to face many troubles (e.g., Rom. 8:17; Acts 14:23; John 16:33). Paradoxically, Scripture also assures us that we can count such problems in a positive way since we understand that God is doing good to us by means of the negative things we suffer (James 1:2-5). I decline to give a facile explanation of the problem of evil (more needs to be said than what can be done here). I aim to take on difficulty of God’s providence in our sanctification by looking at the observation of Corbett and Fikkert about helping the poor in economic development ...

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How Do You Minister to Second Generation Christian Students?

By Sean McDowell Jun. 29, 2016 9:00 a.m. Apologetics, Christian Education, Church Life, Marriage and Family, Spiritual Formation

Even though I grew up in a Christian home, with parents in professional Christian ministry, there was a time that I walked away from God. I was tired of the rules, authority, and simply wanted to live life my own way. And as you can imagine, I hit rock bottom. Feelings of loneliness, despair, and the weight of sin simply overwhelmed me and I hit the end of my rope … and so when I was four years oldI got down on my knees and decided I was going to follow Jesus ... 

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A Different Kind of Love Song

By Kenneth Berding Jun. 28, 2016 7:00 a.m. Marriage and Family, Missions, Spiritual Formation

Today is my 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty years ago I vowed faithfulness, friendship, and my entire future to Trudi Lynn Wilson. Apart from following Christ, it was the best decision I ever made. Trudi has shown more love, compassion, and grace than I could have ever hoped for, and far more than I deserve. She has willingly tramped all over the world with me, setting up home, family, and ministry in Portland, Berlin, two cities in Turkey, Los Angeles twice, Philadelphia, and New York. But this post isn’t a veiled attempt to get you to send notes of congratulation (though gifts are welcome). I decided today might be a good day to share a song I wrote for Trudi about five years into our marriage ...

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A Quote from Oswald Chambers in Sandie Weaver’s Office

By Kenneth Berding Jun. 21, 2016 9:00 a.m. Ministry and Leadership, Spiritual Formation

Just inside the door of Sandie Weaver’s office in the lower level of Metzger Hall hangs a framed quotation from Oswald Chambers.  Sandie is the Senior Director of Financial Planning & Operations at Biola University, which means that she is on a mission to make sure Biola University carefully plans for its financial future and lives within the constraints of whatever funds God brings into the university.  I love walking into her office and immediately encountering this quote from Oswald Chambers.  Sandie has had these words hanging on the wall of her office for more than 30 years to remind her that she labors to do what she does—not merely because it is wise and necessary—but because God called her to do it ...

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Engaging in Gospel-Focused Competition

By Dave Talley Jun. 13, 2016 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Spiritual Formation

A few years ago, I was playing basketball with a friend, but it was very different from the way most people play basketball. We called it “Basketball Heaven Style.” We had certain unusual rules ...

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Morbid Curiosity

By Kenneth Berding Jun. 7, 2016 9:00 a.m. Apologetics, Church Life, Culture, Ethics, Spiritual Formation

I’ll bet you’re curious to know what this post is about! Actually, I love curious people, and find those who lack curiosity to be a bit boring. Still, there are some things that are good to be curious about, and others that vie for our attention that are not edifying. Here are two things worthy of your curiosity, and three that are not ...

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