A post-Christmas follow-up_ are you happy? NS

A post-Christmas follow-up: are you happy?

Listen to Rick read this post:

This Christmas I was reminded of the Father’s joy when His children become excited about the gift of His Son. My children have been ramping up for Christmas all week. Maybe it would be more accurate to say, all month.

Every day since the Christmas tree was decorated they were asking, “How many more days?” It is hard for me to remember their kind of joy over Christmas. Christmas from a child’s perspective has long left the station for me.

The anticipation and thrill of Christmas is different now that I am older. I...

A Throne Addiction NS

A Throne Addiction

Listen to Rick read this post: A throne addiction is when a person refuses to allow God to be King of their life. The addict has fully bought into the first lie of Satan–you can be god. (Genesis 3:5). Everybody is pre-wired with a throne addiction. It is why we must be born a second time (John 3:7).

The bad news is becoming born again does not insulate you from this addiction. Salvation is a good start, but not a total solution. In this life it is every person’s battle. We are tenaciously loyal to ourselves and will fight vigorously, though mostly in subtle ways, to retain...

Second Chances NS

Second Chances

Listen to Rick read this post: “God is a God of second chances.” Have you ever heard that expression? It is one of those things we say about God. It is a Christian cliché, but it is a good one. If you are a Christian, then you have received a second chance.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. – Romans 5:12 (ESV)

We came into the world needing a second chance. This is why we have a Gospel–Christ died for my sins. Without a second chance, we would be...

How do I help two angry people reconcile? NS

How do I help two angry people reconcile?

Listen to Rick read this post:

From our mailbag - As a full-time elder and pastor for 27 years, I have seen and walked with people through many forms of offenses and relational conflict. Your articles are helpful and needed in the church today. I wonder if you could address forgiveness and walking free from resentment and bitterness in the following scenario.


Loving the giver of the gift regardless of the gift given NS

Loving the giver of the gift more than the gift

Listen to Rick read this post:

My children ask me each year what I want for Christmas. Every year I tell them some version of the same thing. It is a paraphrase from what John told us in his third letter:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 1:4 (ESV)

My family has generously given me all sorts of things throughout the years. Most of those gifts have been forgotten or broken or both, but there is one gift I regularly long for and I think about all the...

It is more than a birth-to-death story NS

It is more than a birth-to-death story

Listen to Rick read this post:

  • In the beginning the LORD created man without a man or a woman. That man was Adam
  • Then the LORD created a woman without a woman. That woman was Eve.
  • Then the LORD created people with a man and a woman. That is the rest of us.
  • Then the LORD created a man without a man. He was Jesus.
  • The virgin birth of Jesus is the most profound of His four creative acts, but what the LORD did by giving His Son to us is only part of what amazes me. To consider He would want to give Christ to us and that the Son would be...

    Salvation Management NS

    Salvation Management

    Listen to Rick read this post: Jonah said salvation belongs to the LORD (Jonah 2:9). There is no doubt about his statement. Salvation is God’s and He can choose to do with it what He wants. Salvation does not belong to us.

    Though Jonah messed up in several ways, he was not totally off his rocker when it came to how he thought about God and His salvation. Jonah was a prophet, so we cannot totally dismiss his life because he made a mistake and his mistake made it into the canon of Scripture.

    Praise God for His grace. What if God or others dismissed you because you made a mistake?...

    A theology of gift giving NS

    A theology of gift giving

    Listen to Rick read this post:

    On Christmas day people all over the world will be exchanging presents. It is a cultural event. It is a tradition that has evolved in meaning and application, which is common for traditions in that they can morph from their original intent.

    Christmas most certainly has lost its Christo-centric meaning among most of our culture. For many people it is no longer politically correct to say, Merry Christmas. Happy holidays has become the salutation of choice.

    Is it wrong to celebrate a cultural Christmas that is devoid of Christ? Read

    God Appoints Trouble NS

    God Appoints Trouble

    Listen to Rick read this post:

    And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. – Jonah 1:17 (ESV)

    Let us pretend you are in Sunday school and your 3rd grade teacher tells you the story of Jonah and the whale. It sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? You go home and tell your mommy about the story of the man swallowed by a giant fish.

    Your mom begins to tell you how great God is and what He can do. She also tells you Jonah was a Christian. You kinda dismiss the fact...

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