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The Spiral Of Forgiveness (Mike Glenn)

The Spiral of Forgiveness Most of us believe forgiving someone is an easy thing. Forgiveness usually goes something like this: someone does something wrong and they feel bad. The offending party then goes to the person they offended and apologizes. The person who was wounded is supposed say, “That’s OK. I forgive you.” There you […]



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The Spiral Of Forgiveness (Mike Glenn)


AOP Homeschooling – Straw Tulip Craft with Free Printable

Following April’s showers (or snowstorms this year), come the flowers of May, and one of the most popular spring-blooming perennials is the tulip. To brighten your homeschool this spring with a fun craft, use our free printable and a straw to create your own paper tulips.



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AOP Homeschooling – Straw Tulip Craft with Free Printable


Daily Prayer for April 26

How good it is to give thanks to you, O Lord, to sing in your honor, O Most High God, to proclaim your constant love every morning, and your faithfulness every night. Psalm 92:1-2, TEV

We thank you, Lord our God. How much good you have poured out on us throughout our lives! And how much we should thank you every day! We thank you that again and again we feel your help and know that you can fill our earthly life with what is of heaven. May your kingdom come over the whole world, for all people are longing for faith and for mercy and are to be gathered into your house under the staff of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Watch over us during the night. May your help go far and wide into the whole world. Stand by those who call upon you, even when they do not understand how they should pray. Help us and grant that the Savior may come, to the glory of your name. Amen.


How do you sustain your faith?

Be inspired by these examples.


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Author: Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Death of the Church 3

By Todd Dildine, who is a pastor at a small neighborhood church in Uptown, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago. He is most passionate about helping the church navigate the challenges of post-Christendom. Todd loves playing volleyball and he’s going to get married this summer! This is Part 3 of a blog series […]



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Death of the Church 3


Is Evangelicalism A Part Of Modernity?

One of the most important, if not cutting edge, elements of D. Bruce Hindmarsh’s excellent new book, (The Spirit of Early Evangelicalism), is that evangelicalism arose alongside and integrated with modernity. It became a movement, as we sketched in our previous post, because of modernity’s mobility.  Mobility made it a movement. Three marks of a […]



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Is Evangelicalism A Part Of Modernity?


The Death Of The Church 2: The ACF

By Todd Dildine, who is a pastor at a small neighborhood church in Uptown, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago. He is most passionate about helping the church navigate the challenges of post-Christendom. Todd loves playing volleyball and he’s going to get married this summer! First, read Part 1 prior to Part 2. […]



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The Death Of The Church 2: The ACF


The Death Of The Church: 1

By Todd Dildine, who is a pastor at a small neighborhood church in Uptown, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago. He is most passionate about helping the church navigate the challenges of post-Christendom. Todd loves playing volleyball and he’s going to get married this summer! A four part blog series that applies the instruments of […]



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The Death Of The Church: 1


Do You Read Elizabeth Strout?

I did read her. Have you? Which of her novels did you like most? A friend, when he heard I was reading novels in which pastors were present, recommended Elizabeth Strout, Abide with Me, and I’m sure glad I read the novel. I won’t spoil the narrative in what follows. First, the prose was splendid with […]



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Do You Read Elizabeth Strout?


This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Wishing you all a most meaningful and joyous Easter celebration!
Greg and Eric for This Day’s Thought from The Ranch

EASTER

by James Wilson

John 15:13

Back in the 1880’s Nietzsche declared that “God is dead,” and before the turn of the Twentieth Century, Shaw and Wells chimed in saying the 20th Century would mark the end of the world’s “religious phase.”

Yet, today a church now meets in Russia’s Museum of Religion and Atheism-the former center of atheism. Nearly half of the United States’ population attend Worship on a regular basis while revival is sweeping through Latin America and Christianity grows behind China’s iron curtain. (From Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html )

Nietzsche, Shaw and Wells have long since decayed in their graves, and God continues to live! That’s the message of Easter. He is risen. He is risen, indeed!

Why do we believe? Recently an African Muslim was converted to Christ. When someone asked him why he had become a Christian, he answered. “Well, it’s like this. Suppose you were going down a road when suddenly it forked in two directions, you didn’t know which way to take. There at the fork in the road you could see two persons, one dead and one alive. Of which one would you inquire the way?” This is a supreme difference between Islam and the gospel. The Muslim regards both Muhammad and Christ as prophets of God. But whereas Muhammad lived and died and passed from the scene of history, Jesus lived, died, and arose!. (John T. Seamonds)

Muhammad died, and was buried. His faithful followers take pilgrimages to visit his remains, the same is true of Buddha and other religious leaders. But it is not true of Jesus. You cannot visit His remains, you can only visit his empty grave, because He isn’t there. He Arose!

This side of history, we understand that Jesus’ death was necessary. Without His death, there could be no resurrection. At the cross, He laid down His life for us. He willingly gave His all. But how did his friends that He laid His life down for view the cross?

One answer to that question would be, “from a distance.” Except for John, they weren’t there. The cross was the ultimate symbol of shame. It was reserved for vile criminals. The disciple’s teacher, the one they left home to follow, was hung on a cross, and when He was, they turned their back on Him. No doubt they viewed the cross as shameful. Perhaps they even began to question the wisdom of their decision to follow Him.

Disillusioned? Disappointed? Certainly. Afraid? Perhaps. The crowd was out of control. Did they know if they were safe? Could the soldiers come and take them away as they took Jesus away?

Then it happened! Jesus broke through the chains of death and arose from the grave. He appeared to the woman at the empty tomb and gave them the word to tell the disciples. Later, he appeared before the disciples, but Thomas wasn’t there.

The disciples found Thomas and told him the good news. Jesus had risen!

But Thomas doubts the apostles testimony. Let’s read John 20:24-25 “Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.’”

He’d heard about the vicious way they’d driven the nails in his hands instead of tying them to the cross, and he’d heard the way the soldiers stabbed him in the side with a spear, like a piece of meat. His anger and his doubt blended to become a toxic cocktail of bitterness, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” Do you blame him? His hopes and dreams dashed, Thomas was drowning in depression and doubt-no way he could believe the unbelievable, not without proof. In the next verse, Jesus challenges Thomas to believe. “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’” (John 20:26-27 )

Without touching the nail scars or putting his hand in Jesus’ side, Thomas believes. Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28

Thomas, by his actions said, seeing is believing, but we know that “Believing is seeing.” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” John 20:29

That’s you and me! We’ve not seen, and yet we believe.

We believe, because He loved us. The scripture says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 KJV)

A volunteer at Stanford Hospital, was present when a little boy decided to give the ultimate sacrifice because he loved his sister Liza. The volunteer says the little girl was dying of a rare disease, with only one chance for survival–a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother. After the doctor explained what would happen during the transfusion, the little boy agreed to give his blood to save his sister.

He peacefully laid still during the transfusion. After a while, he asked the doctor a question that gave great insight into his character, “Will I start to die right away?” Apparently, the boy thought he would have to give all his blood, but was willing to do so to save his sister. (From Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

Jesus laid down His life for you. There is room at the cross for you. Will you come to Him today?


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This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon


Daily Prayer for February 9

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1–2, RSV

Lord our God, we come into your presence, for you are our certainty, our refuge, especially in these times when so much is happening to grieve and trouble us. You are our God and our Savior today and for all time. You have always been our Savior and helper, and you will remain our Savior and helper forever. We praise you and glorify your name. Give a new spirit in our day, we pray, new help through the gospel brought by Jesus Christ. May your name be kept holy, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.


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Author: Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt